It’s common marketing advice to invest in creating high-quality content for SEO, but this process can be difficult. What SEO techniques should you focus on? How can you incorporate them into content?
To be most successful, SEO and content creation must be intertwined. This guide to SEO content creation will go over the ins and outs of SEO and how to incorporate it into your content marketing strategy.
What is SEO content?
SEO, or search engine optimization, refers to techniques you can use to increase online visibility. Namely, SEO techniques boost a website’s ranking in search engine results pages. The higher a web page ranks in a search engine, the more traffic it receives.
Meanwhile, content marketing refers to the creation of online content, like a blog post, to offer value to the audience while subtly marketing a business’s products or services. They seem different, but content creation is key to boosting SEO in a few ways.
First, the more content you have, the more room there is to include relevant keywords—which will help users find your website. Additionally, appealing content entices users to stay on your website for longer and establishes your credibility. Finally, more content allows for more room to link to other pages on your site or introduce backlinks, which are key for SEO.
All these things indicate to search engine algorithms that your website is relevant, valuable, and worthy of ranking higher.
To create SEO content, consider hiring an SEO content writer. This kind of writer differs from a normal content writer in that they focus on conversion and optimization. They employ SEO techniques to incorporate keywords, link to other websites, and boost optimization.
Determining your SEO terms
As a major part of SEO, keywords sum up the core ideas of your topic and are typically what people enter into the search bar to find your web page. For example, a small business that sells knitwear may use keywords like “small business” or “handmade holiday scarves.”
Short-tail versus long-tail keywords
There are two kinds of keywords: short tail and long tail. Short-tail keywords are one or two words long. They’re more generic and reach a broader audience—but with higher competition. When you google “coffee,” for example, the first results are from Wikipedia and Amazon, which host millions of users every day.
To target a more specific audience, use long-tail keywords. These are combinations of several words that are searched less often. With less competition, there’s a higher probability of conversion.
Some examples of long-tail keywords are “fiction publishing companies in Pittsburgh” or “best free project management software for personal use.” These are tailored to an audience asking specific questions for which you can provide answers.
Choosing the right keywords
To generate keyword ideas, research your competition. What keywords do similar sites use? Where can you fill a knowledge gap?
Google offers a host of SEO keyword research tools. Google Keyword Planner generates suggestions based on keywords related to your business whereas Google Trends shows how popular a keyword is over time. Other tools generate keywords, find common search queries, and show estimated search volumes for search terms.
Other must-know SEO terms
Though it’s important to know what keywords are, there are many other phrases related to SEO. Here are a few essential terms:
- Primary keyword: Also known as a focus keyword, the primary keyword is the keyword you want to rank for on a search engine results page.
- SERP: The search engine results page is the page that turns up results after you search something in a search engine, like Google.
- Crawling: This is the process by which a search engine pulls information from the internet.
- Indexing: After crawling the internet, search engines compile relevant, valuable information from websites into a database called an index. A website must be indexed to appear in search results.
- Ranking: The order in which web pages are displayed on a SERP is its ranking. Search engines use algorithms to determine quality. The higher the quality, the higher the ranking.
- Alt text: Short for “alternative text,” alt text describes an image. This increases accessibility, especially for those who use screen readers. It also provides information if the image cannot be loaded and helps crawlers correctly index an image.
- Meta description: This is text that describes a web page. This shows up in SERPs as a short description beneath a website’s title text.
- KPIs: Key performance indicators are standards to measure success. For example, the volume of web traffic could be one KPI to monitor from month to month.
Common challenges in SEO content creation and ranking
It can be challenging to figure out how to get your SEO just right. Here are some tips for dealing with common problems.
- Avoid bad links. To establish your website as a credible source, be conscientious of what websites you link to. Avoid spammy websites or irrelevant pages. Additionally, keep an eye out for dead, outdated websites or broken links.
- Use keywords wisely. Shoving keywords into sentences regardless of clarity or readability won’t improve SEO, but it may get flagged as spam. When you do incorporate keywords, keep your content focused.
- Create quality content. Focus on appealing to your target audience. How does your content address their pain points or provide information? Is it engaging, fact checked, and proofread?
- Make use of meta descriptions. A meta description explains the purpose of the website and naturally incorporates your primary keyword.
Developing an effective SEO content strategy
It can take a few iterations before you hit your stride with SEO. One key to success is a focused content strategy, structured by SMART goals.
SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time based. By forming SMART goals, you can more easily keep track of your goals and understand what you need to do to accomplish them.
As you develop your SEO goals, you should be able to answer the following questions:
- Who is your target audience?
- What other sources do your target audience trust and engage with?
