Showing up on Google search results isn’t always straightforward or easy.
While you can pay for ads that target specific keywords to show up for, your wallet needs to be pretty deep to keep the traffic rolling in.
Then some smug marketer pokes their head around the corner and says something like, “focusing on Google ads alone doesn’t support a holistic marketing strategy”, which causes your eyes to roll so far back into your head that you have to jerk yourself forward to move them back into place.
The worst part is that you know they’re right.
Sure, you can sink thousands into an ad strategy and completely ignore SEO writing for your website and see some success, but it’s not sustainable by itself in the long term. If you don’t continue to pay into it, you’ll stop seeing results. PPC is great for quick, short-term results, but an organic SEO content strategy should be the main driving force behind your search marketing efforts.
That’s why organic SEO (that includes SEO writing) combined with a consistent PPC budget is a winning strategy every time for search engine marketing. You’ll quickly start seeing how they mesh when you use the insights from your PPC ads to influence your organic SEO strategy.
If you haven’t gotten started with SEO writing for your website yet, the best time to do so is right now.
Let’s take a closer look at the specifics surrounding why.
What is SEO Content Writing?
You might be urgently wanting to get started with SEO writing, but it’s important to understand that it isn’t a sprint, it’s more like a marathon. So let’s start out with a basic overview of what SEO content writing is, including a bit of information about how search engines work.
How Does Google Rank Content
Once Google uses software to crawl an astronomical number of websites, it uses a predetermined set of ranking factors to help it figure out how to organize these websites according to a hierarchy.
But don’t fall into the trap of trying to chase every single ranking factor you can find. Instead, pay attention to the most important SEO writing ranking factors:
- Make your content high quality. If your content serves the searcher’s intent and offers insightful, relevant information, it’ll show up in search results.
- Use relevant keywords. If you’re writing a blog post about waterproof backpacks, don’t veer off-topic and write too much about other types of backpacks. Stay focused on your core keyword and a few variations.
- Use on-page SEO. Ensure that your core keyword appears in the title tag and meta description of your page, and use headings tags, bullets, tables, and lists throughout your content.
Ranking in Search Engines Using SEO Keywords
We can try to get our content to show up for a user’s search query by paying attention to the keywords they use in their search. These keywords could be anything from a brand name to a full sentence (aka long-tail keyword), but knowing which keywords your audience searches for the most often helps us focus our SEO content marketing efforts.
In the old days, search engines were, well, less smart than they are now. They primarily used the prevalence of keywords to determine if a website served a user’s search result, which led to people “stuffing” keywords into their article like a 30-year-old trying to fit into jeans from high school.
Nowadays, search engines are a lot smarter, meaning the age-old keyword stuffing tactic no longer works, and in fact can seriously hinder your SEO writing and affect your page’s ranking if you still do it. Now, it’s better to write for the user, focusing on a specific topic.
With SEO content writing, we can strongly encourage Google to show our content above all others by focusing on writing the most high-quality article on a given topic.
How Does Blogging Help SEO?
Think about it: through SEO blogging, you can answer common questions your customers are asking every day, or provide valuable information about your industry, product, or service. You can also go deeper by analyzing your competitors, compiling keyword lists, and keeping a consistent SEO blogging schedule. The latter is especially important for growing your blog’s readers, or audience, over time. If more people are visiting your blog on a regular basis, that’s another signal to Google that your content is important.
Blogging for SEO also gives you SO MANY opportunities to flex your on-page SEO, in that an article gives you more freedom to use lists, bullet points, tables, and more to serve search results and even land a featured snippet (or rich result).
<iframe src="https://giphy.com/embed/f9jwBVzohvX7LSRqWU" width="480" height="270" frameBorder="0" class="giphy-embed" allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="https://giphy.com/gifs/BritanniaOnEpix-britannia-britanniaonepix-britanniaepix-f9jwBVzohvX7LSRqWU">via GIPHY</a></p>
A rich result is a visual piece of information that search engines like Google show on a results page, which helps your content stand out even more in a sea of blue links. There’s no surefire way to get Google to show your content as a featured snippet, but you can influence the algorithm’s decision by using tables, lists, bullets, etc.
What is an SEO Content Writer?
An SEO content writer uses keyword research to write insightful, relevant content that best serves a search query.
So how do they do it?
Let's say you’re a small business selling backpacks. Of course, you’d want to show up in search results for the keyword “backpacks”, but when you type it into Google yourself, you see there are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of results. So how do you even start to compete with that? Is it worth it to even try?
