Google is a near-monopoly when it comes to web search volume, controlling more than 90% of web searches.
So when Google says content is important… it’s REALLY important.
Marketers better sit up and take notice.
Search engine optimization (SEO) drives more than 1,000% more traffic than organic social media does.
During the pandemic, Google search traffic skyrocketed from an average of 3.6 billion searches per day to more than 6 billion.
In order to take advantage of that insanely high web traffic, which hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down yet, content is crucial.
In this article, I’ll break down:
- What is SEO content writing?
- How important content is for SEO
- 3 ways to become a better content writer
- How to optimize your content for Google
Content is important for SEO… but are your writing skills up to the task? Sign up for my one-week Expert SEO Content Writer Course, and learn SEO writing from A-Z.
What Is SEO Content Writing?
SEO content writing is the practice of strategically creating and optimizing online content for the primary purpose of achieving a high rank on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Great content is important, but without proper SEO, it won’t be enough to land on page 1 of the SERPs.
Likewise, optimizing your content with SEO best practices and targeted keywords can’t cover up poor writing and lack of substance.
Content and SEO must go hand-in-hand if you want to achieve success.
The Importance of SEO: Why Content Is Important
Content creators spend a lot of time making educated guesses about the ranking factors Google uses. But why guess when Google isn’t keeping the importance of content a secret?
In fact, Google even goes so far as to clearly outline the crucial role of content in their SEO starter guide:
Google’s close relationship with high-quality content isn’t a big surprise when you consider what the search engine’s primary goal is – to provide useful, relevant results to people looking for information or entertainment.
Two acronyms you’ll find often in Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines are:
- A.T. (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness): 3 critical factors Google uses to determine whether content can be considered high-quality
- M.Y.L. (Your Money or Your Life): High-ranking content that has the potential to impact a reader’s financial, physical, and/or mental health and happiness
Even though Google’s search algorithms are in a constant state of evolution, the basis remains the same – know what your readers want and give it to them in a concise, easy-to-read manner using credible sources and relevant information.
Google’s suggestions when writing SEO content:
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3 Ways to Become a Better SEO Content Writer
Google rewards great content, but that’s only part of the equation.
Here are 3 fundamental tips to become a better SEO content creator:
1. Master the Art of Keyword Research
This is where content creators walk the line between writing for Google and writing for humans.
If we write specifically for a search engine, we’re likely to become repetitive robots plugging in the same keyword over and over, which annoys our poor human readers (and is likely to earn a penalty from Google).
On the other hand, if we write specifically for human readers, we have a tendency to overlook keywords altogether and strive to vary each and every sentence.
Great SEO content writers are able to strike a balance. But in order to do that, they first need to understand the SERP intent (also known as search intent) behind a targeted keyword.
Let’s look at the keyword “Ford truck” as an example.
What is your targeted audience actually looking for? A Ford dealership in their area so they can purchase a truck? Auto parts to make repairs? A history of Ford trucks? Images of the latest models?
If you’re the owner of a dealership, your content’s SERP intent is going to be very different than a truck enthusiast who runs a blog about which vehicles are the best.
This is why it’s so important to understand your intended audience and know what kind of content they’re looking for, and what kind of content you are best qualified to deliver.
From there, SEO content writers target long-tail keywords that have low search volumes and high conversion rates.
2. Be a Lifelong Student
The moment you believe you know everything and have nothing left to learn, your work (and writing) is going to suffer.
For one thing, there’s no way to ever become the perfect SEO content writer because Google is constantly updating its algorithms. What was considered to be a best practice last year might be an inconsequential ranking factor today.
The most successful content creators are the ones who enjoy reading and learning.
Study pieces of content that you love and analyze them to determine why they were so impactful for you.
Was it the headline? Writing style? Overall flow?
Then, apply those techniques to your own writing and see what happens.
3. Polish Your Overall Content and Writing Skills
The importance of SEO can’t be overstated, and yet there’s no substitute for poor writing.
You can incorporate every known SEO best practice under the sun, but if your writing isn’t strong, you’re going to have a hard time ranking on SERPs when there’s better content out there beating yours.
But all is not lost! Signing up for a quick one-hour workshop or a longer writing course can be just what you need to polish up your writing skills and transform you into a force to be reckoned with.
The courses I offer at Content Hacker™ are specifically geared toward SEO writing and content strategy:
- The Content Strategy & Marketing Course: Learn everything you need to know about content marketing, and build a profitable content strategy as you go through this six-week course
- The Expert SEO Content Writer Course: Learn how to write content optimized for SEO and bring in massive amounts of organic traffic for websites and blogs
- Unlearn Essay Writing: Professional Writing Course: Learn how to break habits you learned for college essays and research papers, and instead, master the right skills for online writing success
- Learn to Write Online Content Workshop: Learn the secrets of writing click-worthy content on high-level publications like Entrepreneur.com that generates leads, shares, and comments
- And more! See all of my workshops and courses to find the one that’s right for you.
How to Optimize Your Content for Google
In the broadest sense of understanding SEO, the ultimate goal is to make sure your content is tailored to your human audience.
If you’re already doing that, you’re well on your way to optimization.
Here are some extra steps to take in order to ensure your content is properly optimized for Google:
1. Stick to Your Topic
Not only is it difficult to follow an article that jumps all over the place, but it’s also harder to keep the spotlight on your keyword.
Don’t try to target dozens of keywords in a single piece of writing. Focus on one primary long-tail keyword and a few secondary keywords that are related to your topic.
If you stay on track, your keyword will appear naturally throughout the piece.
2. Improve Readability
Long blocks of text are difficult to read, especially on mobile devices. And if your content isn’t easy to read for humans, Google isn’t going to like it, either.
In order to improve readability:
- Use numbered and/or bulleted lists
- Utilize transition words
- Break up long paragraphs into 1-2 sentences
- Use headings and subheadings for easy navigation
- Maintain a basic reading level (aka don’t go overboard with vocabulary and jargon)
- Use multimedia like infographics, images, and videos to break up text blocks and increase engagement.
(Tip: You should be going back and updating your old content to improve its relevancy and readability.)
3. Use Credible Links and Backlinks
Google has said that including both internal and external links can help to improve SEO.
Links can really boost your SEO score… or really hurt it.
Even if your topic and writing are sound, linking to notoriously untrustworthy or irrelevant websites is going to have a negative impact on your content’s credibility.
Be mindful of the articles and studies you’re linking to as verified sources.
4. Publish Long-Form Content
While you should actually have a mix of short-form (less than 1,000 words) and long-form (1,500+ words) content, studies have shown that long-form content performs better, especially if it’s evergreen content.
Backlinko partnered with BuzzSumo to analyze 912 million blog posts, and they found that on average, long-form content gets 77.2% more links that short content.
And yet, it’s important to note that their study found diminishing returns for content that exceeded 2,000 words, so the sweet spot is between 1,200 and 2,000.
Put Your SEO Content at the Center of Your Marketing Strategy
There’s no denying that if you want to improve your SEO, you have to produce high-quality content.
From a marketing standpoint, it’s a strategy that makes sense.
53.3% of all web traffic comes from organic search. So why are marketers still dishing out so much money on traditional advertising methods when they could be taking advantage of organic traffic instead?
Good SEO writing goes beyond Google’s latest algorithm and strategic keyword placement.
Content was crowned king a long time ago, and it still reigns supreme.
If you focus on educating and entertaining your audience, answering their questions, and solving their problems, the web traffic and conversions will start to naturally fall into place.