As a digital marketeer the question I get asked the most is “how to write for SEO”. I’ve written this article for anyone that writes online or wants to write online. Whether you’re a blogger, small business owner or an in-house copywriter have a read through my 3-step Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) guide below.
SEO is seen by many as ‘black magic’, but, in reality, it is really simple! To wrap your head around it easily you can split SEO into three main sections: on-page, off-page and technical.
The process of enhancing the content you have written on a page is on-page SEO. There are many ways of going about this but the approach I take is by far the easiest and doesn’t cause writers’ block!
I start by writing the full article or copy; this allows the creative juices to flow and get everything I want to say out there and on paper. This way I can see exactly what I have to work with.
Once I am satisfied with the piece of content and double checked the grammar/punctuation I move onto the optimisation stage. During this part of the process I try to understand who I would like this content to be read by. If we use this article for example, I know it would be very useful for anyone who writes online that may not come from a digital marketing background.
Now that I have established my audience, I list 5 queries my target reader may type into Google to find this content. For this article the five queries could be:
I then input these queries on Google Trends – this is a really useful tool to identify whether these queries are used, how often and where.There’s not much point optimising something that isn’t searched for as it offers no value to users online. But, if I see that there’s good demand for my content with these queries then I go ahead with the optimisation.
This is the fun part. You now should have a great piece of content and a good idea of who will be searching for this content and what language they are using. The goal here is to seamlessly integrate the queries into your content and alongside ensuring the question to the queries is answered. When writing online always aim for quality not quantity – Google rewards good quality content, make sure the article you’ve written is the best it can be.
Technical SEO for beginners is really just about verifying that specific parts of the content are emphasised in the eyes of Google. Digital marketeers use headers (H1, H2, H3 etc.) to emphasise content for Google but primarily readers. You want to make your content as easy to read as possible by clearly separating the different topics.
As you see in this article, at the top of the page there is the title which has been marked as a H1. Throughout the page there are H2s which clearly separate the topics being discussed and beneath them H3s giving a clearer understanding of what the following piece of copy is about.
People don’t want huge blocks of text. Our behaviour online shows that we want quick answers to our questions and headers do exactly that – they make the readers’ experience valuable and efficient.
Most Content Management Systems (CMS) like Wordpress and Wix for example will give you the ability to highlight pieces of copy with a dropdown menu to select the type of header you’d like to assign. To ensure this is all in check you can put the page live and check it from Google Chrome then right-click anywhere on the page and select inspect. A box will appear on the right-hand side where you can hover over different sections of content to see what tag has been attributed.
This is social side of SEO. In my opinion, off-page SEO is all about sharing your new, perfect and optimised content online. Social media is the best place to start, all social sites have high SEO so a link from there will not only help drive your followers to the content but attribute some page authority to your article.
Another way to share your content is reaching out to websites who may have a similar target audience and see if they would be interested in publishing your content with a link back to the original source.
Finally, you can filter through the web to find articles that could hyperlink your content on certain words. For example, for this article I may reach out to generic marketing articles and ask that when ‘SEO’ is mentioned this article be hyperlinked. Online writers are always looking for ways to add value to their content so they may be open to the idea of offering their readers additional great pieces of content.
There are many other approaches to boost off-page SEO and I shall cover them in the coming weeks.
So there it is! A quick three-step guide for beginners tackling the world of SEO – please do not forget that this is a very high-level guide. There are over 300 factors that affect SEO, these are the DIY elements should you not have the budget to hire SEO professionals.
The best advice I can give for SEO is to write for the readers first and Google second. User-first approach is key!
If you would like to find out how I can help you boost your ranking on Google get in touch!