Someone e-mailed me recently and said there was great content on Writing For SEO, but what did she really need to know to be great at SEO Content Writing?
That’s a good question
No. It’s a great question.
And it shows up one of the greatest weaknesses of publishing online, particularly in a blog’s timeline format. The information you want is not all assembled into a coherent document or book. But that’s a discussion for another day and probably another place.
I could just go away and write a book. But there’s a lot here already, so here are some of the essential nuggets.
Setting some boundaries
Before I go any further, can I set some boundaries?
For the purposes of this piece, SEO Writing is commercial, not personal – although I write personally on Writing For SEO, it has a commercial purpose.
I’m also covering the research you’ll need to do before you start writing, because I’m assuming you’re writing for yourself or your company. Some clients give me the key phrases to write copy around.
More on this: Why Your Site Must Have SEO Copy.
1. The SEO or the Writing?
So much has been written around this question. And 90% of it is just uninformed or geared to making a craft seem simple.
That’s not to say SEO Content Writing is for an elite. Nope. If you can write, you can write content that punches its weight online.
You just need to know what you’re doing and then hone your skills by getting down to some writing – with some SEO.
More on this: Google Writing. Or Writing For People?
2. Write for a friend’s website to begin with
Sounds a bit strange?
It’ll help remove one of the biggest elephants in the writing – you.
That is, you’ll find it easier to avoid the number one problem for writers who are just beginning. Talking about the product, service, website or company from the inside, when readers are looking from the outside.
More on this: Writing Your Own Content. You’re Inside, Looking Out.
3. Understand your audience
Know who they are and write for them.
But write for one person, not hundreds, thousands or millions. Make it personal. Eye to eye.
More on this: Write With Style! Person-To-Person Copywriting.
4. Key Phrase Research – really understand your audience
This is where we transition from good old copywriting and content writing into SEO Writing.
Use tools to explore what people are really looking for.
- What are their needs?
- Can you see searches by people who are ready to buy?
- Are they using different terminology? They may not be experts, so they probably don’t use jargon
More on this: Key Phrases: Why They’re So Important For Your Content and Five Steps To The Right Keywords For Your E-commerce Website.
5. Write based on the right key phrases
Choose key phrases that are:
- Relevant to what you’re selling
- Have realistic levels of competition
- Have higher levels of search
More on this: How to Choose Keywords That People Really Search On and How To Develop Content From Key Phrase Research.
6. Extend your writing on to the web
Now mix in some webby stuff for real success.
Know how to use h tags, what to put in title tags to help search engines and your readers.
More on this: Header Tags And How You Use Them In SEO Copy and Make Title Tags Work For You. An Essential SEO Tip.
I hope this helps. SEO Writing demands all the skills you’d normally use to write for an audience, but it demands some more just to make the process interesting.
Thanks to Antonio for the pen image.
I train companies and departments, and coach individuals in SEO Content Writing. If you’d like to know more, please get in touch.