HIYA! WHY IS SEO CONTENT WRITING SO DIFFICULT!?
Welcome to part 3 of the basics series – SEO content writing tips. In the previous tutorial, we left off with the 4 steps keyword research guide. Yes, we now have the main keyword and a bunch of other sidekicks. What do we do with them next? Write an article, of course.
But writer ninja, I hear you. It is easy to write some random content, but it is not easy to write an article optimized for SEO. Confession, I have struggled with writing as well. Especially when SEO comes into play, it is a completely different ball game.
But fear not, I shall share with you some of my secret SEO writing techniques in this guide. All of which, are from my experience of hitting the wall and finally
attaining nirvana understanding what works and what does not.
AN HONEST DISCLOSURE
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Nah. These are just things to keep the blog going, and allows me to give more good stuff to you guys - for free. So thank you if you decide to pick up my recommendations!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
SEO CONTENT WRITING GOAL
Firstly, let’s do a quick recap. Why do we need to do SEO? To score an article well in search results. Not just “well”, but to rank your article on the first page of the search engine result pages (SERPs).
Thus, the goal is clear – To create an awesome piece of content. Provide your readers with a lot of value, and score well for your selected keyword.
In the days long past, people could easily get past with spamming an article with keywords. But that is the past, and search engines have become a lot of more intelligent since. Spamming an article with keywords simply doesn’t work anymore… In fact, it will have the opposite effect of getting your article penalized.
Today, we need to be clever in the ways of putting the keyword research to good use. Good modern content writing is both subtle and intelligent. You need to learn how to form up a good structure for your article and add more related information.
The more value you give to your readers, the more related the information, the better chance your article has. Simply because users will stick to your page longer, and that is a positive signal to the search engines.
SEO ARTICLE WRITING TIPS
Following up on keyword research, we now have to write an article. But how? Everyone probably has a different writing style and different answer. So I am not going to teach “write in this manner” and kill creativity. What I will do instead, is to point out a couple of tips that worked for me. In the SEO friendly way, of course.
TIP 1: FORMULATE AN AWESOME TITLE
Article idea – check.
Keyword research – check.
The first task is to think of a worthy title for your awesome content. It’s time to get creative with your chosen keywords. The idea is to mix your selected keyword into the title, and try to include a “power word” in the title.
For example, I have chosen the keywords “guitar chords tutorial”, “basic guitar chords”, and “guitar chords for beginners” for my article. I will probably combine them into a title called “The Ultimate Basic Guitar Chords Tutorial for Beginners”.
TIP 2: STAY IN POINT WITH RELATED TERMS AND CONTENTS
Now that you are ready to work on the actual contents, it is time to think about what to write. They key here is to not go out of point, the number one taboo in SEO writing. Remember that the goal is to give both your reader and search engines what they want – beefy related information.
You don’t name an article “Guitar Chords Tutorial”, and talk about chicken soup. You should be writing about the different chords, finger positions, and how to play them. One of the easiest ways to hunt for related content, is to use Google itself. For example, if I search for “Guitar Chords Tutorial” on Google:
Notice how some words are bold in the search results? Those are the words that you should be considering to use more often. Also the “searches related” section down at the very bottom? Those are the things that you should be considered to include in your article.
TIP 3: WRITE FOR YOUR READERS, DON’T JUST WRITE FOR SEO.
Think of it this way – Good content writing is always about giving the best information to your readers. SEO is only a part of good content writing, and it does not take the “human part” away. It is supposed to make your writing easier and better. It is used to guide you on the relevant things that you should be writing.
TIP 4: LONG BEEFY ARTICLES, NOT SHORT MALNUTRITION ONES.
How many words should one write? Long. Very long. Like 2400 words.
If you are thinking that “people don’t read long boring stuff”, or “keep it short”, you are dead wrong. Here, is a statistics post about content word count on Copypress. The top ranking articles on Google has an average of 2416 words, and people actually stick to long beefy posts.
The short articles?
Articles with less than 200 words will most probably be considered as “thin content” by Google and other search engines. Meaning, they will not even be considered as “useful content”, and they will not even appear in search results.
So write a lot. A lot of good useful information if you want readers to stick to your page. It’s really not about throwing out a ton short articles in very little time, hoping that people will share them. It’s about doing your own due diligence in research, writing, and giving away a lot of good value in one single article.
TIP 5: USE YOUR KEYWORD IN THE FIRST 100 WORDS
Why is it so important to have your keyword in the first 100 words of your article, and preferably right in the first paragraph? Because search engines will put more weight on keywords found in the first 100 words.
TIP 6: SNEAK YOUR KEYWORDS IN
Do not spam your keywords everywhere. I did say that, and I will repeat. Do not spam, or you will face the wrath of search engines. Just use them casually, and my 2 cents will be, find ways to sneak them in after you have written the entire article.
Do a “Ctrl-F” search on this page, and notice how I have used “SEO content writing” all over the page? Notice how I even bold it and put it in the section headers? Just don’t go crazy with spraying it everywhere. Pepper it in where it seems natural.
TIP 7: USE LSI KEYWORDS IN YOUR ARTICLE
What are Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords? These are keywords that are closely related to the one that you have chosen. For example, “guitar lessons”, “easy guitar songs” and “beginner guitar chords” are all LSI keywords for “guitar basics”.
As above in tip 2, Google actually kind of gives you a hint when you do a search with the selected keyword. But feel free to use another tool called LSIGraph to find more related keywords.
TIP 8: SIMPLE ENGLISH PLEASE
Please write in simple English that can be understood by everyone. Not everyone drinks Earl Grey tea and has a brain full of vocabulary. Nor is everyone on this planet a grammar Nazi. I believe that most people appreciate simple language and easy reading. Plus, I find it easier to write in simple language, and not to have come up with expletive explosive expensive explanatory words.
