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SEO content writing: a beginner's guide

SEO content writing: a beginner's guide

Yaser Ayub
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November 26, 2021
Reading Duration
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11 min
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Content is king, especially when it is SEO optimised.

SEO is a process that needs time and dedication, and the content side of it is one part of the overall process. To do SEO right you need to also do keyword research well, fix technical issues, write optimised content and build backlinks.

What SEO content can do for you in return is:

  • attract quality traffic and easily convert them into leads
  • add value to your business
  • give value to your audience
  • organic and sustainable growth for a long period of time.

SEO is made up of several steps done right, including content. If one of the SEO processes is lacking effort, then the whole SEO is impacted as well as your page one ranking on SERPs. For instance, if you neglect link building then SEO is not done right and it affects the whole website. Pay attention to all aspects of SEO.

Specifically, when writing and strategising on the content for your business - whether B2B or B2C - you should think as a professional content strategist. Think strategically, try to put yourself in your audience's shoes: why are they on your website? What are they looking for?

I'll show you how to use content marketing for your business and SEO, and how I build strategic SEO content that attracts quality traffic and converts easily.

Content examples that you can create for your website

Content can be classified in many categories such as:

  • Blogs - this is the most well-known and well used method of creating content. Blogs can be informative and educational, and the best option for SEO content.
  • Articles - such as news articles on newspapers and online magazines, which is typically harder to rank for since it is not an educational type of content
  • Website copy - the content and copy on website pages can be keyword optimised in order for that particular page to rank on page one of Google
  • Guides - are a long form of content and can pack a lot of useful information, statistics and links, boosting overall SEO.
  • Lists - these are blogs but structured as lists such as: 5 Fintech strategies to kickstart your business growth.
  • Glossaries - are perfect for the niche market, such as a pension service, which can use the glossary section to build helpful content around pension terminologies for their audience.

How to start an SEO content plan

A keyword strategy will help you understand which words and search terms people use to find your product and service. It will also help you understand which keywords your competitors are competing and ranking for.

One useful tool for keyword research is Ahrefs which identifies keywords, their search volume and keyword difficulty, making it simple to find relevant search terms to rank for on SERPs. 

Focus on your niche

Building and writing keyword optimised content is a great way to do SEO as you're showing search engines what your website and your niche is about, attracting relevant traffic too. For example, we are a digital marketing agency specialising in SEO with particular experience in marketing for Fintechs; our content and blogs are based on these two topics - SEO and Fintech - pointing out to Google that we are experts in these two niches and we want to rank for relevant search terms.

Also, content should be built based on five principles, in order to boost overall ranking and brand visibility on SERPs.

Questions vs Keywords

Pro tip when writing for SEO purposes is to base your content on questions rather than keywords. For instance, for one of my clients in the pension industry, our approach to creating content is based on questions people ask such as 'what happens to my pension when I die' rather than plain keywords such as 'workplace pension'.

This marketing technique works really well, especially for my client Qardus. In this blog, which is based on a question that people were looking for an answer to rather than based on a highly competitive keyword, we managed to increase clicks and enquiries on the website by 63%.

Umbrella topics

Another pro tip is to start off with coming up with 2-4 topic pillars. This will help you direct the content and write about specific topics that belong under relevant umbrella-categories. It will give you a better understanding on which umbrella topics you should focus on and which ones your target audience finds useful and valuable.

For instance, my client is a broker and we have created a blog with four pillar categories that are relevant to his business and which will allow us to easily build content based on these topics. The 'Recovery Loan Scheme' is one of the pillar topics and we are now able to specifically suggest and write blogs on anything RLS that their customers will find relevant.

The five principles that content should be based on:

  • relevancy
  • intent
  • usefulness
  • value
  • high quality

Your content should be relevant, intentional, useful, valuable and of high quality. Once your content is built right, organic growth follows.

After defining your keyword strategy and subsequently your content plan, your content should be written with these five principles in mind.