- Why will your website stand out among the competition?
- What are your KPIs?
As you strategize, you may work with—or need to hire—SEO content strategists, analysts, researchers, or an SEO manager. They may overlap or work in conjunction with content marketing managers to implement SEO techniques into your website content strategy.
Monitoring the effectiveness of your SEO content strategy
To track your success, choose KPIs relevant to your goals. Common KPIs for SEO include conversion rate, keyword ranking, bounce rate (how many people leave your website after clicking on it), and length of time spent on your site. Tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console provide resources for measuring KPIs.
Grammar and spelling when writing SEO content
As critical as SEO techniques are, readability and content quality are of the utmost importance. A site riddled with grammar and spelling errors will put off users and damage your credibility.
Though Google won’t ding you for a grammar mistake, other search engines—like Bing—do. Moreover, poor grammar affects readability, leading to a poor user experience. You could use every SEO technique in the book, but no number of keywords can make up for low-quality content.
Spelling variants in SEO writing: to use or not to use
If one of your focus keywords is often misspelled, you may be tempted to use spelling variants. However, search engines today are smart enough to search for alternate spellings alongside your original query. Including a misspelling will only draw attention to your error.
For words that are spelled differently across dialects, like “color” versus “colour,” use the spelling for your target country.
Tips for improving your current website with SEO content
Evaluate where you can include more SEO content, and analyze current data to see how users interact with your site. For example, if most of your site visitors fail to click on a call to action, that’s a sign that something needs to change.
When looking at your current web pages and blog posts, you should be able to answer the following questions:
- What are your focus keywords for this page or post?
- Who is your target audience? How can they find your page or post?
- What do you want your target audience to do? What is your call to action?
Pick the most important pages that users will see, like a home page. Revise the website copy as necessary to include keywords and links to relevant websites.
Long-term strategies to improve your current website
Most users skim or scan web pages instead of reading the whole thing. Research presented in a 2013 article from Slate found that across the internet, most people get to 60 percent of an article before closing it while 10 percent never scroll past the beginning.
Aim for an easy-to-skim design. Simple language and short paragraphs are easier for readers to stay engaged with. Get to the point quickly, providing information at the beginning of sentences, and use subheadings to summarize key ideas.
SEO strategies don’t lead to overnight success. Instead, it’s important to build up a library of valuable, authoritative content. Regularly update your website and social media to keep your content fresh and relevant, and don’t be afraid of repurposing content. Every month, check in with your site. Update metadata as needed, and check for broken links.
Improving user experience on your website
Imagine this: you click on a website. Your cursor blinks against a blank screen as the website loads…and loads…and loads. Like many users, you’d probably click away and go to another, faster website.
Page speed is integral to SEO. A slow website is difficult to navigate, annoying, and bound to be left behind as competitor websites offer faster load times.
If your speed isn’t where you want it, performance testing tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or WebPageTest recommend options for improvement. Compress images, cache web pages, enable browser caching, and remove extraneous plug-ins to speed things up.
Optimizing for mobile
Research from Statista shows that 61 percent of organic search engine visits in the United States were on mobile devices in the second quarter of 2021. With mobile searches so common, it’s important to optimize for mobile.
Make sure the design looks appealing on mobile devices. Text should be easy to read and formatted to fit the screen. Links and buttons should be easy to click. Avoid pop-ups and plug-ins that don’t work on mobile devices.
If you’re targeting a local population, such as if you run a small business, make it easy for people to find you. Display your business’s name and address prominently on your website.
Best website builders for SEO
Many website builders come with SEO tools. Among the best are Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, and WordPress.
Wix is versatile and easy for beginners to use. Its SEO Wiz walks users through the basics of SEO, and no coding is required to create a clean, appealing website.
For a site builder that offers sophisticated coding and more user control, try Squarespace. It offers an SEO checklist and other tools like a keyword search tool, access to a site map, and social media integration. Users can also hire an SEO expert for consultation.
Weebly is perfect for small businesses. Partnered with the e-commerce platform Square, Weebly offers easy-to-use tools to set up shop. It also has a mobile editor and SEO plug-ins in its App Center.
For lots of room to customize, WordPress is a solid go-to. WordPress integrates with Google Analytics and enables custom title formats and meta descriptions. Different WordPress SEO options depend on its pricing plans, so consider the WordPress.com Business and eCommerce plans.
An Elite SEO strategy
Hopefully, this guide to SEO content creation helped shine a light on the basics of SEO.
Looking for professional help? Elite Editing specializes in content writing, SEO, and website editing. Whether you need to create SEO content or want to touch up your website, Elite’s services are perfect for businesses and individuals alike. Reach out today!