Search engine optimization (SEO) is a constantly shifting area of web marketing; as marketers strive to capitalize on search engine algorithms to rank higher in search results, search engines are constantly tweaking their algorithms to level the playing field and enable faster, more accurate search results for users. Businesses that want to expand their reach need to know how to tailor their websites and their content for higher search rankings, and this requires more than a strong website and choosing the right keywords for a Google business listing – although that’s a good start.
Written content is the cornerstone of modern digital marketing. Modern consumers expect more than transactions with the companies they patronize; they expect relationships and experiences with brands that resonate with their needs, interests, work, and hobbies. Written content can establish a brand as an industry leader, a niche expert, and a reliable source of information about specific topics. High-quality written content will also improve overall your SEO strategy in several ways.
Understanding the Elements of Strong SEO
Before you start learning how to write for SEO, it’s essential to understand the different elements of good SEO and apply that knowledge to your written content. Some of the basic elements of SEO you control directly include:
- Website structure. Invest in solid development for a website that runs smoothly on multiple devices with responsive design.
- Meta descriptions and meta tags, which make it easier for search engine bots to crawl through your site.
- URL structure. Search engine bots rank websites with multiple pages higher if those pages have an intuitive URL structure.
- Be sure to research relevant keywords and keyword phrases. Try to develop a strong list of keywords that include phrases your target customers are likely to use in a search engine query.
- Websites are more than just static digital business cards. Search engine bots rank sites higher when those sites feature authoritative content that is constantly updated.
SEO is extremely complex. You can control your content writing, but there are many aspects of SEO you can’t. Many off-page SEO variables will also influence your overall SEO strength and written content can sometimes help in this aspect, too.
Why Content Is (Still) King
The golden rule for years among digital marketing professionals has been content is king. Bill Gates said this in 1996, and no year since has proved him wrong. And it’s not because other advertising methods haven’t been tried. The kinds of advertising that worked on TV or radio – commercials like popup ads and banners – won’t fly on the internet. Users have no problem using ad blockers or simply tuning out pop-ups, banner ads, and targeted ads embedded on the webpages they visit.
What still works? Using quality content to give Google and other search engines a way to find you and a reason for potential customers to spend time on your site.
When considering how to craft content writing for your business, shift the focus to what modern consumers want more than anything else: valuable interactions with brands that resonate with them on a personal level – and some keyword strings that aren’t too stuffed into the content.
Modern technology affords the average consumer an unprecedented level of convenience and consumer choice; if someone needs a product or service, they can quickly perform an internet search, click around for a bit, and find the best deal. SEO content writing not only helps ensure your brand is among the top search results when a consumer performs such a search but that it will also have a greater chance of establishing a relationship with that consumer by offering valuable, relevant content.
Some users simply want quick and direct answers to simple questions or to complete transactions quickly and safely – content that lets Google find your business gives them that. Others want to dig deeper, and this is where SEO content writing can help you stand apart in a sea of competition; it gives you the opportunity to establish yourself as an industry expert. Content can solve consumers’ problems and resonate strongly with some of them enough to keep them coming back for more.
Optimization Tips for Stronger SEO Content Writing
The goal of a search engine is to help a user complete a task. The user enters a search query, and the search engine’s algorithm pulls the most relevant results from the web. Over the years, search engines have grown incredibly sophisticated. SEO writing that helps users complete specific tasks like answering a question, finding the best deal on a product or service, or locating a specific piece of information performs the best on modern search engines.
As you develop a strong list of keywords and keyword phrases for your on-page SEO, remember to use those keywords and phrases in the title sections and body content of everything you publish to your website. Those keywords will help potential customers find you, but the second piece of your SEO strategy is to craft content well enough to make them want to stay a little while on your site. The longer they do – and giving them something quality to read will keep them longer – the more Google will see your business site as something worth finding, which will help you rank higher on SERPs – search engine result pages.
Creating valuable, high-ranking content requires much more than stuffing your content full of as many keywords and keyword phrases as possible (and will get you demoted by Google); you must interpret user intent and craft content that serves to match that intent. Think of what your target search engine users are trying to accomplish and how you can help them. Then, tailor your keyword list around serving this intent. Essentially, you want to structure your content for search engine bots and tailor the substance of the content to your audience for the best results.
Google and other search engines also reward websites with content that includes supporting phrases and geographically specific information. If your business operates in a specific area or only in a few states, the content you develop for your website should include location-specific information, names of nearby cities and towns, and mention notable landmarks where appropriate. This helps search engine bots match your website with local user queries and can boost your local SEO reach.
Expanding Brand Awareness With SEO Writing
Off page SEO elements like backlink history (the record of websites linking back to your website), user reviews, and social media affect SEO as well, and it’s these elements that can sometimes be out of your control. However, that doesn’t mean solid SEO content writing can’t influence these variables in a positive way. When users share your content across social media or it attracts comments and discussion from visitors to your site, this builds your authority in your niche. Google and other search engines take this engagement into account when ranking search results.
Guest posting is a great way to improve off page SEO. Offer partners and other businesses valuable, well-written guest content. Include your targeted keywords in guest content posts, and you’ll undoubtedly start noticing new streams of organic web traffic to your site thanks to your authoritative, well-written SEO content. The outlets that publish your guest content can become valuable partners in the future, and cross-promotional opportunities can be mutually beneficial while providing consumers with even more value during their online searches.
Ultimately, SEO writing requires marrying your strongest keywords to user intent, and creating solid written content that explores users’ needs, ambitions, and goals. Though your SEO strategy should be in mind, write for users, not search engine bots. Google and other modern search engines are now very good at interpreting user intent and penalizing sites that overstuff low-quality content with keywords, so SEO content writing built to match will have the greatest success.