Without good content, your SEO strategy is like a balloon without helium. It’s destined to go nowhere.
Good content is important for many reasons. Not only does it attract valuable shares and backlinks, but it helps you become an authority in your niche. Nowadays, authority building is everything.
If your writing is good, your site gets rewarded with better rankings. If not, well then it’s back to the drawing board.
Although it’s not an exact science, content writing has some definite “to-do’s” and not “to-do’s” that are worth following.
Here are the top 7 content writing tips to increase your site’s SEO results.
You’ve probably heard this a million times, that keyword research is one of the biggest first steps in the SEO process. Well the same is true for content writing.
Before putting pen to paper—or fingertips to keyboard—you must determine what keywords you want to target within your content.
Start by making a list of the main subject areas your article or blog post will touch on, and simply begin typing these terms into Google.
What content is showing up on page 1? Click on those sites and see if their content is similar to what you’re planning on creating.
Also, scroll down to the bottom of the search results page and look at the keyword suggestions.
These are closely related terms that searchers have been typing in. While these may not become your main keywords, they can give you a better sense of user intent—what people are searching for online. You can also use these ideas for creating subsections in your content.
Using a free keyword research tool like Keyword.io or Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner, you can enter the suggested keywords you’ve found and uncover even more keyword options.
What are you looking for in a keyword? Something that has medium search volume but is not highly competitive. In other words, people are searching for it AND you can rank for it.
Once you’ve narrowed down one primary and 2-4 secondary keywords (depending on length of content), you’re good to start writing the content.
One mistake people often make is overthinking their keyword selection. Go with the keywords that seem most profitable to target and start writing! You’ll find out soon enough whether you need to target new keywords.
Use of Headings
Your main heading (H1) is the title of your page or post.
Since it’s the first thing people will see after landing on your page, you need to consider making it attention-grabbing, while also utilizing a variation of your main keyword.
How should this H1 appear? To make things simple, try making your H1 similar to your page’s title tag. This way, searchers who clicked on your link will know they came to the right place. You want to fulfill the promise made in your SERP listing, so as not to make your visitors click away out of confusion.
What’s the 2nd most important header on your page? You probably guessed it—H2s. While they don’t carry the same SEO weight as H1s, H2s are still useful for breaking up content into sections and giving Google a better idea of what your page is about.
There’s no limit as far as how many H2s you can use. Just use them where they make sense.
For example, if you’re writing a piece called “5 Ways to Clean Your Home,” your subsections (H2s) would represent each of the 5 ways. Make sense?
Google is smart. They’ll know that whether you say “basketball shoes” or “shoes for basketball,” you’re talking about the same thing. These are called latent semantic variations—or LSI. When writing content, you want to use different variations of your target keywords rather than the exact match phrase every time.
A great FREE tool for finding LSI variations is called LSIgraph.com.
Just type in your primary keyword and it will spit out a ton of suggestions that are closely related.
There’s an ongoing debate in the SEO world about the importance of LSI keywords in 2018. Although it’s unclear whether they are required to help content rank, they are still helpful when it comes to structuring content and avoiding keyword stuffing.
Next up is content length. One of the biggest transformations in content writing over the last five years has been the emphasis on long form web content over short form—and when we say long form, we mean really long.
Today, the average page in Google’s top 10 results has over 1,800 words of content (this according to SEMRush).
Moz performed a similar study awhile back and found that blog posts on their site with 2,000+ words got the most shares and backlinks.
Does this mean that every piece of content you write has to be massive? Not at all! In many niches you’ll be fine posting 500-1,000 word pieces of content.
Analyze the top 10 results for the terms you’re trying to rank and see how much content they’re putting on their pages. This will give you a great point of reference.
This content writing tip has nothing to do with actual writing, it involves images and other media. Using them accordingly throughout your content can improve your SEO standing and help the user experience too.
When posting images, be sure to do the following:
- Use an image compression tool (or WordPress plugin) to decrease the file size. Large images can slow down your site which actually hurts SEO.
- Add an alt tag to each image you post. This is a literal description of what is going on in the image, intended to help visually impaired readers. It can help your SEO.
What’s our most valuable content writing tip? To develop a solid linking strategy. This means hyperlinking certain pieces of text on a page, and sending readers to other relevant pieces of content—whether it’s on your site or externally.
In essence, linking can be done in two ways—internally or externally. Both are huge components of SEO.
Internal linking involves linking between the pages on your site that are most relevant to each other, but doing so in a manner that goes along with your site’s structure. So, if you’re an HVAC company, you’ll have a main services page with content that links visitors to your sub pages, like “heater repair,” “air conditioner repair,” and so forth.
External linking is when you link visitors to resources away from your site in an effort to give them more information about the topic at hand. Why would you want to do this? Well, it helps Google understand that your content is well-sourced, which improves relevancy. Plus, it CAN benefit the user experience by giving them more information than what’s provided in your content. Just set a target_blank attribute on your external links so that they open in a separate tab, leaving your original site page still open.
Test, Test, Test
With these top 7 content writing tips at hand, go ahead and start testing new content. Once it’s published, leave the content alone for a few weeks and see how it ranks before making any changes.