In the world of search engine optimisation, content is king. Whether you’re writing web pages, blog posts or articles, content is an important element of SEO.
As Sonia Simone, the co-founder and Chief Content Officer of Copyblogger, says:
“If you make a living with words, or you want to, you owe it to yourself — and your clients — to gain a reasonable level of SEO literacy.”
So, if you’re wondering how to become an SEO content writer, take a look at our top tips to ensure your success.
1. Study… and study some more!
Earn a degree
Having a relevant degree isn’t compulsory, but some employers (if you’re looking for a full-time position rather than freelance work) may specify a degree requirement; usually in English, journalism, communications or other similar fields.
A bachelor’s degree or a similar course can provide you with the skills you need to be successful at content writing, so they’re always worth considering. For example, an English or journalism degree will improve your editing, proofreading, grammar, and creative and technical writing, and you’ll also gain good research skills, including finding and citing relevant sources.
Learn programming languages
Any aspiring SEO content writer should also consider studying programming languages, whether in their own time or by applying for a course. As a writer, it’s unlikely you will need to master programming languages completely, but having an understanding of the programmes used by an SEO professional could make you stand out when applying for jobs or freelance work.
Know everything there is to know about SEO
If you want to write great SEO copy, you need to understand how search engines work. This may sound technical, but learning to write for search engines is easier than you think. The best way to do this is to keep on top of any new developments in algorithms as well as the latest trends. SEO expert Bradley Shaw lists his top trends for 2019 here.
Alongside keeping on top of search engine optimisation trends, you’ll need to ensure you have a good understanding of keyword placement and density as well as how to apply these strategies when you’re writing blog posts, web pages, articles and press releases.
You may also find it worthwhile to learn how Google crawls pages and gives out link authority in order to build a successful strategy. Remember, successful content writing is all about writing and linking multiple blog posts, not just posting one blog and hoping for the best.
2. Build up a portfolio and get as much experience as possible
If you’re hoping to work as a freelance SEO content writer, building up a portfolio is very important. You will need this to showcase your work and skills in order to convince clients they should work with you. In addition to collating a history of any previous publications, you could consider starting up your own blog or guest posting on other sites. However, remember to focus on your niche as much as possible and accumulate as many different samples of your work as you can.
On the other hand, if you’re just starting out as an SEO content writer and you don’t have a lot of work to add to your portfolio, try creating your own samples to showcase your skills. Other great ways to get content writing experience include:
• Guest posting for free
• Networking with other writers in your niche
• Letting people know you’re available for hire
• Asking for a referral
• Pitching your own ideas to potential clients
• Joining Facebook groups and LinkedIn
• Signing up to a copywriting service like Copify
3. Master the art of research
When writing SEO content, you’ll need to master the art of incorporating keywords into your writing in order to optimise your client’s ranking on the search engines. Some clients will provide a list of keywords they would like you to include in your copy, but others will leave the task of developing a keyword list to you. If this is the case, you’ll need to be able to perform successful keyword research.
A good keyword research strategy will include creating a list of the most relevant topics based on what you know about the business and researching related search terms. You may also need to look into your client’s competitors and see how they are ranking for these keywords. Once you’ve completed these steps, you can then use a tool such as the Google AdWords Keyword Planner to cut down your list.
However, there are a couple of other important things to bear in mind, including not over-optimising your content or keyword stuffing. Neil Patel says:
“If you want to write the best content that will rank well in Google, you have to target keyword phrases. Avoid stuffing keywords or over-optimisation. Ideally, put the keyword in your headline, but make sure that it reads smoothly for your readers.”
4. Don’t forget about social media
A large part of SEO writing is encouraging other people to share your work on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms, which will increase the authority of your content and will boost its ranking in Google for your chosen keywords. Because of this, any aspiring content writer should ensure they’re familiar with the most popular social media sites. You’ll also need to be willing to adopt new methods and technologies as they arise, so be sure to stay up to date with any changes.
Finally, apply for jobs!
Now that we’ve established how to become an SEO content writer, it’s time to get out there and start applying for jobs!
Whether you’re looking for a full-time position at an agency or you’re hoping to kickstart a freelance career, there will be plenty of companies looking for the skills you offer. If you’re feeling brave, you could even approach businesses with a pitch of your own. Social marketing agencies, SEO companies, web designers and any company with a website are good sources of regular work.
Alternatively, you could sign up to a copywriting service such as Copify to access a variety of SEO content writing jobs.