SEO Writing is the process of researching, outlining, creating, and optimizing content to rank for a target keyword in Google and other search engines.
Google's success depends on delivering content that answers users' queries in the most relevant way possible. If you want it to be your content that people see, sprinkle some of it SEO"Retrospectively won't get you very far. Instead, you'll have to bake SEO from the beginning in your content writing process.
This guide covers:
There is a lot of content that is never seen because it is not ranked and therefore never given the opportunity to educate, help, impress, and convert anyone (and it does not reflect positively on you, the person who wrote it).
In contrast, take notes SEO This will help you earn organic traffic and bring qualified readers and potential customers to your website.
For example, the Ahrefs team has grown the blog from ~ 5,000 to ~ 555,000 organic monthly visits over the past 5 years. This content ranks and drives targeted traffic to the website where potential customers can learn more about using Ahrefs to increase their traffic and business. Some of them may take action by signing up.
How do I write for SEO: a 5-step approach
SEO Writing is about researching and writing content that plays a role in search engines. However, this does not mean that you are artificially writing for an audience of robots. Your main goal is to understand what people are looking for so that you can tailor your content to their needs.
Here is a 5-step, beginner-friendly framework that you can use to write a blog post or article SEO in the head. For each step I've added examples from the manual you are reading right now so you can see how the research and writing process goes behind the scenes.
- Find a business-relevant keyword with traffic potential
- Determine the search intent
- Determine the subtopics that you need to cover
- Create an outline
- Write your piece
PS: You will find that writing is only the last step – that is what you are writing for SEO: To do a great job, the first thing you need to do is put on your explorer hat and examine what people are looking for, what to expect, and what to write as a result. Only then can writing begin.
1. Find a business-relevant keyword with traffic potential
First, identify a topic that is relevant to the company you are writing for. Think what people might type into Google to find your product or service: this is your startup keyword.
For example, if you are writing for a company that sells lamps, your starting keyword could simply be "lamp" or "lamps".
Start your research by pasting the startup keyword into Ahrefs Keyword Explorer and using that ask Report to find keyword ideas phrased as questions. Most of the results are informational queries that you can rate a blog post for.
You can use that too Phrase match Report to find queries containing your startup keyword sorted by monthly search volume. It doesn't always make sense to tag these keywords with a blog post or article: the format depends on the search intent (see step 2 below).
If your website is relatively new, narrow the list down by filtering on keywords with low keyword difficulty levels (<30) and high monthly search volumes (1000+). These are usually the easiest to evaluate, but still have traffic potential.
For example, "best desk lamps" looks like a strong keyword with a good volume of monthly searches. And when we look at that SERP In summary, the top page is estimated to receive more than 7,000 monthly visits from Google, so there is a certain traffic potential.
Using the same procedure for this guide, I started with "SEO"As my startup keyword and finally found it"SEO Write “in the Phrase match Report. It became my chosen keyword because it has good search and traffic potential, is relevant for our target group and we are not currently ranking it.
2. Determine the search intent
Once you have a primary keyword with good traffic potential, you need to understand what the people searching for it want. This is known as search intent. If your content doesn't match these, it is unlikely that Google will rate it as high.
You can determine which pages best match the intent behind a keyword by looking at the top results in the list SERP and identifying the so-called 3 Cs of search intent: content type, content format and content angle.
The type of content (e.g. landing page, blog post / article, video, etc) that is at the top tells you exactly what to create.
When you've found your keyword in the ask Report, then the best results are almost always blog posts, articles or videos that provide information to searchers in learning mode:
However, if you've used that Phrase match According to reports, you may find keywords that have no information intent. This means that you will not get ranked on a blog post. For example the SERP suggests that people searching for "table lamps" are in buy mode because the top results are pages in the ecommerce category.
The most frequently used format (e.g. instructions, lists, opinion pieces) in the top positions guides your decision about the structure of your content. For example, most of the results for "best desk lamp" are lists so you need to publish them.
Look for recurring topics on the top pages and write down their unique perspective or opinion. For example, a common aspect of film development is that you can do it at home.
