Writing SEO content for your website is a subtle blend of art and science, or perhaps to put it more simply – balancing the needs of the reader alongside the needs of Google [this also applies to other search engines so when you read Google from now, this also includes other search engines].
Let’s dive into SEO content best practices for your website that optimises for Google, but is also appealing to the customer. Without great copy that resonates with your reader, you’ll make fewer sales and without optimising for search engines, you won’t be found by as many potential clients, so getting the balance right is key to having a high converting website.
10 top tips for how to write SEO content for your website.
1) Know your audience and write valuable content for them
If your SEO content ideas don’t answer your ideal client’s questions, position you as an authority in your field and speak to them in language that is clear and unambiguous, then your site won’t rank well with Google even if you are optimising for your target keywords.
Long gone are the days when you could stuff your copy full of keywords and you’d come out on top irrespective of the value of your content. These days Google is much more sophisticated and is ranking the user experience high on the list when it comes to positioning your website against your competitors. So, don’t scrimp on the copy – write to delight your reader and it will also delight the search engines.
2) Write with your outcome in mind
What action do you want your reader to take once they have read your copy?
If you don’t have at least one clear call to action on each page, including your blog posts, then your reader won’t know what to do next and can bounce off your site more quickly because you haven’t guided them towards the next action.
Not every page needs to have a sales call to action – that would be annoying – but adding a link to a blog or pointing your reader at your customer success stories, testimonials, gallery or contact form is a must if you want to increase dwell time on your site. The longer users remain on your site, the higher your site will rank on the SERP (search engine results page).
3) Compelling headlines are vital
Did you know you only get 3 seconds online to grab your reader’s attention? 1 blink and they are gone – perhaps forever! So, you’d better make your headlines work hard.
However, don’t resort to clickbait headlines that promise something that the writing can’t deliver. Use titles which either intrigue the reader or make it clear what benefit they can gain by clicking. Titles that mirror the questions that customers frequently ask work well and people often like the ‘listicle’ approach – aka an article in list format – exactly like this blog. Your headline should be as short as you can get away with without losing meaning and it should contain your keyword for optimising your SEO.
There are various tools for analysing how effective your headline is and the one I like best is Coschedule Headline Studio.
4) Don’t forget your meta description
Argh – SEO terminology – it can be confusing, right?
The meta description is the short blurb that is displayed on the SERP underneath the returned link which explains to the user what that page is all about. Your meta description is like the bit of text on the back of a book that helps you to understand if you want to read on. Make it interesting, informative and don’t forget to include your keywords too. If SEO terminology is bamboozling you, then check out this article where I run through some of the most common terms.
5) Choose the RIGHT keywords – optimising SEO content for your website
OK. This is easier said than done when you are writing SEO content for your site. There are umpteen tools that enable you to analyse keywords for volume, competitiveness and to check on what your competitors are up to. If you are an occasional blogger, then you might not want to pay for such a tool and you can use some of them for free 2-3 times per day, such as Ubersuggest. However, if you want to delve into more detail, you will need a subscription and you could check out Ahrefs, KeySearch or the premium version of Ubersuggest.
Check your keywords to make sure that they return results that are appropriate for the intent of your article – are you giving information or are you selling your product/services? A user typing in SEO content is usually looking for information about how to write SEO content whereas a user typing in SEO tools is looking for reviews of products.
Some keywords are very competitive and unless your site has high domain authority, it will be impossible to rank for them but that doesn’t automatically mean you shouldn’t write for those keywords. Remember, you are creating the best user experience on your website and that in itself will help your website to rank more highly.
6) Using Latent Semantic Indexing – aka alternate keywords and context
Google is smart. When it searches your content and finds your keywords which should appear in several places on each page (see the next point) it also looks for context. Google knows that if you are using words like ‘blood orange’, ‘juicing’ or ‘chocolate orange cake’ then you are talking about the fruit, whereas if you are writing about ‘network coverage’, ‘orange shop’ and ‘orange deals’ then you are all about the mobile phone company. Using LSI keywords can help Google to identify the correct pages to display when these words are searched if you give plenty of context.
7) Make your content easy to read
This is ALL about the user experience. SEO content writing should be user-friendly to the consumer. Use sentences of varying lengths to keep the reader interested. Sentences that are too long should be avoided where possible. Reduce jargon wherever possible. Signpost your reader using sub-headlines, short paragraphs, bullet points and examples to help explain your points. Keep vocabulary straightforward and don’t pad out your copy for the sake of writing more – longer is not necessarily better for the reader. Don’t forget to tag your headlines with H1 and subheadlines with H2 tags so Google can easily see the structure of your content.
8) Break up your copy with images and other spacers
Give your reader a break every so often. Large dense blocks of text are hard to consume, so use white space, lists, infographics, pictures or other media. If you are using pictures, don’t forget to add your keywords to at least a couple of the alt-text descriptions to help Google understand what your images are about.
9) Distribute your content via social media
You might have written the best article on your topic but if you don’t tell anyone about it then it might never rank high on Google. Post your blog on your website but don’t just assume that’s all you could do with it. Post it on LinkedIn and Medium. Share it in full on your social media channels. Repurpose it into new formats such as short video clips, visuals on Instagram or perhaps even use it as the basis for a podcast or live. Whatever you choose, always have a call to action that encourages others to share and comment. The more activity you have directly on your blog post, the more Google will notice and reward.
10) Optimise your image filenames and alt-text description
If there’s one easy job you can do to improve the SEO content for your website that many others don’t bother with. Make sure you add an alt-text description to your images and add your target keyword to at least some of your images on each page. You could also rename all your image files to describe your image using your keywords. If your website sells sunglasses, for example, add the word sunglasses and perhaps the brand and other distinctive features. Instead of IMG_167456jpg – rename it as sunglasses-Gucci-aviator-mens-black.jpg. This is much more helpful to Google and can help your image to be returned when users search Google images.
So that covers the basics of on-page SEO content writing. If this has been helpful please share it and leave me a comment to tell me how you’ve used this information.
You might also be interested in my post ‘How to Write a Blog Post Fast: The Easy Step By Step Guide’
If you would like a 121 session to help you write that blog you’ve been meaning to write forever, but never get round to, I’ll help you with topic selection, keyword research, writing your call-to-action, compelling headline and opening paragraph, the structure, the SEO essentials and how and where to distribute it. Contact me or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book.