We are a family of 4 that includes 2 full-time working parents, one toddler, and one baby 😉
Time is a luxury I don’t have, and I am constantly on the lookout for healthy (preferably quick) recipes for my family’s weeknight dinners.
And for various searches related exactly to the kind of food we like and eat, I come across this site: cookieandkate.com. And it was perfect for us!
One of the reasons I found it? Good SEO writing! Even if the site is not as big as other recipe websites.
Check out how the site does it well in the case study section at the bottom of this post!
If you want to rank high in search engines and drive traffic to your website, you need to write high-quality SEO articles. i.e., website content optimized for search engines.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to improving the visibility and ranks of your web pages on search engine result pages for relevant keywords.
So the better the SEO of a page, the higher it ranks in the search pages of Google, Yahoo, Bing, and others.
SEO can be compared as a benchmark of all web pages for certain keywords. Google, for example, uses this benchmark of each website in its network to evaluate and rank them in its search results.
SEO is one of the best free ways to drive traffic to your website.
What is SEO writing?
SEO writing refers to writing the copy or content for your website in a way that helps it to rank high in search engine results.
Writing for SEO thus is not just about writing text, it is about writing and optimizing your website content with the key elements of SEO.
SEO writing could include writing texts for your small business website pages like the about page, product/ service descriptions, and content for your blog.
Why is SEO writing important?
SEO writing helps in boosting the SEO of your site and you to rank higher for various keywords. When you rank high for certain keywords, you have the following benefits:
1. Increased visibility
If your website copy is optimized for different keywords, you will show up high in SERPs repeatedly. Then you catch the eye of your target audience over a period of time.
2. Increase in website traffic
When we Google something, chances are we get the answers to our questions in the first few search results. Imagine if you show up at the top of Google SERPs for thousands of people!
They click on your page’s blue link (so your click-through rate also increases), and this leads to increased traffic. Research has shown that the top 3 search results in Google get 75% of the clicks.
If your content is of high quality because of good SEO writing, then people stay on your page and read it, and this, in turn, tells Google that your content is relevant, and it keeps ranking you high.
3. More repeat traffic
Good SEO writing will ensure that you don’t just show up for one keyword, but multiple ones.
This leads to your target audience repeatedly visiting your site to find the information they need. Just like I did with the recipe website.
4. Higher brand authority
If Google (or any other search engine) decides to rank you high for various related keywords, your audience believes you are an expert in that field.
5. More business growth
When your audience believes you are an expert on a particular topic, they trust you more. And trust drives leads and sales.
Different types of SEO writing
There are different kinds of copy you need on your website, and this prompts the need for different kinds of text.
The 3 most important kinds of SEO writing for your website include:
- Articles like blog posts
- Product/ service descriptions
- Other web pages
What is the difference between SEO content writing and SEO copywriting?
While overall SEO writing follows the same principles, there is a key difference between writing SEO-friendly copy for your articles like blog posts and other pages of your website.
SEO content writing should meet the informational needs of your audience, and its goal is usually to provide information, generate leads, and drive brand awareness.
SEO copywriting refers to writing copy for your product and sales pages, email marketing, and landing pages, and the objective is usually conversion to sales.
See the chart below for the full differences between SEO copywriting vs content writing.
Isn’t it enough to just write? Why is SEO writing necessary?
Okay, so you get the benefits of SEO writing. But why is specific SEO writing necessary?
Why can’t you just write the best content ever, not considering optimizing it for SEO, and expect Google to rank it high anyway?SEO writing is essential because search engines need to understand and evaluate your content. #seo #contentwriting Click To Tweet
As powerful as it may be, Google is not God. Yet 😉
Neither are other search engines. They run on algorithms and codes that crawl the web and search for content to rank. They are not professors who can read an answer and immediately know what kind of rating it deserves.
You need to optimize your copy for SEO and tell the search engines what your writing is all about and why you need to be ranked high.SEO writing is not just about including a bunch of keywords and phrases in your copy but also using them properly, in the right places, that give all the right cues to Google. #seowriting #seo #contentwriting Click To Tweet
What does SEO-friendly content mean?
Writing content for SEO means writing content that search engines like Google evaluate to be worthy enough of being in high ranks in their results pages.
Google has hundreds of factors it considers while making these evaluations, but the most important factor is that the content should be of value to the reader.
