How To Write SEO Content: 12 Requirements You Should Know
Content marketing is a proven method of driving traffic to your website and turning visitors into customers. As the name implies, this form of marketing is all about using SEO content writing to increase your site’s authority and improve your rankings for keywords that people search for organically.
But what is SEO content writing and how do you create SEO content that gets results? There are certain elements SEO articles must have in order to engage readers and build awareness of your brand.
Whether you plan to outsource your SEO content writing or use in-house employees to create your content, it’s essential to understand the defining aspects of effective SEO copy.
To help you recognize these and use them, we’ve created a 12-step list of the best writing practices for SEO content. Use this list to figure out how to write your content to ensure it’s the marketing powerhouse you want it to be. But first, let’s give you some context.
What Is SEO Content Writing?
While some of the most well-known aspects of content marketing are keywords and search-engine performance, the process of crafting SEO content is actually far more involved.
To effectively improve search rankings and capture the attention of human readers, content marketing articles must be interesting, factual and engaging.
There are numerous aspects that can make or break an SEO article or blog post. For example, articles stuffed with keywords don’t perform well in a search engine and quickly turn readers away from your brand.
On the other hand, a well-written SEO article that includes interesting facts, helpful data, and actionable suggestions can rank well in search engine results and also give a reader a favorable impression of you and your company.
When it comes to SEO content creation, you can write your articles in-house or outsource to an SEO content development service. While there are pros and cons to each approach, you may find that hiring expert writers to create your content frees up time for you to focus on the other aspects of running your business.
12 SEO Requirements for Writing High-Quality SEO Articles
Although you may know what SEO content writing looks like and how it works, it takes time and effort to create a quality article with all the components that define success. How do you write great SEO content? There are 12 specific parts of content writing that can boost any SEO article and help you see results. And to make all this information a little easier to remember when trying to craft high-quality SEO articles, here’s a downloadable graphic with the 12 key requirements you should focus on every time you create a piece of content.
So how do each of these elements work together, and how can you master each one? Let’s talk about it.
1. A Strong Viewpoint
One of the most important aspects of what is called “effective SEO content writing” is a strong, clear viewpoint. In some cases, it’s even better to center an article around a controversial viewpoint. The key is to say something that is interesting and intriguing to your audience, and to sound confident about it.
If you portray a strong argument in an article or blog post, chances are you will get a large number of readers. Some will click on your article because they agree with your point and want their opinion validated. Others will immediately disagree with your position and continue reading due to an emotional reaction. Either way, you have a good chance of engaging your readers and making your content (and brand) memorable.
It’s essential to understand that crafting an SEO article that takes a strong (or even controversial) stand is not the same as writing a piece of clickbait. The goal of clickbait is to trick readers into engaging with a piece by presenting it in a false, misleading, or overly emotional manner.
Most readers can easily spot clickbait and will develop an unfavorable view of your brand if your marketing revolves around this type of SEO content writing. However, if you are able to create interesting articles that draw your readers in through legitimate means, it can pay huge dividends in terms of traffic and search ranking.
How To Create Strong SEO Writing
Knowing what is SEO content writing and how to avoid the clickbait trap is a smart move on your part. There are several ways to craft an article around a powerful viewpoint. You can use personal experience or vivid storytelling to draw your readers in. Another possibility is to use passionate language to clearly state a position. Either way, remember that the goal of your content is to attract readers and interest them in your brand and products/services.
By taking a firm position on a relevant topic and defending that position, you can count on encouraging strong reactions from your readers. And those reactions, even when they disagree with your point, will drive people to share, comment on, and engage with your content, thereby improving your SEO results even more.
2. An Intriguing Persona
Another way to get your readers to relate to your content is to develop the right persona in your writing. The first step here is to understand your target audience so that you know what kind of person your intended readers want to hear from.
For example, the tone, style, and format of SEO blog writing for millennial readers will be different than the elements of a content piece written to retirees.
The persona of your SEO content writing may be based on your industry as well.
For example, you would probably use a different vocabulary and writing style to engage young readers on fashion-industry topics than you would use to engage people of the same age on subjects related to estate planning.
