Ten top tips on how to write better for SEO
How your SEO agency can improve the quality of your content
If you ask any SEO agency or marketer why SEO is important in content their first answer is likely to be related to achieving high rankings in search engine results.
All well and good. But it’s important to understand that SERPs are not the one and only reason for the skilful use of SEO in your content. Just as important is the user experience of that content, and SEO can play a major part in that too.
In this article we look at how you can write better for SEO and improve the quality of your content. Not just for rankings but also for user experience.
Here are our ten quick tips to do just that:
Tip 1 : Create engaging content
Always remember that content is designed primarily for people, not for search engines. It needs to be engaging so that it keeps the attention of the reader. Boring content will result in a high bounce rate.
You want content that keeps the reader on the page and also encourages them to explore the rest of your site. Keep an eye on user signals to see how long visitors stay on a page, and whether they are reading multiple pages in one visit. If so, you are getting something right.
So make sure that your content is interesting, well structured and answers the questions that readers didn’t even realise they had. Also ensure that your content targets the demographic of the audience you are aiming for.
Basically, produce content for readers, not for search engines. But if you incorporate the following tips, then you can be confident that search engines will engage with it too.
Tip 2 : Do your keyword research
Clever keyword research is vital to effective writing for SEO. Focus on keywords that are not only relevant to your product or service but that also have low competition. There is a wide range of keyword tools on the market and many – such as Ahrefs, SEMrush and Spyfu – are able to provide a list of keywords being used by your competitors. If you can spot a keyword gap this can work to your advantage and achieve high SERPs rankings.
Be very careful though not to fall into the trap of “keyword stuffing”. Keywords should be incorporated into content naturally so that it is still interesting and readable, and does not feel forced. Also remember to use important keywords in tags and headings as well as body text.
Tip 3 : Understand user intent
In our recent article Optimising for User Intent we discussed the importance of writing content that meets the search intent of the user.
There are broadly four types of intent that are likely to be the reason a user is searching:
- Informational : searchers who have a question about a particular topic.
- Navigational : searchers who are looking for a specific website.
- Transactional : searchers who want to buy something now.
- Commercial : searchers who are researching something they intend to buy sometime soon.
You need to prepare content that addresses the needs of all the above groups. So, for example, if you sell yoga leggings and your site is called HappyYogaLegs you could create the following types of content to meet the four types of user intent:
Create blogs and articles that answer questions about the best leggings to wear for yoga, and also about the benefits of yoga itself. Think about the questions that readers are likely to have and make sure you answer them fully and in the tone that fits with your target demographic.
Some searchers may have heard of your products but have not yet had any engagement with you. So make sure that when they type in HappyYogaLegs your website comes up straight away in SERPs and they don’t need to wade through other results to find you.
When searchers are ready to buy you need to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Take a fresh look at your site. Is it clear how to navigate to the products and purchase pages? If not, do whatever is needed to make it so.
If searchers are researching the best yoga leggings to buy, you need to include keywords and phrases that will keep drawing them back to your site. Also ensure that you have reviews on your site that will encourage new customers to buy.
Tip 4 : Create longer content
Don’t be afraid of longer content. Many content writers veer away from this thinking that it will be too much for a reader to commit to. And indeed it’s good to have a variety of content, some quick reads and some longer reads.
But including some longer content enables you to tackle a topic in more depth, and address a broad range of user questions and concerns. In fact, recent research from HubSpot found that content with a word count of between 2,250 and 2,500 words often receives the most organic traffic.
So preparing some longer pieces of content is one way that you can write better for SEO, and can also boost your brand in terms of you becoming seen as an authority or thought leader in your field.
Tip 5 : Structure your content
Structuring your content is really important, particularly for longer pieces. In simple terms, this means a beginning, a middle and an end.
Start your content by explaining its purpose and giving an outline of what to expect. Then focus on the main body of the article, with some kind of summary or conclusion at the end – including a call to action if this is appropriate.
Structured content is more appealing to the reader than having to begin reading something with no idea where it is headed. Wherever possible, split the content up into sections with headings and subheadings, with plenty of white space in between.
Also include bullet pointed lists to help break up large chunks of text. Lists can also make it easier for Google to locate key information and use it in a featured snippet.
Tip 6 : Include visual media
Consumers increasingly expect content to include visual media. Items such as images, videos and infographics can help to attract attention and reinforce key messages. So strategic use of relevant visual media can be an additional way to draw people to your content and enable them to engage with it. It can enhance the user experience in many different ways.
Also be aware that visual media itself can also contribute to search rankings. For example, the number of searches being carried out on Google Images continues to increase. We explore the topic of optimising images in our article Optimising Images for SEO.
Tip 7 : Sitemap your structure
Tip 5 referred to structuring your content. You also need to ensure that your site itself is structured as well as it can be.
Your site needs a sitemap: an XML file listing all the pages on your site. Search engine crawlers will use your sitemap to find your content and understand how your pages are connected together.
You should also include a robots.txt file to provide specific instructions to search engine crawlers on any parts of the site they shouldn’t search. This is important because search engines will only crawl a limited number of pages each visit, so if you prevent unnecessary searches there is more chance of relevant content being searched.
Whilst site structure falls under the remit of technical SEO rather than content writing, it is essential to ensure that all content is included in the sitemap so that it can be able to serve its purpose.
Tip 8 : Use internal links effectively
Close to the heart of the sitemap is the practice of internal linking. Think of internal links as secret passageways between the different pages of your website. Once a visitor is on your site, you want them to stay there. This means not just finishing the content they are reading, but visiting other content on your site as well. Internal links make this happen.
Our article The importance of internal linking for SEO success explains further benefits of internal links, and how to use them effectively.
Tip 9 : Make your site mobile friendly
As we explained in our article Which search engine: Google or Bing? Google now uses a mobile-first index. This means that it primarily uses a mobile version of your website for both searching and ranking.
Around 67% of Google searches in the UK now originate from mobile devices rather than desktops. So it is increasingly important to ensure that your site is completely mobile friendly. As well as technical SEO this impacts on the structure and layout of your content. For example, bear in mind how different elements would display across the typical dimensions of a mobile device. Also consider that most users prefer to scroll down on one page on a mobile device rather than have new pages loading.
The ideal is to use responsive web design so that you don’t need separate versions of your site for desktop and mobile. This will ensure that your UX is top notch across all versions of your website.
Tip 10 : Then do it all again
If you can follow all the above SEO tips your content should be in a strong position to perform well with both consumers and search engines.
But now is not the time to kick back and take things easy. To really succeed, you need to make your SEO efforts an ongoing process. In the world of SEO, to stand still is to fall behind. You need to constantly add fresh content to your site and ensure that it can be found by all who are searching for it, whatever their intent.
In this article we have looked at how you can write better for SEO and improve the quality of your content to impact both your rankings and your user experience.
For more tips on how to develop your digital marketing strategy or SEO agency visit this page again soon at Xcite Digital.