Search engines are the biggest source of traffic for most websites that do not invest in paid advertising. It is a powerful source of content promotion that is often overlooked due to the time it takes to show results.
But with SEO content writing you can get your pages to rank slightly faster, get featured in rich results on Google search pages, and generate top quality traffic.
In this blog post, we will show you how to write content for SEO. We will share the exact steps we followed to score rich results for 38% of pages that we publish. Excited about it? So are we.
Let’s get started.
What is SEO content writing?
SEO content writing is defined as the process of creating content in a way that it ranks the pertinent page at the top of Google search results for a specific set of search terms. SEO friendly writing can help websites generate organic traffic which is more attuned to a niche, inclined to spend more time on page, and motivated to explore more pages on a website.
SEO writing helps generate quality traffic that converts better. It is essential for any business that offers products and services that people search online. Further, it reduces reliance on paid traffic that often costs a bomb.
How to do SEO Content Writing?
1. Understand how search engine crawlers function
Search engine crawlers are pieces of code that parse pages and update the search engine servers with the information on them. They analyze the words on the page and form subgroups based on many permutations. For example, if a page has content around how to make coffee, it goes under the bucket of coffee, black, black coffee, make black coffee, how to make black coffee etc.
When someone searches that keyword on Google, the algorithm is designed to retrieve pages with those words in that specific order and serve them to the user.
Further, the crawlers also look for text that stands out from the rest. Meta title, description, H1, H2, H3, URL slug, text in bold, etc. have a specific code wrapping the text which tell the search engine that it contains key information about the content. Getting your keywords in these key spots is essential to a good SEO content writing strategy.
In the subsequent sections, we will explore more about Google’s crawlers.
2. Identify topics to write about
SEO writing is all about getting organic traffic from Google. It’s imperative that you write content that people are searching for. You can’t write just what you like to write, unless you want to promote it through newsletters. Good to read content doesn’t cut it.
You need to find topics that cater to a problem aware audience. In that aspect, how to topics and listicles perform well. Let’s explore this with an example.
SEO Content Writing Example – Finding Content Ideas
Suppose you own a blog on hiking. A general topic like How to hike might be too competitive. But How to hike with a toddler would be slightly less competitive – it’s a long-tail keyword. This means that fewer people search for it but it has a higher potential to rank and attracts a very niche audience base.
Finding such topics is not difficult. You can find a few on Google SERP itself by using the Google google autocomplete, search operators, people also ask section, and the related search, among other methods.
There are many ways to identify less competitive keywords. Make sure you get this right before moving to the next step.
3. Keep search intent in consideration
SEO content writing sure revolves around usage of keywords but Google wants to rank content that is helpful and highly related to the search intent. Search intent is the motivation behind a user looking up something on Google.
On registering a search query, Google tries to find pages that answer all the questions relevant to that query. Relevancy, thus, plays a critical role in ranking of a page. When you pack your blog with every question imaginable around that search query, Google believes that it meets the search intent and beyond, and serves it at the top.
SEO Content Writing Example – Meeting search intent
The keyword – how to make money online is very competitive. But Nerdwallet’s blog ranks at the top because they address the search intent the best. They not just suggest common methods to earn money online, like most competing blogs do, but also answer related questions in their H2s and FAQs.
Sure, its domain authority has a role to play but getting the content right is equally important – if not more.
4. Determine content structure
Content structure of your blog means how it is arranged. Every blog has a main topic which gets the H1 tag. It also has some subtopics that are directly related to H1 but cover a slightly tangential topic around it. Those subtopics are tagged as H2 in the HTML code.
SEO Content Writing Example – Content Structure
A blog with H1 – How to survive an alligator attack, can have these H2s:
- Outrun the alligator
- Shoot it
- Climb a tree
Under the H2 – Outrun the alligator, a subtopic can be around How fast you need to be to outrun an alligator? That becomes an H3.
This is what the structure of this blog post looks like:
The search engine crawlers like such a structure because it helps them identify the flow and parse the page better. Most importantly, your readers will like it too because they can easily navigate to the section that grabs their interest without having to read through the blog.
5. Decide the right meta title and H1
Meta title is the most prominent text that shows up on the search results page for your blog post.
