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SEO Content Writing: How to Optimize Your Content For Search Engines

SEO Content Writing: How to Optimize Your Content For Search Engines

Home Blog Digital Marketing SEO Content Writing: How to Optimize Your Content For Search Engines

Content writing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are two complementary concepts. 

Even if you’ve written the most engaging content on a particular topic, it can go unnoticed if it doesn’t get ranked on the SERPs. 

That brings us to the question:

What’s the point of publishing content if it just gets lost in the clutter online?

As a marketer, you publish content so that people become aware of your brand and products. You want maximum visibility and engagement. 

For all of that, you need to make sure your content is SEO friendly.

Your posts should be written in such a way that web crawlers can get an idea of what they are about. That’s how they know if your content is relevant to a user’s search query.

Not sure how to do that?

In this post, let’s look at some strategies that can help you write more SEO-friendly content.

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How to Write SEO-Friendly Content On Your Blog

Effective SEO writing requires that you understand your audience along with how search engines rank content. Here is a quick guide that can you help you in the learning process:

Table of Contents:

  1. Use Targeted Keywords
  2. Focus on Improving Readability
  3. Use High-Quality Visuals
  4. Include Optimized Meta Descriptions and Titles
  5. Leverage Content Optimization Tools
  6. Optimize Your Content For Featured Snippets
  7. Keep the E-A-T Rule In Mind

1. Use Targeted Keywords

While writing content, put yourself in your target audience’s position. Ask yourself what kind of keywords are they likely to use in their queries. These are called “targeted keywords.” Your content should be optimized for these keywords since the audience is looking for them.

That brings us to the question:

How can you find the right keywords to target?

You can use tools for SEO like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush to find popular keywords related to your niche.

Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner

For audience research, you can also listen in on online conversations using specialized marketing tools for social media.

Once you find the right keywords, you need to use them strategically throughout the content. It’s a good idea to use the targeted keyword naturally in the first 100 words. Also, try to use as many variations of the targeted keywords as possible.

It’s also advisable to use your main keyword in your headline and sub-headings.

2. Focus on Improving Readability

Do you know a key difference between newspaper or magazine articles and blog posts? The former may have longer paragraphs and the latter usually have shorter paragraphs.

Why? Because online users have a short attention span. 

They prefer to scan through online articles. If you present them with a big block of text, they’re likely to have a harder time finding what they are looking for.

Poor readability can also make them lose interest and switch over to another website. That’s not going to work in your favor, it’ll only end up increasing your bounce rate.

That’s why you should structure your articles in such a way it’s easily scannable, even on mobile devices. 

Here are some tips to improve your content’s readability:

  • Use bullet points.
  • Use H1 and H2 tags to help crawlers understand your content structure.
  • Don’t use more than 20 words in a sentence.
  • Keep your paragraphs only 1-3 sentences long.
  • Use bold text to highlight important information.

This is all related to the writing process. 

Once you are finished writing, you can use specialized platforms to figure out if your content is easily readable or not. 

You can use the Flesch Reading Ease score as a reference point. Generally, a score above 60 is considered good for the test.

90-100very easy to read, easily understood by an average 11-year-old student
80-90easy to read
70-80fairly easy to read
60-70easily understood by 13- to 15-year-old students
50-60fairly difficult to read
30-50difficult to read, best understood by college graduates
0-30very difficult to read, best understood by university graduates
Flesch Reading Ease Yoast

3. Use High-Quality Visuals

As mentioned earlier, online users have very short attention spans. To captivate them, well-designed visuals can do wonders. Not only do they kill the monotony of text, but they can also help you illustrate your points better.

But that doesn’t mean you should just add stock photos to your articles. Adding visuals just for the sake of it can be off-putting. Add only those visuals that add value to your content.

For instance, infographics and videos can complement your text-based content and engage your audience. It can also make your overall content appear more cohesive.

If your brand’s tone is more quirky, you can also add memes or funny comic strips to add an element of fun. 

List-making application, Trello, uses this strategy to make their blog posts more engaging. In the screenshot below, they’ve used a GIF to show how you can crumble under the weight of working on your own.

