No one asked for a laugh-out-loud guide to SEO content writing.
But sometimes life gives you unexpected gifts.
(I may have overpromised in this guides’ title.)
We spend a lot of time searching the internet seeking information.
There’s no burning need to make that information funny, well written, or particularly engaging.
Or is there?
Well, that all depends on the purpose of the information, SEO strategies are built around the reason why.
As a business writer, dumping facts on a page would suck the joy right outta me (and trust me, I need all the joy I can get).
So, like Patrick Swayze (circa Johnny Castle) I’m gonna do my kind of dancin’ / humorous wordage in this guide to SEO content writing.
And you will thank me because this subject is DULL. Trust me, it’s drier than my legs are in winter.
Before we get started…
Jeez, didn’t we start already?
Tip: you’ll notice that throughout this page there are clickable words (anchor text). I’ve peppered those beauties across the content to make the experience of learning, all the richer. Each piece of anchor text will transport you to another world (page) that explores the subject in more detail.
Also, the table of contents at the beginning of this page allows you to skip the sections you already know about, phew!
So grab a snack (and a beer / hot beverage) and put your feet up in readiness to trawl through my guide to SEO content writing.
Let’s crack on!
Hold up, what is SEO?
Starting at the start is usually the best place to start, especially if you don’t know a damn thing about a subject.
SEO stands for search engine optimisation.
Not, saucy earls’ omelette.
I know, it’s the most boring name for a thing you’ve ever heard. The word ‘optimisation’ is a total passion killer but stay with me.
Search engines are those powerful online brains we type our queries into.
Tailoring websites to the whims of search engines is how we gain more organic traffic.
That’s the sort of traffic that won’t cost you any cash, unlike the paid links you see at the top of the SERPs (search engine results pages).
Ok, it’s misleading if I say organic traffic costs you nada.
SEO takes investment.
Be prepared to spend time and money.
SEO is about being visible to your audience.
If they’re fumbling about like participants in a game of blind man’s bluff, they won’t see you.
Maybe you’re thinking about building your own website, that’s brilliant but understand that SEO should be its foundation.
Make sure you shop around and choose a DIY website option that will give you control over SEO tools.
Reality check: SEO can be a little slow. It’s also an ongoing process. It’s the capital city of online marketing – it never sleeps.
BUT all your hard work will pay off if you consistently feed the SEO Tamagotchi.
SEO isn’t just one thing.
There is no ‘enable SEO’ button.
Lord have mercy, this subject is vast.
It can be complex and require different skillsets. So it’s unlikely you’ll find one human to help with all your SEO stuff.
And that’s why many hire an agency to help with the subsets, subsets like this:
Think of it as a giant puzzle (or pizza, yeah, pizza’s better).
You have loads of different pieces/slices slotting together to give you the very best (tasty) chance of smashing your traffic goals.
If you’d like to know what SEO area you need to focus on, click here.
This topic is so important to traffic growth that it has its own category.
Content refers to anything you add to your website.
Video, infographics, animation, podcasts, and the written word, all come under the umbrella of content.
Each one of those mediums will have specific SEO requirements.
You didn’t see that coming, right?
Yeah, say hello to more specialists.
(It’s like fractals – specialists within specialists.)
If you’re exhausted by all this, please, take a break and stretch your legs.
Now you understand why you can’t just hire “an SEO guy”. I also hope I’ve demonstrated why it takes some serious wonga to reach SEO Xanadu.
Many business peeps spend their cash making their website look pretty. Nothing wrong with that but then they go and create all the content themselves.
Poor, foolish kids.
If you make that mistake (and it is a mistake) you’ll end up with a site that’s all style and no substance.
And that’s the same for websites.
SEO content writing
At last, we come to the main event, after all, this is a guide to SEO content writing.
Did you grab another snack? If not, do that now.
Are you pumped?
Super pumped? No? I feel you.
SEO content writing is my area of expertise.
And now you know that content is kind of a big deal.
Content writing happens to be one of the key players that helps drive organic traffic to your online space.
See, you can’t have an SEO strategy without a content strategy. And a content strategy without a content writing strategy makes zero sense.
Ya get me?
SEO content writing creates a buzz around your brand.
It explains exactly who you are, what you do, and who you’re for.
It shows off your expertise and sets you up as someone to be trusted within your area of knowledge.
Adding stuff on your pages for the sake of volume, won’t win the SEO game.
If what you’re writing is good, people will not only read it but they’ll refer back to it. You can’t hack your way to gaining more eyes on your stuff – dedication is what you need.
And if that last line made you sing “If you wanna be a record-breaker!” you’re old and British.
Back in the 90s, we had to please the algorithm and humans.
That outdated view still sticks.
Despite the 90s being over thirty years ago (I know, I’m so bloody old) I still read stuff that says we have to write in two different ways: one to please users, the other to please bots.
Pleasing the algorithm and your audience is the same. damn. thing.
Spend £5.75 and SEO the bejesus out of your content writing.
