Writing for SEO

Having great content has always been an essential cornerstone of marketing, and as the industry has changed, that has not. However, when it comes to writing content to go on your website, it’s important to make sure your content is not only aimed for your target audience, but that it is optimized for search engines (like Google) as well.

There are many different styles of writing, and writing for SEO is one that can be learned as simply as a standard essay or haiku format. As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, writing for readability online goes hand in hand with writing for SEO. Both focus on mentioning your topic early on, including headers, and clearly structuring your content. However, writing for SEO does get a lot more in-depth than just that.

What Makes Writing for SEO Unique?

Writing for SEO means that search engines will be able to read your content. That way when someone searches for something related to what you’ve written, search engines will be able to identify your writing as relevant to the searcher. How do search engines decide if it’s relevant? They try to matchup the focus keyword in your content to the key phrase someone searched. As you can image, picking the right keyword is essential to having your content be found.

Pick the Right Keyword

How do you pick the best keyword for your content? First, consider what your audience may be searching for. Is your audience more likely to search for “balayage techniques” or “how to highlight my hair”? Also consider what you actually want to be found for. Perhaps you are writing a blog comparing why going to a professional is a better investment than DIY. You may want to target “DIY” keywords as a way to persuade possible DIYers that there is a better way. However, it is generally best to focus on keywords that are strongly related to what you’re offering, as focusing on subversive keywords may cause users to leave your site frustrated.

Also consider what your keyword competition may be. If you pick a keyword that is too broad, there will be a lot of content surrounding that one keyword already.  So much competition gives you little chance of reaching the first, or even first 10 pages, of search results. Conversely, making your keyword too specific may get you very little visibility, as so few people are searching for that term. It’s also important to not double dip with your keywords, you don’t want to compete against yourself!

Think Through Your Structure

Once you have your keyword, make sure it actually shows up in your content. If you have a key phrase rather than a keyword, the entire key phrase should appear multiple times within your content. Synonyms are useful to include naturally, but the specific keyword should still be your main focus. However, don’t overstuff your content with your keyword either. Search engine will interpret your content as spam and not show it in search results.

You should mention your keyword about once every 100 words you write. Use those instances wisely. Your keyword should appear in high-value areas, such as the first and last paragraphs, and main headers.

Speaking of which, use headers within your copy. Think of the essays you had to write in high school: introduction, three supporting points, conclusion. Write your blogs the same way, just user headers for the supporting points (and sub headers when appropriate.) Try to make sure you have no more than 300 words after each header. Also consider where you can include both external and internal links within your copy, as both are beneficial when writing for SEO.

Don’t Skimp on Information

Size matters when it comes to SEO, so save your microblogs for other purposes. While you can get away with content as short as 500 words, pages and blogs with closer to 2,000 words are preferred. Not every piece of content has to be that long, but make sure to include a few lengthier pieces of content on topics that are really important to your business.

“Isn’t that too long for people to actually read?” It depends on the topic and the audience, which is why it’s so important to consider your keyword selection. Also, this is where headings and sub headings come in handy, as they not only help search engines understand what your content it about, it helps readers skim and still understand the key points.

Consider What Goes on Behind the Scenes

Writing for SEO is just the groundwork for optimizing your content for SEO. Once your content is written, it has to be put on the website. This involves formatting headers as headers, clarifying the keyword or key phrase, including the links, ensure the keyword is in the URL, the image alt tags, the meta description, and that the blog title isn’t so long it starts cutting off in search results.

If that was Greek to you, don’t worry, it’s not to us. Not all writers are web developers, and they shouldn’t be expected to be. We can help partner with you to make sure your writing is being formatted correctly for SEO.

What if I Don’t Have Time for Writing for SEO?

If both the web side and the writing side seem intimidating, never fear! Marketing, including content marketing, involves a lot, and often too much to take on in addition to running a business. Having someone else take care of your writing may be the right choice for you, and in the end yield much better results. At Kolbeco, we have been writing for SEO since the advent of blogging. We can develop the keyword strategy that search engines love, and the engaging content that readers crave. This creates a website that people can find, and one that they want to come back to time and again.