Content is essential to getting in front of today’s search and social obsessed consumers. We discuss this in our post about why content underpins all digital marketing. This blog however, takes a moment to talk specifically about the synergy between content and SEO. We cover how it is a crucial element of on-page SEO and share tips on how strong copywriting and creative ideas can elevate your site in SERPs.
Let’s make one thing very clear – content cannot be produced solely for the purpose of SEO. When content is produced for the benefit of a search engine instead of a human, it usually shows. The content will be flat, have low engagement rates or click-throughs and it will lack the original thought that is required to make it stand out either as a shared link or as a Search Engine Result. And that’s just a human’s perspective, algorithms are pretty smart too and will recognise an overly engineered piece of copy packed with keywords straight away.
The only way to write great copy is to consider the person who will be reading it and to make sure you have done your research about the subject matter. That said, there are plenty of tips and tricks that also need to be considered in order for it to work effectively in the context of SEO.
Why is written content important for SEO?
Content is a key element of “on-page SEO” – the SEO practice that makes changes directly to your website to optimise them for search engines. The more pages you have on your website, the more opportunities there are to appear in relevant search results. It’s that simple. Except it’s not quite…
Google’s E-A-T (Expertise-Authority-Trustworthiness) factor means that quantity isn’t as good as quality.
Being an expert, an authority and trustworthy are the guiding principles behind some core updates to Google’s algorithm, each of which improved the search engine’s understanding of website content to help it better direct search traffic. As Google continues to evolve its core algorithm, the websites it considers to be published by the best in-field experts with the greatest authority will be selected to best satisfy user needs.
Understanding keywords and keyword research in content writing:
Keywords are the terms and phrases used by people to find the answer to what they’re looking for in search results. You can either invest resources into producing content based on a hunch or you can conduct some keyword research to remove the guessing game of what you *think* customers are searching for before you invest in any other form of content or search marketing.
Usually, many businesses have an idea of what people will be looking for but they won’t know for certain what the most relevant search terms are or which ones have the best opportunity (e.g. least competition). Creating content takes time and is a relative slow-burner for businesses looking for quick results as it can take months for pages to be crawled, indexed and develop the clout needed to be ranked higher than a competing page. Therefore, you don’t want to be writing a blog every week for six months before you know if it’s reaching the right audience.
Structure is extra important in SEO writing
All writing needs some structure. Unlike a piece of long prose, digital copywriting can be much shorter and direct. If you’re trying to create content so that it answers a question and is optimised for maximum visibility in search engines, you need to think about what it is you’re trying to answer and who you’re speaking to.
I know that I’m writing this for someone who wants to engage in SEO marketing activity but who has a beginner level of digital knowledge. I also want to make the content obvious for a search engine. Therefore all of my paragraphs are split out into clear sections that highlight key themes and FAQs. The paragraphs are relatively short and I’ve tried to not use too many technical phrases or buzzwords.
So how can you make your content writing for SEO creative?
As with most creative projects, there is a framework you have to work within but it shouldn’t stop you from having fun with your writing. Keywords need to be incorporated into your content but you don’t need many of them. Prioritise your reasons for writing the content in the first place so that the writing quality is guided by your purpose, rather than being guided by the keywords.
For example, I’m writing this post to help provide information about SEO writing tips – that’s the first objective. The second is to ensure that I’ve optimised it so that users AND search engines can see that it might be helpful for someone searching: “SEO and content writing tips”. Note that this is the first time I’ve used this phrase in the blog, it’s not been overly engineered but it is there.
As with any writing, the basic rules apply:
- Have a structure to your writing – written content needs to have a flow of ideas
- Make sure you are using short, clear sentences
- Play with language. You don’t need to synonym everything but flex that vocab
- Ensure your keywords have a synergy – focus your subject on a targeted handful rather than a scattergun approach
- KEEP IT RELEVANT – the hardest part. Write, edit, read and repeat until it’s something you’re really proud of
I hope this blog has helped to provide some inspiration on writing content for SEO. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive guide that contains details of how to research keywords or develop an SEO strategy, please take a look at our SEO for Small Business Guide or Digital For Beginners blog series.