The clear and simple truth about SEO is this: it all depends on the quality of the content. Yes, the technical components have an impact on rankings, but ultimately your message is the key to successful conversions and search engine rankings. Here are some basic SEO writing rules to follow that could help search engines promote your content.
1. Respect your reader’s time
The most successful content is one that predictably answers the questions it promises to answer – in the least amount of time.
Pages with long paragraphs that are poorly constructed and filled with keywords and phrases are not the kind of pages that turn into a business. And these pages tend to drop rank quickly, even though they rank well at the start. Remember that search engines have only one job: to provide quality results to their users. Waste the readers’ time and you will not stand in their favor.
2. Don’t be afraid of off-page links
You will see a list of links referring to highly trusted SEO resources at the bottom of this article. Why would we share a bunch of links with you that might take you to another website? Because we recognize that sharing these links can be good for both of us.
On the one hand, it shows you that we really want to help you, which makes you appreciate us.
For two, this shows Google that we really want to help you out, which is also helpful for our SEO efforts.
While posting these links might take a user away from your page for a minute, it also makes your page a referral that they would likely keep handy – or share with a friend. We’ll do the right thing and make sure these links « open in a new window » so our reader can find their way back to us. Make sure the links you choose are relevant and timely so Google will recognize that you understand the topic.
3. Be part of the local community
Ranking in local search is generally less difficult than ranking nationally or globally. If there is a need for your product or service in your city or state, you will likely have a local advantage built into the search. Locally targeted content is an easy to use SEO fruit. So, when preparing your larger content strategy, be sure to develop content that targets your community and the surrounding areas. Heavy local traffic can also be beneficial for higher national rankings.
4. Treat your reader the way you want
Generally speaking, we all want the same things when we search the web. We like to find solutions to problems – or answers to our various curiosities. But while it seems obvious to us when we research, there is often a disconnect when we write copy with SEO in mind. Keep checking out for yourself the value you provide to your readers. If a deep love of humanity isn’t enough to inspire you to do this, remember that’s what the spiders at Google want you to do, too.
5. Have a page optimized only for voice search
Speaking of Google (and Alexa and Siri), it’s probably time to include a copy optimized for voice queries. Some research indicates that up to 50% of traffic comes from this format. When we interview our virtual assistants, we usually ask them a question. For example, « Ok Google, how can I get my web page to rank well on Google? » It makes sense to develop an FAQ page that includes a layman version of the common questions you would expect a potential customer to ask.
6. Don’t forget SEO for landing pages with downloads
Landing pages with a download offer effectively hide some of your meatier SEO content. If you use this approach on your website, follow best practices from services like HubSpot to help you get the best results. With sparse, eye-catching copy, your goal is to get the visitor to download your material and not so much to provide responses on your page. But search engines can reward you if people interact with or download your form.
That said, you should carefully consider your form options. Asking for less information can lead to more downloads, but it can be from less qualified leads. Asking for additional relevant information can also build the confidence of a more motivated candidate, but too many requests in advance can deter other potential clients. Testing these variables is highly recommended if a download is a critical component of your business model.
7. Know enough technical SEO to be effective (or dangerous)
Many content writers are also responsible for creating pages in a CMS like WordPress or HubSpot. Yoast’s popular WordPress plugin guides basic ‘on-page SEO’, offering tips for things like word count, headline optimization, URL naming conventions, image tag callbacks, and general readability of pages, among others. There are many free and paid online tools that can help evaluate individual pages for these ranking factors. And, since these more “technical” components tend to come under marketing, it’s not a bad idea to understand them in more detail.
Many SEO tools provide creative resources for SEO content writers, such as keyword research, competitive analysis, and more. A cool new tool (SparkToro) can help copywriters identify social media audiences that may reveal vertical interests that can generate ideas for new content.
In the spirit of good content, we’ve shared a few more informative links below to help you explore this topic further.
From Aspiration Marketing
SEO myths that aren’t true today
Smart goals for professional SEO
SEO FAQs for startups
From other sources
Basics of SEO Ahrefs
Search Engine Land – What is SEO
SEO MOZ – Beginner’s Guide to SEO
SEO Starter Guide for Beginner Google Developers
Bruce Clay SEO Tools
SparkToro – Find audiences on social networks