How to Write the Perfect SEO Article in 6 Steps
When I began my career as a writer many years ago, my biggest concerns when publishing an article were that the quotes were attributed properly and that there wasn’t too much white space on the page. With an entirely new world where double spacing after the period is enough of a faux-pas to make you lose friends (and even your job), writing for SEO could be the most important reason to write. Or is it? Writing for SEO no longer means just that. You want the search engine traffic and rankings, but traditional ways to write the perfect SEO article are no longer applicable. 2018 has ushered in a whole new way of writing to gain traffic. Keyword stuffing for ranking has been replaced by perfectly-crafted copy in the eyes of Google as the primary way to get to the top of the search engines..
Give the answer to the searcher’s question
The most important factor for ranking high in the search engines is relevance or searcher intent. Being highly-intuitive, Google knows why a searcher is asking a question and if your content has the right answer for them. How can you write your article without knowing what questions are being asked? Simple – if your content is high-value – meaning it answers your audience’s questions, not only about your brand and products, but about other relevant topics in your industry – then you’ve done your job. Google knows that people searching for “white gold jewellery” are most likely looking to buy it, whereas those searching for “epic Roman battles” are looking for information. The search results for both will be varied accordingly. If your content doesn’t match the searcher intent of the vast majority of searchers, it won’t matter if you have the strongest domain, best links, and the most-targeted keywords, you just won’t rank.
Engage your reader
Previous SEO strategies led many brands on a misguided path of writing as much content as possible, with keywords stuffed in awkwardly. In 2018, that’s all changed. Engaging content that is easy to read, informative, and written by professional writers is what is going to win you single-digit page rankings. This can include how-to articles, step-by-step guides or industry trends. Search engines now track how often a user backs out of a site and clicks another link, rendering your link useless if it happens too many times. You’ll be shoved to the back pages if readers don’t find appeal in your content once they’ve started reading it, so your best bet is to keep them reading. Valuable content is your greatest asset.
Make your story matter
Storytelling is the best way to bring content from a good to a great status. What story do you want to tell? Content strategy is the planning and development of your content and it isn’t just going to win over your current audience, it will help you gain new readers, leads and customers. Before you begin any sort of content for your brand, you need to decipher your story and you do that with content strategy. Being the expert on your own story, all of your content should have an authoritative voice that leads your audience to believe you are a leader in your industry.
Use keywords efficiently and where they matter most
While keyword stuffing is no longer acceptable, using keywords is still highly recommended. It’s important to start your article by first doing your keyword research and coming up with a relevant topic that will engage your readers and of course, answer their questions. Keyword research should be done regularly throughout the content development process, as ranking keywords often change. Experts suggest that you choose one or maybe two keywords for your article and use them efficiently and effectively throughout your content. Many experts say there isn’t an optimal keyword density any longer and that having related words is more important in letting Google figure out what your content is all about.
Don’t write for the search engines
You read that right. Google penalizes sites that engage in “manipulative guest posting”, which will basically derail all of your efforts to rank. Ask yourself if your content would still be written in the same way if search engines didn’t exist.
Create the perfect headline
As with any story, your title is uber-important. It needs to grab the potential reader’s attention, so they read on further, but it also needs to help the search engines understand what your content is all about. The trick is to write a headline that helps the page rank, satisfies the intent of your targeted search audience, and hooks the reader so they click through. The sweet spot for your title tag length is 90-99 characters, according to a study by Polar. Display your keyword in the title and you’ve got gold right there.
Writing the perfect SEO article is not as much about semantics as it is about exceptional-quality writing that draws in readers and keeps them clicking. Following these steps to great SEO content is the secret to ranking high, capturing your audience and increasing conversions.
Eva Webster is the Managing Director at Article-Writing.co. After many years of making it and breaking it in the freelance world, she now mentors new writers who want to take their careers to the next level.