SEO Content Writing: Beginners’ guide to SEO friendly content
Beginners, either new bloggers or writers unfamiliar with SEO, can find SEO Content writing or SEO optimizing their existing content to be a daunting task. There are many factors to be considered. The guides currently present on the internet only explain it in bits and pieces. And there are many “secrets” which you need to figure out on your own, based on experience. So this guide attempts to be a comprehensive guide of the various factors involved in SEO optimization of web content. So where do we get started to learn how to write SEO content?
SEO content writing starts with keyword research
People who write for major publications and established bloggers will tell you that you just need to write to fulfil your readers. That keywords don’t matter. Of course they don’t, for them! These people often don’t worry about writing SEO friendly content because they already have a huge readership. it gets them traffic no matter how they structure their content. It doesn’t matter to these guys whether they have followed the basic guidelines of SEO content writing or not.
But it does to someone who’s just getting starting. To someone like you, who probably is just getting started and doesn’t have a massive fan following. Keywords indicate demand for a particular topic. So unless you’re writing for a high demand topic, you’re not giving yourself the chance for maximum reach and exposure. Given the limited amount of time and resources that a blogger (or anyone for that matter) has, they need to invest into topics that give them maximum exposure with minimum effort.
So before you start writing on a particular topic, check Google’s keyword planner or a similar tool and check out the demand for the topic in question. Select keywords & hence topics with relatively high demand but low competition. We’ve explained how to do keyword research using Google’s keyword planner in detail over here.
Getting the right length is important for writing SEO friendly content
Another important aspect of SEO content writing is content length. Google and other search engines attach a lot of importance to content length. Longer content is considered more valuable and hence is likely to rank higher. Having said that, there’s no fixed ‘ideal length’ of content, although it definitely needs to be above 300 words. The ideal length of your content depends upon what your competition has been up to. Suppose your competitors have written articles of between 1500 – 1800 words for a given topic. Then you need to match or better that.
Figuring out the ideal content length for a topic can be a painstaking process if done manually. You’ll have to search for the topic on a search engine, put the various articles you find into a word processor (like MS word or Google sheets). Then you’ll have to note down the word count of different articles to arrive at the length range that you need to target. Instead of going through such a lengthy and arduous process, there are third party tools available, like Ahrefs and SEMRUSH that will analyze your competitors’ content and directly give you the target length. For a competitive niche like blogging, these tools usually tend to suggest between 1400 – 2000 words’ length. So plan your articles accordingly.
Keyword density myth busted
SEO lore from the past will often tell you that you need to maintain a certain ‘keyword density’. First, let’s understand what keyword density is. It the number of times a keyword appears in a given piece of text, divided by the total number of words in that piece of text. So suppose your keyword “blue suede shoes” appears 5 times in an article of 500 words, the keyword density is 5/500 = 1%.
Coming back to the lore, old time literature and pseudo SEO gurus will tell you that you should maintain a density of anywhere between 1-2%, but not exceeding 3%. This lore is just that – lore. Although it may have held true in the past, it no longer does. Modern SEO rules require you to include the keyword at all the right places, rather than maintaining a particular density. We’ll see next what these places are.
Places to include keywords in an article
You need to include keywords at the following places in an article when doing SEO content writing
You need to put the focus keyword of your article imperatively in the URL of the optimized page. E.g. If you’re writing a blog post on ‘blue suede shoes’, the URL can be something like. www.yourwebsite.com/fashionable-blue-suede-shoes/
In meta and page titles
Continuing the above example, the meta title can be something like ‘Blue suede shoes: why they’re so fashionable?’. The Yoast SEO plugin makes it very easy to edit the meta title and description. So if you’re on a compatible platform like WordPress, make sure to have it installed.
Not only do you need to have the focus keyword in the meta title, but you also need to put it into the page title. Page title is the title at the very top of the page. Ideally, you should use the same SEO optimized text for both meta and page titles. Be mindful that the optimal length for these titles is 55 characters.
In meta description
Along with the meta title, the meta description needs to have the focus keyword as well. You could probably start off the description by saying something like “Blue suede shoes are an evergreen type of footwear that never go out of fashion…”. Optimal length for meta description is 160 characters.
In image alt tags
You also need to include your focus keyword in the alt tag for just 1 of the images on your page. Why just 1 and what happens to the remaining images? We’ll come to that in a bit.
In headers, sub headers and para
Make sure to have the focus keyword in at least once in a header (H1), sub header (H2 onwards) and para. It’s especially important to include this keyword within the first few lines of the first para.
We’re saying ‘at least once’, so does that mean that the remaining headers, sub headers and paras do not need to be optimized? Also we said above that only 1 of the image alt tags needs to contain the focus keyword. So what happens to the rest? That’s where LSI keywords come in and we’ll go through them next.
LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. These are keywords which are semantically related to your focus keyword. For example, if your focus keyword is ‘auto repair shop’ then LSI keywords would be ‘car polishing workshops’, ‘auto spare parts’ etc.
So how do you find these LSI keywords? Don’t worry, you don’t have to sit with a dictionary to unravel these. All you need to do is use a LSI search engine like lsigraph.com. Head over to the sit, put in your focus keyword and voila! A range of LSI keywords is presented to you!
Put these LSI keywords at all the same places that you put the focus keyword. You probably won’t be able to accommodate one in the URL, but surely you can put them into meta and page titles, meta description, headers, sub headers and paras and the remaining alt tags. Make sure to use these LSI keywords liberally as it makes the article seem more natural. Besides, you certainly aren’t going to incur a penalty for using these liberally! LSI keywords can take you a long way when it comes to SEO content writing.
Having interesting images and infographics
Nobody likes to read just a huge mass of text. So use relevant images and infographics. Think of it as if you were making a presentation. How would you make all the text more concise and present it graphically for the person viewing it? This will actually make it easier for you when you convert this post to a presentation later on.
Including a video
Not everyone has the time and resources to record a video, but do it if you can. It doesn’t need to have much. Just a smartphone camera recording of you explaining the article should do it. Think back to your school days. How would your teachers explain the lengthy stuff that was in your textbooks? Yeah, you need to do exactly that!
Internal links also count towards your backlinks. So make sure your article links to all the other relevant articles and they in turn link back to it.
Presence of outbound links indicates that you’re trying to add value to the reader. For example, if your article is about ‘antivirus software’ and you don’t include links to some relevant software sites then your article isn’t adding much value. So make sure to have relevant outbound links in your articles. If you don’t want to pass on link authority, then make sure these are set to ‘nofollow’.
Other articles optimized for same keywords
Don’t have too many articles aiming to rank for the same keyword. It seems counterintuitive, but having too many actually divides the authority amongst all the competing articles. What you need instead is consolidation of authority in fewer pieces of content so that they outgun and outrank your competitors.
Writing for a human, not for a machine is the key to SEO content writing
Finally, you need to do a balancing act of optimizing your content while making sure it’s still interesting and relevant for your audience. Take care not to over optimize.
We hope that by now you have a good idea of how to write SEO content. We’ve tried to cover as many content optimizing factors as possible, while keeping it as simple as possible. Even beginners should be easily able to create high quality SEO friendly articles using these SEO content writing tips.
Did we miss out on anything? If so, give us a shout! We’ll be glad to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org