The below image shows all the meta titles listed for the keyword – what is meta title.
Your meta title should be about 60 characters long and have the primary keyword preferably early in the sentence. It should also have a hook to get people to click on it.
SEO Content Writing Example – Writing the perfect meta title
Suppose your blog talks about training a dog. Your primary keyword can be how to train a dog which is 18 characters long. You have space for 42 more! Don’t let it go to waste.
You can fill it with another keyword. For example, if you identified dog training examples as the secondary keyword, you can append with 15 tested examples. If not, you can add an alternative hook – And have fun doing it.
Your H1 can be the same as the meta title but it’s always better to target another secondary keyword or phrasing it differently. For example, if your meta title is: How to train a dog? 15 Tested Examples, your H1 can be 10 tips to training your dog (with examples).
There is no limit on the character count for H1 but try to make it short and power-packed.
6. Use the primary keyword in the URL slug
URL slug is the section of the blog URL that comes after the last forward slash. For example, the URL slug for this blog post is – how-to-do-seo-content-writing.
You must use your primary keyword there – also try to make it as short as possible.
7. Research for subtopics
Choosing the right H2s is essential for you to rank on Google. It also helps in scoring featured snippets which is one of the rich results types – we will go into detail later. Snippets help you improve your click through rate when done right.
When two blog posts from different domains target the same primary keyword, the one that scores the snippet is the one with the most number of supporting H2s, around that keyword. Other factors like the backlink profile, internal linking structure, internal page rank, etc. matter too, but when it comes to the on-page SEO, relevant content matters the most.
SEO Content Writing Example – Impact of Subtopics
Identifying the right H2s and H3s is important. It’s easy to get off on a tangent and write about stuff loosely related to the topic.
SEO Content Writing Example – Choosing the right subtopics
For the keyword – how to write a resignation letter, when you research for H2s on the Google SERP, you might identify a big list which can include topics like:
- How do I do a simple resignation?
- How do I write a simple notice?
- What to say when you hand your notice in?
- Should I say where I am going when I resign?
- How do I tell my boss I’m resigning?
Do you add all of them in your blog post?
No. You have to identify those that are relevant to the keyword and the search intent.
Let’s work on that. Your primary keyword has two parts – How to write & resignation letter. You subtopics must ideally have both the parts, this way you are stepping just out of the primary keyword’s definition. Alternatively, you can pick H2s that have at least one of the two parts.
With that in mind, you should pick:
- How do I do a simple resignation?
- How do I write a simple notice? (Because notice is synonymous with resignation letter)
What to say when you hand your notice in?It doesn’t talk about writing the resume, it’s a new topic that probably needs a new blog. To figure that out, look the keyword up on the SERP, if most results have this topic in the meta title, it means it deserves a new page. Should I say where I am going when I resign?Same as above. How do I tell my boss I’m resigning?Same as above.
8. Include FAQs and mention some keywords in passing
All the topics that you discover may not need vast content. Some questions might be answered in 100 words or less, they don’t need H3s. You can include those questions as H3 under the H2 of FAQs.
You can also set them up as H2s, no harm in that.
You would also find some keywords in the Related Searches section that may not deserve a spot in prime real estate sections like H2s and H3s. You can simply mention them in relevant sections of the page.
SEO Content Writing Example – Passing Mention Keywords
If your H2 is – Why is using images necessary in a blog post?, you can use – benefits of using images in the post as a passing mention keyword as both are almost the same.
9. Enhance content variety
Most blogs use text and a couple of images alone. But what if you could use videos, PDFs, PPTs, tables, etc. to add more value to readers? You get SEO brownie points!
Google algorithm is designed to find the most helpful content – a one-stop-shop that has everything that meets search intent. You can consider adding content types as shown below to add more expertise to your blog post.
With free tools like Canva available in the market, SEO content writers have no excuse to keep their blog posts dry of images. With images, you don’t just keep your audience on the page for longer, but also get slots to add the primary keyword and its variations in the alternative text section.
We have seen our ranking improve within a week after adding images with relevant alt-texts.
Tables not just organize your content better, but are easy to create. You just have to summarize your content after writing it. Tables help you score featured snippets. If you are in the finance or automobile niche, tables are important for every post you create.
