I tried to make this list easy to understand, and I hope you’ll see it as a pocket guide on SEO writing best practices.
These are 17 ideas on writing content that consistently brings organic traffic.
What Beginners Should Know
For beginners, you should understand what SEO writing really means.
Click on that link and understand the process before you read this one.
But if you already did, I won’t waste your time. So, Let’s go.
#1. Choose long-tail keywords
What are short tail keywords?
- Short-tail keywords – 3 words or less
- Long-tail keyword – more than 3 words
Most short-tail keywords are already taken. The big guys in your industry have the resources and staff to create great content. They have been in the industry for a long time and have created lots of content and backlinks. They have domain authority. People trust them when it comes to certain topics.
Their pages appear if you type one word into the search box. Depending on your industry, it will be difficult to outrank them for one or three words.
Of course, this is oversimplified. If the industry is new or emerging, you can still find less difficult short-tail keywords to rank for. But for most of the bigger industries, the short-tail keywords are taken.
So, when planning your Search Engine Optimization strategies, you should focus on long-tail keywords.
Don’t focus on keywords like “business,” “business growth,” or “grow my business.”
Focus on something like “how to build a business on Instagram.”
Where do I find the keywords?
Use tools such as:
- Google Keyword planner
- Google Trend
You can also check places like
- Amazon suggestions
- Google suggestions
Look at people’s comments, reviews, and questions.
People type the keyword. So it’s perfect to use what they’re typing. And with the tools I mentioned, you can decide whether or not those words are worth targeting in your strategy.
In other words, first, create content that satisfies people’s wants, which is the most important of all the SEO writing best practices I have mentioned before:
Choose keywords with less keyword difficulty, and always focus on what readers and crawlers want.
I wrote a detailed article on keyword research. You can find the link in this article.
#2. Imitate what’s ranking at the top of the page
Study “Search Engine Result Page.” Your aim is to appear at the top, so it is alright to familiarize yourself with it. Study it.
Pay attention to the following:
- The top websites on the page
- Their number or source of backlinks
- The keywords that appear on the page
- The type of content that appears first (videos, listicles, audio)
- The format of the contents (subheadings, images, anything unique about the pages)
If a website ranks as top SEO, it is a standard for you to rank.
Follow the same style, but improve the content.
If the top content is a video, you stand a better chance by creating a video. But you’re a marketer and should always put your audience first.
This is where your creativity will be tested. You want to create something unique, something your buyers will find valuable when they compare it with your competitors or artificial intelligence.
I used to try one of these SEO practice exercises where I would pick a page that’s ranking on the first page. I will use tools to see the keywords it ranks for and collect a few of them. Then, I will write something entirely different but useful to the audience. Frequently, I get on the front page a few months later with one or two backlinks to the post. I believe the result would be better, with more backlinks and a higher domain rating. It’s an experiment I like to do because I want to write something unique instead of rephrasing other people’s content. You can do the same.
Optimizing SEO can be tricky. You learn how to use SEO experiences better when you have tested and experimented with a lot of things.
#3. Write great headlines
When you saw this post on Google, what did you notice first?
Yeah, it’s the title.
You read it and decide if the rest of the post will be worth it.
Learn how to write great titles, headlines, and descriptions. Your mission is to force searchers to stop in their tracks, give your headline a second look, and click it.
#4. If you can’t include your keyword in the title, then use it early in your post
Look at this:
This process lets crawlers quickly determine what your page is about and rank it accordingly.
#5. Rank for one long-tail keyword
You might think you are smart and include as many keywords as possible.
You’ve failed the SEO writing best practices because your article will sound off.
People will leave when they can’t find what they are looking for or if your content is confusing or complicated, with many keywords that don’t help them understand the topic. It’s bad SEO practice.
And that’s bad for your bounce rate. So, yes, you might add a few other keywords, but not many of them.
The best practice is that if you write the best article, it likely includes other random keywords.
PLEASE: DO NOT CONFUSE TOPIC CLUSTERING WITH OVERUSING KEYWORDS. A topic cluster is well structured and has the users in mind. A professional SEO specialist understands how to do it. Tools like Ahref and Semrush can also help beginners to handle it. You can check my article on keyword research for elaborate and better practices on how to use keywords.
#6. Reduce the size of your images
Add the image at the right size you want your reader to find them.
They shouldn’t be too big for mobile users, especially.
Large images load too slowly, which doesn’t help the user experience.
User experience is another profession/topic entirely, and you don’t want to ruin it for your visitors/users.
#7. Use keywords in images
If you are using Yoast Plugin, it will notify you about how to insert images.
For beginners, add keywords to the Alt Text.
Use a better name, like your domain name + your blog title. Don’t use something like 3289.jpeg.
#8. Change the details on the page only when it’s important
For new websites, it takes time before Google finds and collects information about your pages.
When you make changes to a page, such as the structure and URL, it might affect the information Google has about the page.
Your page might rank lower after you make changes to it.
Leave pages as they are unless you need to improve something.
This is usually not a problem if your website is set up correctly. Your information should update automatically with the right system or plugins in place.
But keep this point in mind anyway: Edit pages when it’s important. Then, visitors won’t start seeing different information on the same page every two days.
#9. Link your new content to old content
If you have been following some SEO writing best practices, you must have heard about internal linking.
In short, link one page to another, like showing the reader the paths to follow around your website.
This is called INTERLINKING, and it helps search engine crawlers to understand your website.
But if you want Google to index (collect information about) your page faster, you should edit older content and include the new link to your new blog content.