There are several other aspects of developing a persona for your content marketing campaign. Refining a persona for your brand may involve imagining your intended audience and thinking about what problems they are looking to solve and what questions they are asking. You may ask yourself what SEO content writing would look like for your target audience (i.e. what are they looking for and what are they interested in?).
Once you know these things about your intended readers, you can craft your SEO content to describe how your brand solves those problems and answers those questions.
Other essential aspects of incorporating personas into your SEO content development involve using the correct language style and crafting articles that reach your audience where it is.
For example, you probably don’t want to invest in SEO content writing services to write short, informal listicles for social media consumption if most of your target audience is searching for scientific data reported in a traditional news-like fashion.
3. Useful, Interesting Data
Unfortunately, today’s internet is full of fake news, outlandish stories and too-good-to-be-true advertising claims. While it may be tempting to use a little bit of hyperbole in your SEO content writing or exaggerate your product claims slightly, these less-than-honest methods will likely have negative outcomes, especially in terms of your brand’s reputation.
Instead of engaging SEO blog writing services that rely on stretching the truth or using clickbait-style headlines, grab your readers’ interest with interesting (but true) facts and useful data.
What is SEO content writing without useful information? Making your content interesting and informative is a great way to encourage your viewers to keep reading and to share with their own network of peers. There are numerous options when it comes to adding data to your articles.
If your audience prefers easy-to-skim formatting and short articles, consider adding visually appealing infographics to your SEO articles. Infographics share data in an easy-to-read way, and their visual nature increases the chance your audience will remember what they read.
Longer articles directed to a scholarly audience may be better places to include case studies. Well-designed case studies can position your brand as a trustworthy leader in your industry.
Despite how you include it, the fact is that data-driven content that provides real value to the reader is one of the keys to writing high quality SEO articles.
4. Expert Authority
Whether you create your own SEO content or outsource it to an SEO content development service, it’s essential to make sure your content comes from a position of authority. You want your target audience to automatically think of your brand as an expert source of reliable knowledge in your field.
SEO content writing that is authoritative and trustworthy can help you develop a favorable image of your brand with your readers. There are several ways to increase the authority of your content:
- Cite statistics from reliable, unbiased sources
- Present honest information that doesn’t read like a sales pitch
- Provide concrete examples of your industry-related expertise
Writing from a place of authority can help you establish your brand as a leader in your industry and ensure it stands out from your competitors. When you can link to other sources that confirm your information, it can further increase your readers’ trust.
5. Lists or Bullet Points
The internet has impacted the way people find information and consume media. Studies suggest that the ubiquity of the internet has also started to lower the attention span and memory capacity of the average user.
That means that your SEO content writing can’t rely on traditional article formats that include long paragraphs of unbroken text. Modern readers prefer short paragraphs, catchy headers, and different text formats that break up the page (or screen) visually.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can make your content visually appealing and easy for the average reader to understand and to remember:
- Create a list
- Use short paragraphs
- Add bullet points
- Make a table
- Add subheaders
All of these formatting options can help break up long, boring walls of text and make your content easier for readers to skim. Search engines look favorably on lists and tables too.
In fact, using these types of formatting can increase the chances of your content being included in Google’s featured snippets.
A list style featured snippet would look something like this:
And a table style featured snippet looks like this:
The key to remember is that high-quality SEO articles don’t just read well – they look good, too. Knowing what SEO content writing is all about can make the difference. It’s amazing how far a little formatting can go when trying to improve your SEO writing both visually and from a search engine’s standpoint.
6. A Relevant Article Topic
Another key aspect of a perfect piece of content is the topic. It may seem like you can choose any subject that’s related to your industry, viewpoint, or products and services, but some topics perform better with readers and search engines than others.
It may be useful to figure out what sort of topics your target audience wants to see and incorporate those subjects into your content marketing strategy. Here are some other good ways to develop topic-driven content:
- Assess user metrics for your site’s visitors
- Cover tangential subjects related to your industry
- Update older blog posts with new information and fresh writing
- Follow social media hashtags relevant to your industry to keep up with current events
Some SEO content writing services may provide suggestions for topics to cover, and you can also read your competitor’s blogs and social media updates to get ideas.
