Is There a Secret Formula to SEO Writing?
July 24th 2020 | By Sarah McInerney
We’ve already established that with the right content, it’s possible to rank higher in the Search Engine Results Pages. We know that the right content means matching search intent. That it means delivering the answers people are looking for though quality articles, e-books, white papers, blogs or guides. We also know that the right content has a whole host of SEO benefits, from generating backlinks and enhancing click through rate to boosting brand loyalty. And of course we know how SEO helps your business by landing you more customers, and lots more besides. But the big question… how to write great SEO content? Is there a secret formula? Let’s see what we can unravel.
First things first, what is SEO writing?
Writing for search engine optimisation (SEO) is a craft that produces results able to please both search engines and readers. SEO writing calls for all the natural skills of a copy writer (creativity, strategy, research, communication, editing and grammar, etc.) but always has search results in mind.
The aim of SEO writing is to help a website achieve the best possible rankings in the search engines.
So that’s what SEO copywriting it is. Now let’s look at how to do it.
How to write great SEO content?
There are a number of vital ingredients that have to go into the SEO writing mix if you’re going to make a successful job of getting your website into the search engine top spots using content marketing. Let’s break them down.
1. Match search intent
We looked at this in our guide to ranking higher with the right content. In summary, it’s the reason people are searching for the keywords you are intending to target. If you can closely match intent, Google should in turn reward you handsomely with great rankings. In other words, consider what people are looking for, then go all out to deliver it.
Search intent can be broken down into three main segments: looking to learn, trying to navigate to something specific, and wanting to make a purchase. Here’s a holiday related example:
Learning: “Top winter sun destinations” – provide an informative article talking about the best places to holiday in the winter months.
Navigating: “Travel Republic winter sun holidays” – link directly to your winter sun holiday pages.
Buying: “Best Mexico winter holiday deals” – link specifically to your Mexico holiday deals.
Imagine if you linked to your Mexico deals for the target keyword, “top winter sun destinations”. People would just click back to the search results and check out the next best listing that will better match their query. All because you failed to match search intent.
2. Avoid keyword stuffing
Repeating your target keyword over and over. It’s old hat. No one does it anymore, and if they do, it’s because they’ve been misled that it’s the right tactic. It doesn’t sound good, and Google can spot it a mile off.
Example: Looking for a winter sun holiday? UK winters are long and cold. The best way to forget all the drab dreariness? Book a winter sun holiday! There are so many destinations perfect for a winter sun holiday that you’re likely to be spoilt for choice. Read on to discover the best destinations for a winter sun holiday…
Sounds terrible, right? Don’t waste your time with it. Keyword stuffing is NOT how to write great SEO content. Google detests it. So steer clear!
3. Introduce target keywords early on
One of the biggest things the WordPress SEO plugin Yoast will score you up for is including your target keyword in the opening paragraph of your content.
It’s important to make it clear to readers early on that the piece of content they’re reading is totally relevant to their search intent. This is why content that ranks best tends to target the main keyword, and keywords related to it, at the earliest opportunity.
A great way to do this is to start your article, blog or guide with a summary intro. In two or three sentences, outline what your content is about and what the reader can expect to learn from it. This way your reader will know they’re in the right place to get their questions answered. Plus you’re getting those all-important keywords in at an early stage. A great recipe for writing great SEO content.
4. Answer the questions your audience is asking
If you really want to please your audience, you need to answer the questions being asked. How do you know what these questions are? It’s quite simple. There are a few online tools that can help you, but by far the easiest to use has to be Google’s ‘related searches’ and ‘people also ask’ features. They’re two free, empowering ways to work out the best questions to answer in your content.
Here’s our winter sun holiday example at work…
5. Go for question-based keywords
Using question-based keywords is a great example of how to write great SEO content, and it delivers double advantage. Firstly, voice search revolves around questions. Almost 50 per cent of web searches are voice-based, so this is really important.
Google says that 41 per cent of people who use voice assistants say they talk to their devices in the same way they would a human. In other words, they use naturally sounding, conversational questions, rather than the strange sounding keyword strings that tend to be typed into the search bar.
So for example, if you’re looking for that winter sun holiday, you might say to your voice assistant, “Where’s the best place for a winter sun holiday this year?”, rather than what you might type in being more like, “Top winter sun destinations”.
Question-based keywords will also stand you an improved chance of achieving a featured snippet for your piece of content. It may come as a surprise, but less than half of Google searches result in a click. There are various reasons for this, one of them being a lot of people find out what they need to know courtesy of the info box that appears at the top of the SERPs, the ‘featured snippet’.
If you want to make it into the featured snippets with your content, you’re going to need to answer a leading question in a succinct way, preferably with a list or table. Even if you don’t get a click through, you can consider it kudos for your brand.
How to write great SEO content, with help from Figment
Looking for help writing SEO content that enhances your search engine visibility and gets you more sales? London SEO experts Figment are the people to talk to for tailored guidance, and the proven strategies you need to get those all-important top ranked search engine positions. We welcome you to get in touch and look forward to helping make a difference to your business.