That is why the key factors for writing SEO-friendly content are:
How well your content matches the search query of the user.
Does it answer all the questions of the user? Does it get social shares?
How helpful and valuable your content is, for that query.
Is your content informative and detailed enough?
The accuracy and reliability of your content.
Do you have links from high-quality sites pointing to your content?
4. User Experience
The ease of use of your content and site.
Is your site secure? Is your website responsive, and displays well across devices? Does it load fast?
Writing SEO content means checking off a maximum number of boxes in the above criteria.
How to write for SEO: The step-by-step process
You can follow the below step-by-step process to do SEO content writing and copywriting.
1. Identify your target audience and create your brand story.
SEO writing is a form of messaging for your brand.
So before you start creating any content for any page, identify what your brand is about, what is your unique value proposition, your brand personality, and your brand promise.
Because if you don’t know what you stand for, what will you write about, how, and why?
Get a FREE, detailed guide to creating your brand story
2. Develop your brand and marketing messagesYour brand message is the communication you use to share your unique value to the audience. Your marketing message is a specific, targeted message per product/ service your brand offers. #branding #marketing Click To Tweet
Now that you have an overall understanding of the messages and communication you want to share with your target audience, it is time to use and write them on your website in an SEO-friendly way.
3. Choose your content topics
The next step is to lay out the topics you want to write about and rank high for.
Let’s say you are a company that offers courses on smartphone photography.
If these are your products, then identify the topics under them that you want to focus on to write SEO content.
For example, iPhone photography could include lessons on filters, editing, etc. Identify all the topics relevant to you.
4. Define your goals
The overall goal of SEO writing is only one:
Rank high in search engines, to grow your business.
But since there are several steps of SEO writing, before you start writing/ editing your web content or outsource it to a professional, identify what exactly you’re trying to achieve.
That in turn will help you identify which part of SEO writing you need to work on.
For example, if you want more people to click on your website when it shows up in a SERP, then you need to work on your page’s title and meta description.
However, if you want your site to show up in a featured snippet for a particular keyword, then you need to write your page content accordingly and work on your schema markup.
5. Do thorough keyword research
Researching keywords to write SEO content may be categorized as SEO writing 101.
It’s still one of the most important factors. Here are some quick tips on doing it efficiently:
• Look at keywords as a subsection of topicsPro tip for #keywordresearch: Instead of fixating on individual keywords, aim to rank high in SERPs for a topic, with different pages using different focus keywords within that topic. #contentmarketing #seowriting Click To Tweet
For example, if iPhone photography is your topic, then write a page of SEO content on filters.
• Get inspiration from Google
It is a simple yet effective method of developing a complete list of keywords. Just Google your keyword/ topic. In the middle of the page, you will find People also ask’.
At the bottom, you will find a ‘Related searches’ section. Both of these sections provide cues on which keywords are more popular on Google. But this is just the first step. Now you need to quantify them.
• Use SEO tools for the right targeting of keywords
Of course, a simple Google search will give you lots of ideas on keywords relevant to your topic.
But to get a good ROI on your SEO work, use a proper tool that will give you precise keyword data, like keyword search volume and difficulty, so you can invest your resources in SEO writing that will generate results.
Two of my favorite tools are Semrush (more comprehensive) and SE Ranking (cheaper).
Just sign up for a free trial on each and see what works for you.
Related: 7 Best SEO Software for Small Businesses in 2022 [FREE Trials]
• Choose keywords with high volume and low keyword difficulty
You need to understand the extent of what your audience really needs.
If a keyword has a very low volume, for example, 10 a month, it means not many people are interested in that particular search, and you would be wasting your time optimizing your content for it.
Because even if your website would rank in the #1 position of Google, you wouldn’t get any significant website traffic from it.
Target keywords that have a search volume of at least 100-200, and a maximum keyword difficulty of 30.
6. Conduct competition research
You only rank high when your content or page performs better than other pages.
Each page of a search engine typically has 10 text results. So to feature in position 1, you have to beat 9 other websites.
These are your biggest competitors. So you need to analyze what are their success factors, and how you can be better than them.
Quick competition research tips:
• Conduct a competitive analysis
You can easily do this with Semrush as well. Your keyword research exercise will tell you who ranks in the top 10 of Google for a certain keyword.