#10. Share your content
If you share your content, you will:
- Connect with people who need it
- Get feedback on what you write
- Build backlinks
Where can you share your content?
- Social media
- Places like Quora and Reddit
#11. Format your content for skimmers
One of the best SEO writing practices is to use
- bold texts
- Short videos
40% of your visitors won’t read your blog posts. They are there to find what they need and leave.
So prepare for that.
Do you know why listicles are so interesting to read?
They are so easy to skim.
SEO writing practices are about meeting your audience the point of their needs.
#12. Request for backlinks
Find websites that will link to your pages or blog posts.
This is one of the toughest things about SEO and the key thing that can make a lot of difference.
Remember, your authority is the most important thing to crawlers. So they usually measure it through backlinks.
How can you get backlinks?
- Send cold emails to other bloggers.
- Guest posts on popular websites
- Publish content in different places.
- Network with people in your industry (tech bloggers meet other bloggers, website designers, tech guys, and tech products sellers)
#13. Pay for SEO tools
Tools will make your work easier. They are helpful if you want to grow faster. They can alert you on what you’re doing wrong or need to do if you want your page to rank.
Many SEO tools have features, guides, videos, and blog posts to educate you on what to do. Tools like Yoast and Rank Math will help you in writing meta descriptions.
I like the videos on Ahref and their blog posts.
I can’t tell you the ones to buy. Do your research and make a choice.
#14. Include a short video summary of your blog post
A short video works fine if you want to reduce the bounce rate on your website content.
Videos are also easy to share on social media. Again, make it short, between 1 – 3 minutes.
#15. Target a few short-tail keywords
Your aim is to become the big guy in your industry. So you have to write content that will put you in that place.
Avoiding short-tail keywords means some important topics will not be available on your website, and people will look for answers elsewhere.
That’s not so good for building trust and authority.
I know this because Google says backlinks are important.
So, target a few short-tail keywords in your plan. They might not reach the top of SERP (Search Engine Result Page), but they can get traffic through social shares and internal linking.
Who knows? You might just get lucky with ranking after some time.
#16. Write something Interesting
Google search engine optimization is a tool. You should treat it as one. Sometimes, just write something interesting and let go of optimization altogether. Focus on your audience and write for them. Later, you can worry on how to edit and make it rank.
When I think about this, I remember websites like Waitbutwhy. The articles on the page are lengthy. They could pass for Amazon short reads.
Look at the length of the blog posts on Waitbutwhy.com
Look at that traffic in the last 6 months:
Look at the top keywords:
The type of articles you see on the website is something you have never thought about before. It’s practical yet seems new. It is like explaining a strange concept to you in a way that has never been discussed before.
If you can do that, it’s’ a huge win for the world and the internet. It’s’ an extreme SEO content writing example.
I explained better in this post: how to write evergreen content.
With some kind of post, you have to let go of some of the on-page SEO practices. You have to accept that this won’t rank unless people search for it specifically. For instance, you have to understand your audience and write something that will interest them. Think about Substack or Twitter. Most of the content you will write in those places will not get SEO benefits. However, if the content is good, it will get shared, and people will search for it using the specific terms you used as keywords. This doesn’t mean you ignore SEO practices altogether, but here, if you have to sacrifice between the quality and depth of your content or SEO, you let go of search engine optimization for that one or a percentage of content on your website.
Two posts on this blog get the most returning visitors: How to be Happy without Feeling like a Loser and Content Writing Tips For New Business Owners. One is 7,000 words long, and the other is more than 4000 words. Although length doesn’t determine quality, in this case, I wrote the best thing about those topics. They are epic.
Here is a question: between Waitbutwhy and a blog post on how to become smart, which of the following would you most like to study?
#17. Write great content
Writing great content is one of the main reasons people share your post, read it to the end, or even link to it.
If your post is great, it will keep getting traffic for years and years later.
(Yes, you might need to update it.)
So put in the effort and write something better than what’s ranking at the top of SERPs.
Writing great content is a little different from writing something interesting.
Great content solves the reader’s problems. Something interesting is like research, a compelling story, something people have never thought about. It doesn’t mean they don’t solve people’s problems. It focuses more on opening people’s minds to things they have never thought of.
Such types of writing can be classified as exceptional best practices for SEO content writing because it’s hard to do.
You need resources. Your content writer must be a good storyteller that can keep readers engaged for 30 or more minutes in a world where 10 minutes seem too long for many people. It is not something you can do daily. It might take weeks or years to have one post because of the quality of research you need.
Think about writing a topic like “a guide to Living in California through the Eye of a French Woman.”
That will take days or months to write because you need to live there or contact and interview those who did. It might even take years.
Depending on your plans, you might have to invest in research and write something that isn’t easy to come by anywhere else.
Write helpful, detailed, and valuable content instead. For example, if your blog talks about phone apps, write something really helpful about a phone app problem.
An example is when
Know what not to compromise.
You can ignore some of the advice on the list because they aren’t a straight-line path to getting the amount of traffic you want. You have to consider other things like:
- The competition in your industry
- How long do you want to commit to a strategy
- The resources you have for tools and skilled writers
The Most Important In SEO writing best practices
You have two important tasks in your content writing for SEO:
- Write for humans and crawlers. But it can be summarized in one sentence: make your readers happy. Google will know, using the reports such as bounce rates, and they will rank your page.
- Secondly, get backlinks.
Don’t forget to shoot me a message if you need a freelance SEO writer using the contact form above. I’ll catch it.