How to write SEO content for website

How to write SEO content for a website

There’s been an awful lot written about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) on the internet, and there’s good reason for that. Optimising your site for the search engines is one of most impactful things you can do to get targeted traffic to your website that’s genuinely interested in what you do.

So that’s why you want SEO content for your website, but what is SEO content?

We’ve covered this in far more detail in our article on what is SEO copywriting, but here are the basics:

SEO copywriting is, very simply, writing for your ideal audience first, and writing for the search engines a close second.

In 2017, SEO content writing isn’t a case of stuffing your keywords into your content as much as you possibly can. You need to write naturally for your audience and give them the type of persuasive content they can’t wait to read, with the aim of getting them to take action, either by actually buying something, or signing up to your mailing list.

But in addition to that, you need to carefully use your keywords and phrases throughout your copy, so that the search engines gauge your site to be useful on your subject matter, and your audience can find you when they put those keywords into a search engine.How to write SEO content for website

Bruce Bendinger, in his book The Copy Workshop Workbook, defined copywriting as:

“Copywriting is a job. A skilled craft. Verbal carpentry. Words on paper. Scripts to time. And one more thing. Salesmanship.”

SEO copywriting is a part of your wider marketing strategy to satisfy the search engines, drive traffic to your website, build your brand, engage your customers, and persuade them to buy.

Now here are the practicalities of how to write SEO content for websites:

1. Know your keywords

Working out what keywords you want to target and why has got to be the first step, before you write any content.

Luckily, there are plenty of keyword tools you can use to find the right ones for your business.

Free keyword tool

Google Adwords Keyword Planner – This is the planner you would use if you want to create Google Adwords, but it’s free to sign up and to use, without having to create any ads.

Free to a point, and then paid

SERPS Tool Keyword Research – Another Google keyword research tool, which still gives you search volume, cost per click, and a whole list of related keywords that you might want to target, too. You can do 3 free searches before you have to sign up, but even then, there’s a 30-day free trial before you have to pay, which should be plenty to get you started.

SEMRush – This one’s brilliant in terms of how much detail you get, with related keywords, keywords for ads, long-tail keywords, analysis of what works on desktop and mobile, and even keywords in other languages from 26 countries. The downside? You can’t even search for one keyword to try without having to enter your email address, and the paid version starts at $99.95 per month. However, if you’re truly serious about getting your keywords right and you have the budget, it could well be worth it.

SERPStat – Similar to SEMRush in many ways, but if you sign up, you have 30 free searches per day, and plans start at only $19 per month. You get competitor analysis, organic and paid keywords, long-tail keywords, and cost per click.

SpyFu – Want to know what keywords your competitors use? Of course, you do! Well, here it is. SpyFu can bring you up to 11 years of data on where your competitors are on Google, the keywords they use, ads they’ve run, and a lot more. You can even export the results as a PDF. And for all that info, prices start at a pretty reasonable $33 per month.

Try using SERPstat and SpyFu together and comparing the results so you know you’re getting the best possible information.

Now you know what your keywords are, you’re ready to plan content that wows your customers and the search engines.

2. Know what your customers want

There’s no point in writing brilliant, perfectly keyworded content if it’s not going to attract and engage your ideal customer.How to write SEO content for website

If you’ve done your research and you have your buyer personas already worked out, you’re likely to know a lot about your potential customers, from their tastes and where they shop, to what they like to read.

If you haven’t done that exercise yet, here’s a fantastic article from Optin Monster on how to do just that, with plenty of examples and templates you can use.

Now you’re well on your way to being able to write perfectly targeted content that converts.

3. Create content that your customers can’t wait to read and share

Having done all that preparation before you started writing, you’re now in the best position possible to write content that hits the spot with your customers, and the search engines.

A mix of videos, audio/podcasts, infographics, short tips, short blogs and long-form content tends to work well. People learn and absorb information in different ways. Some people like to watch a demonstration, others like to listen to the information, and yet others prefer to read. A good mix of all of those formats gives you the best chance of reaching a wide, engaged audience.

Where to get content ideas

This could be an article all on its own, as there are so many sources of inspiration around, but here are a few ideas to get you started:

• Look at Quora. When you sign up, you get to choose the topics you are interested in, and there are thousands of questions being asked every week on a huge range of subject. Look at the questions being asked, and there are your topic ideas.

• Special days and events. Every year there are days celebrating all sorts of subjects and occasions. While the main holidays, such as Christmas, are obvious, have a look at these calendars for inspiration: Awareness Days and Days of the Year.

• Remember SERPstat that we mentioned above? When you do your keyword research, have a look at the search terms under Content Marketing. Why? Because those terms on their own could be great topics for your blog, and if you cross one or more topics, you can easily come up with new content ideas.