If learning to do this for yourself seems like too much work, I highly suggest you hire an SEO content writer to do it for you.
These words are what we want a website or web page to be found/ranked for.
Guess what, there are also different types. Blimey.
Apologies if you were hoping this would be a quick 5-minute read, feel free to skim.
Also called competitive keywords, so-termed because every Peter and his mother are trying to rank for them. But what do I mean? Well, words like ‘hairdresser’, ‘photographer’, ‘IT specialist’ would be considered broad keywords.
Long-tail keywords (LTKs).
These are detailed phrases that describe exactly what you sell or what you do. An LTK for me would be ‘funny business blogger’.
Targeting these will attract the perfect person to your door.
Keywords with intent.
These lovelies get into the search behaviours of users.
The idea is, once you understand the intent behind your targeted keywords, you can create tailored content that matches that intention.
Where to add keywords.
Each page you publish requires a focus keyword.
That word is scattered throughout the text but only where it would naturally occur. You want to sound normal, cramming keywords into your content will not only read weird but it will balls up your ranking.
Remember to add the focus keyword to each pages’ title tag and description (the snippets that show on the SERPs). And for gawds’ sake, don’t miss them on your image alt. titles!
Arranging all that lovely stuff on your website is so very important when it comes to people finding what you have for them.
Pillar content will help you organise all the posts and pages you have that sit under your broad, targeted website keywords.
It will also get you clear on the content that no longer serves any relevant purpose.
Isn’t that just the same thing as SEO content writing?
Don’t make me come over there!
Actually, they share things in common. Both techniques are all about your audience and what they need solving.
SEO content writing is the long-term goal of attracting your people. Copywriting is the short-term goal of converting those people into clients / blog subs / purchasers.
And yes, you should be using both techniques on your website.
Ok, listen up.
You apply copywriting on your sales pages or the areas of your site that asks the visitor to do something.
If you want those visitors to buy a product or sign up for your newsletter, you’ll use copywriting to convince them.
That’s a decision you want them to make, and quick – a direct response is needed from your audience.
Direct response copy has rules, ok!
Here’s an outline:
- Hook the reader
- Present their problem
- Make it worse
- Make it go away with your call to action (CTA)
Bad copywriting is doing your website dirty.
Humans tend to overcomplicate things.
And a complicated site is an FBI (f–king bad idea). When you muddle your message, the audience is left wondering what the hell you want them to do.
In business-to-business (B2B) copy, there’s the added danger of clichéd phrases.
You know what I’m talkin’ bout, the “We’re delighted to announce” crew. Whilst those tired expressions don’t always confuse the message, they do lead to chronic eye-rolling.
And that emotional response is best avoided.
Your blog is your websites’ online library – a mini search engine where you curate all those useful posts around a subject.
But should you blog?
In my opinion, if you have a website, you absolutely should blog but if you don’t have the resources, don’t start.
Why you should blog
- Attract clients
- Answer their search queries
- Demonstrate your expertise
- Wow them with engaging content
- Make them take action
I’m not gonna lie, it’s a lot of work.
If you’re taking on the blogging baton, gird your loins for consistent long-form content creation. Failing that, you’ll need a healthy budget to hire someone on a retainer (because you will need to blog weekly/monthly).
Why you shouldn’t blog
- You don’t understand the value
- You have no idea who you’re writing for
- You lack the skills
- You have no time
- You have no budget
You can’t begin to benefit from blogging until you learn to do it right.
Once you create all this content, things will snowball.
People will come to recognise you as the go-to person in your industry. Blogging not only attracts prospects but it demonstrates expertise, trust, and authority which just happens to be the E-A-T principle of SEO.
Interesting fact: honesty in business has an impact on your SEO. So maybe think again before exaggerating or saying ‘we’ when there’s only you.
Or as I like to call it, the long game to attraction.
You want to be remembered, and you do that by being a constant reminder.
Always there, nudging your ideal someone about what you do and how you solve their problem.
Writing human-focused content is your priority.
And Google wants you to avoid boring your audience to death.
Visitors won’t stay on your website for very long if they’re not interested in what you have to say. Remember, writing an SEO friendly blog and one that people want to read, should be the same thing.
Ah, the business of getting business.
So, SEO is the free traffic route for your website but you might want to think about some paid options.
I spoke earlier about those ad links at the top of Google.
I know, seems like a lifetime ago now.
Well, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t think about being one of them.
Pay per click (PPC) and SEO can and do work together. They’re not rivals because they offer different things.
SEO is the long-term way to traffic that your website will always need. PPC is a short-term solution to attracting your customer, once those ads stop, so will the traffic.
Love them or loath them, these platforms are decent tools for driving direct traffic to your online space.
Direct traffic is the traffic you get when you point users to a specific website/page.
If you’re doing something cool on your site (and I can’t imagine what that might be) you’ll probably want to tell your followers about it. They’ll be guided to the appropriate place all because of your sexy social media post. Go you.