To be frank, it’s likely going to be really difficult to rank for a general keyword like “backpacks”. There are just so many possibilities with what searchers could be looking for, that it’s better to target a search term that’s more specific like “waterproof backpacks”. This term might still show a ton of search results, but you get the point — it’ll be easier to rank for more specific keywords, as it gives a better idea of the searcher’s intent.
What Skills Should an SEO Content Writer Have?
In general, a good SEO content writer should be able to:
- Conduct effective keyword research. For the SEO writer to figure out what keywords to target, they’ll need to understand your audience and target customers. That’s why SEO writers will often ask you for this information because nobody knows your customers better than you.
- Write content that serves different audiences. From the average person to high-level executives, good writing should speak directly to a target audience by matching their language and providing relevant information they’ll want to read.
- Structure their writing to best serve searcher intent. It’s not enough to have a core keyword and a list of variations, a good SEO writer will be able to structure their writing to serve the searcher's intent using headings, subheadings, bullets, lists, and more.
What Tools Does an SEO Writer Use?
To figure out what keywords to target, an SEO writer will use various tools (Semrush, Ahrefs, Moz, etc.) to analyze, compare, and prioritize keyword opportunities. These tools give the SEO writer important information about how searcher intent is attached to different keywords, as well as the frequency that these keywords appear in search results.
For example, let’s say the SEO writer determined that “SaaS marketing” is a good core keyword. SEO tools say it has a high search volume, and it’s targeted towards the business they are writing for. Perfect.
The number “31” in this screenshot refers to a keyword difficulty score, which some SEO tools (like Ahrefs, which is what we used in the screenshot) assign to keywords to help the writer gauge how tough it’ll be to rank for a keyword. For Ahrefs, a difficulty score of 50 and under is considered a comfortable target.
But search engines like Google are smart. They use a ton of information to serve the best content to satisfy a searcher’s intent, so they’re not just going to look at one keyword and call it a day. Most searchers are going to be using more than one keyword in their search query anyway, so we’ve got to consider keyword variations, or related keywords as well.
Other tools aside from ones like Ahrefs and Semrush are typically used to come up with a list of keyword variations, like People Also Ask (which shows up on the majority of Google search results pages), Answer the Public, and more.
Once a good list of keyword variations is chosen, the writer will target them throughout the SEO content to help make the content as relevant to the searcher intent for the core keyword as possible.
If you're curious, here’s the keyword variations list for SaaS marketing. Can you see why these keywords were chosen?
SEO Content Writing Services
For most companies, the task of figuring out what writing is needed and who should do it is a lot to handle, and most marketers that excel in other areas (like digital marketing, web development, or graphic design) are not, well, writers, meaning you shouldn’t push the work onto them.
In addition, it may not be feasible for your company to hire an internal writer or writing team. Hiring someone new for your company is a big investment, and that person requires training, a salary, vacation days, health benefits, and more. When you hire a content marketing agency, you get access to competent and professional SEO writers that are ready to tackle your blog and website copywriting projects.
SEO content writing services through an agency often provide a wide variety of web writing-related services, from copywriting to blog marketing strategies, with a team of writers that can handle it all.
Roketto specifically provides:
- A strategic, data-driven approach to writing instead of using intuition or gut feelings to create content. We’ll look at your website’s past and present data to determine future content opportunities that can be capitalized on immediately.
- Topic development and planning, including creating well-researched keyword lists with excellent content opportunities that can be built out into blog posts, pillar pages, and more.
- Structured content calendars outline a consistent posting schedule, keeping your audience engaged with a steady stream of new, fresh content.
- Professional formatting and publishing so your content looks and reads amazing and follows technical SEO best practices.
- Insightful reporting so you know which pieces of content are driving the most traffic to your website, and where improvements can be made or further opportunities can be found.
Thankfully, most agencies (Roketto included) can offer a personalized content strategy that will show results but still fits within your company's needs and budget.
Hiring an SEO Content Writing Agency
There are a TON of agencies offering content writing services out there, and not all of them are top-tier. It takes time for good SEO content to show results, so if big promises are made right off the bat, that’s a red flag. You should probably run. Like, run really fast in the opposite direction.
The truth about SEO is that you can’t directly control anything, including rankings. Remember, the Google algorithm is continuously learning and changing, and the developers are pushing fixes and updates almost daily. With so many moving parts behind the scenes, it’s impossible for an SEO content writing agency to make any definitive claims about how the content will appear on the search engine.
