The best way to drive people to your website or landing page is to create great content. Whether you write a blog or craft an infographic, the content should be relevant and attention-grabbing.
Once upon a time hitting those points in your content would have been enough. But not anymore. In this content-saturated digital age, your content faces huge competition to get seen and that’s where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in.
Why is SEO important? Because it uses a set of techniques to increase the visibility of your content and web pages aimed at a specific audience you’re looking to target. Utilizing SEO ensures your content is relevant and findable by conducting keyword research and optimization, writing meta tags, optimizing headings, including internal links, and attracting quality backlinks.
Content marketing and SEO need to work together to drive traffic and engagement. The goal is to get your content in front of the right people and often that relies on where it’s positioned as a result of an online search – that means Google which is the market leader with an 85 percent market share.
In this blog, we’ll introduce you to SEO writing and reveal simple tips that will help you write SEO-optimized copy to drive traffic and leads.
What is SEO content writing?
SEO content writing is a way to create content that’s optimized on-page to help your content get a high ranking on search engines. It also signals that your content is relevant and of high quality.
When we talk about content, that can be anything that exists online you want your audience to find. This includes:
Guides or eBooks
Alongside keyword research and optimization, it’s important to ensure your content is organized. This means that your content should be in a logical order on your site and easy for visitors to locate. A great way to do this is to plan a flow for your content and include relevant links but a sitemap to help SEO and make your content findable.
There’s also no point in creating great content if you don’t share it! Make sure you have a plan to promote all your content on social media networks, link to relevant content in your emails, and get staff or brand advocates involved by asking them to share it on their networks. The wider you share your content, the more likely it is you will increase reach and drive backlinks.
If your content fails to land on the first SERP (Search Engine Results Page) you’ll see Clickthrough Rates (CTRs) nosedive to less than one percent. The difference between CTR in 1st position #1 on Google is significant compared to 2nd position #2 – 40 percent click vs. 18 percent. If your content fails to land on the first SERP (Search Engine Results Page) you’ll see CTRs nosedive to less than 1 percent.
Now that you know what SEO writing is, let’s look at advice from DMI experts and some takeaway tips you can apply to your own work.
Writing for SEO: Top tips from technical writers
The practice of SEO is about the visibility of your content, but don’t forget to make sure that your content is tailored to your specific and unique audience.
It’s wise to keep on top of content and SEO marketing trends to stay ahead of your competition and spot any opportunities to get your content seen. We’ll take you through 9 key tips to help you write with SEO in mind.
1. Understand the KPI of your writing
Good SEO writing is not just about including a few keywords and being left at that.
This is where your content marketing KPIs play a role as they will help you determine the end goal of each piece of content. You should also have content in your marketing mix that drives people through the marketing funnel from awareness through to conversion.
“There is magic in SEO as it becomes this intersection of tech and story. You can tell a powerful story, sprinkle the magic of SEO on top of it, and not only do your readers see it, but more importantly, search engines see it, and you can move to the top of the rankings,” says Pamela Foley, Chief of Content Marketing & Strategy, AOU Creative.
site speed optimization
For example, top of the funnel content for driving awareness includes blog posts, e-books, and infographics, while bottom of the funnel content to encourage conversions includes demos, testimonials or webinars.
Guest posting and outreach
Seo agency in Nigeria
Content marketing funnel
Content marketing funnel
2. Create a structure based on a strategy
An important part of your overall strategy is creating an effective content marketing strategy. Without one it will be difficult to ensure that you are creating relevant content that drives prospects through the sales funnel and that what you create will appeal to your buyer personas.
There are several approaches to a strategy but one that works well for SEO is the ‘Hub and Spoke model’ (also known as the ‘Pillar and Clusters model’). This approach generates content around a broad topic as a hub piece and then generates supplementary content that links to it that goes into more detail – these are your spokes.
For example, let’s take SEO writing. A hub piece would be ‘What is SEO writing?’ and a spoke piece to link to and support it would be ‘SEO for Bloggers: How to Optimize Your Articles’.
This approach will not only help you build a lot of content (and show expertise) on a particular topic but help increase keyword rankings, drive traffic and grow KPIs such as leads and sales.
“The hub and spoke model is something we recommend our clients use as a structure in building out their content calendars. It’s effective because when search engines like Google crawl your website, it sees that you’re writing interconnected and relevant content on a subject. The more you write about something, especially if you’re plugging content gaps or providing original information, it rewards you by increasing your rankings on searches, also increasing your brand awareness, clicks, and more.” – Nicai de Guzman, Content Team Lead for Wolfgang Digital.
3. Find SEO keywords by using keyword research tools
A crucial element of SEO writing is keywords. There are five essential steps to keyword research:
Once you have a target list, you can use research tools to help rank and explore keywords. There are free tools like AlsoAsked and AnswerThePublic, but the searches are limited on a free account so you won’t get huge volumes unless you pay.
Paid tools such as Semrush and AHREFS are very useful and give you a full account of keyword volume, competitive insights, etc.
Why Choose DMI?