For this guide, the search intent behind "SEO Writing "was pretty clear:
Content type → Blog post / article
Content format → Instructions / instructions
Content angle → complete instructions; Techniques for beginners and / or writers who are new SEO
In order to match the search intent and get a better chance of ranking, I decided to make this comprehensive SEO Resource for writers rather than compiling a recap of quotes or a list of the best writing tips, for example.
Search intent is a generally overlooked ranking factor that you can use to re-optimize existing content.
For example our “What is SEO? "The piece started with a recap of more than 40 SEOs who answered the question and gave their own definition. When we looked back at search intent after a few months, we found that nobody really wanted more than 40 definitions: you mostly wanted to learn, and this gap between their intent and our content likely held the piece back.
So we rewritten the page to better suit search intent, and the traffic increased quite a bit overnight.
3. Determine the subtopics that you need to cover
At this point, you have a strong primary keyword and you know the type, format, and angle of the content you want to write.
Keep your researcher hat up to date a little longer: You will now see the top ranking pages (your "competitors" for this keyword) and the SERP to determine the subtopics you need to cover.
Use a document, text editor, or spreadsheet to write down all of the following information.
Method 1: analyze your competitors' content and headlines
Having a list of headings can help you understand a competitor's content at a glance and get an idea of what subtopics you might need to cover in your article. It will also give you some ideas on how to make yours better, more useful, and more original.
Visit the high ranking pages and see their outlines (i.e. headings). You can use Ahrefs for free SEO Toolbar for quick visualization of headings on every page. Click the checklist icon to open the report on the data page, scroll down until you see a list of headings, and make a note of any common topics.
For this guide, most high-level articles included a “What is SEO Write? ”Subheading that told me to include the definition as that seems to be what seekers are looking for.
Method 2: check PAA Boxing
Go back to Google and search for your primary keyword. People also ask (PAA) can give you an idea of what people might think when they search:
You don't have to answer every single question you see, but you may get a better feel for what people are expecting on your end. In the example above, it looks like people are looking for new content (“2020”).
Method 3: find out what your competitors are ranking for
Knowing what other keywords your competitor pages are ranking by can help ensure that you cover the topic without leaving out anything important.
You can find keyword ranking data by pasting the top ranking urls into Ahrefs' Content Gap tool and clicking "Show Keywords".
Look for similarities between the top pages. Here you are not looking for keywords that should just be "scattered" in your content, but for subtopics that may need to be included in your outline.
4. Create an outline
When you have followed the steps above, you have:
- A primary keyword
- The format, type and angle of your content
- Address relevant subtopics
Now it's time to create an outline. Open a new Google Doc (or any text editor) and write a working title at the top of the page. This will help you clarify and take into account the primary point of view when writing.
Next, write a logical heading structure using an "inverted pyramid" approach. Start with the most important and important information on the topic, and then build your arguments further and logically expand them throughout the article.
In my case I started from a definition of SEO Writing explained why it was important, then moved on to a linear series of instructions. The section on tips that you will read shortly is useful but not critical – a “good to know” that is at the end of the pyramid.
As you get feedback on your outline, it helps to clarify the sections a little. This will help your editor understand how to develop your content and get on the same page as you.
5. Write the draft
You have finally reached the writing stage where you will turn the outline into a fully elaborated draft. As a content writer, you already know what to do – but here are some useful principles to follow:
Write naturally and with your audience in mind
By the time you start writing, most of the key is SEO The elements you need are already there, so you can focus on writing naturally.
Use a conversation tone to avoid tangled sentences and unnecessary "fluff". Tools like Hemingway help you sharpen and simplify your work – although they don't recognize technical or special language, you need to use your judgment.
Remember to keep an eye on your audience. For example, if you want to target a piece for beginners, think about what knowledge they already have and what you need to explain. It can be helpful to imagine a real person and write your design for them.
Use your audience's vocabulary
Unless you're an expert in the industry you're writing for, you can choose general words or phrases that won't resonate with readers and make them trust you less. For example, if you're not into mountaineering, you might not know that "getting to the top of a mountain" is referred to as "the top" – but a sophisticated audience definitely does.
