So, you want to learn how to write SEO content the right way?
Lucky for you, SEO copywriting is a straightforward process you can master with a bit of patience and hard work.
In this guide, I’m going to show you how to can write SEO content that will rank amazingly online and drive more leads to your website.
Specifically, you’ll learn how to:
- Plan SEO content using keyword research
- Write SEO content using proven copywriting methods
- Optimize SEO to achieve great results
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents:
- Chapter 1: Perform Keyword Research
- Chapter 2: Create an Outline
- Chapter 3: Start Writing
- Chapter 4: Optimize
Chapter 1: Perform Keyword Research
Keyword research is the main driver of SEO campaigns.
It involves finding keywords people are using to find things online and using the search terms on your website to draw them there.
It ultimately forms the basis of the topic you’ll write about and the keywords you’ll use. Also, keyword research lets you know which search terms will drive more traffic back to your website.
Before we get started in this chapter, let’s discuss some important keyword research terms:
- Volume: This is the number of people searching for the keyword or search term.
- Keyword Difficulty: This is a level of difficulty of ranking for a particular keyword.
- Intent: This is what an internet user is looking for when searching for a keyword.
Use a Keyword Research Tool:
Before writing, you’ll need to decide what you want to write about and how it can lead traffic back to your website.
So you can learn how to write SEO content the right way, let’s use an example.
Let’s say that your company offers a product that makes starting an LLC easier. You know your target audience and you know one of their pain points is that they’re confused about the entire process.
In fact, you want to teach your potential customers about what an LLC is. After conducting a search of “what is an LLC”, you find the following search results:
Right off the bat, you see two competitors: NOLO and How to Start an LLC.
Clearly, they’re ranking well for this keyword and you want to steal most of their online business. Though, you have no idea how many people are searching for this keyword or how to rank for it.
Enter: keyword research tools.
For this example, we’re going to use Semrush.
Let’s type in the keyword “what is an LLC” into the search bar in Semrush to see what kind of data comes up:
Alright, here are some key observations:
- This keyword is very popular! 27,100 people are searching for this keyword every month.
- This keyword is obviously difficult to rank for.
- This is an informational keyword. People who search for it are looking to learn something new.
Choose Main and Secondary Keywords:
With this basic data, you can use “what is an LLC” as your main keyword. Next, you can use the “Keyword Variations” and “Related Keywords” sections on Semrush to add secondary keywords to your list:
As you can see, these keywords are bringing in some great search volume. Some are increasingly less difficult to rank for.
Determine the User Intent:
Finally, let’s take a look at the intent of this keyword. What does “informational” really mean?
All this means is that your content should be designed primarily to educate an audience. If the intent was commercial, then you would need to design a landing page to convert internet users instead.
NOLO wrote a great blog about LLCs and you can see where they added a call-to-action (CTA) to one of their services:
Alright, I’ve shown you how to conduct basic keyword research to collect data about search terms. I’ve also demonstrated how to choose main and secondary keywords, as well as explain user intent.
Now, I’m going to describe the process of creating an SEO content outline.
Chapter 2: Create an Outline
Creating an outline is going to be the easiest part of learning how to write SEO content.
Every SEO content outline looks different because the structure is totally up to you.
I personally use Google Docs to create my outline. Here’s what they look like:
Whether you’re doing the writing yourself or hiring a writer, creating a detailed outline is vital.
Here are some my personal tips you can follow:
- Add points of emphasis to guide your writing. These can be written kind of like speaker notes.
- I didn’t add this in the outline above, but make sure to add the word count and detail how many words each section should be.
- If you’re writing an outline for a writer, add other important details like your company’s tone and voice. This will save you so many future headaches.
Once your outline is done, the hard work begins. Let’s discuss how to write the best SEO content.
Chapter 3: Start Writing
Most people think of SEO writers like stuffy professional authors.
In reality, your average SEO writer is closer to your skillset than Mark Twain. In this chapter, I’m going to explain all of the copywriting tips I use to write remarkable SEO content.
Lead With a Hook:
I remember I wrote one of the most boring articles of all time:
“How to create a minimum viable product”.
The concept is very technical and you have to be into software development to really understand it. Soon, I stumbled upon an article that used a great hook to lure me into the concept:
People only stay on website pages for 10-20 seconds. This means you don’t have a whole lot of time to catch your audience’s attention. Using a hook is the best way to keep internet users on your blog engaged.
Here are some examples you can use:
- Anecdotes: People have been using anecdotes for centuries, in writing and general conversation. If you have an interested story to share, go right ahead.
- Statistics: If you’re writing an informational article, you can lead with a surprising statistic. Just make sure its relevant and something you can’t find easily on the internet.
- Social Proof: If you’re an influencer or blogger teaching an audience how to do something, show them proof you have mastered the concept. For example, you can take a snapshot of your recent YouTube metrics if you’re demonstrating how to grow a YouTube channel.