Now look at all the other keywords that the page ranks for, so you can also use the relevant ones in your content.
Besides keywords, for a full competitive analysis, you should also look at the other metrics like backlinks, brand positioning, target audience, etc.
• Conduct a content gap analysis
In Semrush or other SEO tools, you can analyze which keywords your competition (even if it’s just the page result above you for a particular keyword) is ranking for, in which position. And compared to that, if you rank high, low, or not at all.
Just go to the SEO dashboard and click on Keyword Gap and enter the name of your domain and your competitors. You will be able to compare every detail of the keywords.
See the image below for the content gap between the three competitive websites.
• Conduct a backlink analysis
The number of high-quality backlinks is a key ranking factor for SEO. With a competitor analysis, you will know which page has backlinks from which domains.
You can then write better SEO content than your competition and get backlinks from the same or similar websites.
Use your SEO software to discover and steal your competitor’s backlinks.
7. Analyze the SERPs for your chosen keywords
Eons ago, the only results on Google for a keyword would be the 10 blue links, with a title and description. Now there can be quite a few sections before you get to the links. In total, a SERP could include:
- Featured snippets
- Text URLs
So when you have chosen your keyword, put it on Google and see what shows on the page.
See the search below for ‘homemade shampoo’, for example.
This will help you understand whether it might be easier to rank for a featured snippet, for example, or media, like an image/ video.
If you are in one country and you want to know the SERP for your keyword in a different country/ state/ city, you can use a VPN for your marketing research.
This is the search result page for the keyword ‘ski jacket’ in Boston, United States.
And this is the SERP in New York, United States.
Optimize your website content for search engines depending on the location you want to target.
8. Do keyword mapping based on search intent
Now that you’ve chosen the topics and keywords you want to rank high for, you need to determine which keyword you should assign for which page.
The first place to start this is the search intent.
This is a whole chapter in itself, but essentially it means that you do your SEO copywriting for different website pages according to the needs of the user. i.e., according to the intent of the search.
There can be different kinds of intent: to know how to do anything, like solving a problem. This is informational search intent.
Or it could be commercial, like a comparison of 2 products, and transactional, like actually buying a product.
The informational keywords you can assign to your blog post, for example, and transactional to your product page.
9. Write and optimize your website pages and blog posts
Now that you have assigned keywords to each page according to the search intent, it is time to start writing!
Remember, website copywriting for your product, sales, landing, and other pages is very different from SEO article writing for your blog pages.Even though both website page copy and blog content should be SEO-friendly, one is more sales-driven, while the other is usually more information-driven. #contentwriting #copywriting Click To Tweet
10. Improve your page’s on-page SEO
On-page SEO is a whole topic in itself, but the basics apply to all pages of your website.
One of the key aspects of on-page SEO is about using keywords smartly, whether it’s for your pages or blog posts.
Include your focus and secondary keywords in:
- Your page URL (permalink)
- Heading tags like H1 and H2 at least
- Meta tags like page title and meta description
- Your page content
- Alt text of images
11. Write compelling page titles and meta descriptions
The title tag is the heading of a webpage and a meta description is the description of the webpage that shows up when you search for a particular keyword.
Think of them less as SEO tools and more as sales tools. These should not only indicate what the page is about but also convince the user to click on your page.
This increases the CTR of your page result giving you more website traffic and in the long run, improving your SEO.
Keep your page title within 60 characters and meta descriptions between 150 and 160 characters.
13 SEO writing tips to increase your page ranks
1. Write for your target audience and optimize for search engines
Google’s mission is to provide the most relevant answers to users.
So whatever you write on your website, first and foremost, has to provide the maximum value to your audience.
It has to be relevant, useful, and answer possible questions the users are looking for. That in Google’s eyes is website copy worth ranking high for.
Quick tips for writing for humans (your audience):
• Write in language relevant to your target audience
Write for specific humans, not the entire race.
As a brand you would have a particular target audience, so make sure that whatever your write is relevant and important for them.
And use language that would appeal to them. It could be very easy and simple, could be more technical or advanced. It should just resonate with your audience.
Pro tip: You can also preset Grammarly Premium for writing in a certain style, like formal, for example. And then if you veer off that style while you write, Grammarly will warn you. This is a paid Grammarly feature and if you want to purchase Grammarly, you can also use a promo code.