• Check your competitors’ blogs. We don’t mean that you should steal their ideas, but there’s nothing wrong with getting inspiration.

• Look at your blog comments and your competitors’ blog comments. What are people asking? What points are people raising? Those could make brilliantly targeted blog posts, too.

When you’re looking for content ideas, always go back to your buyer personas and double check that your idea fits with what you know they want.

And for more on how to write great content, check out our guide.

4. Check how you are doing

How to write SEO content for websiteThe search engines never stand still. They’re always updating and refining their results to give users a better experience. That means you can’t stand still either.

Here are a few activities you should employ to ensure your website stays fresh and relevant – meaning you stay in prime position in the search engine rankings:

• Keep reading and staying up to date on the latest SEO developments, and continuously improving your results.

• Check Google Analytics regularly to see how you’re doing in terms of gaining traffic, what terms people are searching for when they find you, where your traffic is coming from, and more.

• Keep checking SpyFu to see how your competitors are doing.

• Regularly give your content an SEO audit.

For further reading on SEO, here is a superb checklist of SEO tips from Pixel Kicks.

Getting your content right is a whole lot of work. It’s worth it, but it can take up a considerable amount of time. If you’d like those results, without quite so much effort, why not hire a content writer?

 

Main image credit: NOGRAN s.r.o.
Image credits: Perzon SEO, Elaine SmithPerzon SEO

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6 awesome content writing tools you should be using

When it comes down to it, writing content can be painstaking. Even the most accomplished writers and those buzzing with fresh and exciting ideas struggle. They’ll find themselves staring at that poster on the wall, twiddling their thumbs and wondering where their next 400 words are coming from. The good news is this: there are lots of helpful and creative people out there, and they’ve come up with many handy content writing tools.

Here are 6 tools that we found particularly useful for all stages of the content writing process.

Quora

Use this tool for: Research, generating ideas and adding bulk to content

Get inspiration for content by visiting Quora, a social networking site that operates on a question and answer discussion basis. Sign up, pose your question and have it answered by experts in your industry, or identify trends from grouped topics. The likes of Stephen Fry, Rand Fishkin and Ashton Kutcher are all present and active on the site.

Quora is particularly useful for gathering quotes to add colour to your content, although of course you should always be aware of provenance. This article by SEMRush outlines the benefits of Quora for marketers.

InboundWriter

Use this tool for: Informing your content creation plan

How often have you and your team sat down to discuss content formulation, only to find yourselves doodling on scraps of paper and making outlandish suggestions that you know are never going to work?

Available as a web app or a WordPress plug-in, InboundWriter is invaluable when you’re forming your content creation plan. It provides marketers with an idea of how well content will perform prior to it even being written, using research data from across the web to analyse how that topic or area of interest is resonating with web users.

The tool can also recommend keywords for you to use; the only downside is that, unlike the other resources detailed in this article, it isn’t free.

We entered “6 awesome content writing tools you should be using” into the Emotional Marketing Headline Analyser. This received an EMV of 66.7%. According to the site, professional headlines have an EMV of between 30% and 40%, while gifted writers rank around 60 or 70%. In other words, it appears that ours is a great title!

Hemingway

Use this tool for: Cutting initial drafts and fine-tuning copy

Ernest Hemingway was one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, and he almost never wasted a word. His unique and tight writing style substituted lengthy, flowery prose for short, minimalist sentences. He also used plenty of repetition and relied on punctuation to convey meaning to the reader.

Nobody expects you to write like a Nobel Prize-winning novelist. Yet this handy little editing tool can give you suggestions on where to improve. Hemingway highlights sentences and words for clarity and readability and flags up use of the passive voice.

Don’t get caught up in trying to impress your readership. As content marketing whiz kid Neil Patel suggests: “you want to write as simply as possible to reach the biggest audience.” Paste your copy into the editor when finished and tweak where necessary.

Yes, we did check this paragraph in Hemingway. Here’s the original copy for an idea of how it works.

AtomicWriter

Use this tool for: Tailoring the voice of your content to your target audience

When you’re marketing a business or topic that you know like the back of your hand, it can be hard to look at it ‘from the outside’, as your readers would.

This brilliant tool, created by Toronto-based Atomic Reach and available as a WordPress plugin, is designed to help you stay on track with your blogging. It syncs with Google Analytics and your social media accounts, using this data to accurately inform how you can tailor your blog content to your target audience.

AtomicWriter is simple to use; just enter your copy into WordPress as usual and the plug-in will give you suggestions on how you can alter your post to make it clearer for the readership you had in mind. Articles are scored with a numerical Atomic Score (the higher the better) and you’ll be given an indication of Audience Match, which determines whether or not you should tweak further.

