Originally Posted on February 23, 2010
Guidelines for SEO Friendly Content Writing
With the advent of Google’s natural language algorithm update, search engines are a lot better at figuring out what the intent of a web page’s content is. The search engine can now better understand the meaning of a word based on its context in a sentence, so it is no longer important to “stuff” keyword search phases into your web content. Yet, it is still important to keep in mind that search engines are programs that cannot see the page graphics or layout, with the job of indexing the page and identifying what is important on the page in order to put in the right spot on a search result page. While search engines assess every part of a page’s content, searchers quickly scan them looking for something specific. That’s why good SEO friendly content that quickly meets a user’s needs can be tricky to write.
What is SEO Content Writing and Why Should I Do It?
SEO content refers to content that you write with the intention of attracting search engine traffic by ranking higher than other pages with a similar content focus. Since search algorithms have gotten so much better at understanding the meaning behind words on a page that pages written a few years ago with the intention of “ranking” in search results now need to be revamped. The most important concept behind SEO content writing that you need to concentrate on quickly and accurately delivering the best and freshest content about the subject matter.
SEO Content Writing Basics
Your main objective when writing online marketing material is to persuade readers to take action on a webpage by highlighting the best features and selling the experience. Keep your pages focused and organized. It is better to write shorter organized blocks of text with an initial summary and internal links than it is to have long pages that your visitors need to scroll down to find the information they want. Web pages should be at least 300 words long, as a rule of thumb. If an article is longer than 500 words, separate it into several blocks of text with headers between separate thoughts. Since readers scan most web pages, you should always break up long strings of text with graphics and headings so searchers can easily find specifically what they are looking for. Make sure to use your headings sequentially so that H1 – H3 and bold tags descend in order. You can also use bullets and numbering to make your pages more readable. Also, make sure you edit your grammar and check for typos. Remember that in most cases there is a 50% chance that whoever is reading your content is doing so on a mobile phone depends on the industry.
4 Aspects to SEO Content Writing in 2020 that Ranks on Google Search
With Google’s AI constantly learning more about the true meaning of our search queries, the algorithm is constantly evolving and we no longer have to be quite as obtuse about the focus of each page. We now have the ability to better provide the content we know our searchers expect to find when they land on a page, and in essence, now every page of the content we write can be considered a landing page. When writing SEO Content for 2020, there are four things you must strive to achieve.
- Great Content Support – You must understand the query from your audience and analyze the search results that Google displays. Then strive to make sure your content is better than your competitors. Often this will make your page far too long and cumbersome to read on a mobile phone, so you need to have a plan for supporting pages of content that provide evidence for your statements on the main landing page. This is especially true of pages that are mostly informational such as a blog post or list. If your page is considered Your-Money-Or-Your-Life (YMYL) content you must provide better evidence to back up each of your statements from authoritative, trustworthy sources.
- Robust Technical SEO – While mobile speed currently seems to be the most important ranking factor, there are other technical SEO aspects that make mobile sites better for users, all outlined in the new Google “measure” toolset. Using the new tools provided by Google in June of 2020 helps to determine whether technical SEO issues are holding back your pages from enjoying better rankings in Google search.
- Good Citations and Backlinks– Always under debate, links from other sites still provide authority and trust factors to Google. Citations and links are therefore still a major ranking factor and help to encourage Google to index your pages regularly. It is still important to focus on getting continuous links from trusted sources.
- Improving the Trust of a Website – Google continuously improves the search experience and refines the results to weed out sites that are less trustworthy, rewarding sites with good technical SEO, SSL, and secure content that has not been hacked. Google checks company locations, phone numbers, and contact sources to make sure they are consistent. Google also ranks sites with good review scores on Google My Business and other third party sources including Social Sites.
Focusing on these four aspects will result in better search rankings, but it is important to write content that answers the searcher’s query as completely and quickly as possible.
How to Write SEO Friendly Content
Your job is to concisely give searchers all the information possible that will answer their search query and target a specific audience. When you write the content keep that audience in mind so that you are presenting information they can use. Many times you will need to use more than one keyword phrase per page as well. The idea is to outline the content on the page, make key points (using keyword phrases in a descending header structure), illustrate these points with words and graphics, provide as many facts as possible about each key point, provide opinions or reviews from others or from trusted sources, provide pros and cons or outline benefits, incorporate calls to action, and summarize the information you provided. The following points will help you:
- Keyword Strategy. This is the most important part of ranking a page. You want to make sure to choose good keywords that people are searching for, but also keep in mind that some of the most searched keywords are also some of the hardest keywords to rank for. Once you have chosen keywords that will bring some targeted traffic to your page, that you think you may be able to rank for, it is time to develop your copy. Many times it is worth the effort to outline all the pages you have on a site that fall within a similar category and list out the search phrases for each page so you make sure you do not have pages that are competing with each other or which are not focused. Once you have a spreadsheet of keywords for each page, you are ready to write the page text. When developing copy, concentrate on the primary keyword first, and then rotate usage of the other phrases throughout the page. Don’t try to optimize for more than a few keyword phrases per page so that your results are focused. There are many tools available to help you in keyword research, including your own website analytics. It is always easier to rank an existing page higher if Google has already ranked it for a keyword.