• Use subheadings and short paragraphs
Your language level may be simple or advanced depending on your target audience, but it is easy for them to skim through your copy if it is structured.
So use lots of subheadings in your text.
Break up long pieces of text into shorter ones with more breaks. This not only improves readability but is also better for user experience, which is also important to make your pages rank high.
• Write in an active voice
Active voice makes your website copy and content more engaging and compelling. Remember, as humans we talk more in active voice by default, so that is the most comfortable and conversational way to talk to your audience through your website.
Only once you’ve written engaging, compelling, informative SEO text, go ahead and optimize it for search engines with on-page SEO like mentioned above. But make writing for humans your first priority.
2. Keep the search intent in mind
As we saw above, each page of your website should contain specific information that would be the answer to the particular keywords searched for by your audience.
In other words, it should meet the search intent of your audience.
There are 4 kinds of search intent:
Note that some pages could have more than one search intent.
For example, the search intent of ‘seo expert’ could be both informational and commercial. The user could be looking to understand what an SEO expert does, or looking to hire an SEO expert.
So if you write a blog post on SEO expert, make sure it also contains some information about where to find an SEO expert, or just link your post to your service page of SEO expert if you are also one yourself.
3. Retain your brand voice
Whether you are writing product copy or blog posts, page titles, or meta descriptions, ensure that you are always using your brand’s tone of voice and that your website copy reflects your brand’s personality.
This will increase brand engagement with your audience and make you stand out in SERPs.
4. Choose a unique focus keyword for each page
Even if your keywords for different pages are similar to each other, make sure that the focus or primary keyword for each page and blog post is different.
This will help to avoid keyword cannibalization. i.e., it won’t confuse search engines about the content of each page.
5. Write clear, eye-catching, SEO-friendly titles
One of the most crucial objectives of any kind of business writing is to write attractive headlines and titles that grab the attention of the target audience and motivate them to perform an action, like visiting a page.
An additional goal of SEO writing is to make these titles SEO-friendly.
Quick tips to write SEO-friendly titles:
- Use power words
- Use the focus keyword
- Preferably use a number
While these are most applicable in SEO content writing, you should also try to optimize the titles of your other website pages for search engines.
6. Maintain a good keyword density
You need to use your focus keyword enough times in your webpage copy to tell Google what your page is about. This is called keyword density: the number of times a keyword is used on a page.Most SEO-friendly blog posts have a keyword density of around 1%-2%, but you have to see what works best and most natural for your page. #keyworddensity #keywordresearch Click To Tweet
A useful tip to check the keyword density of a page is to use the free plugin called SEOquake. If you switch it on for a page, it provides in-depth information about the on-page SEO of that page. This includes:
- Keyword density
- Internal links
- External links
- Meta tags
See for example the image below. You can calculate how many 1-word keywords, 2-word keywords, etc., have been used on the page.
So once you know who your top competitors are for a keyword, you can analyze their pages for their SEO and decide how to use your keywords in your website copy.
7. Avoid keyword stuffing
There is a fine line between using your focus or other keywords enough times for SEO and stuffing your keywords forcefully.
Definitely don’t do the latter.
You could get penalties from Google.
Even though you need to maintain a moderate keyword density, make sure your focus keyword flows naturally in the text.
To add more context to your content and optimize it more for search engines, work with semantic keywords instead.
8. Use semantic/ LSI and long-tail keywords
Use keywords in the content that will resonate with the content’s meaning.
For example, use ‘Jingle bells’ for content about Christmas, and ‘fireworks’ for content about holiday festivals.
Also, use medium and long-tail keywords (keywords with more than 3 words) to increase the chances of ranking for the focus keyword.
For example, if you are trying to rank for ‘home cleaning’, then keywords like ‘home cleaning tips’ and ‘home cleaning services’ would work well as sub-topics.
9. Write detailed copy wherever possible
The more information (words/ media) are there on a website page, the easier it is for search engines to understand what the page is about and which queries to rank it high for.
For blog posts, for example, Google loves long-form content, so try to cover a topic as much in-depth as you can.
It indicates that you are an authority on the topic, provides value to your readers, and also gives enough information to Google to make you rank higher. Not to mention, it also attracts a lot of backlinks, which is great for SEO!