4. Make sure your headers are in order
Blogs are an important part of a company’s content marketing strategy. They allow you to draw people in through relevant and engaging content that can be used to increase dwell time and encourage click-through.
But today’s users are digitally savvy and want information quickly which is why blog headers are so important. When people read longer pieces of content they tend to scan or skim. That means they are looking for information that’s important to them.
To give a flow to your blog, improve accessibility and highlight what each section is about, use headers throughout. H1s should be the most important followed by H2s and H3s.
If you need help with starting a blog check out our 5 simple steps or to create and format a blog, use our handy blog template.
5. Write using the tone suited to your industry
Every industry is different and the messaging and tone that works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another.
For example, a consumer beauty brand may use imagery and adopt a tone that’s upbeat and friendly, while a B2B software provider may need to use a more formal and factual approach. When it comes to tone, think about the one you use carefully as one that’s risqué may turn your customers off rather than engage.
You should also keep your community in mind and be inclusive so that when a user visits your website or social media feed, they can see what you are about.
You may already know what tone works for your prospects and customers. But if you don’t it’s crucial to understand your ‘ideal’ customer. This requires creating buyer personas for your audience segment so you know how to attract and engage them.
Get started today by using our buyer persona template to make the most of your content.
“Experiment with your content to find a tone that resonates with your audience. Use social media to try different things such as bringing in humor or talking about a social issue your brand cares about. You could be surprised at the results,” says Emma Prunty, DMI Editor.
6. Include relevant internal and external links
Links are the best way to guide website visitors to other relevant content. To get the most from your content, include internal links that will drive people to content of interest – think of the ‘Hub and Spoke model’. You can also drive people to the ‘money pages’ that give them the opportunity to purchase.
External links or backlinks are an important part of SEO as they will link to your content from third-party sites. The more external sites that link to your content the better as it will drive search rankings and show value in your content.
If you have third-party links as part of your strategy, make sure you focus on backlinks of high-quality rather than a lot of low-quality ones that will have little impact on your SEO.
“It’s important to have links, particularly internal links so that people stay on your website longer as you’re linking to other articles and pages on your website. High-quality backlinking is not a bad thing as well, as long as you’re actually going to high-quality websites and sharing your information,” comments Foley from AOU Creative.
7. Suit your writing based on the platform and output
Any content marketer will tell you that each platform requires its own content. What that means is that the way you write for a blog will not work for a social media post or landing page.
Each content type and platform requires its own approach and style. If you’re writing a blog, you’re taking people on a journey and creating a story. Whereas a Google ad needs to hit all the relevant keywords and be compelling to encourage a click within seconds.
If you’re looking for agency support in the areas of SEO, content marketing and paid media, get in touch with Neil Patel Digital
8. Write compelling CTAs
If you’ve put a lot into creating a piece of content, make sure you give people the opportunity to take an action. The aim of a CTA is to convert a reader or visitor into a lead that can be nurtured.
There are several types of CTAs you can use:
Sign-up or Subscribe – Use this to encourage people to sign up to a newsletter or updates
Learn more – This invites people to go to a tailored landing page or another section of the site. It can also act as a teaser for launch events as used by Apple in this email invite.
Apple email CTA
Apple email CTA
Get started – This can encourage people to sign up for a course or start on a learning journey
Download now – You can use this to urge users to download an eBook or whitepaper
Donate or Get involved – This is used by the non-profit sector to raise awareness of a campaign or drive donations. Airbnb recently got involved to help house Ukrainian refugees by asking people to ‘Host a refugee’.
Get my discount – This can prompt people to sign up to a mailing list to get a discount code
Try for free – This is for a free trial or demo. We use this example on our site to invite people to try a free digital skills test
DMI ad for skills test
DMI ad for skills test
9. Always optimize!
You may think that once you hit ‘publish’, your job is done. Unfortunately, that’s not the case when it comes to content.
There’s always room for improvement, even for your top-performing blogs or landing pages. Information can get old especially if you’re using statistics or including third-party reports. Keywords also go in and out of style, so the ones you identified for a campaign six months ago may no longer be searched for at all now.
So you always need to optimize your content. The best way to do this is to perform an audit of your on-site SEO, particularly for key pages that drive leads or revenue. You also should keep an eye on how content is performing and if you see a slide in views or leads, try to identify why. You can do this by looking at your data and picking out content that’s seen a decrease over some time.
At DMI, we worked with Wolfgang Digital to optimize our blogs using SEO tactics. This involved including relevant keywords, refreshing content and including internal links to refresh top-performing content. As a result, in just one quarter we saw a 143 percent growth in leads from the blog year on year.
“The most important part of any SEO content strategy is to leverage as much low-hanging fruit as possible. Before creating tons of new content, we knew it was important to identify posts which had the potential to rank higher for their existing search terms while gathering visibility for more long-tail terms through optimizing the content that competed more strongly with existing top-ranking pages. Through the power of internal linking, we capitalized on DMI’s existing content to create an ‘ecosystem’ in which one page strengthens the other by spreading link equity more efficiently,” Lorna Franklin, Client Lead, Wolfgang Digital.