Trello Gif Example

4. Include Optimized Meta Descriptions and Titles

While meta titles and descriptions are not exactly a part of your article, they are important elements that can impact your rankings. 

For any web page, your meta description and title are what users see in the search results. For the uninitiated, here is a quick example of where they appear in the SERPs.

Title and Meta Description on Google

Even before a user clicks on your article, they see your meta title and description. Based on how engaging they are, users decide whether they want to give your article a read or not.

In a nutshell, they are both very important for engaging users. 

To give web crawlers a better idea of what your content is about, you should use targeted keywords in your meta description and title. It can also help users understand the relevance of your content.

However, do not stuff these sections with keywords. If you want to engage users, you need to write compelling titles and descriptions along with using keywords.

5. Leverage Content Optimization Tools

Not sure whether your content is up to the mark? 

There are tons of tools for content marketing, including some free ones, that can help you optimize your content. Even if you are a good writer, these tools can help you polish your content and make it more engaging. 

To check if your content is well-written and engaging, you can use tools like Grammarly, Hemingway, ProWritingAid, and others. 

Grammarly Tool

Additionally, you can use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to assess whether your headlines are click-worthy.

Headline Analyzer by CoSchedule

Tools like PageOptimizer Pro, TF-IDF tool, and Surfer SEO can help you ensure that your content is properly optimized for your main keyword. 

SEO Surfer tool

It’s also important to avoid publishing content that may have been already published on other websites. 

Plagiarism can harm your brand’s reputation and undermine your SEO efforts. To double-check your content and make sure that it is plagiarism-free, you can use Copyscape or Quetext.

Copy scape plagiarism checker tool

Featured snippets hold the topmost position on the SERPs. No wonder SEO experts think of it as prime real estate online. 

Here is how they appear on Google, right above the first SERP results. As you can see in the screenshot below, the featured snippet answers the search query concisely.

Featured Snippet Example

With featured snippets, Google’s aim is to present answers to users without them having to even click on a link. For details, they can choose to click on the given links.

Securing a spot there should be a part of your content marketing plan.

If you think about it, featured snippets are even better than getting ranked as the top search result on Google. It’s your ultimate chance to steal views and clicks from the top result.

Images in your article may also be displayed to make the reader more interested in your post.

So, how do you optimize your content for featured snippets?

Here are some tips:

  • Address frequently asked questions related to your niche in your posts.
  • Check out the “People also ask” section in Google to get topic ideas.
  • Structure your article with relevant lists, headings, and subheadings.
  • Use tables to explain concepts more clearly.
  • Turn your sub-headings into commonly asked questions.
  • Provide crisp and direct answers to common queries.

7. Keep the E-A-T Rule In Mind

SEO is a dynamic field. 

Google is constantly tweaking the factors that are important to get ranked. The good part is they regularly provide updates to let you know what you should focus on.

In one of their recent updates, they emphasized the importance of the overall page quality as a ranking factor. 

It’s what they call the E-A-T rule.

Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness are crucial to getting your content ranked on SERPs.

If you want to become a thought leader in your niche, it’s especially important to focus on the E-A-T concept.

How can you win in this department?

Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Get links from websites with a high domain authority
  • Get influencers to create content for you and share it on their websites and social media profiles.
  • Add links to authoritative websites in your articles.
  • Edit your article regularly to include the latest updates.
  • Make sure you post factually correct content.
  • Edit your content to make sure it is grammatically correct.
  • Give importance to user intent while writing your website content.
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Ready to Improve Your SEO Content Writing?

Understanding how SEO works is crucial for all marketers now. 

Unless you want your blog posts to get lost in the sea of published content, you can’t ignore it. For web crawlers to be able to get an idea of what your content is about, you need to optimize your titles and meta descriptions. 

In addition to this, it’s also important to make your content easily scannable by using shorter paragraphs, bullet points, and subheadings. While using targeted keywords naturally in your content is recommended, you should also keep user intent in mind. 

To boost your authoritativeness and establish your expertise, it’s a good idea to add links to trustworthy sources on your website. 

All of the strategies mentioned above can help you improve your reputation and rankings and get your content more visibility in search engine results.

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Shane Barker

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Content Solutions, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.

Guest Blogger @Mention