It’s no surprise that more and more businesses are investing in content strategies to deliver results. High-quality content is essential because it sparks conversations with your target audience, builds their trust and increases engagement. And, as marketplace competition rises, your content needs to be more than just eloquent to be considered high-quality. The traits that define high-quality content are now much more intricate, and include the SEO foundations of content. To do well, your business must go beyond simple content creation by crafting content that appeals directly to the user and stands above the competition.
In this blog post, we talk you through why SEO is important and how to write SEO optimized content that drives your content strategy to the top. But first, let’s outline a few key points.
What is SEO writing?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, which defines the process of optimizing a website so that it ranks organically on search engines like Google. This means that content is created with the goal of attracting search engine traffic.
Why should your content be SEO optimized?
SEO is now a fundamental component of content marketing strategy and should never be overlooked. Not optimizing your content for SEO is like spending hours decorating a cake, only for it to be placed out of sight from the shop window; it may look incredible, but at the end of the day, it's achieving minimal reach.
SEO is important for greater visibility and is the key to online success. When users find your website, the chances are they used a search engine such as Google to get there. This is why it is critical to assess the SEO quality of content and to ensure that it stands in line with user intent. Moreover, SEO is a relatively new phenomenon in the digital marketing field, meaning that this strategy would provide your content with significant competitive advantage.
The types of SEO content
Blog posts are not the only type of business content that can be optimized for SEO. SEO-friendly content can also include:
- Landing pages
- Thought leadership articles
- How-to guides
- Case studies
This is not a comprehensive list, but if you’re looking to get started with content for your business then they’re a good place to begin.
Now, what exactly are the steps to optimize your content for SEO?
Steps to create SEO-friendly content
1. Identify and integrate keyword research
One of the fundamental components of SEO is to embrace your keywords. This involves strategically planning your content in line with the most popular words and phrases in search results. Your content will then be targeted towards what people are searching for in relation to your business or industry. For instance, if you’re a law firm, identifying certain terms that people search for alongside: law firm can provide you with a better understanding of your target market’s interests and how they are searching for your content or services.
Discovering keywords may seem like a difficult process, but with the right tools it is easy to get started. Keyword research tools we would recommend include:
- Ahrefs (Keywords Explorer)
- SEMrush (Keyword Overview & Keyword Magic Tool)
- Google Keyword Planner
However, bear in mind that keyword analysis is not a novel strategy and that many businesses optimize their content in this way. This means that it’s not enough to only include these keywords in your content. They must also feature in ‘bonus’ places such as your URL, meta title and alternative text which may not necessarily be noticed (we’ll get onto this later).
Tip: Try to ensure that your keywords fit naturally within your content. Avoid overloading with keywords in every available spot. Take advantage of them, but don’t let them overpower your content.
2. Use headings and sub-headings
There is nothing more discouraging than a huge chunk of text or a clunky page layout. Not only is this upsetting from a user perspective, but this type of content structure damages the SEO ranking. This is because users seldom read through an entire post, but look for headings, sub-headings and easily navigable content descriptors… and so does Google!
Including headings and sub-headings makes it easier for both users and search engines to read and understand your content. Imagine them almost as content signallers – users will appreciate these signposts as they find exactly what they are looking for and so choose to remain on your site. This will reduce your page’s bounce rate which, in turn, boosts your SEO score.
In the SEO world, headings and subheadings are regularly referred to as H1, H2 and H3. They are designed as header tags to organize content, while the number represents their level of priority within the text.
H2: Physical hobbies
Tip: Don’t forget about your keywords! Headings and sub-headings are a perfect way to incorporate your keywords as search engines recognize header tags as more important than other forms of text.
3. Identify the optimal content length
When writing content for business, you should always try to look at the overall picture, rather than just jumping straight in. Content that is SEO friendly involves a lot of planning to understand roughly how long each piece should be.
The optimal length of marketing content is hotly contested, but we would always recommend aiming for more than 1,000 words. This is because long-form content is proven to perform better in search engines as it enhances the overall authority and quality of your content in the eyes of Google.
It’s true that Google tends to optimize long-form content of higher quality, but for some industries this may not be feasible. Content articles designed for younger audiences, for example, are best kept short and snappy to cater for shorter attention spans. Try to keep your content as long as possible but ensure that it is an appropriate length that satisfies your target audience.
Tip: Remember that when it comes to content writing, quality remains pivotal. Your word count alone will not guarantee SEO-friendly content. Engaging and retaining users on your site should remain your primary focus, so avoid watering down your content purely to increase your length.
4. Optimise your images
Probably the most hidden component of SEO-friendly content is the ability to optimize images. Marketers are more and more frequently using images to accompany their content in a quest to add an element of visual stimulation. Modern consumers are constantly on-the-go and retaining their interest is harder than ever, which is why it's becoming more and more necessary to include images for visual impact. As such, it’s a no-brainer that optimizing your images for SEO can help rank your content higher.
There are two main ways to optimize your images for SEO:
Resize your images
Ensure that your images are not too large or too high a resolution. Large images with high resolution result in slow page load times and a high bounce rate. This will penalize the SEO ranking of your page and ultimately your content.
Include alternative text
Images are unrecognizable to search engines so its a good idea to provide them with image descriptors. Alternative text (often called Alt text) does just that by allowing search engines to accurately index your image content and rank a page.
Tip: Ensure that any images you use complement the text. Adding images purely to take advantage of the alternative text for keyword utilization will increase your chances of Google determining your content as irrelevant and low-quality.
5. Include internal and external links
Upgrading your link structure is one of the best ways to create SEO-friendly content. To do so, you need to understand the difference between internal and external links, and know exactly how and when to include them.
Internal links direct people to other parts of your site. They work to increase user engagement by making your content easily navigable and promoting other targeted content of interest. This makes users feel as if their individual needs are being listened to, which produces positive user experiences that lead to conversions and earn customer loyalty.
External links have a similar impact, though you are linking to content from other websites. This may seem counterproductive at first, but linking to credible and trust-worthy sources will help to improve the authority of your website in search engine results. What’s more, Google’s algorithms follow linked content as one of the strongest ranking signals.
Internal and external links are a great way to boost your search engine rankings but avoid broken links and link stuffing. This will prove detrimental to your content’s overall SEO ranking and will be penalized by Google. Try to keep your links both pertinent and impactful.
Tip: Link building isn’t just a one-way street. The more you link to outbound sites, the more likely it is that the same company will return the favor. This will earn your website ‘backlinks’ which also tend to have high organic search engine rankings.
How can we help?
Here at Novicell, we are a London-based SEO agency that encourages businesses to reach their full digital potential. It is important for us to present the complete truth about your website’s SEO status and to tailor our solutions specifically around your individual business needs. We provide technical, quality and international SEO services in everything from link building to off-page SEO. Our goal is simple: your success is our success.
If you’re looking for an SEO agency, why not contact us or arrange a call to speak with one of our dedicated SEO consultants who will be more than happy to help you.