Writing SEO content is fundamental for increasing the online visibility of your brand. Anyone can write compelling web content to promote their products and services. But if it isn’t optimized for search engines to be able to find it and deem it a reliable resource, then it will end up collecting dust deep in the search results.
75% of searchers never scroll past the first page of Google, so taking the extra steps to write SEO content could make the difference between people discovering your brand online or choosing your competitor. Follow these steps to learn the basics of writing for SEO optimization:
Choose Focus Keywords
Each individual page should target a highly specific keyword phrase within the broader keyword strategy of your overall website. For example, a bank may want their site to rank for the term “checking accounts.” To do this, they create a page that’s optimized for that term, but they also create supporting pages with more specific keyword focuses, such as “free personal checking accounts,” “how to manage a checking account,” and “switching checking accounts.” By creating content that provides solutions to people looking for checking accounts, the bank is providing value to potential customers while increasing the number of keywords that its site can rank for on search engines.
To choose a focus keyword, consider what solution you’re trying to provide to your audience. Then, type a few related queries into a keyword research tool, such as SEMrush, to compare keyword difficulty and see which terms offer the best search volume and available SERP features. Choosing a focus keyword isn’t an exact science. It’s often a combination of evaluating which term is right for your audience, whether it fits in with your larger keyword strategy, and if your brand has the ability to outrank the existing results.
Once you select 2-5 keyword phrases to target for your webpage, enter them into a search engine to see what type of content is currently ranking for those terms. Consider whether it’s realistic for your brand to outrank competitors that already have well-developed bodies of content around those terms. At the beginning of your SEO journey, it may be more effective to seek out lower volume, more attainable keywords to build your site’s authority before going after broad, high-volume terms.
Write Concise, Answers-Based Content
Search engines reward websites with concise, original, answers-based content. The best way to provide this is to use your distinctive expertise to write for your audience. What questions might people have about your brand, products, or industry? What tone do they take in everyday conversation? By tailoring your content and approach to cater to their needs and interests, you’ll please your audience, which in turn will improve your SEO rankings.
For example, the bank that writes a page called “How to manage a checking account” should write for an audience that is thinking about opening a checking account for the first time. When writing for SEO optimization, use everyday language rather than semantics that only financial experts or banking industry employees would understand. The content should — without being explicitly promotional — focus on educating the reader about effectively managing their money and how a checking account can empower them to do that. It should answer key questions and concerns that the reader likely has, such as how to keep track of their balance and pay bills online. By doing this, search engines will recognize the content is accessible and offers meaningful answers to user queries. In addition, it helps build relationships with potential customers.
Fill in SEO Metadata Completely
SEO metadata is information that is used to describe the content on your website when it’s crawled by search engines or appears on the results pages. Having complete, accurate, and unique metadata is vital for SEO because it tells users and search engines alike what to expect on your page. Your metadata should contain focus keywords and entice users to learn more by entering your website. It includes:
- Page title: The name of the page.
- Meta description: A sentence or two that provides additional detail about what the content is about and appears below the page title on search engine results pages.
- Headings in the body text: On-page headlines (H1 for titles, H2 for subtitles, etc.) you can add to structure your content into easy-to-read sections and keep readers engaged.
- Alt text: Brief description of on-page photos. Readers don’t typically see alt text unless the photo is unable to be displayed. It’s primarily for search engines.
Metadata on the example “How to manage a checking account” page might look something like this:
- Page title: How To Manage a Checking Account
- Meta description: Learn how to manage a checking account and take control of your finances, from checking your balance to paying bills online.
- Headings: Monitor your checking account balance, Pay bills online from your checking account, Keep your checking account secure
By keeping up with SEO best practices and writing content that’s tailored to your audience’s needs, you can drive more traffic and, ultimately, more sales, to your website. Not sure which pages on your site to optimize first? Learn how to identify high-opportunity pages here.
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