Influencer scale engagement isn’t relevant when it comes to gaining quality leads. Mass appeal is great for Kim K but it’s a lousy business model. Not everyone wants what you’re selling.
I see the socials as a necessary evil. They help build traffic but I spend much more effort optimising my own website. That’s an online channel I can control (much more than any social network at least).
User experience (UX).
Google wants to appease users. Its aim is to prioritise how they find and travel through websites.
Understanding their behaviour will give you insights into how you create content. It will also inform your website structure.
When you’re trying to pull customers to your space, you have to make things real easy.
Navigating around your web pages should be a piece of cake. People aren’t stupid, they’re lazy so don’t go putting important information in places where they can’t find it.
You may have no idea what this means, even less understand how it relates to SEO.
Well, hold on to your pyjamas because I’m going to ruddy well tell you.
The best way I can describe brand polarisation is to compare it with that thick, tar-like spread us Brits call Marmite. Some people love it (like me) and some hate it (absolute sociopaths).
Now, imagine your brand is like that. It polarises opinion.
Listen, there are plenty, I mean thousands of generic businesses on the internet, all dying to be found for the same broad keywords (maybe even your keywords), each one competing to be seen.
As none of them stands out, they get lost amongst all the other nondescript companies vying for the market’s attention.
The other problem with broad keywords is they’re so damn vague.
People tend to get specific when they search on the web, especially when they are keen to buy.
Remember before when I said something about long-tail keywords? The detailed phrases that cut to the chase about what it is you do?
Yeah, those are the terms that will help get the traffic you really want to your website.
Carving your own path will gain you ground.
So, as a polarising brand myself, I might target ‘sarky business blogger’ or ‘outlaw brand copywriter’.
The right people will begin to notice.
When you present your business in your style, with your ethics, you’ll turn heads. Not all those heads will appreciate your brand and THAT’S the point.
Learn to write content like a psychopath, without care or conscience to those that hate your branding.
Repelling people is just as important as attracting them. You can’t get the visitors you want to your website without knowing the ones you don’t want.
My content is polarising.
It’s not the subject matter (SEO content writing isn’t exactly controversial) it’s how I deliver it – in my sarcastic, funny, irreverent (sometimes sweary) way. That’s enough to get people loving it / hating it.
I create content that interests me first because I know it’s going to attract like-minded people. And they’re ultimately the kind of humans I want on my website.
And that’s ok. They’re not your crowd.
Unless they are.
To define your brand, building a writing style guide can be useful.
This is a document that helps keep your writing consistent and cohesive. It includes things like tone, point of view, words you like, and words you hate.
Brand polarisation is, in part, taking what you think you know about marketing and setting fire to it.
Knowing recommended practices is a great starting point but try not to be constrained by them.
If you do, you might find you stagnate in fear of breaking some rule. Go on, rip up perceived ideas about what’s acceptable.
Surely a no-no, especially in business content?
Yeah, it’s risky.
Labelling something as taboo gives it power. That power, when used sparingly, can be really effective.
Unless swearing is part of who you are (and who your brand is), steer clear. Even if you do bandy the f-bomb at home, you might feel uncomfortable using it in business.
I swear quite often on my SEO blog.
You’ve probably noticed.
It’s not controversial to me and it wasn’t a conscious decision to do it. It just happens to represent my real tone of voice. I don’t see the problem with swearing in business, it’s just another part of polarisation.
No two people will feel the same and they might just dislike what you’re creating for no real reason.
You won’t please everyone, so don’t try. Learn to not care.
Choosing how you work.
What has this got to do with brand polarisation?
Everything, darling, everything.
It’s not only about the way you create website content but how you run your business.
This includes boundaries.
When you attract your kind of people, there will be a handful of those prospects that don’t align with how you do things. In your eyes, they are bad (prospective) clients and you need to learn to avoid them at all costs.
Your marketing should be repelling time wasters. But there’s always some douche, chancing their arm. Like the person who thinks it’s ok to request free work, for example.
Ultimately you decide on your non-negotiables.
Sounds a bit grumpy but I don’t like collaborating on client work. I consider myself to be good at what I do and I want to pull clients that trust me to get the job done.
My process is geared to the humans I want to work with.
So you see, how you act in your organisation will also be part of brand polarisation.
Everything I’ve just mentioned in this section really all comes down to this – finding your niche.
You may or may not be niching.
You may insist you’re a generalist. Truth is our business (and brand) won’t be all things to all people. Even if you baulk at the idea of polarsation marketing, you will be doing things that attract certain customers over others.
I don’t care if you provide endless services to anyone who’ll pay, there will be a pattern with the customers you choose to do business with. And that’s your niche, whether you acknowledge it or not.
This may be the funniest and bestest guide to SEO content writing (EVER) but it’s not the definitive guide. No guide on this subject can be because SEO is always evolving.
I’m learning all the time and as I do, I’ll continue to update this page.
One thing is certain, content will remain king.
Take a look at my homepage to see if there’s something else I can help with.