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When it comes to power couples, you can’t get stronger than SEO and content writing.
Content writing brings content marketing to life. It informs, educates and entertains, and this translates to all sorts of benefits. It boosts your brand awareness, builds trust and credibility, and fosters customer loyalty.
This, unsurprisingly, translates to more leads, which is no doubt a big reason why 97% of businesses across sectors use content marketing as part of their marketing strategy.
In fact, when it comes to content marketing goals, lead generation comes in at a close third place behind increasing website traffic and brand awareness.
So, creating fantastic content is essential if you want to stay competitive. But it’s also utterly pointless if no one can find it. Enter SEO.
Search Engine Optimisation. It does exactly what it says on the proverbial tin.
SEO shows search engines, such as Google, that your content is good stuff. This means when folks pop a relevant search query into a search engine, your content comes up trumps, or more specifically, ranks high up on the search results page.
Simply put, content writing without SEO is the equivalent of screaming into the void.
Content writing with SEO – especially with the help of a switched-on SEO content writing service – is like standing in front of a rapt crowd at Wembley Stadium.
It’s heady stuff.
What is SEO?
SEO gets eyeballs on your website.
It optimises every aspect of your website so that your web pages rank as highly as possible on relevant search result pages. This, in turn, drives traffic to your website and that means more conversions.
So how does SEO achieve all of this?
There are two main types of SEO, helpfully named ‘on-site SEO’ and ‘off-site SEO’, referring to stuff that happens on your website and stuff that happens off it, respectively.
What is off-site SEO?
Off-site SEO is mostly about backlinking, that is, getting links from reputable sites back to your site. Why does Google care about this when ranking your web pages?
Because backlinks give your site authority.
It’s your way of reassuring Google that your content is relevant, helpful, trusted and, therefore, worth showing to its users in answer to their search queries. This raises your profile, but this isn’t the only way off-site SEO can do this.
Social media marketing and guest blogging, both of which also happen off your website, count towards your off-site SEO too.
What is on-site SEO?
As Bill Gates’ well-worn quote states “content is king” and that’s especially true with on-site SEO.
A massive part of on-site SEO is the content your website is filled with. You need to offer far more than your sales pitch.
Your site needs to provide valuable content that helps your readers in some form. Plus, you need to do this in a way that said content can be found easily via a search engine. That’s where keywords come in. A lot more on that later.
On-site SEO isn’t just about words though. It’s also about the user experience – how your site performs and whether it has visitors tearing their hair out in frustration or not.
So where does SEO content writing fit into this mix?
What is SEO content writing?
SEO content writing straddles two worlds – the world of on-site SEO and that of off-site SEO.
Wherever it happens, on or off your site, its goal is to get the right kind of traffic heading your way, namely visitors who you can, over time, charm into becoming paying customers.
Your charm offensive comes in many forms.
Blogs, lead magnets, white papers and case studies – that’s all on-site SEO content writing.
Social media posts and guest blogs – that’s off-site SEO content writing.
With a solid content strategy in place (that’s right, you can’t just dive right into this, you need to have a plan), your SEO content writing can harness both types of SEO to bring in a steady stream of leads. Emphasis on the steady part.
SEO content writing isn’t about the quick win. It’s a slow-burn approach that delivers long-lasting results.
If you’re already thinking that you don’t have time for this, an SEO content writing service can step in to do it for you.
So how does it work?
How to write SEO-friendly content
SEO content writing is a bit like making a movie. Stay with me here.
It takes just a few months to shoot a movie but usually takes a few years of development before getting to that point. Similarly, before you can start writing SEO content, you need to invest time putting in place a killer SEO content strategy.
For the uninitiated this can swallow up an inordinate amount of time.
SEO is notoriously jargon-filled and there are 101 different platforms and tools which all claim they’re the best one for SEO. You can save yourself oodles of time by hiring an SEO content writing service to handle all of this.
Your content strategy needs to lay out your content plan for the next six to twelve months and identify clear metrics for whether or not your strategy is actually working. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
A good content strategy starts with:
- An audit of your website
- Analysis of your competitors (including a keyword gap analysis)
- Keyword research
- Keyword mapping
All of the above will determine exactly how your SEO content is written. We’ll delve into some of these tools here, but others will be explored in more detail in our guide to content strategy.
What is keyword research?
When folks are looking for products or services that you provide, what search terms do they pop into Google?
The answer to this question lies in keyword research.
Keywords are what users enter into a search. Now, this may irk you if you’re a stickler for English grammar but keywords aren’t just single words. They can be multiple words or even complex phrases.
Keyword research identifies the keywords you should be using in your content to get Google to display your web pages in relevant search results.