Get Straight to the Point:
When I started as an SEO writer, I was told to beef up the introduction to at least 100 words.
This meant I was to write a whole bunch of fluff and unnecessary text just to meet a specific word count.
Let me make something very clear.
If someone visits your website, they want to immediately know if it’s what they’re looking for. Don’t waste their time telling them a bunch of things they already know.
For example, if you’re writing a blog about how to file a 1099 form, don’t spend the beginning of the article explaining what the form is.
The person visiting your website likely already knows the basics of 1099 forms and just wants to know how to file them.
When writing SEO content, get straight to the point and never write fluff.
Use Conversational Language:
It’s no secret that people want to connect with a brand on a deep, personal level.
In fact, consumers expect this to happen.
The best way to connect with your audience is writing to them like you’re a friend. Doing this will improve your content’s readability and help you break down topics easily.
It’ll also prove that you have mastery in the topic you’re writing about. All in all, the best writers are able to break down any topic for a sixth grader to understand.
Using long paragraphs and complex words won’t impress anyone. SEO articles are meant to rank and convert. They’re not college essays.
Write for Humans, Not Search Engines:
Look, I get it…
Search engines like Google and Bing are going to crawl your content and rank it online. It makes sense to use as many relevant keywords as possible to make the crawling process easier.
But, SEO articles are for the end user: your audience. The mistake that many writers make is stuffing keywords unnaturally in their articles in order for them to rank better online.
Newsflash: Google caught on to this spammy practice years ago and they’re paying attention.
Write content that’ll help people first. Optimize it with your list of keywords last.
Writing great content takes time. Back in the day, I used to crank out well-written articles in about an hour.
The problem is that these “well-written” articles were usually unfocused and needed a lot of editing and SEO work.
My advice to you is to take your time and pace yourself. Writer’s block is real, so take plenty of time to relax and get inspiration before typing away.
Avoid Jargon and Buzzwords:
Jargon is industry language that is unknown to ordinary people. Buzzwords are like jargon, but they’re more far more trendy.
Now, if you’re writing technical content for an expert-level audience, go ahead and use both.
But, if you’re writing SEO content for beginners of a concept, you should steer clear from words they may not know.
This will improve your content’s engagement and drive home your main message.
Show, Not Tell:
When writing SEO content, it’s important to show someone how to do something rather than tell them.
Actionable content is extremely relatable and popular.
Just take a look at Brian Dean’s blog at Backlinko.
Brian is an SEO expert that goes into deep detail about how to run SEO campaigns:
Use images, snapshots, graphs, infographics, and videos to add more value to your content.
This is a major step of creating authoritative content that will rank better online.
Chapter 4: Optimize
Now comes the fun part: optimizing SEO content. Believe it or not, but optimization is a creative process. When the writing is done, all you’re doing is adding the finishing touches to your content.
Below, I’ll discuss some of my content optimization methods:
There’s nothing more embarrassing than constant spelling and grammatical mistakes.
Publishing unfinished content is a great way for people to not take your content seriously. Therefore, I beg you to create a Grammarly account.
This way, you can proofread anything you write before final publication.
Use the Hemingway Editor App:
Another useful copywriting tool you can use is the Hemingway Editor app. This app checks an article’s readability and helps writers to:
- Avoid using passive voice instead of active voice
- Create easy-to-read sentences
- Use simple words and phrases
When using the app, strive to keep your content below a 9th-grade reading level.
Use Surfer SEO:
Surfer SEO is one of my favorite tools. It’s a content optimization tool that allows writers to fill their content full of main and secondary keywords.
Here’s what the dashboard looks like:
On the right of the panel, you can see a list of keywords and a content score. The goal is to improve the content score by adding more keywords naturally into the content.
Surfer SEO gives helpful recommendations about word count, headings, and even images. It’s the all-in-one content tool for writing optimized content that will crush your online competition.
On top of that, it’s pretty easy to use and works like a word processor, meaning you can write and edit at the same time.
Use Yoast SEO:
If you run a WordPress website, you should absolutely download the Yoast SEO plugin.
This plugin allows you to:
- Add focus and related keywords
- Grade your content by determining how likely it is to rank well online
- Optimize your meta title and description
- Track the SEO performance of your content
Yoast SEO is WordPress’ top content writing tool by far. Make sure your content has a high grade before moving on.
How Long Does it Take to Rank Content on Google?
It usually takes 2-6 months to begin ranking on Google’s first page. Of course, this will depend on the competitiveness and popularity of your keywords, as well as the aggressiveness of your SEO campaign.
Need Help Writing SEO Content?
As you can see, learning how to write SEO content is a pretty simple process. All you have to do is follow the tips I’ve laid out to get started.
But, if you don’t have the time to do all this and need help, you should reach out to me.
My team and I can help you craft the best SEO content for your website.
Founder of Blog Seminary, a content marketing agency based in Memphis, TN. Also a proud husband and father of two.