What Is SEO Writing? 10 Tips to “Write for SEO"

SEO writing is the process of researching, planning, outlining, writing, editing, and publishing content for the primary purpose of ranking in search engines.

There are different types of content that SEO writing can be used for — virtually any content that benefits from being indexed by search engines such as Google.

SEO writing is used for:

Why is SEO writing important?

SEO writing is important because it helps increase organic traffic.

SEO writing helps you target exactly what your ideal audience is searching for and enables you to become their primary source of information for these topics.

“Organic traffic” refers to visitors that come to your website due to unpaid search results.

More organic traffic leads to: 

  • More targeted leads
  • Higher search engine rankings
  • Higher conversion rates
  • Increased brand awareness
  • Lower customer acquisition costs (CAC)
  • Increased market share

Ranking well for content related to what your target audience is searching makes you appear more legitimate, trustworthy, and authoritative. It’s a recipe for success when it comes to growing your business online.

10 SEO writing tips

While part of “writing for SEO” is writing well-written content, we’re going to focus more on the “SEO” side of things, as this is what differentiates SEO writing from general “content writing.”

1. Perform keyword research

Keyword research is researching keywords people search in search engines like Google and identifying keywords that you will create content around to rank this content high in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Keyword research is essential for SEO writing because this research helps you figure out what you’re going to write about.

Without doing keyword research, your writing won’t be as searchable.

How to perform keyword research:

  • Step 1: List relevant and broad topics related to the services or products you’re selling.
  • Step 2: Use a content ideation tool to identify more specific keywords related to your general topics.
  • Step 3: Use a keyword research tool to analyze metrics such as monthly search volume and keyword difficulty to identify viable keywords.
  • Step 4: Choose a keyword that’s:
    • searched often enough
    • not overly competitive
    • relates to the goods or services you sell
    • valuable for your target audience
    • something you can cover with authority 
  • Step 5: Identify secondary keywords that relate to the same search intent as your focus keyword.

You’ll have a clearly defined focus keyword and a few secondary keywords to structure your content around with these five steps.

As you write your content, refer back to these keywords to ensure you’re fulfilling users’ search intent who type these keywords into Google.

2. Analyze search intent

Search intent is the intent of the user that’s searching for a specific term.

Search intent is necessary to analyze because without understanding the search intent behind the keywords you’re targeting, you won’t be able to write the most comprehensive content.

Google’s primary aim is to match the best content with a user’s search intent. Without a clear focus on search intent, your content will likely fail to rank well, and if it does rank, it will be temporary.

The easiest way to analyze search intent is to Google a keyword in the country you’re targeting and find a pattern in the top-ranking pages’ titles and content.

For example, if you Google “CBD for pain,” the top-ranking posts are all informational content about CBD and pain research.

If you’re targetting this keyword, it would be in your best interest to do the same.

3. Write compelling meta tags

Meta tags provide structured metadata about a webpage.

You’ve likely heard about “meta titles” and “meta descriptions.” Meta tags are essentially data about data on your web pages.

Meta tags are essential because they help connect your content with the right people searching for it. Meta tags also entice people to click through to your content over competing pages.

Meta titles

Meta titles are the titles that appear in search engine results pages. 

Google shows the first 50 to 60 characters of a meta title. 

Pixels, not character length, determine meta title length. But keeping your meta titles under 60 characters (including your brand name) is good practice to ensure your entire meta title shows up. 

Try to include your focus keyword in your meta title, preferably close to the beginning of it. When possible, use a secondary keyword in your meta title too, but don’t force it in. Focus on user experience and search intent as the priority. 

Meta descriptions

Meta descriptions summarize the contents of your page in a small snippet.

Think of meta descriptions as a preview of your web page. 

Meta descriptions can be any length, but we recommend keeping your meta description between 50 to 160 characters.

Focus on writing meta descriptions like ad copy. The aim is to write them in a compelling way that entices people to click on your page.

“Optimal” meta description length for SEO doesn’t exist. Instead, focus on getting people to click on your meta title and accurately representing what they will find on your page.

It’s good practice to include your focus keyword or a close variation in your meta description, as the user likely typed in a similar keyword into Google. But again, don’t force in a keyword if it sounds unnatural.

4. Choose the right URL

A URL (uniform resource locator) is a “web address” for your page.

The URL is also used to retrieve your web page’s location (i.e., sharing a link to your blog post on social media).

URLs aren’t a significant ranking factor for search engines, but they are still useful for search engines and people to determine a page’s relevancy and contents. 

Many pages are ranking well with long URLs that include every word from their title. While this is fine to do, we recommend keeping yours short and to the point. 

Best practices

  • Keep your URL short and simple
  • Accurately represent the page’s content
  • Use hyphens to separate words
  • Use lowercase letters

The easiest way to write an SEO-friendly URL is to use your focus keyword. Using a close secondary keyword is fine too. 

For example, this article’s focus keyword is “SEO writing,” so we put “seo-writing” as the URL. Using the full title “what-is-seo-writing-10-tips to-write-for-seo” for the URL isn’t necessary.

Regardless of how you choose to structure your URLs, be consistent with them.

5. Write your HTML headings

HTML headings are headings or subheadings within a post or page. 

HTML headings consist of six headings, often referred to as H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6.

H1 is the highest level heading and is the most important. Most pieces of content use H1 to H3.