At first thought, keywords may seem like common sense.
If you provide real estate services in Norwich and people are looking for real estate services in Norwich, then surely ‘real estate services in Norwich’ is the best keyword to splatter all across your website.
Not quite. You need much more than glaringly obvious keywords to please Google and get ranked highly. You need to dive deeper and think about intent.
There was a time long ago (well, pre-2013) when Google was easier to please.
So long as your website contained the exact keywords that users were popping into Google to find products or services you provided, you were good to go. These were simpler times. But Google got wise.
Today, Google tries to serve up search results that best match their search users’ intent.
Getting back to our earlier example of real estate services in Norwich, why would someone be looking for this? Are they first-time buyers looking for their dream home or are they investment buyers looking to expand their rental portfolios?
The intent driving these two audiences is different. So too are their pain points and so too should be the content that Google serves up to them.
Whatever your product or service, you need to show Google that you’re addressing a search user’s intent (that search user being in your target audience, of course).
This doesn’t mean creating web pages with multiple personalities, trying to be all things to all people.
This is about creating tailored content with appropriate, strategically placed keywords – keywords that relate to the intent behind a user’s search and hopefully end up with Google prominently displaying your web pages in search results.
You can’t create a page for every single customer out there. But you can organise keywords into groups (keyword clusters) and create tailored pages based on these groups.
So, what kinds of keywords are we talking about?
These are broad keywords that may even directly match up to your main services or products.
They are high volume (they get searched for a lot) but are also high competition (there are lots of companies using these keywords in their content who are vying for the top spots on Google’s search result pages).
Compared with head keywords, these are longer phrases.
They focus on more specific information and can clue you into the intent behind a user’s search. They are lower volume but also lower competition.
Semantically related keywords
These keywords are conceptually related to your main keywords.
A list of semantically related keywords can sometimes look like the script to a game of word association. You say orange, I say juice, you say drink etc.
Semantically related keywords allow Google to judge the context of your content and context matters. It shows Google that you understand the query being asked by a user and have a valuable, in-depth answer to hand.
So, now you’ve got a long list of keywords. What are you meant to do with them?
What is keyword mapping?
Getting discovered, in Hollywood-speak, is all about being in the right place at the right time. Same goes for your keywords.
When people search for what you’ve got to offer, your keywords need to be perfectly placed across your site, ready and waiting for Google to discover them and serve up your most appropriate web pages to its search users.
This is where keyword mapping comes in.
You need to assign a target keyword to every web page on your site, with an appropriate selection of related keywords.
This can do three important things:
1) Boost your rankings on Google
You need to show Google that your page offers the perfect answer to a search user’s query.
This means showing relevance, depth and focus with your content. One way Google judges this is by ‘reading’ your content for the spread of keywords and related keywords.
2) Avoid keyword cannibalisation
It’s bad but not as gory as the name suggests.
Keyword cannibalisation occurs when two (or more) of your web pages compete against each other to rank on Google’s search result pages. Ultimately, none of them will consistently rank highly.
This happens when multiple pages on your website are optimised for the same target keyword. Keyword mapping will stop you falling into this trap.
3) Create an intuitive journey for your visitors
Mapping out your keywords forces you to take a bird’s eye view of your site structure and how a visitor may journey through it.
Keyword mapping can inform the hierarchy of web pages that make up your site and help you place internal links that will take a visitor from one page to the next. The longer they stay, the more chances you have to convince them to convert.
Maybe your site already has its keywords mapped out. That’s great. But is your keyword map up to date?
Trends change and so do the keywords you can realistically compete on.
To find out if your site is still working at its best, you need a website audit.
What is a website audit and what does it include?
You need to know what’s working with your website and what’s not before you can dive in to improve things.
That’s what a website audit can tell you.
It covers all of the stuff that directly affects your SEO content, such as keywords and keyword mapping, as well as all the stuff that’s preventing your content from getting seen even when your prose is perfectly optimised, which often comes down to user experience factors.
While the results of a website audit can be hard to stomach, it’s a must-do. Why?
Because 91% of web content gets zero traffic from Google’s organic searches.
Here are 3 things any decent website audit should tell you and why they matter:
1) How well your website performs
This is the technical stuff.
Are your web pages slow to load on a desktop? Are they even slower to load on mobile?
Google’s all-seeing algorithm doesn’t like any of the above.
A website audit can clue you in on the messiness behind the pretty veneer of your website so you can do something about it.
2) Whether your web content is optimised for your goals
Your web pages need to rank on Google for the products or services you want to sell.
