How to Write Content That Boosts SEO
Writing content to boost SEO is a specialized type of writing. Not only does online content need to be compelling and authentic, but it also needs to be formatted in ways that are understood by search engine crawlers. That’s why it should be organized in ways that ensure search engines will find your keywords and understand their importance in relation to the topic.
But that’s not always an easy or straightforward task. Experienced SEO writers spend a lot of their time weaving structural features into the content to help get it ranked higher on search engines, while still trying to produce information that feels credible and valuable to the end-user; your audience.
We can help with the guidelines outlined here. But before we dig into SEO writing techniques, please remember that the tips here apply to just one facet of SEO–content optimization. To maintain a healthy, well-rounded SEO program, you’ll also need to understand keyword research, site optimization, and best practices for publishing, also called backend SEO.
But those are topics for another blog. Today, let’s focus on…
SEO Tips to Optimize Content
1. Kickoff SEO With a List of Keywords
Which words or phrases do you want to stand out? Which words will people use to search for your kind of information? It’s important to think backward and start writing with a list of keywords in mind. As you read through all of the tips in this article, you’ll see that there are many ways to position keywords to make it more likely that your website will show up in relevant searches. If you’re not sure what keywords are, check out this video from Cup O Content.
2. Boost SEO by Linking to Credible, Trustworthy Resources
Search engines like articles and content that reference trustworthy sites and link to these sites in their content. In a marketing article such as the one you are reading right now, you might want to reference information such as The Necessary Art of Persuasion, from The Harvard Business Review, or an article on SEO copywriting from an SEO expert, such as Yoast.
3. Don’t Forget to Include Internal Links
Search engines send out crawlers to index your content. But sometimes, like a low-budget Roomba, they can get stuck in corners. That’s why it’s smart to give them lots of links and “exits” so they can keep moving through your site. As we noted in How to Write SEO-Friendly Posts and 5 Ways to Create Better Content, internal links make it easier for search engines to move through your site and give crawlers many paths to move to other pages, instead of getting stuck in corners.
4. Break Content Into Lots of Short Paragraphs
Short paragraphs are one of the hardest working tools you have in SEO. In addition to making your content easy to read quickly (something online users like), it also gives you more opportunities to create subheadings. Search engines give extra weight to words in headings and subheadings because they know they are summations of the content that follows. To recap, more paragraphs = more subheads = more opportunities for keywords = better SEO.
5. Embrace LSI
LSI stands for Latent Syntax Indexing. While it sounds super fancy, it simply means that search engines also rank you for the context around keywords. That’s how search engines know if the “cars” you are talking about in your content are automobiles, train cars, a Disney movie or an awesome ‘80s band. Still confused? We explain it all in a previous blog post, What is LSI and Why Should You Care?
6. Don’t Skimp on Content
In the world of SEO-optimized content, longer is better. Most SEO experts agree that 2,000 – 5,000 words are ideal. As a company that produces content, this one is a mixed blessing for us. Yeah, we love lots and lots of writing projects, but it also gets challenging to write 5,000 words on the best way to clean the grate on a gas grill. (That’s about ten letter-sized pages of text.)
And the truth is, people usually don’t want to read long, detailed content that goes on for pages (just what are you thinking, Google?). That’s why Cup O Content recommends compromises. Include long-format blogs to satisfy the search engine’s inexplicable desire for excruciatingly long text, and limit highly trafficked pages to about 500 words per page. Another common content trick is to include paragraphs at the very end of the page. Look at the bottom of almost any online catalog page and you’ll see this strategy in action.
7. Include Lots of Images and Optimize Them for SEO
Some search engines consider an information source more trustworthy if it contains images. And most website CRMs allow you to create a title for your images, which can include keywords. That means that images can work twice as hard as written content to improve your SEO.
As a rule, any page on your website should have at least two images per page. And feel free to blow that number out of the water–use 10, 20, or more.
Search engines can’t really “read” images, so they are unable to index them. Instead, they must reference the alt text, or description, to know how to classify the image. Your priority should be to accurately describe the image, but you should include one or two keywords in the description.
8. Get Familiar with H1, H2, and H3 Headings
Remember when you were reading tip number four of this blog (break content into lots of short paragraphs) and we said search engines like headings and subheadings? Well, in order for the search engine to know if the content is a heading or a subheading, you’re going to have to code it as such on your website. Most CRMs/website builder programs such as WordPress, Joomla, SquareSpace, or GoDaddy websites have an option to code your text as H1 (a heading), H2 (a subheading) or H3 (bullet points, callouts, etc.).
Make sure that the person who is loading content onto your site is using these tools and tagging headings and subheadings with H1, H2, and H3 codes. While you should limit H1 to just one-page heading, you can add many H2 subheadings or H3 subtitles. This kind of code tells the search engine crawlers that these headings are important and that they should be given special weight in search considerations. Remember that simply having headings and subheads is not enough. You must actively program them with H1, H2, or H3 code as you load the content onto a website.
Need More Information on SEO?
In addition to the blogs and sites referenced here, check out any of these articles from Cup O Content focused on content development and SEO, including:
Or contact us today, and we’ll tell you everything we know.