Define people's pain and problem

Before writing content, you need to be aware of why your audience comes to you for information.

What is their pain?

What solution are they looking for?

By identifying their pain, you are able to give an answer to their questions, a solution to their problem.

You built relevant content that your audience is interested in. It is a great way of attracting the right traffic to your business and increasing clicks on your blogs as well as boosting the overall SEO of your key target page. Ranking is made easy with relevant content.

Find your customer's intent

Writing your content should be intentional, as are your topics and titles. Research on customer search intent and find out exactly what your audience is looking for on your website and the intention behind it.

Is it to purchase a product?

Is it to learn more on a particular topic?

Is it because they're comparing various services?

What is their real purpose of their search?

Once you understand their intention for visiting your website, you are able to guide them through the sales funnel seamlessly and give them exactly what they're looking for, and make them happy customers.

When writing a landing page or a blog, you need to ensure that it fits the search intent of the customer.

Quality is key

As a content writer, you shouldn't write for the sake of writing, and especially not for the sake of SEO. What you write should be useful and of high quality. This is because when you write for the sake of SEO, it is very obvious to the reader.

How? They find your content very 'fluffy', without any quality into it and without a straightforward and clear answer. This causes them to bounce off your website and find their answer on another website. This increases bounce rate which affects your SEO and online visibility. It's usually very clear which blogs are meant for SEO and which ones actually are of good quality and pack lots of relevant information.

As an SEO content writer you need to focus on creating useful and quality writing pieces not only to increase traffic but also to encourage link building. By writing quality pieces, other websites will want to quote you, and they will subsequently cite your website and create external links.

Better link building as well as increased clicks on your blogs, boost visibility on Google as search engines typically reward websites that people click on, find useful and relevant, and websites that are proven to be of top quality due to other websites citing them.

Value is the most important principle

What I've learnt throughout my career as a marketer is that when you give value to your audience and customers, you get it back tenfold.

Which is true, as you can't expect your clients or your customers to want to purchase or even engage with a brand that seems to have no value. But rather are keen to give value and read your blogs, purchase the product and engage with the brand when they feel that they are interacting with something real that gives back to them.

Thus, valuable content increases ROI and adds credibility to your business and brand.


Technical bits

When writing long pieces such as blogs and articles, it is important that you add 'text breakers', something that will break up your text and make it more readable for your audience. User readability is also a priority when writing content because if it's made for SEO and it's full of jargon phrases and keywords stuffed everywhere, it is not easy for the reader to go through and absorb the information.

What you can do to break up blocks of text and add more substance in your content is to:

  • add statistics and data. This is a great way to show differences, compare and make a stronger argument.
  • add bullet points. You can see in this blog, I've included bullet points quite a few times to break up the text and help readers who usually skim, find the information they need a bit more quickly.
  • add examples. Examples and metaphors are a great way of breaking up the text and adding a bit more value and credibility to your content. Readers love examples as they get to understand exactly what you're trying to convey through your words.
  • add FAQs. FAQs are always great when added at the end of a page or landing page as they boost SEO with some hidden extra content. They break up the monotony of a long piece of content by packing information in a few
  • add CTAs. Call-to-Action phrases and buttons in a text not only break up the text but also encourage readers to take action and book that call with you or purchase your service.
  • keep it simple. Long complicated sentences were never finished by anyone. Keep it short and straightforward. Read the sentence aloud - if it doesn't sound right, then change it.
  • add links. For link building purposes and doing SEO correctly, don't neglect this please. It is extremely important that you link pages internally as well as link external sources to your content. Google crawlers need these links to come to your website and index the page.

Sounds like a lot to remember, right? Don't worry, the more you write for SEO, the more you get the hang of it!

The best advice I've ever received for SEO content writing is

Own your content. Write as if you're speaking to your audience out loud and don't be afraid to highlight a certain word for emphasis. Writing with SEO only in mind, is a bad idea.

Write with your ideal client or customer in mind. What do they want to read?

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Chief Marketing Officer