How to Become an SEO Writer and Get Paid (Video)

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Julia McCoy

Creator and Co-founder

How to become a SEO writer

Today, many talented people are turning to the internet to make money.

Many of those people are thinking about writing.

…And there is a terrific opportunity right now for those that have a passion for writing online for income:

SEO writing.

In today’s video and blog recap, I’ll teach you how to become an SEO writer and get paid.

Even today, sometimes people still think SEO writing equals cheap, low-quality, low-income, or worst of all–even poor treatment. This is not true! I have been running my own SEO writing agency since 2011 (Express Writers).

We’ve had the honor of working with some AMAZING SEO writing clients. Sure, there are the occasional bad clients, but that is true for any industry.

What many don’t see that briefly look into this market, is the opportunity that exists for a great SEO writer.

Once you learn this skill, the sky is the limit on who you can serve, and how you can even market yourself! In today’s video, I’m going to teach you SEO writing techniques that you can apply to ANY client, in ANY industry. Ready?

First, what is SEO writing?

What is SEO writing? 

SEO writing is search engine optimized (SEO) content that can get easily indexed by Google, and found by a real human doing a search.

For example — a keyword an SEO writer might receive from their client could be “how to find a labradoodle groomer in Austin Texas.”

This is what is known as a long-tail keyword.

An SEO writer might turn this into a blog topic called “The Ultimate Guide on How to Find a Labradoodle Groomer in Austin, Texas,” and then write a fun, engaging blog post for Labradoodle owners.

They could feature local groomers — maybe the client asking for this blog is one of those, so you would position the client as a choice on that list of honest reviews.

The SEO writer should and can craft heartwarming, fun, engaging copy that pulls in dog owners, and shares interesting, valuable tips for Labradoodle owners. They should research this type of dog owner and make sure the content speaks to them, besides just optimizing the entire piece with the keyword.

That’s just one example of SEO writing. There are hundreds of topics and keywords you could write on, as an SEO writer.

How is SEO writing different from all the other types of writing?

We’re talking about good SEO writing, not bad.

Keep that in mind. Bad SEO writing is NOT creative. It’s NOT valuable. It’s NOT helpful.

Sadly, you’ll find a ton of bad SEO writing out there — far more than you’ll find good SEO writing. That means that there is an opportunity for you as an SEO writer, though!

Here’s how good SEO writing differs from ad copy, email copy, etc.

#1. SEO writing is targeted around one core topic or focus keyword, and goes in-depth on that topic. 

The topic of an SEO writing piece — a blog, article, web page — is usually made up of one core “focus keyword.”

That focus keyword is your topic, and to continue to build relevant content, the entire piece is optimized with the focus keyword AND synonymous keywords. You can get those synonymous keywords by putting the focus keyword in Google, scrolling to the bottom, and looking at the “Searches related to.”

Because Google’s algorithm is focused on only ranking quality content that answers the given keyword from a thorough, comprehensive perspective, you need to write content that caters to the reader and thoroughly answers or addresses the topic, focus keyword, given. A decade ago, you could get away with writing any old keyword stuffed page. Today, that kind of content will never get ranked at the top of Google.

What do I mean by content focused around the core keyword, or topic?

Scroll with me in Google for some results on a keyword. Let’s look up this one:

how to become a content marketing writer

A couple takeaways from these top pieces ranking in Google:

Keyword usage must be natural.

Google reads stop words now, so you can definitely include them — for example, the “in” in this phrase: dog grooming in Austin, Texas.

Years ago, Google didn’t read the word in, and only ranked content stuffed with keywords, i.e. “dog grooming Austin Texas.” Today, Google does notice and read stop words. Thankfully, we can now write grammatically correct sentences in our SEO content. 👏

So, remember that your keyword usage must be people-friendly, rather than focused on being readable for the robots. This is a #1 rule. The ‘robots’ are now almost as smart as the people!

Each of those pieces at the top of Google addresses the keyword from a thorough perspective.

And that’s why long-form content works. You’re usually not going to be able to answer every question on the topic in just 200, 300, even 500 words. If you have a keyword that deserves a well-thought out, well-researched answer — as almost EVERY keyword does — don’t expect it to rank at the top, if you write something that just skims the surface.

#2. SEO writing is engaging, targeted, well-formatted, and never essay-style.

You have to unlearn essay writing if you want to learn how to write a good SEO piece. 

One of the top SEO bloggers in the world is Jon Morrow, creator of Scroll with me through a few of his blogs to see this non-essay-writing style in practice:

Note the simple, one-line phrases, the statistics, and the powerful way he opens a blog.

This blog is easily 10-20,000 words!

That’s a quick summary of what SEO writing looks like, and how to do it. I teach an SEO writing course that goes in-depth on this topic, if you need more hands-on guidance. You also get access to me and my personal help in the course. Check out my Expert SEO Content Writer Course.

enroll in the expert SEO content writer course

How can you get paid for SEO writing?

1. One of the easiest ways to get started is to create your own freelance profile.

You can do that at and sign up immediately, then start applying to paid SEO writing gigs. That’s one of the best ways to just get started and practice this skill for real money. You can also look up SEO writing jobs on Indeed,, Simply Hired, Zip Recruiter,, LinkedIn.

My agency, Express Writers, often hires experienced SEO writers. You can check to see if we’re hiring by emailing us at [email protected].

The baseline pay rate is determined by the market. The average of a market like Upwork can be $20-$25 per 500w, or .04c a word. That’s a low rate. For higher-level expertise, SEO writing can pay a lot more, like double that. But if you don’t have experience, don’t be afraid to start low. Way back in 2011, I was writing articles for $5/each! I don’t recommend that today–that’s just way too low–but it was my best training grounds.

2. Long-term, consider building your own brand as a freelancer.

The best part of this is you can build long-term trust and position in the content industry (content marketing is worth over $400B, and content creation is the TOP outsourced activity, so there is a lot of room for more creators!)

The second-best reason is that you can niche down and only do what you love.

Some of my students have done this to massive success.

For example, Monique at Proof Mango focuses on proofreading and reviewing online courses, and is able to do this full-time for a living!

She used my SEO course to learn how to build SEO content that pulls in her ideal traffic. They find her, and hire her every day!

(This is a terrific reason to learn SEO writing — not just so you can do it for clients, but so you can do it to build your brand, too.)

Mariana Norton has used my content strategy and marketing lessons from The Content Strategy & Marketing Course to go even deeper and not just write and create content, but consult on the strategy, too.

That’s something you could consider as well. Content strategy consulting is a booming hiring need, and pays a good deal of money–sometimes it can equal double per hour what SEO content writing pays, if not much more depending on the client and industry.

I train content strategists in my Content Strategy & Marketing Course, if you want to dive further and deeper than SEO writing by itself.

Thanks for tuning in!

Hope you enjoyed today’s video.

Don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube to catch my new videos created just for you. ❤️

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