- Copy Length. The optimal page length for the search engines is at least 300 words. However, it depends on the subject matter you are writing for. Make You content can give its reader a clear idea about which the content is written.
- Meta tags and Titles: As a general rule, the meta title should be 60 characters long because that is the length of a Google search title. The meta description should be 150 characters long for the same reason. You may choose to use a meta keyword tag to keep track of the phrases you are optimizing for, although many search engines do not read this tag. It can be about 250 characters long with no keyword repeats.
- Summary Links: at the Top of the Page – People scan for the information they are most interested in. They want to see exactly what the page content is, then be able to quickly access the section they are most interested in reading.
- Deep Links. Hyperlinks to other pages within the site – or “deep links” – help boost search engine rankings, especially when the links contain full or partial keyword phrases.
- Places for Keyword Phrases: Title, meta description, meta keywords, headings, bold print, text links, first two paragraphs of text, last word on the page if possible, and alt tags for images.
Number of Pages. Most brochure websites will need between eight to 10 pages of optimized copy. This can include a home page (with the most competitive keywords), about page, services or product pages, FAQ page, and contact page. A news section or blog really helps to develop additional pages and keep content fresh.
- Keyword Density. Strive for between 1% to 3% keyword density. Here is a free keyword density tool for existing pages: http://tools.seobook.com/general/keyword-density/ Here is a free keyword density tool for text: http://textalyser.net/ In order to get keyword density up, sometimes this means that a page must be split into parts so that keyword phrases can be used about 3 to 5 times on a 200-400 word page. Simply add a link at the bottom of the page to read more about “keyword phrases”, and this link will take them to the next part of the page.
- Single Versus Plurals. Use both the singular and plural forms of keywords. Research shows that most users search for plural keywords, although it’s easier to insert the singular form when writing about an individual product or service. Use the plural form in the first heading whenever possible.
- Variation of Antecedent. Make sure to use variation with the word that precedes each keyword phrase. Without variation, the search engine will read the article and keyword as a single cohesive unit, instead of recognizing the targeted keyword phrase as a stand-alone term.
- Add Call to Action Buttons Frequently. Not only does this break up the text, but people like to interact with their mobile devices and the faster you get them involved in your content, the longer they will continue reading.
SEO Content Writing to Beat Your Competitors
Please note Google will rank higher those pages which provide the most accurate and best information to the end-user on the search subject topic. Therefore you have to make your page better than your competitor on the searched topic. Many times if you search in an incognito browser you can see at least the local search results – or you can use a tool like MOZ, SEMRush, or AHREFS to check which web pages rank in front of your page. Take a good look at the information on those pages and try to write SEO content that is better than theirs. This may involve adding FAQs and other important information about the subject that does not immediately come to mind but will be helpful for the searcher to make a decision or get their question answered. Your page content needs to be better in all respects than your competitors, and just adding more text that does not enhance the search is not required.
There are a lot of factors in page rank, and you can check to make sure that your page is also performing well based on the web.dev/measure tool that Google has provided.
Changes to Google’s Algorithms Sometimes Means Changes to SEO Content Writing
Google constantly makes changes to rankings, and you have to keep a close eye on your SEO content writing success to stay on top of search rankings. One way to do this is to use Google analytics to see if you are receiving less traffic on the pages you optimized and another is to use a tool to check your rankings. Additionally, keep an eye on whether people are enjoying your web page content by tracking page views and bounce rates. You may also check to see if anyone has linked to your page or commented. You can thank them in either case. People may also share your pages on their social media, and you can thank them for this as well.
If something works, repeat the process. Above all, understand that content on the internet is continually changing and this means that the SEO content you write needs to be continually revised and improved so that you offer searchers the best and most up to date answers for their queries.
By following these rules of thumb, and editing several times for both errors and clarity, you can write user-friendly content that is also optimized for search engines. Good luck with your SEO friendly content writing project!