Headings are important for SEO because they improve the accessibility and readability of your content. In general, what benefits accessibility helps SEO as this helps with user experience and ease of navigation.

To write an outline of subheadings for your content, start by analyzing your focus keyword’s search intent and think about what information a user truly wants to know. 

Then, outline subheadings in a logical order to fulfill search intent.

You can also look at competing pages ranking high to get an idea of what’s working.

Try to find keywords frequently searched with the same search intent as your focus keyword and see how you can include them as subheadings in your content.

For example, we included “SEO writing tips” as an H2 subheading.

But don’t force keywords in subheadings if it sounds unnatural.

Always prioritize the most useful information possible. Your title tag and paragraphs give search engines plenty of context. 

6. Write comprehensive content

Comprehensive content is writing content that includes all the details necessary to satisfy search intent.

Your users should “get what they need” after reading your page.

Google wants to provide the most comprehensive, accessible, and accurate information possible to users, so people have a great experience using Google’s search engine.

“Comprehensive” ≠ a high word count.

A 1,000-word post on a topic can be just (if not more) comprehensive than a 4,000-word post.

True “comprehensiveness” is to write as little as possible, but say the most.

Don’t aim for high arbitrary word counts because there are correlations between higher word counts and better rankings.

Write what’s needed to cover the topic at hand.

“Comprehensive content” simply means you’ve provided everything a user is looking for.

7. Have experts write your content

Having an expert write your content is the best way to ensure you write credible and factually accurate content.
Credible experts understand the topic well, its nuances, and what readers want to know.

When writing SEO content on YMYL (your money or your life) topics, you should have qualified experts write this content. YMYL topics affect people’s happiness, health, financial stability, and safety.

Expert written content helps ensure both search engines and people trust your content and see it as responsible, trustworthy, and reputable. It would help if you displayed clearly on your page that it has been written (or at least reviewed) by an expert with an author bio or a link to an author bio.

If you’re writing about tax laws, have an accountant write the content. If you’re writing about the ketogenic diet, have a registered dietician (RD) write the content. Even better is to have an expert write your content that has also been published on other high-quality websites for similar topics.

8. Edit your content

Editing and proofreading involve checking for spelling and grammatical mistakes.

It can also involve checking for logical inconsistencies, factual inaccuracies and ensuring content is written with the right tone and style.

While Google hasn’t clearly stated spelling and grammar are ranking factors, posting error-free content is better for user experience. It helps with the perception of quality too.

Since user experience is a factor Google takes seriously, ensuring you publish error-free content should be a priority.

You can use tools like Grammarly to help you check for errors while you write SEO content. With the premium version, you can also check for plagiarism.

Ideally, you should hire a professional editor to edit your content. A good editor will save you a lot of time and make sure that your content is ready to publish.

9. Add external and internal links

External links

External links are hyperlinks pointing to a page that’s on a different domain.

Linking to external sites in your writing is a good idea. It allows you to provide more value to your audience by sending them to reputable sources of information that help them. 

Try to link to authoritative websites rather than new websites with low domain authority.

Best practices: 

  • Cite credible sources of information
  • Link to authoritative websites
  • Set external links to open in a new tab
  • Make sure the link destination is helpful 
  • Use “dofollow” links 

Avoid too many outbound links. You need to many sure they’re helpful and relevant.

Internal links

Internal links are hyperlinks that point to a page within the same website.

Internal links are essential for SEO because they help form a relationship between pages. This relationship determines a hierarchy of importance for your pages. The more internal links you have to a page within your website, the more importance you’re placing on that target page.

Internal links are also vital for user experience. They help direct a user from one page to another, making it easy for them to navigate your website.

Internal links are internal backlinks. The more backlinks a page has, the more authority it gets. So, you can use internal links strategically to provide more “equity” to pages that may organically struggle to get links, such as a landing page.

Best practices:

  • Set internal links to open in the same tab
  • Ensure your internal links are “dofollow” so you’re transferring link equity between your pages
  • Use relevant links
  • Use anchor text (use a similar keyword for the hyperlink that your target page is aiming to rank for) 
  • Use a decent amount of internal links 

10. Assess the results

Assessing results means you look at your key performance indicators for your content and determine how your content has performed over time for these success measures.

Suppose you hire an ad expert to create pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns. In that case, they will set up ads, let them run, assess the ads’ performance, and adjust the ads based on this data to help generate better future results. 

The same applies to SEO writing. When you write SEO content, you should publish it, assess the results, and then take the lessons you learn from the results (or lack thereof) and apply them to your content. 

Figure out your most important KPIs:

These include: 

  • Organic traffic
  • Average session duration
  • Search rankings
  • Bounce rate
  • Organic click-through rate 
  • Conversion rate

To assess your content against your KPIs, get: 

Research, plan, write, edit, publish, assess the results using these tools, adjust, and repeat!

The bottom line

SEO writing is an invaluable skill to have to propel your business forward and increase organic traffic to your website.

To summarize how to write for SEO in a few key points:

  • Focus on search intent
  • Provide people with the most comprehensive and accessible information possible.
  • Don’t focus on repeating a specific keyword a certain number of times
  • Write content around a single focus keyword that’s frequently searched and isn’t overly competitive
However you get it done, whether you’re an SEO writer yourself, or a business owner looking to pay an SEO writer or an SEO writing service, it’s something well worth investing in, and when it’s done well, the payoff can be huge.

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