Building a database of possible blog topic ideas can make it easier and faster to write SEO content. If you have a list of topics to give to an SEO blog writing service, you can ensure that the content you get fits within your overall SEO content marketing strategy.
7. Integrated SEO Keywords
Perhaps one of the most well-known aspects of what makes great SEO content writing is keyword integration. As the internet has evolved, however, the exact methods for how to use keywords in your content have changed.
The early days of stuffing in as many keywords as possible without regard for readability or grammatical correctness have long since passed. Nowadays, most SEO experts state that newer search engine algorithms have different requirements for effective keywords.
Rather than just focusing on using a keyword a certain number of times or including it in various places (e.g., meta description, headers, title tag), it’s essential to think in a different way.
Good SEO content development nowadays should focus on answering a reader’s key questions. Consider what your target audience is likely to search for and try to include those terms or phrases within your content. It’s also vital to balance your reliance on keywords with other top elements of effective content writing which include:
- Creating content with a high E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) value
- Writing clearly
- Publishing SEO articles that are comprehensive
- Developing content that answers a searcher’s questions
What is SEO content writing if it isn’t both optimized for search engines and readable? While it’s important to make sure you include relevant words and terms in your SEO content, keywords no longer should be your sole focus when it comes to writing high-quality SEO articles.
When you are looking to hire copywriting services, make sure you are paying for high-quality SEO articles that answer questions and provide valuable, relevant data, not just a specific number of keyword instances.
While the importance and usage of keywords in SEO content writing have evolved a lot over the years, the value of originality hasn’t really changed. The term “originality” basically covers two areas:
- Avoiding plagiarism and duplication
- Performing your own research
Of course, it is essential to ensure that your in-house writers or the SEO blog writing service you hire produce content that is original. Your SEO articles shouldn’t copy the format, words, phrases or ideas of other articles that already exist on the internet or in print.
It’s a good practice to use a plagiarism-checker on your content before you publish it to make sure you haven’t accidentally copied something that is already written.
Plagiarizing existing content is dishonest and can negatively affect your brand’s reputation. It can also destroy your search ranking, as most search engines don’t view unoriginal content favorably.
It isn’t enough to simply avoid plagiarism, however. Another essential aspect of what makes good SEO content writing is to perform your own research and come to your own conclusions. When you research the answers to common questions and then provide that information to your readers, it proves that you are a reliable expert in your industry.
Taking the time to perform your own research can provide benefits to you as well. You can learn what your competitors are saying about certain topics and find out what your target audience is getting from other sources.
Doing comprehensive research also gives you the tools to craft better articles: content pieces that are compelling, thought-provoking and timely.
9. Proper Sourcing
As discussed above, excellent SEO content writing should include data and facts that you (or your hired SEO content development service) find during your original research. The way you cite that information in your content is equally important.
There are several different methods and formatting guidelines for citing sources, and in most cases, you can choose the one that creates the visual effect you prefer. The most important aspects of sourcing include the following:
- Get information and facts from reliable places
- Prioritize high-quality sources: government, news, and scientific websites
- Give credit in your writing to the source of data and statistics
- Make sure hyperlinks work properly
- Include data sources in the graphic when you develop your own presentations or infographics
Information and textual data aren’t the only elements of your content that require proper sourcing. It’s also essential to make sure you provide the sources of any images you incorporate as well.
One of the easiest ways to ensure you are sourcing images in the right way is to get them from a trustworthy stock photo provider. Many of these providers offer free images that require no attribution.
The photo provider should include detailed instructions about attribution that make it easy to ensure you are giving the proper credit to artists as you engage in your SEO content writing.
10. An Attention-Grabbing Headline
You don’t want to dedicate your own time or spend money hiring SEO content writing services if you can’t get your intended audience to read your articles. One of the most important elements of a perfect piece of content is an exceptional headline.
According to Neil Patel, the headline accounts for up to 50% of your blog posts’ effectiveness.
Headlines are important to search engines and human readers. A good headline can improve your content’s chances of ending up at the top of a search engine list (based on its ability to include keywords and reflect search queries), and it can also encourage anyone who sees it to click through and actually read the article.
While you may immediately think of powerful headlines in relation to blog posts, they are important in other types of content as well.
