1. Get your keyword research on.
If you’re going to post content on your site anyway, you might as well take the time to make sure Google takes notice of your effort.
Find out which keywords and phrases people are searching for (as well as what you can be competitive in), and make yourself a keyword spreadsheet. Keep track of how many times you work the keywords into your content, and use the right tools to track where you rank for the keywords you target. SEMrush is our favorite — in fact, we love SEMrush so much, we’ve become affiliate partners with them, and when you click here you’ll get a 7 day free trial.
Don’t know where to get started? Check out our comprehensive guide to keyword research for SEO.
2. Put the keywords to work.
Once upon a time, being an SEO content writer just meant dumping keywords into your copy — but that’s not how the game is played anymore.
While it’s still a good idea to include your target keyword throughout your article, peppering your copy with forced keywords won’t really move the dial much (and often, it’ll hurt it). As is the case with any bit of SEO strategy, you’ve got to be tactical.
Include your keyword in the title, in the first 300 words, and in the first H1 or H2 (though, it should be noted that it isn’t necessary to hit both — just make sure you have it in one of them). After that, you should be trying to use variations of your keyword.
As an added note, it should never be a struggle to fit your keyword in your copy. Ideally, your keyword should feel natural in your writing — if you feel like you’re starting to write jibberish, you’ve gone too far.
Remember, the people using search engines are searching for that particular phrase because they want to know more about it/buy it, so it makes sense to give them what they’re looking for. You’ll get more clicks if you do — it’s one of the tricks of the trade for professional SEO article writers.
3. Write about something people care about.
Before you set out to do any kind of SEO writing, ask yourself this: who cares?
We’re not being facetious, here — too often, article writers just pump out content for no real reason, with no real strategy behind it. They forget that actual humans need to want to read this stuff — you’re not really writing for Google’s algorithms, you’re writing for people!
When you’re writing, you should always seek to offer some sort of value to your readers. What can you tell them that no one else can? What service can you provide that’s unique? What knowledge can you share that can’t be found anywhere else?
Nobody knows your business like you do — so use that to your SEO advantage.
If not, you can at least discuss news relating to your business. When in doubt, look at your list of SEO keywords and see what kind of list, link bait or in-depth posts you can work those keywords into. Don’t be afraid to interview some experts, either (if you quote them and feature their expertise in your post, they’ll be likely to share your content via their social channels — this way, you can leverage larger networks to increase the size of your own).
4. Know the basics of technical SEO
All the keyword optimization in the world won’t help you if your site isn’t even indexed.
First off, understanding how Google crawls pages and hands out link authority can help you build a strategy. After all, content writing isn’t just about writing a singular blog post — it’s about writing (and linking up) a bunch of them.
If you have a good understanding of how your blog is structured, you can help make everything a little bit more efficient — which means that a backlink to one of your posts will give your site the maxium benefit.
It also helps to understand how to optimize a website for more than just keywords.
Keeping your images small, ensuring that there aren’t too many popups on a particular page, or simply being able to make sure that your blog posts are indexed are all skills you should have as an SEO writer.
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