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.
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
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
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?