With the vast amount of content being published daily, your content needs to be strategically written to help your business gain visibility. If you write well-optimized, high-quality content, you will improve your chances of ranking higher in the search results. But to write content that is SEO friendly, you need to do a bit of planning to do it right.
First you need to know who you are writing for. What does your target audience need to help them achieve a goal or solve a problem? When you understand who your audience is, you will be able to create the right content that has value to them.
What is SEO friendly content?
SEO friendly content is content written to help the search engines understand what it is about and rank it appropriately. This means that not only can the search engine understand the topic of the article, it also can determine which search queries align with the topic based on the intent of the search.
The following 8 steps will help you write content that appeals to both humans and search engines.
Identify your target audience
Like all marketing activities, you need to understand your target audience before you can successfully attract them to your business.
- What problems are they trying to solve?
- Are they advanced or beginners in your niche?
- What type of content are they looking for?
Be sure that your blog posts satisfy the search intent of your site visitors. Educate your audience and make them want to hear more from you. This way it will encourage them to subscribe to your mailing list.
Conduct keyword research
Keyword research is a process where you identify the best keywords for your business and marketing campaign.
When we say that all content is strategic, we mean that we need to write our content to align with what our ideal customers are searching for. Finding the right keyword phrases will help you create content that speaks to your target audience and may dominate the search results.
There are three things you need to understand about search:
- What phrases or questions people use to search
- Why they are searching in the first place
- If the phrase has multiple meanings, what the intent of the search is to them
Phrases or questions people use to search
Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools are good resources to see what phrases your website comes up for in the search results. In the GSC, you can see the number of impressions and how many clicks you got. If there are phrases you should rank for, add it to your list and be ready to write content for that topic.
Make sure your website is verified in GSC and Bing Webmaster Tools. It provides a lot of great information on the health of your website in addition to the search information. You can link GSC to your Google Analytics property as well.
There are also several free tools that can help you determine whether you should include a phrase into your plan or not.
- Keyword Surfer – Keyword Surfer is a 100% free Chrome extension that allows you to see search volumes directly in Google search results.
- Keywords Everywhere – Chrome and Firefox extension that lets you find long-tail phrases with their accurate search volume, CPC and competition data. To get the data displayed, you need to purchase credits, but it is very inexpensive to do so.
The point of doing this research is to help you identify where your blog is lacking, giving you more ideas that you can include in your content plan. This can help you develop your content strategy and provide more and better content for your audience.
Why they are searching in the first place
Next, you need to understand the reason your audience is searching – the why, or now called search intent. By knowing the intent of the search, you can create the right content that will encourage them to read and take your desired action.
Once you come up with a list of keywords, now you can determine why your visitor is searching. Are they:
- Researching a topic to learn more?
- Comparing products for a subsequent purchase?
- Ready to make a purchase?
But remember that keywords can have multiple meanings. This is why you need to understand the searcher intent when someone uses a particular keyword phrase. This is important because if your content satisfies the needs of those searching, it will more likely turn up in the search results for that query again.
Create your content
Now that you have the topics that will appeal to your audience, you now need to create your content.
Add on-page SEO
Plenty has been written about on-page SEO and its importance. But search engines look at various areas of your content when evaluating it for ranking. Make sure you at least take advantage of the following:
- Craft a keyword rich SEO title tag that catches the searchers attention
- Optimize the meta description with a call to action
- Ensure your permalink (URL) is readable and contains your keyword phrase
Keywords need to be used naturally throughout the content. Naturally means written for the human, not the search engine.
Including varying types of media in your content can make your content more interesting. Include images, video or audio to enhance user experience when it makes sense. Be sure to optimize your multimedia, especially images (see next section), by using your keywords in the filenames, adding them to the alt tags and using descriptive text to provide context. Also use your keyword in the page URL.
Images are the most overlooked items on your website. Most people get lazy and upload images without thinking about their impact to the user experience. This is important for the entire website, but for a blog post, you want the page to load quickly so the reader can get the information they seek faster.
- Size the images for the web. Find a tool that you can use to resize images and set them at 12×9 (864px by 648px) or 12×8 (864px by 576px). Save as a jpg at 50% quality or on Photoshop at jpg medium. Here is a list of free tools that are alternatives to Photoshop.
- Name the images using the keyword phrase. Uploading images from your phone have names that don’t help identify what they are. Filenames like 20220920_091321.jpg does nothing for your SEO.
- Add your metadata to your images. These include the alt and title tags. The alt tag text is a major factor in whether your image appears in the search results. It is displayed in place of the image if the image can not be shown or is taking too long to load. Plus if someone has a visual disability, screen readers read the alt tags to help describe the image. Title tag provides a tool tip when you hover your cursor over a link when the image is linked.
Link to existing content
Add links to your existing content when they are related. This shows that you are the authority on this topic and can cover it from many different angles. In addition, these links also help the search engines understand the relationships between your various pieces of content.
Also add links to external content that supports your topic and can be helpful to the reader. A link to a great blog post that complements yours adds to your credibility because it gives readers a broader perspective. When you share and link to others, you are seen as a hub of your network. Pick external content carefully though. Make sure what you link to is high quality and worth the backlink.
Review and edit the final draft
It’s pretty obvious when people write a post and hit the publish button quickly. Reviewing and editing your post will help you ensure the content is clear, the writing is crisp and is free of mistakes.
- Write your post then let it sit. By taking a break from your content, you can review it with a fresh set of eyes.
- Read the article out loud. It’s amazing how many edits you will make when you hear the content rather than see it.
- Review for grammatical errors. Grammar can be tricky and if you’re not good at it, get someone who is to review the post for you.
- Eliminate typos. Typos will distract your readers and for many, will chase them away.
Once you’ve completed these steps, go ahead and hit publish button!
Writing quality content that gets you found will take some time to create, but it is extremely worthwhile. Keep it simple and implement these basic techniques. Understand your audience’s needs and how they search for solutions. Then you will be able to write SEO friendly content that appeals and attracts them to your business.