Before you hire an SEO content writing agency, you’ll have to do your research. A good place to start is to ensure that they:
- Follow SEO best practices
- Have a rock-solid SEO writing process
- Provide insightful reporting
- Outline how they measure success
- Provide a detailed outline of the work they will provide
You may also want to read reviews from their former clients, examine their case studies, and check for industry-related ratings and reviews websites such as Clutch or Upcity. Taking these extra steps before making a decision will save you time, money, and a whole lot of unnecessary pain
Writing Services that an SEO Content Agency Offers
You might think that all web writing is the same, but with so much content online, some content writing agencies might specialize in writing only one type of content, such as blog articles. It helps to take a step back and figure out exactly what type of writing you’ll need before choosing an agency, rather than assume that every SEO content agency will be able to cover all your writing needs.
Different writing services that an SEO content agency can offer include:
Full-length articles that appear on a specific section on your website
General copy for all or some of the pages on your website
Downloadable resources that explain a product or service, sort of like a brochure
Once you know exactly what type of content you need to be produced, it’ll be easier to select an agency that provides the services you need.
Using Content Writing Tools for SEO
Understanding the different tools that SEO writers commonly use can be beneficial. You may even learn a thing or two about writing your own SEO content!
Common tools that SEO content writers will use include:
Content writing tools for SEO
Keyword research (e.g. Ahrefs, Semrush, Moz)
Provides a bunch of built-in functions that help SEO content writers make educated decisions about the content they write, including the keywords that they use, what topics to write about, and more.
SEO exploration (Answer the public, People Also Ask, etc.)
Provides more information about searcher intent, which helps the writer determine what content to include in their article.
Spelling and grammar checkers (e.g. Grammarly, Hemingway, EasyBib)
Helps the writer ensure that their spelling and grammar are accurate throughout their article or piece of content.
Usually created in advance in word processing document, and helps the writer stay organized in terms of the direction of the article, the keywords that need to be present, and so on.
Dictionaries, thesauruses, etc.
Helps the writer with word definitions, synonyms, and general writing effectiveness.
Content scoring (e.g. Yoast, Clearscope, Frase)
Helps the writer they are including all the necessary components in the article to give it the best chance to rank by giving the article a score based on SEO best practices.
5 SEO Content Writing Tips That You Can Action Immediately
Whether you’re planning on hiring an SEO content writer or wanting to learn a bit more about the industry, these tips are good to know.
Pick a topic and relevant keywords
Before you start writing, you’ll need to figure out what you want to write about. This process requires keyword research to find the most popular questions and topics your audience is searching, so you can align your content with their search intent.
If you want to outshine your competition, gain leads, and increase traffic to your site, you’ll want to use SEO tools to help you narrow down the best keywords (and topics) to write about first. Semrush is a great keyword research and SEO optimization tool that offers a free version, Google’s Keyword Planner (even though it’s PPC-focused, you can still use it for keyword ideas), Keyword.io, and Moz Keyword Explorer are examples of other free, yet effective keyword research tools you can use to get started.
Structure your Content Using an Information Hierarchy
Structuring your content properly, whether it’s a blog article or landing page, helps Google understand what content on the page is the most important (starting with content on the top) and helps the reader find the information they are looking for. When planning out your headings, you should naturally want to use the core keyword and variations you came up in your keyword research.
If your headings include the keywords that you want to target, you’re telling everyone who looks at your content that these words are important.
Readers online tend to skim content more than they actually read it, so a good information hierarchy using headings (H1 for the first heading, and then H2 and H3 for subheadings. Don’t go past H3 — start a new section instead) will help users land on the information they need easier.
Use Images, Gifs, and Videos
Nobody likes to read a giant wall of text, so using media to break up your content is always a good idea. Images, gifs, and videos are eye-catching to a reader, but remember to only put them where it makes sense in the content. Don’t forget that there can be too much of a good thing.
When in Doubt, Cite!
SEO Content writers are not experts in everything they write. Research is a huge part of the writing process. But as writers gather research, they need to make sure that they are telling the reader where they got the information from. This not only tells the reader that the writing is credible, but it also helps with SEO; a search engine can use the information from your external links as one of the factors to help it figure out whether your content is high-quality or not.
SEO writing is a huge industry where you’re going to find a lot of awesome players, and maybe some that are not so awesome. Arming yourself with knowledge about the industry in general and how search engines work will help you immensely when it comes to hiring a great SEO content writer or even giving it a try yourself.
Roketto is all about content. We love crafting great pieces, from blog articles to web copy, that helps promote businesses. If you’re itching to reap the benefits that SEO writing can offer, then give us a call.