This means you need the right keywords used at the right frequency and in the right places on the right web pages. A website audit can tell you whether or not you’re hitting all of these marks.
Perhaps you’re ranking highly for the wrong keywords or not ranking at all for the right keywords.
Maybe you’re missing out on related keywords or sabotaging yourself with keyword cannibalisation.
Now, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get all of your keywords stuffed into your product or service pages. Nor should you. Keyword stuffing – excessively cramming keywords into your web pages – is a big no-no and will send your SEO credentials plummeting.
This is where a high-quality SEO content writing service can help, for example, by crafting blogs that naturally weave in relevant keywords.
This also helps address search user intent.
SEO content writing isn’t just about filling your web pages with search terms. You need to comprehensively answer the burning questions of your target audience. That’s what gets Google to stand up, take notice and rank you highly.
Generic, catch-all content won’t achieve this. But super-specific content with relevant keywords and semantically related keywords will.
This translates to better Google rankings but also, to our next point, better conversions.
3) How well your website converts
SEO is all about getting traffic to your website but the reason everyone is so invested in it is that SEO ultimately delivers more leads and conversions.
A website audit can take a peek behind the curtain to see what visitors to your site are doing.
Do they land on one page and go no further? These are called bounces and the average industry bounce rate (the percentage of all visitors to your website who leave after visiting one page) is a rather unappealing 47%.
Do they get all the way to your checkout and then abandon it? Sadly, this is the fate of over 80% of shopping carts across sectors.
Maybe your website isn’t easy to navigate or your calls to action aren’t persuasive enough. Perhaps your content isn’t hitting the emotional mark – we’d all like to think our purchases are driven by rational thought but it’s actually emotions that lead the way.
A website audit can help you identify the pages that are driving visitors away instead of converting them. You can then investigate why.
Your SEO content writing checklist
With the hard graft of a website audit, competitor analysis, keyword research and keyword mapping behind you, you can finally start writing your SEO content.
Needless to say, your content needs to be engaging.
You need to speak in the language your target audience is familiar with. You need to inform, educate and entertain, all at the same time. It’s an art. But it’s also a science as you need to make sure you get the technical stuff right too.
Make sure you tick these 5 boxes (or get an SEO content writing service that can):
1) Use header tags
This gives structure to your content that Google can read. H1 tags are used for your main header, H2 tags for your subheadings, H3 tags for headings under those subheadings, and so on and so forth with H4 and H5 tags.
2) Use keywords in your headings and content
Your H1 tag needs to contain your target keyword for that page and your H2 tags should, ideally, contain related keywords. You also need to naturally weave in keywords throughout your content but not too much (that looks like keyword stuffing) and not too little (you don’t want Google to dismiss your content as irrelevant).
3) Make sure every page has metadata
Every organic Google search result features a title and a short description of the page users will be led to if they click the link. This is metadata.
If you haven’t created some short, snappy and enticing metadata for each of your web pages, Google will pull whatever it thinks is appropriate from your site, which may cut off part way through a word or sentence or otherwise fall flat.
So don’t leave it to Google. Always write your own metadata.
Ensure your keywords feature in your metadata and use intrigue and active language in your meta description to encourage users to click.
4) Make sure content is mobile-friendly
Web traffic from desktops and mobiles is neck and neck in the UK at 47% each.
So unless you want to annoy almost half of your target audience, your entire website should be mobile-friendly and this includes your content. A meaty paragraph on a desktop may look OK but on a mobile it will involve endless, off-putting scrolling.
Break up your content with lots of signposting and scan-friendly formatting, such as:
- Short paragraphs of 1–3 sentences that focus on one idea
- Bullet points
- Numbered lists
5) Include clear calls to action
While your SEO content is there to inform, educate and entertain, it’s ultimately there to convert readers into paying customers. You should, therefore, always include a strong, enticing call to action (CTA) on every page.
But don’t go nuts with CTAs. One is usually enough. Too many can overwhelm your visitors, resulting in them taking no action at all.
If this is all sounding too much like hard work, don’t worry. As part of our SEO content writing service, we can do all of the above for you.
The Beesting way of working
Beesting Digital can provide high-value SEO content that’ll please the search engines just as much as it will your prospects. We promise no fluff and no faff – just genuine insight that engages, entertains or educates your target audience, while your site creeps further up the search engine rankings.
Whether you need a retainer package or a switch-on-switch-off service based on your capacity, we’ve got something to suit you. We can even take care of some of the fiddly bits too, like keyword research or gap analysis. Just say the word.
Ready to get started?
Take the burdensome task of SEO content writing off your plate and put it onto ours.
Let’s get your website moving on up the ranks. Book a discovery call with us today.