SEO content writing has evolved since the days when the only way to get good search engine rankings was to use your keywords and key phrases indiscriminately. People were becoming experts in “website optimization techniques” and “web page optimization tactics”.
Although you still have to use your primary and secondary keywords for SEO content writing, the exercise has been superseded by many other SEO factors that impact your search engine rankings. Getting your website on search engines, especially among the top 10 results, has become an integral part of content writing and content marketing.
How SEO content writing rules have changed
As I have mentioned above, improving your search engine rankings takes a lot more than simply using your primary and secondary keywords. Social validation is a must. It matters a lot to Google ranking algorithms how people react to your content.
Of course, keywords and how you use them still matter but along with that, what also matters is the quality of your content. All professional SEO consultants admit that the only way you can get better search engine rankings for your website is through content writing.
Contemporary web page optimization best practices
In order to know how to optimize your website or blog, you have to find the “why”, “what” and “how” of the content that you are writing.
You need to give people what they are looking for. If your content is simply misguiding people into visiting your website, your content begins to lose relevance.
The true value of your content can be gauged better through emotional intelligence which machines cannot have. This is why Google seeks social validation to rank your links.
When people find your content valuable and useful, they begin to interact with your content. They respond to it from their own blogs and website (linking to it). They Share it on social networking platforms in order to endorse it, agree with it, or even to disagree with it.
Google’s ranking algorithm takes into account people’s reaction towards your content. Whether they agree or disagree, how do they react to your content? Do they like it? Do they share it on social media and social networking websites? Do they recommend it?
The web, being web, is interconnected. Google and other major search engines these days have access to data from Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn (only to name a few social platforms available at this moment, in 2017). If your link is creating buzz, they know it, and then they use this buzz to determine your SEO. Content writing rules take into consideration, along with your keywords, social validations that pour in from various sources.
Why do you need to follow content writing rules to improve SEO?
You don’t need to. In fact, they are not even rules. I just needed a catchy title so I used the term “rules”, you can call them guidelines, benchmarks, or pointers or commandments, or whatever you feel like.
You don’t even have to follow these content writing rules to improve your SEO if you don’t feel like. They are there just for your reference. Sometimes you can use them, and sometimes you don’t need to.
But why use them?
They give you a template. This template doesn’t ensure higher rankings in itself, because your rankings depend on thousands of things in the universe, but they will make sure that if Google wants to rank your content, at least it has the information it needs.
It’s like using an SEO plug-in. Have you used the Yoast SEO plug-in for WordPress? Seopressor? These plug-ins make recommendations like how long your webpage or blog post title should be, what should be your content-keywords ratio, what sort of information you should have in your description, and so on. Provided you stick to these guidelines, there is a great chance that your link will be ranked higher compared to the links that don’t follow these guidelines.
The same holds true for the content writing rules that I’m listing below. If you stick to them, they may not suddenly improve your SEO, but you will 100% have content that will be optimized for better rankings.
So here they are…
10 SEO content writing rules you cannot ignore
- Clearly define the “why” of your business: Why would people do business with you? What need do you solve? How do you enrich people’s lives? How do you make it easier for people to work, to celebrate, to entertain themselves or to increase their self-worth? All these bits of information must manifest in your content writing.
- Clearly define personas: Whom are you going to target with your content? Who are these people? Where do they come from? What are their aspirations? What problems are they having that they need solved? What are their backgrounds? The more you know about your audience, the better will be your content.
- Compile a list of keywords and search terms: Once you have defined the “why” of your business and have also defined the personas of your target audience, it will be easier for you to compile a list of keywords and search terms that you are going to incorporate into your SEO content writing. Remember that you don’t compile the list of keywords and search terms for your own happiness; you need to know the keywords and search terms people actually use to search for your business. You need to look at your business from their perspective. Only then you will be able to compile the right list of keywords and search terms. Having a list of keywords and search terms will also keep you focused and give you a clear idea of what content you should be publishing.
- Prepare a list of topics containing your target keywords and search terms: When you talk of SEO we need to take care of these things. Your topics are very important. Your topics are generally the titles of your blog posts and webpages. The titles of your blog posts and webpages are so important that the Google ranking algorithm takes the words appearing within your titles very seriously. This is why it’s very important for your SEO that when you are writing content, your keywords and search terms are present in your blog post and webpage titles.
- Start writing engaging content: Once you have created keyword-rich titles, when you are writing content for these titles, initially don’t worry much about their SEO quality. Remember that it’s very important to publish engaging content. Eventually it is the quality of your content that decides your long-term search engine rankings. You will also need quality content to accumulate social validation. Social validation is so important that even if you don’t bother about your keywords and you are able to accumulate enough social validation, your SEO is going to improve considerably.
- Whenever possible, write longer blog posts and webpages: To counter “thin content” Google these days has started preferring longer blog posts and webpages. People were publishing lots of “thin content” – meaningless content of 300-400 words mostly to target keywords – and the search results were being filled with lots of junk information. Writing longer blog posts and webpages takes effort and considerable knowledge of the subject. I’m not saying do it always, but whenever you have enough to say, don’t hold yourself back.
- Incorporate your keywords once you have completed a blog post or a webpage: Once you are sure that you have created a good quality, engaging blog post or webpage, insert the keywords that you have included in the title of that particular blog post or webpage. Strategically incorporate the keywords and search terms in such a manner that you don’t overuse them.
- Format your blog post or webpage in an SEO friendly manner: Your web content should be easily scannable. Use headlines (tags like <h1>, <h2>, etc.) to organize your text under different sections and once or twice use your keywords and search terms within these headlines. If some bits of information can be presented with bullet points, use them. At least once bold your keywords. You can also use your keywords in the anchor text when you link to other blog posts and webpages either on your own website or other websites.
- Publish content at regular intervals: SEO content writing doesn’t just mean publishing a few blog posts and webpages and then resting on your laurels. For rare businesses, this works, but not for businesses that need to compete with other businesses. It is because lots of businesses like your business are publishing content with great speed. Even if you rank well for certain keywords and search terms, soon you’re going to be overtaken by your competition with better and more content. This is why you need to constantly supply Google with fresh content. At least to experience the initial SEO boost, you need to continuously post blog posts and webpages for 3-4 months. Holding yourself back would be like getting into a boxing ring and constantly pulling your punches without giving all you have got. If you are not regular, you lose even the slight advantage you have gained by publishing some content initially.
- Update your existing content: All the blog posts and webpages that you create are your business assets. You should nurture them and take care of them just as you take care of your other business assets. Constantly update your older blog posts and webpages and resubmit them to search engines to let them know that you have updated them. Add new information. Modify the data that might had been correct two years ago but not now.
Whether you realize it now or five years later, SEO content writing is an ongoing process. As Yoda says, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”