Quora - one of the best content writing tools
Quora – great for content research

Grammarly

Use this tool for: The final proofreading and editing stage

Not everyone is a naturally talented writer and most of us don’t have the time to be combing through finished drafts looking for errors. However, content rife with errors screams of a business that is unprofessional, so what do you do?

Grammarly is a plug-in that checks and corrects any spelling, grammar or punctuation mistakes it finds in your text. Grammarly works with all major browsers, as well as Microsoft Office, and will appear in any text editors or dialog boxes you open, in the form of a small, green, clickable circle. You have to sign up to Grammarly, but it isn’t intrusive, and doesn’t take much effort to use. The alternative could include simple mistakes such as this, so using this tool is a no brainer.

Emotional Marketing Headline Analyser

Use this tool for: Finding effective headlines

Choosing an effective headline is notoriously difficult. It can often be tempting just to summarise the basics of the article or adopt a lazy, clichéd pun and move on to the next item on your to-do list. However, as Jodi Harris highlights for Content Marketing Institute, there are a number of aspects you need to conform to, all of which seemingly contradict each other.

Advanced Marketing Institute’s free, web-based tool is handy as it gives you an idea of the emotional response your headline will garner with your audience.

We entered “6 awesome content writing tools you should be using” which received an EMV of 66.7%. According to the site, professional headlines have an EMV of between 30% and 40%, while gifted writers rank around 60 or 70%. In other words, it appears that ours is a great title!

The analyser isn’t perfect and it doesn’t really give you an idea of the keywords you need to use, but it’s useful for helping you understand what your readership looks out for.

These six content writing tools alone won’t provide a magic solution, but have a play with them and see what you think. You might learn something new!

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SEM-Tool.com Review

There are hundreds of SEO tools out there, each with different features and pros and cons.

One of the most in-demand features right now is keyword research and ideation. As Google continues to refine its algorithm, and reward those who are regularly publishing quality, relevant content, SEOs are increasingly looking to create this content on a regular basis.

Finding the phrases that people are commonly searching for when creating this content is a constant challenge, and a new platform, SEM Tool, has been designed specifically to help with this. In this review, I’ll look at the product in more detail.

SEM-Tool.com homepage
SEM-Tool.com homepage

First impressions

The site has a clean design and a clear user interface with a box to enter your desired head search term, as well as check boxes for various different search engines and other sites. Users can search for results on the following sites:

Google
Bing
YouTube
Amazon
DuckDuckGo
eBay
Google Play
Qwant
Wikipedia
WolframAlpha
Yahoo
Yandex

Users can also filter results by country. To test out the tool I entered the term blog writers.

Free vs. paid features

For free, users can search for keyword ideas based on data from the sites above. For an additional fee, they can see search volume, estimated cost per click and view their domain’s position for the terms listed in the results.

Shortly after signing up, I received an email from an account manager informing me that I had received some complimentary free credits to use some of the paid features on the site, which was a nice touch and enabled me to try out some of the paid-for features.

SEM Tools results page
SEM Tools results page

Accessing and using the data

Once you have performed a search, you can view the results in a series of columns, which can be toggled to view data in ascending/descending order. You can also download the results in a .xls/csv spreadsheet, which enables you to manipulate the data further.

Summary

As I started out by saying, there are hundreds of SEO tools on the market, many of which contain the features of SEM-Tool.com and more. Whether or not this product will be able to compete given its fairly limited functionality remains to be seen – the addition of a more detailed Rankings Tracker and ‘Potential Analysis’ features listed on the site as ‘coming soon’ may broaden its appeal.

This is a simple, useful tool, which will be a great help to those in need of keyword ideation for content marketing. It won’t, however, replace your chosen suite of SEO tools just yet.

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Ask an SEO – Jonathan Argile of twentysix

In the first Ask an SEO feature of 2015 I chatted with Jonathan Argile. I asked him about his role as Head of Search Operations at twentysix and the SEO trends we can expect to see in the year ahead.

Jonathan Argile
Jonathan Argile twentysix.

Q) Hi Jonathan, could you start by telling us how you got into SEO?

A) My history is not the typical “agency” SEO background you would expect.  I actually started working across SEO in some form or another during my university placement year which was a client side marketing role and then further developing in additional Digital Marketing roles client side before moving to agency. These roles however also included working across other digital marketing elements such as email marketing, paid search and aspects of development.

I only started working in a pure SEO role once I moved agency side back in 2012 with a role at Stickyeyes, before moving across the City Centre to start at twentysix in the summer of 2014.

Q) Tell us a bit about your agency, twentysix?

A) twentysix is a full service digital marketing agency with offices in Leeds, London, New York and Singapore. Our services within the Search area of the business include SEO, PPC, social media, affiliates and CRO making up over 40 members of Staff with a further 60 plus staff members working within the Development side of the business which includes Mobile & Website Development and our UX team.

twentysix is a fast paced, passionate agency where we have a real hunger to drive the best ROI for our clients.

