Back when the internet had just started expanding into the massive part of our lives that it is today, it was everyone’s dream: write a creative blog, get a big following, and become rich and famous.
These days, with the way the internet has expanded, writing for websites isn’t quite so straightforward anymore if you’re looking to build a following. Understanding how to write quality content, what tools to use to manage your content statistics and track successes, what social media outlets to focus on, developing a schedule that showcases new content — these are all responsibilities that any beginning blogger needs to understand if they are looking to expand their audience.
One of the most important things for a content writer to understand is how to use SEO as a tool to bring new readers to the website at hand.
What Is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it is a complex tool writers use to get their work to the top of search engines, where it can be more easily found. WordStream describes SEO as a tool that can be used “to help drive more relevant traffic, leads, sales, and ultimately revenue and profit” for the owner of the site or page in question. It’s normally used as part of a content marketing strategy that can include a number of additional paths to produce top-tier content for users to return to.
From a technical angle, SEO looks at a number of different things and puts them together to create guidance for the writer:
● How search engines work, with regards to how their programmed algorithms find pages and sort these results based on relevance to the user
● What people search for, meaning the actual text used as the search string; for example, rather than typing a full question in proper english, many people simply throw out a few key words into the search box
● Which search engines and social media websites are preferred by the target audience, and how that connects to the first two points
Luckily, sites like Digital Marketing Institute have already looked at the complex programming to translate these parts into pieces a content writer can use to channel their work:
● Keywords: These are important words that individuals use in search strings that could bring them to your page. Keywords can be both general (cat) and specific (indoor cat with an upset stomach), and might be local (vets in Cleveland, OH). Local SEO is becoming increasingly important as search apps for a number of local purposes grow.
● Content: This comes from the company in question: what are you putting out, and how does it bring value to the customer? Which keywords do you want to link with your content?
● Placement: SEO keywords can be inserted into the text of an article, or into the HTML code that goes into that page of the website. Which keywords will be awkward to include in sentences, and which can be easily included in a document?
Why is SEO Important?
Search engine optimization is important because the higher a page ranks in a search result, the more people are going to click on that link to go check out the content. There are a number of reasons for this.
First of all, most people are only going to consider the top few results that they can see on their screen, especially for an ‘easy’ query; at most, they may look at the top dozen results before choosing one or rephrasing their test string.
Second, people who are entering a search into a search engine are actively looking for something; whether it’s the answer to a question, an example, or a link to directly purchase a product, they’ve already decided they need to find this thing, which is half of the work done — all you need to do is provide it to them.
How To Write SEO Content
Normally, by the time an assignment comes to a content writer, work has been done to determine the most powerful keywords, the content that should be provided that links with those keywords, the optimum length of the article, and what topics to include.
If you’re writing content for your own website and aren’t sure how to get these things, there are a number of online resources you can use to research and recommend keywords and key phrases. You can start by putting search terms you think are relevant into a search engine like Google and seeing whether the pages that are shown as results are what you expected.
For writers, SEO can be a bit tricky, for reasons mentioned above: sometimes keywords and key phrases aren’t exactly easy to fit into an engaging, well-written article. If your keywords for a certain article are things like “yarn store near Fairlawn” or “merino wool yarn,” these are phrases that can be worked into a sentence.
Search strings like “how to do knitting,” “learn to knit local programs,” or “merino yarn eco friendly” — these can be harder to fit into a natural sentence. Learn to recognize which terms can be worked into SEO friendly content, and which should go into the headers and meta fields of the webpage. The key in doing the actual writing is to use keywords as early and as much as possible, and to provide links to sources, as this creates a connection between your page and others, which also improves your search engine ranking.
After some practice, writing SEO content becomes almost natural to a content writer. For example, the author of this article has used five or six important keywords in this piece alone — can you identify what they might be?
Whether you choose to hire a professional or develop your own SEO strategy, you should have plan to include SEO best practice in your digital marketing efforts. Contact Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing today for professional help with your SEO needs.