Writing with SEO in mind is one of the easiest ways to improve your website’s standing in search results. However, it can be difficult to write using SEO tactics without sounding like a robot, or worse, sounding exceptionally boring. These 10 practices will help you craft written pieces that improve your SEO and are also captivating and interesting.
It’s All about Keywords
Having an attack plan before you sit down to write can help this come more naturally. Most SEO writers have a list of key words they need to fit in an article somewhere. If you don’t have a list of keywords, make a short list before you get started. For example, if you were going to write about optimizing your unsubscribe process, a list of keywords might look like this: Unsubscribe, Content, Email, Marketing.
Of course understanding keyword research is a topic all on its own, so visit here for more information.
Word Placement Matters
Just as important as sharpening your keyword list is knowing how and where to place those words. The key is to keep a conversational tone and make sure things stay natural.
Using your keywords toward the beginning of a sentence will help your SEO. A trick is to write your entire piece and then go back and skim for sentences that could be re-written. You can often re-craft a sentence so any keywords are moved to the beginning – all while keeping the meaning intact.
Use Heading Tags Properly
Designated heading tags exist for a reason. Not only do they help with the hierarchy and accessibility of a website, they also alert search engines of the most important information on your page. Erroneously using headings throughout your site can throw off your SEO.
Try to use two different heading tags per post. Use the H1 tag only once, for the title. Any subheadings should use the H2 tag. Try to just avoid any other kind of heading tags, as they will do nothing more than clutter your content.
Draw Them In
The first thing most people – and search engines – will read in your piece is the title, so make it a good one. Aim to use at least one of your keywords (the more the better) and keep it concise. Use this trick to help keep your title short: if you can’t say the whole thing without taking a breath, it’s too long.
These are the top results I found when I searched “lose weight” on Google.
Note that each headline uses the key words “lose weight.” Most of them also offer some sort of simple number. Which leads me to the next trick to improve your SEO writing skills.
Lists are Your Friends
You’ll notice in the screenshot above that many sites choose to break things down by “Top 10” or another easy-to-digest number; this is smart. The idea of reading a list is not very intimidating to most people. It promises information that is easy to read, and also that it can be read in a fairly short amount of time. The best part? Lists can be applied to almost any topic. Use this prompts to get started:
- How to _____ in [#] Easy Steps
- 10 Ways to Improve Your ______
- 5 Reasons to _______
Don’t Forget the Easy Things
Sometimes the easiest things about SEO are also the easiest ones to forget. You can painstakingly craft your text, but if there are no key words in your URL, you’re not doing yourself any favors. The process for editing your post URL will differ depending on your content management system, so do a little research on this one before getting started.
Write Something Useful
A great way to improve your SEO is to get other sites to link back to your site. The easiest way to accomplish this is to simply create engaging, interesting content that people want to read. Being passionate and interested in your writing is the most important step toward writing engaging content.
If you are in doubt as to whether your content is relevant, ask yourself this: Would you take 5 or 10 minutes out of your day to read this? If someone else wrote it, would you be willing to post the piece on your site? If you answer “no” to either of these, it is a good idea to take a step back and reevaluate your topics, keywords, and overall interest.
Use Common Sense
If you’re bored writing it, chances are most people will be bored reading it. Try following these steps if you think your article is a little dry:
- Write a complete first draft
- Skim the article and highlight all uses of keywords
- Go back and re-read the sentences where those keywords are used
- Reword sentences as necessary so they flow better and are more engaging
Again, the more interesting and engaging your writing is, the more likely people are to read and share it.
Do you have any more tips for using SEO tactics while writing? Let us know in the comment section below.