How to Write for SEO – and Why You Should
If you’re making the effort to write great content, you want people to read it, right? But unless your audience is the kind to sit in front of their computer at all hours of the day watching for the latest updates on your blog, you need to have a better strategy at getting the word out there.
It goes without saying that social media and email updates are great ploys to publicise the new content on your blog, but both of those options require a bit of work from your end. SEO or search engine optimisation, on the other hand, does the hard work for you.
How to write for SEO
It all starts with writing your content with SEO in mind. If you’re already putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard as the case is more likely to be), it doesn’t take much more effort to optimise your writing for SEO. The success of SEO comes down to the keywords you use in your content, the helpfulness of that content to the people searching for you online, and how much content there actually is.
Keywords (which can also be phrases) are the words that online searchers type into Google when they’re looking for the solution to a problem. Someone who lives in Auckland’s Mt Eden might be in the market for a new hairdresser, so if they were to use Google to find one they’ll probably search for ‘Mt Eden hairdresser’. In this example, the keywords are ‘hairdresser’ and ‘Mt Eden hairdresser’.
First up, find out which keywords and phrases people are searching for that your website is already optimised for and infuse more of your content with those keywords. SEMrush is a great tool to use; you don’t need to have a subscription to do this, although you do need to register. Just type in your website’s URL then SEMrush will tell you which keywords are most common on your website and whether they’re working or not.
From there, find a bunch more keywords that are relevant to your industry that you’d like to rank higher in. Google’s Keyword Planner is a great place to start (it’s free if you already have a Gmail account). Once you’ve decided on the keywords that your website could best be optimised for, start including them in your content.
Now, once upon a time, writing for SEO simply meant including as many keywords in a sentence as possible. It even had a name: keyword dumping. This basically meant that a sentence would likely be unreadable because it was designed to push as many keywords as possible, not actually make sense. These days Google is much smarter, which means you need to be smart too. To effectively write for SEO in the 21st century, use your keyword in your title, in your first paragraph and in the first H1 or H2 heading. From there, sprinkle your keyword and variations of your keyword throughout your copy. Every sentence should be natural, make sense and be easy to read. If you’re struggling to fit your keywords in or make them make sense, you’re doing it wrong.
If you’re simply writing for the hell of putting more words on the internet, you’re probably wasting your time. Always write blogs with a content strategy in mind. Contrary to popular belief, a content strategy is less about what you want to write about and more about what potential customers are interested in – what they’re searching for. Think about the questions they are likely to ask, then answer them. Interview people who can provide expert commentary; if it’s a good article they’re more likely to share the article on their own channels too. Remember, you’re writing for real people with real questions, not computers.
Size does matter
Google and other search engines tend to rank longer, more in-depth blogs and articles higher than short, snappy content. Try to make your articles at least 600 words long – the longer the better! And remember, while longer content requires more effort on your behalf, it also provides potential customers with more useful content that will a) answer their questions well, b) make you sound awesome and c) result in more actual customers.
It won’t happen overnight but it will happen
We’ll be honest: writing for SEO is one of those marketing strategies that probably won’t result in an instant yield. It’s a long-game; you might start to see results after a few months. But while it can be a sit and wait game, it’s important to note that SEO is not a set and forget game. The best SEO results come from constant and ongoing watching, testing and analysis. Don’t be afraid to try new things – or multiple things at once. SEO is the kind of marketing strategy that gives you plenty of leeway to simply give it a go while creating content that your readers will love.
Need a hand with SEO writing on your own blog? Lingo specialises in creating interesting, valuable and easy-to-read content for small- and medium-sized businesses just like yours. Drop us a line now – we’d love to develop a content strategy for you that ticks all your boxes, and your customers’.