Q) Leeds has a thriving digital marketing community, what’s it like to be part of it?


A) Leeds is a fantastic hotbed of search agencies with great pool of talented individuals which is ultimately pushing the industry forward, especially in Yorkshire. twentysix itself has some really strong competition from some great rival agencies which means we are pushed regularly to be one of the best and consistently develop and enhance our proposition.

Media City Leeds
Media City Leeds

Q) What is the first thing you do when you start a new SEO campaign for a client?


A) It really depends on what our client’s objectives are and what the scope of work is. This can be anything from technical analysis to data gathering and analytical reporting or even pure outreach and creative campaigns. But what we take real pride in is our complete immersion within a client and their activities; we are ultimately as an agency an extension of their company and so should be fully integrated and up to speed with everything that they are.

Q) As an agency, what are the metrics and KPIs that campaigns are measured against?


A) We focus on real world results. Rankings and search visibility are great, but there are far too many inaccuracies and uncertainties within third party metrics such as Moz’s domain authority, which means as an agency we can use these as comparison metrics but not alone.

We work to bottom line figures; we’re driven by the client’s KPIs and their business needs to drive the best ROI. Reporting, accountability and transparency are the core to our approach.

Q) What has been the most significant change in your time in SEO?


A) There have been so many changes across digital as a whole from the rise of mobile search to the launch of Panda, Penguin and Pigeon algorithm updates, but “not provided” has been a real game changer for not just agencies but clients themselves. There has been a real shift from having SEO KPIs purely based on rankings to incorporating traffic, revenue and overall organic visibility of brands and that ranking for “Golden” high volume terms are not the be all and end all of SEO campaigns. There is so much more that agencies should be focussing on such as the actual monetary return on investment for clients and showing a clear bottom line progression.

Q) What are your SEO predictions for the year ahead?


A)  SEO evolves so fast that most predictions within this industry are blown out of the water with something completely new and unthought-of by the end of the year. What I really see in the year ahead includes:
•    The further development and refinement of the recent Pigeon update within the UK market.
•    A real focus from clients on the closer unity of SEO within the digital marketing mix. How SEO impacts and reacts with the other marketing channels.
•    Further refinement from Google on the Penguin algorithm and the manipulation within a sites backlink profile.
•    A significant change within mobile search from how Google interacts with un-optimised sites.
•    A better understanding from Google on user experience and how this differs between markets and industries, UX is not one size fits all and certainly isn’t determined by Google but remains with the user.
•    The rise of new technology – the game isn’t just desktop, mobile and tablet, welcome to smart watches and many more devices.

Watch out for more Google Pigeon updates
Watch out for more Google Pigeon updates

Q) What are your top SEO tips for sites with little/no budget?


A) As a business clearly define realistic key organic search objectives and make your agency work for you not the other way around. Be realistic in where you are and where you want to be, if you have clear objectives you won’t get led down the wrong path. Be aware that search engine optimisation is not an off the shelf product or one off buy, it is a continual process of implementation and development which should be involved and integrated with all of your marketing activities.

Q) What are your favourite SEO tools and why?


A) As far as I am concerned, SEO is all about variety, there are some fantastic tools in the market from link analysis tools such as Moz, Majestic and Ahrefs to visibility and ranking platforms such as Searchmetrics and Brightedge but never forget Google’s continually developing arsenal of testing and reporting tools within Webmaster tools and analytics. Working in SEO, we should always test and try new tools in the marketplace because we are always pushing the barriers and can never stand still.

Everyone's favourite SEO Rockstar - Rand Fishkin
Everyone’s favourite SEO Rockstar – Rand Fishkin

Q)Who are your favourite SEO ‘rockstars’?
A) The SEO community is such a diverse group of professionals with varying knowledge, expertise and advice. Personally I am open to listening and reading to as many peoples and agencies opinions as possible. I have a tweetdeck specifically set up to follow blogs, agencies, SEO and digital marketers which is constantly updated when I come across interesting new information which I could test and implement across my clients.

For any person wanting to develop their knowledge of SEO the UK has some great events and conferences such as Searchlove and Brighton SEO, which really highlight the quality the UK has in SEO professionals, but I would also highly recommend following guys like Bill Slawski, Rand Fishkin, Barry Schwartz and of course Mr Matt Cutts.

Read up on sites like SearchEngineLand, SearchEngineWatch, SEORoundtable and read the detailed information across Moz’s Blogs and guides. But don’t forget the UK market is a very different animal to US so take some information with a pinch of salt!

 

Are you an SEO with a story to tell? Email help(at)copify.com to be featured.

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