P.S. If you need help with simplifying, cut down on drinking Earl Grey tea and try this English simplifier.
TIP 9: ORDERLY POINT FORM
Use bullet points and tables to display data in an orderly manner. This will make reading a lot easier, and on top of that, there is a very good reason. I remember from a study somewhere (sorry guys, I really don’t remember where), but articles with points and tables tend to score much better than those “hunks of text”.
TIP 10: A PICTURE SPEAKS A THOUSAND WORDS
Come on guys, the Internet is already out of the stone age. Instead of using expletive explosive expensive explanatory words to describe complicated things, just use a picture or diagram. If you can, include videos as well.
TIP 11: DON’T BE LONG-WINDED LIKE GRANDMA
It’s already a long article, don’t be long winded like grandma. Break your long sentences up, and don’t scare your readers away with “chunks of boring text”. If you notice the way I write this guide, the paragraphs are never longer than a few lines. It is also good to crack a few jokes once in a while, but get to the point and don’t beat around the bush.
TIP 12: USE BIG FONTS AND MORE SPACING
While we are on the topic of chunky text, use bigger fonts and add a little more spacing between lines. Not all of your readers have eagle eyes, and a slightly bigger font size does make it easier to read – especially on small mobile screens today. The idea is to reduce the “chunky”, and make it look “easy”.
TIP 13: BUCKET BRIGADE
This is something that I picked up from the master – Brian Dean.
What is a bucket brigade?
You have already seen them almost everywhere in this article – single line, single sentences. This may seem like something very simple, but it works. There is some rocket science research behind that bucket brigades do trigger small stops, encourages some reader thoughts, and thus retaining their interest.
This is a very useful technique for long articles.
TIP 14: BE CRAZY (A LITTLE)
When it comes to a long article, you need to understand that readers will lose their interest if it bores them to tears. While it is a little out of point, add a few X-Men, Batman, Superman and Ninja Turtles in for some fun.
TIP 15: USE MEMES
Well, this is just my personal touch, you don’t have to if you hate memes to the core… But I like to use memes from time to time, break up the boring.
TIP 16: LINK TO OTHER RESOURCES
Now that you know to format your article in points, tables, pictures, and videos, there is one more thing that you need to add. Provide links to other useful articles and tools. Not just random linking, but to related things. For example, if I am writing a tutorial on guitar chords, I may link to a free app on guitar chords.
TIP 17: KEYWORDS IN URL SLUG
WordPress users should know this very well. The URL slug is simply, the website address of your article. That should be something like “http://my-awesome-site.com/my-ninja-article/”. This URL is very important. So important that search engines commonly use it to guess what your article is about, and use it as a ranking factor.
So remember to add your keywords to the slug, and keep this as short as possible. For example, if I want to rank for “guitar chords for beginners”, my article should probably be accessed at http://site.com/guitar-chords-tutorial-beginners/
TIP 18: BE SOCIAL
Well, this is not really a writing tip… but take this as an extra. We live in an age of social media, and when the “share button” is missing, we are missing out an entire world. Remember to put those share buttons at the start and end of the article
TIP 19: ADD A META DESCRIPTION!
All right, the final tip.
Remember to add a meta description to your article. For those who are not technically inclined, the meta description is a summary of your article. While it does not show up on your webpage, this description will be pulled out when you share your article on social media.
Not only is this description important for social media, it is important for SEO as well. Search engines will most likely read this description, and determine what your article is all about. If you are on WordPress, you can easily edit this description and even install the YOAST SEO plugin to help you.
As for those who are not on WordPress, you might need to do a little technical stuff – MOZ Meta Description Tag. The description tag is optimally about 150-160 words. It is a summary, so don’t go around writing old grandmother stories. Don’t spam your keywords in there either.
Again, gently pepper your keywords in, and add in the related terms. I shall now give my last example, on the guitar chords again. My description will probably be like: “Have trouble playing the guitar? Check out this step-by-step guitar chords tutorial. Beginner friendly, full of tips and cheat sheet included.”
See how I have managed to sneak in all the keywords “guitar chords tutorial”, “beginner”, “guitar” and “playing”?
THE SEO CONTENT WRITING MISUNDERSTANDING
This section is not really a tip, but something that I feel need to be addressed. Here are some “expert” and “guru” advice that I have seen online:
- Write good articles, and people will share them automatically.
- SEO comes naturally with good content writing.
- When you write for SEO, you are not writing for the people.
- Write a lot of articles and write frequently.
HA! I let out an evil laughter, and those are the biggest lies ever. Let me tell you the truth – good contents alone is only the first step. Writing many articles in hope that one of them will “hit” does not work. There are millions of articles today, and how do you stand out of the crowd? Write millions of articles?
If you are serious about SEO, you have to go beyond writing. What worked for me is to write one very high quality article, and promote the hell out of it. If it does not score, think of what readers want. Review, rewrite, and go through that promotion cycle again. Eventually, search engines pick up signals and scores it naturally.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
We have come to the end of this guide. When I first started writing articles, it was like – So easy. Who doesn’t know how to write? Hah. Piece of cake. But as I went down the path of copywriting and SEO – I felt stupid. I tried to put in some badly pieced SEO writing tactics, and things turn out to look like an 8 year old trying to sell a million dollar property.
It takes practice. Seriously.
Don’t be discouraged when your first SEO writing attempt goes bad. Think of what went wrong, and how you can improve on your writing. Some day, you will get there. Good luck with your writings, and cheers!