But it’s not just blog posts.
You should also try to give details when you’re doing SEO writing for your product descriptions, to help your prospective customers find your product page, get interested in it because it meets their needs, and give them enough information to help them make a decision.
However, don’t stretch the length of the copy or content just to make it long without a reason. Every word and sentence you write should be necessary to contribute value and create an experience.
10. Link to external web pages
Linking to high-quality, authoritative web pages outside your blog and website shows that you are trying to provide the most value to your audience and that always gets brownie points from Google.
11. Prioritize internal linking
Google understands your website and web pages in a certain context, not just in silo.
So make sure that you provide enough internal links within your website copy
Tips for internal linking:
- Create lots of content to become an authority on the topic
- Match the anchor text of the link to the focus keyword
- Use dofollow links within your website
Try out Link Whisper for quick, easy, and efficient internal linking. Honestly, it changed my life by how simple it made internal linking!
12. Include visual elements with meta tags
SEO writing does not mean you should only write a lot of copy. Including some audio and video relevant to the topic of your content can increase its value in the SEO ranking.
Always add meta tags like appropriate file names and alt text of images, using semantic keywords. These provide additional information to search engines about your web copy.
13. Use short URLs
Keep your URLs short and simple. Definitely include the focus keyword.
You can just use the keyword as I have done in this post. You can also do URLs like domain.com/blog/post-keyword or domain.com/category/service-keyword
If there are more than 2 words in your URL, always use a hyphenation.
SEO writing example and case study
At the beginning of this post, I mentioned the site cookieandkate.com. Let’s take a page of this website and see what it does well with its SEO writing.
The page is called ‘Simple Strawberry Smoothie’, so chances are that it is trying to rank for a keyword like ‘strawberry smoothie’ or ‘simple strawberry smoothie’ or ‘strawberry smoothie recipe’.
Here’s a snapshot of the text.
Let’s see what it has done well and what it could do better.
⇒ It uses relatively easy language that appeals to its target audience and provides information for the appropriate search intent (recipe for a strawberry smoothie).
⇒ It maintains its brand voice.
⇒ As per my search, no other page on the website had the same focus keyword.
⇒ The title isn’t extra special but it doesn’t have to be in this case. It’s straightforward and serves its purpose.
⇒ The text is quite detailed.
⇒ Most images have alt text. The one in the above image is ‘strawberry smoothie ingredients’.
Now let’s look at the page diagnosis from SEOQuake.
⇒ The page uses the focus keyword in the URL, title, and meta description.
⇒ The URL is short
⇒ The title and meta description have the right number of characters.
⇒ The description is quite compelling with power words and adjectives.
⇒ It has different, structured heading tags and the H1 and H2 tags include the focus keyword.
⇒ There are plenty of internal links to other pages, especially to other smoothie recipes. So the focus is on ranking for the topic of smoothies as well.
⇒ There are plenty of external links as well.
Note: Internal links in this case include ALL internal links, even the ones in the footer and to social media profiles. So the number seems high.
The page could do with some improvements though, to make it rank higher.
! The keyword density could be a bit higher
! There could be more long-tail keywords used (can find this from the 3-word and 4-word keywords table in the image above).
SEO writing tools
There are various SEO writing & content optimization tools that can help your website rank high in search engines.
If you want to rank high on Google, doing a little bit of research on it will give you a lot of information about what your audience could be searching for and competing pages and domains.
2. Answer the Public
Answer the Public shows you what questions people are asking for a particular keyword. It divides the data up into questions, prepositions, comparisons, and related terms.
Even though the data is only qualitative and contains no data like SEO tools provide, it still provides a good idea about the search intent of a keyword.
3. Also Asked
Also Asked is similar to Answer the Public, but the data is structured and presented in a different way.
Quillbot is a popular paraphrasing tool that can help you write blog posts much quicker and with a lot less hassle.
The SEO value of this tool is that you can paraphrase existing content that ranks for your target keyword and which you know is optimized super well, because it ranks in Google. Read this Quillbot review to learn more.
4. Paid SEO tools
The free tools are okay to start with, but most of them (except Google) let you do free keyword research and competitive analysis in a very limited way. If you want to take SEO writing seriously, you should invest in a paid tool as per your budget and needs.
