“SEO Writing” or “writing for SEO” is really just a fancy way of saying that you need to write high-quality, targeted content that both your readers and the search engines will love. There are really only a few simple things you need to do in each post you write to ensure success. Once you’ve mastered these fundamental SEO writing skills, you’ll be well on your way to better search engine rankings and reader engagement.
Here’s what you need to know to write engaging, SEO optimized content that search engines will love and your readers will want to share on social media!
But first… Take just a moment to download the “SEO Writing That Just Works – Printable Checklist”. It’s a fabulous checklist to keep next to you while you right.
SEO Writing That Just Works In 7 Easy Steps
The first step to writing high-quality SEO content is to identify the keywords you want to target. I like to use the Google Trends tool just to make sure that I’m writing about something people are actually searching for. You can also use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. It’s free, but you will need to create an AdWords account to use it.
Once you’ve identified the keyword phrase you want to target, it’s time to write your post. While you can say the same thing in several different ways, I recommend keeping each article limited to one focused topic. For example, the focus of this article is “SEO writing.” I can also say “writing for SEO,” “SEO article writing,” “content SEO,” and a myriad of other phrases – and that’s perfectly OK. Google is smart enough to understand its meaning. In fact, it’s better to use different ways to say the same thing so that you don’t sound like a robot!
While you don’t need to repeat the keyword phrase over and over, there are a few key places in the content that you do want to include your keyword phrase within your article content.
1. Use The Keyword Phrase At The Beginning Of The Post Title
Make sure that your post title includes the keyword phrase. If possible, use the keyword phrase at the beginning of the title so that your readers can quickly see if your article is the content they are looking for.
2. Use The Keyword Phrase In The Permalink Of The Page
The permalink is the web address of the post and quickly tells the search engines what to do with your post. It should be permanent, and never change – hence the name “permalink.” You’ll want to make sure that the keyword phrase is included the permalink.
3. Use The Keyword Phrase At The Beginning Of The First Paragraph
The first paragraph of the post is the promise of what’s to come. Make sure it includes your primary keyword phrase – once again, preferably toward the beginning and in the first sentence. This will take some practice to make it flow and sound good, but like most new skills, once you’ve done it a few times it feels perfectly natural.
4. Link To Other Relevant Articles On The Topic
Make sure to link the primary keyword phrase or similar phrases to other articles on the topic. These articles could be on your site or another high-quality site. Ideally, you link to at least 1-3 articles on your site and then at least one article on another site.
NOTE: When linking out to another site, make sure that it’s a high-quality site that provides value to your readers.
5. Use The Keyword Phrase In At Least One Subheading
Your readers will most likely skim your post, and the subheadings let them know what the article is about at a glance. You can literally make a checklist from the subheadings of this article for future reference on writing for SEO.
Make sure to use your keyword phrase in at least one subheading like the title of this section “SEO Writing That Just Works In 7 Easy Steps.” The keyword phrase for this article is “SEO Writing.”
6. Use The Keyword Phrase And Related Phrases Throughout The Article
Keyword density is another factor in your SEO rankings. The definition of keyword density is the number of times the keyword phrase is used in relation to the total number of words in the article. If you use the word too many times, you can get flagged for spam or “keyword stuffing.” I recommend that you try to get roughly a 1% keyword density for the exact keyword phrase and the use of related words and phrases as needed.
7. Use The Keyword Phrase In The Meta Description Of The Page
Each article should have a 150-160 character meta description (1-2 short sentences.) When you write your meta description, you’ll want to include your keyword phrase toward the beginning.
The meta description should be a short blurb telling your readers what the article is about, Make it compelling! This is your advertisement to get the reader to your blog.
I like to start with a shortened version of the introductory paragraph:
Additional SEO Writing Tips
Also, to make your SEO writing even better, make sure the article meets these additional writing guidelines.
The article should be at least 500 words in length with a keyword density of at around 1%.
That’s about 1 time per 100 words for a 500-word post. Remember what we said about related words and phrases. The important thing is to make the primary focus of the article VERY clear. Don’t make your readers or the search engines guess about the topic. Yoast has a really cool tool to help with this: Yoast Google Suggest Expander
The article should contain internal as well as outbound links.
These could be links to other websites (outbound links) or links to articles on your blog (internal links.) Ideally, you ONLY link to related articles on VERY similar topics.
Keep article permalinks (also called URL or slug) short and remove unnecessary words.
Eliminate the unimportant “stop” words like “to,” “and,” etc. For this article, the auto-generated permalink was “/SEO-writing-that-just-works-in-7-easy-steps/.” That’s too long and has several unnecessary words. I edited to be “/SEO-writing-7-easy-steps/.” It still gets the point across without being so wordy.
Make sure your article easy to read, with concise sentences.
Keep your content simple so that a 6th grader could read and understand it. Use LOTS of white space to make the article skimmable and easier to read on small devices. The Yoast Readability Tool will help with this.
Make sure your article includes several images with alt tags that include the keyword phrase.
My personal preference is to add one picture per significant subheading. When you add an image to your post, the media editor provides a place to include alt tags (or alternate text) – this will show in case your image doesn’t load for whatever reason. Also, the search engines see this :-).
WordPress SEO Plugin By Yoast
At BlogPress, we provide the WordPress SEO plugin free to all of our Premium Plan blogging customers. It’s a really cool tool that gives you a straightforward red, green, or yellow rating for how well your post is doing for your selected keywords. It even shows how the post listing will appear in the search engines.
We love this in the content SEO tool for several reasons. Here are just a few…
- You will write better content with the built-in content analysis tool
- Quickly optimize your search engine results listings including titles and descriptions with the preview tool
- Automatically generate your site’s XML Sitemaps
- And lots more technical stuff that you don’t even need to worry about…
Yoast has put together an excellent article on WordPress SEO and how to use the Yoast SEO plugin. I highly recommend that you take the time to read through the tutorial: WordPress SEO
According to the Yoast SEO Tool, the article that you just read gets a perfect score. If you would like to learn how to write like this, I can help. Get the help & support you need to succeed online.