If you don't have firsthand knowledge, you can expand your vocabulary by researching existing content:
- If you write about physical products, read reviews on ecommerce sites like Amazon or check out YouTube video walkthroughs
- When you're writing about a service (such as software), search through specialist forums, blogs, or social media groups
- If the topic is really a niche then you should ask a subject matter expert (SMEs) and reflect their language in your design
Add a unique element or spin
One SEO Outline is a bit like a coloring book: you have the general outlines, but how you fill them in is entirely up to you.
Again, your research pays off because knowing what your competitors have done can help you come up with something unique. For example, most of the content that is for "SEO Writing ”uses general examples: In contrast, I opted for a“ meta ”approach and showed how a real piece develops from the initial idea to publication.
Follow the outline but be ready to change it
You will likely find that one SEO Outlines that make sense in the summary will need to be adjusted as you write your first draft. That's perfectly fine.
For example, my original outline had 4 main steps. However, when I started working it out, it became clear that one of the steps could be broken into two parts: so I made a note in the outline and modified the draft accordingly.
5 simple and effective SEO Writing tips
SEO The letter doesn't end with what you see on the page. If you want your content to get the best rankings and traffic, follow these additional tips to optimize behind-the-scenes content.
- Create a compelling title
- Use short and simple URLs
- Optimize for featured snippets
- Use internal links for context
- Strengthen your content with pictures
1. Create a compelling title
Your title tag is the most visible element in the SERPand you get no traffic (or good SERP Click Rate) when people don't think it's worth clicking.
Take a look at the titles of the top pages and write one that could win the click of the competition. Use your primary keyword and share why your page is matched with search intent and how it offers value. Also use:
- Numbers (e.g. 27 wedding gift ideas or cutting your own hair (4 step instructions))
- Adjectives (e.g. easy, great, fast, cheap)
- Freshness (e.g. Best Whimsical Socks for 2021)
- Brand name (e.g. SEO Guide from Ahrefs)
- Value propositions (e.g., how to make brownies in less than 10 minutes)
- Uniqueness (e.g. app bug: 10 lessons we learned while launching (and killing) our app)
A good writing SEO Title isn't about clickbait: you don't want visitors to come back to the SERPs if your content isn't serving. So be real.
Tip: use a SERP Preview tool to see what your title will look like before you hit publish.
2. Use short and simple URLs
Create an SEO friendly one Url by keeping it short and simple. Your primary keyword is usually sufficient. Short URLs are easier to read, while long ones are truncated in the URL SERP and can lose context.
Avoid using numbers and dates in the Urlas they are hard to change if you update your content in the future.
3. Optimize for featured snippets
Selected snippets are brief summaries that appear at the top of Google's organic search results. Lots of searches have included snippets, and when you get one, your work becomes instantly visible SERP.
For information on optimizing your primary keyword snippet, see SERP to understand the format of the result present. For example, you can see that the featured snippet is a list:
A list snippet is usually pulled from your headings. So if you've analyzed search intent correctly, you should have optimized these snippets by default anyway – just by structuring your article logically.
In other cases, a section of a paragraph may appear:
Here you would like to answer the request briefly and easily.
4. Use internal links for context
You can't cover everything in one article. Use internal links to direct people to additional resources that provide more context. And since Google uses internal links to discover new content, they're great for SEO to.
For example there are many useful ones SEO Copywriting formulas I could have covered in this guide, but that would be a departure from the main point. Instead, I can direct you to companion resources SEO Copywriting and SEO Content if you want to read more.
5. Strengthen your content with pictures
One SEO The author works mostly with words, but images help your readers get along and can add extra depth to your content. Nobody likes a wall of text (unless they're reading a novel): use pictures strategically to create breaks and visualize your points.
Bonus point: Using images as you've seen them so far will also make your readers know you are "real" and what you're talking about, especially when you guide them through certain actions or present your thought process.
If there is ONE What you should learn from this guide is the following: SEO Writing is not about putting keywords in one piece to please search engines or mislead people into clicking on a particular result. It's about writing good content that really serves the audience, which in turn helps you evaluate and drive traffic.
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