For me, the Pro plan of Semrush works perfectly. Here’s a special link for an extended 30-day trial (the regular trial period is 7 days).
But you can also try out some other options based on your goals.
Keyword Finder for example provides quite a bit of data for keywords, but it doesn’t have as much comprehensive information as Semrush, so you are a bit limited.
You could choose a keyword and write your page copy, only to realize later that it’s not ranking because the keyword potential is a bit limited. On the other hand, it’s less than half the price of Semrush.
Here is a list of SEO tools that offer free trials, for you to decide which one works for you best:
The above are just tips for SEO writing. But don’t forget, writing for your website is not enough for improved rankings in SERPs.
It is also important to spread awareness of your website and online brand and show Google that your website is authoritative.
Here are some next steps to follow once you’ve nailed your SEO writing.
1. Share and promote your website content
SEO by default means organic, i.e., search engines finding and ranking you as the best result for a search query.
So share your website in relevant forums so you get more visitors. If they in turn share your website with others, you again get more visitors, and the process is amplified.
This also leads to you attracting backlinks, which indicate the credibility of your site and indicate your site authority to search engines.
Related: Download a Free Website Content Template Pack
2. Work on your link outreach
If all of us could get backlinks just with good SEO writing and have people sharing our content just like that, all websites would be ranking #1 and I would be lazing with Netflix instead of writing this long post 😉
The hard truth is that without backlinks it’s very hard to rank high in SERPs, and acquiring such backlinks doesn’t happen just like that.
You have to use impactful link-building strategies and campaigns to get high-quality backlinks from related, authoritative sites.
Building relationships is a great way to both build your online brand and get the link support of influencers and professionals.
3. Optimize your technical SEO
While this is not a component of SEO writing, just ensure that your site is technically sound so that your website has a big chance of ranking high in SERPs.
For example, make sure it’s indexed in Google. Otherwise, no matter how excellently you do SEO writing, the search engine machines won’t be able to find and rank you.
Any other SEO writing tips you’d like to add? How do you do your SEO writing process? Leave a comment!
What a great in-depth guide you have here? Writing blog articles and other web pages for SEO is beneficial for growing your online business. The value can not be over-emphasized. Considering that organic search traffic attracts targeted readers and potential customers, strengthening your content with SEO writing becomes critical. And the pointers you underscored in this article are practical and proven to work. But I also want to add that I like the idea of generating content ideas (including questions readers are asking across platforms) that excite readers. You can transform those questions into topics for several blog posts or answer those questions in your articles. It’s an excellent way to improve your SEO writing technique.
Thanks for stopping by and for the add! Yes it is very valuable to check on popular forums or on Google to see what questions people are asking. I check Quora frequently, for example. The only thing to watch out for is how many people are really asking that question. If there are a lot of questions, it’s always a good idea to consider those for blog post topics.
All smart SEO tips here. Scanning page one of Google for various keywords reveals that there is a specific SEO style of writing that appeals to the algorithm. I find that any post of mine that ranks follows a consistent formula in terms of the writing style. Google seems to like more simple, cut and drive writing. The main reason is that Google users need to be able to easily understand all content that appears on page one. Excellent post here.
Thanks a lot for your comment, Ryan! SEO-optimized posts written in a particular way definitely show good results. To your point, simple language works best when combined with being conversational. It also depends on the target audience and their level of knowledge. I have never written scientific or tech posts but could be possible that for these posts Google might reward a more advanced level of words and writing.
Hi I am Riyad Mahamud and I have read your article.It’s an excellent way to improve your SEO writing technique.Yes it is very valuable to check on popular forums or on Google to see what questions people are asking.The main reason is that Google users need to be able to easily understand all content that appears on page one. Excellent post here. To your point, simple language works best when combined with being conversational.
SEO writing is indeed one of the best ways to improve your search engine positioning. And when you answer people’s questions with your content, it makes your website and blogs even more valuable. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
Hello Poulomi, thank you very much for the SEO writing guide, I’m not new to SEO but looking to improve the on-page SEO of my pages. I am using quillbot to ensure my content is error-free, but I am not the best writer, so I’ve having to hire content writers to assist me. The thing about hiring a writer is that they don’t always understand SEO and the one’s that do, tend to charge a lot of money. So the other option is that I practise it and get better at it to save costs. Really appreciate all the tips.