The headline of your company’s landing page can make the difference in a visitor checking out your services and signing up for your email list or leaving your site immediately. A strong headline gives your content a much higher chance of being shared on social media or linked to on other sites.
While the headline alone can’t guarantee that a person will read the entire article, a poor headline can pretty much ensure that a person will not read the article.
How To Create Great SEO Headlines
There are several elements of a strong headline in high-quality SEO articles:
- Length: Overly long headlines may be truncated in search results.
- Numbers: Adding numbers to your headline can intrigue a reader to check out what those numbers mean.
- Language: Powerful verbs and emotive words can immediately compel an emotional response in a reader.
- Relevance: Your headline must accurately describe the article so readers don’t feel tricked or manipulated.
- Subject: Making the reader the subject of your headline by incorporating “you” language can attract attention.
- Value: An intriguing headline provides hints about how the article will answer a question or solve a problem.
An attractive, intriguing headline is one of the most important keys to SEO content writing that performs well.
11. Actionable Information
While getting a viewer to read through to the end of your blog post or SEO article is a victory itself, it’s even better if you can encourage that reader to take action once he or she reaches the article’s conclusion. There are several possible responses you may want to encourage in your reader:
- Filling out a contact form
- Signing up for your email list
- Sharing the article on social media
- Signing a petition
- Writing a comment
- Browsing your online store
- Clicking on another page of your site
- Purchasing your products or services
- Making a charitable contribution
No matter what action you want your reader to take, you can encourage that action with the right information and tone in your article.
For example, a blog post about the benefits of a dental checkup may inspire your reader to schedule an appointment. A piece about illegal hunting may inspire your reader to make a donation to an animal-rights organization. A carefully crafted SEO article about some aspect of your industry may propel your reader to sign up for your monthly newsletter.
You can utilize content marketing to encourage your readers to take action by providing information that elicits a response. It’s also important to make it as easy as possible for your reader to respond the way you want.
Including a CTA with a link to your contact form makes it simple for a reader to schedule an appointment. Ending your article by asking your readers to state their opinions can encourage comments. Providing sharing buttons for several social media sites lets your reader pass the article along to his or her network in a single click.
12. Consistent Branding
Whether your SEO content writing centers on blog posts, social media updates, how-to YouTube videos or Instagram pictures, you want to make sure every blog post and article reflects the tone and feel you want to be associated with your brand.
Even if you hire someone for SEO copywriting services, you need to make sure that your branding is clear and consistent across every element of your company’s online and physical presence. That means the tone, language and feel of your content should be the same whether it’s a quick Facebook status update or a long-form blog post.
There are several steps in forming and maintaining consistent branding in your SEO content writing. It’s essential to identify your target audience and understand how to relate to it effectively.
Once you have the persona of your brand, you can focus on how your products or services provide value to your customers. You also need to identify the things that make you better than your competitors. Focusing on how you stand out in your field should be a foundational aspect of your branding.
There are visual and stylistic elements to your brand as well. Think about how much more seriously you would take a headline written in Times New Roman than in Comic Sans. Creating a cohesive visual theme for your brand is essential; it can drastically influence how your readers feel about your company and products.
The Basics of Branding Great SEO Content
Here are a few essential branding aspects of what your SEO content writing should include:
- Visual elements
When talking to your SEO content writing services provider, freelance writing team or in-house authors, make sure everyone has a clear understanding of your brand. Using a consistent voice, vocabulary and tone throughout all your content ensures that the reader gets the same impression of your brand from a YouTube video as from an email newsletter.
So… You Know How to Write SEO Content. Now What?
Now that you know what SEO content writing is and how to write it, you realize it requires time and effort to make it exceptional. It can seem like an overwhelming task when you don’t have the time or passion to research keywords, try out different headlines or check for grammar and readability issues.
Fortunately, it’s easy to outsource the writing of SEO content to an expert content writing company. Skilled writers can ensure your content is ready to draw in your readers and present your business in the best light. If you feel overwhelmed with creating content on your own, let us know – we’d be happy to write it for you!
Whether you choose to write your own content or engage SEO blog writing services, make sure each article follows this list of essential content marketing requirements. If you have any other actionable tips for how to write quality SEO content or additional SEO content guidelines or requirements, let us know in the comments below!