5 tips for writing SEO Content

30 June 2015

As content marketing continues to dominate online business, the ability to write in a way that combines writing for both the search engines and your readers is an increasingly in-demand skill.

You feel confident in your SEO knowledge, but do you feel like a great copywriter?

Or is it the opposite: you know how to write, but you aren’t so sure about SEO?

In some of the best online content, SEO and writing skills work seamlessly together, producing content that ranks (so readers can find it) and delights (so readers engage with it).

Here are our top five tips for achieving that synergy:

1. Keep people on your website for longer

Google’s search algorithms are thought to take bounce rates into account; if a user clicks on a search result then returns to the search within seconds, then it might be that the website they visited was not relevant to the search.

Keeping people on your website for longer increases the chances of conversions, as well as reducing your bounce rates.

So, how do you do it?

a) Make your content easy to scan by incorporating sub-headings and images

b) Make it clear from the outset that your content will meet the reader’s needs

c) Intrigue the reader by using what Brian Dean calls Bucket Brigades, i.e. “words and phrases that keep people on your page” (such as ‘look!’, ‘the secret’, ‘it gets better’. Punctuation… such as ellipses… can also play a part).

2. Pay attention to Latent Semantic Indexing

What on earth is Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)?

It’s less complicated than it sounds. It is related to Google’s desire to understand the context of a piece of content so that, if somebody searches for ‘Jaguar cars’, Google won’t return search results about the jaguar animal.

The days of repeating a single keyword again and again are over. Now, with LSI, it’s important to use related keywords (this will usually happen naturally within a piece of writing) so that Google understands which type of jaguar, or apple, or chain you are talking about.

Basically, use a range of synonyms for the key words you are focusing on in your content.

3. Put your own words into Google’s mouth

If you don’t use an SEO plugin (or you have one but ignore it), Google will guess which few sentences from your webpage copy should show up in the search results, as it has done here:

In the search result below the highlighted one, however, the site has used its metadata to insert its own copy, which is much more compelling.If you spend several hours on a blog post, don’t let it down with poor search-engine previews. Use Yoast’s Wordpress SEO plugin (or any other tool that has a similar functionality) and spend some time perfecting your website’s preview information to increase click-through rates.

4. Use the words and phrases your readers use

There is no point creating outstanding content on a topic if your potential readership can’t find it!

Look through Quora, Twitter and relevant forums to find the terminology that real people use to describe your products and services. For instance, don’t talk about ‘electronic cigarettes’ if your customers talk about ‘vaping’.

5. Tell people what to do

Do you want your readers to share your content on Facebook? Sign up for your email list? Take advantage of your current, awesome special offer?

They’re not psychic, and they need a nudge.

This example, with five circled calls to action, may be a little excessive for most websites, but it gives you an idea of how to do it!