- Downloadables or embeds
You can legally embed YouTube videos that you don’t own to add more credibility to your content. It’s better if you have your own though as YouTube videos can drive a lot of traffic too. You can also embed Excel sheets, gifs, powerpoint slides, and many other forms of media.
Adding a downloadable asset also helps you add more variety to your content. You can collect email IDs to distribute shortened versions of your blog post in the form of PDFs or PPTs. You can then use the contact details for your email campaigns and even sell info products! Or simply get people back to your blog to earn more ad income.
10. Hit the Right Word Count
By now, you know the importance of writing relevant content. So if you see a competitor writing a 4000 word blog but most of their H2s are irrelevant, don’t worry, your blog post of 2000 relevant words might outrank it!
It’s hard to determine the right word count for a blog post but remember, you need to write as many as you need to cover the topic comprehensively.
11. Keep original research integral to SEO content writing
Original research will help you identify and publish data that most websites do not have. It will help you be more trusted by Google which results in higher rankings.
SEO Content Writing Example – Importance of original data.
For example, camperreport.com did a thorough research on the cost of a camper which resulted in them winning a featured snippet.
Original data can also help you win many backlinks. Camperreport, for example, got many backlinks specific to the data they posted. Backlinks are very useful in ranking your website higher in search results. Learn how to get natural backlinks.
12. Set up featured snippets
Featured snippets are rich results served by Google. They take up more space on screen, stand out, and thus receive a lot of clicks.
There are predominantly 4 types of featured snippets – paragraph, list, video, and table. By crafting content in a specific way, you can score a snippet.
13. Include internal links
Internal links are links from your blog to other pages on your domain. They tell Google which pages are related to each other. All of them combined, build your authority for a specific topic.
SEO Content Writing Example – Internal Links
Suppose you want to cover the topic around how to bathe a dog. It becomes the central page, also known as the pillar page.
The H2s on that page could be:
- Motivate your dog to step into the bathtub
- Use the right shampoo
- Set water at right temperature
Each of those H2s can potentially be new topics ideas. You can cover each subtopic on separate blogs and link them from the pillar post. Each of those subtopic blogs becomes a cluster page.
This is what the pillar cluster structure looks like.
Internal links don’t just help in building topical authority, they also help Google find new pages through the existing ones on the domain. This means your content gets crawled, indexed, and served faster!
14. Publish highest standard of content
Always ensure that your content is reviewed from an editorial perspective. Use Grammarly if you are a one person blog.
Also ensure that your design is top-notch. You can craft beautiful media files using Canva. Quality content writing is not a good-to-have, it’s one of the quintessential SEO content writing best practices.
Why is SEO content writing important?
Here are the top benefits of SEO content writing:
1. Generates high quality organic traffic
Organic traffic refers to visitors who arrive at your site with a search intent. This means, they did not visit after seeing an Ad, they visited because they believe you can solve their problem, or answer their questions.
If you give them what they want, you stand a better chance of converting them when compared to paid traffic.
2. Saves on paid Ads
You or your clients need not pay to be featured on the first page of Google, you rank naturally, organically! You can instead invest the budget in other lead generating activities.
3. Generates Backlinks
Backlinks are very useful in ranking a website higher and faster. SEO content writing covers the basic tenets of generating natural backlinks. Through natural links, you need not worry about paying for backlinks, thus saving on more budget.
4. Drives social shares
Social media users want to find easy content to share. So when your content ranks at the top due to SEO content writing, your page is more visible, more easily accessible to them. With more social shares, your website gets higher referral traffic which can be turned into leads or nurtured for affiliate income.
Is SEO really important for a content writer?
SEO is an important value add to a content writer’s portfolio. When clients or employers see that you don’t just write content but also have the capability to promote it organically, you stand a chance to score a bigger variety of gigs. Also, SEO content writing requires seasoned writers to make small changes in their approach to content writing, it offers a high reward for a low effort.
What is the difference between content writing and SEO?
Content writing is the process of producing content while SEO is the method of promoting it. SEO helps businesses get their content to a highly relevant audience base.
What is the full form of SEO in content writing?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO based content writing the method of making a page rank on the top of search engine results pages like Google and Bing. It helps attract organic traffic that is highly attuned with the content.