Chen Reznik-Moran, Emboodo’s content writer
Ever since I can remember myself I was a writer. Yes, not only did I love writing, I was a writer. Because a writer doesn’t study how to be one, of course, you can always improve your writing abilities and learn how to do a much better job, but being a writer doesn’t come from the mind, it sprouts from within the soul.
When I grew up I thought that writing will not allow me to provide for my family, so I kept it only as a hobby. That is until recently when I’ve discovered the magical world of content writing. I actually get paid for doing the thing I enjoy the most, what else can I ask for?
But content writing is much more than just writing, as it also involves SEO principles. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, and as Maria sings in the “Sound of Music” movie – let’s start at the very beginning:
What is SEO?
SEO is Search Engine Optimization, which refers to the work of site promoting through several channels that can push it upwards in the search engine results page. For example, using internal links or having external links on other websites, improving the page load speed and creating a dynamic sitemap.xml file. One of the high SEO criteria is maintaining quality website content, while Google can recognize and reduce SEO rank for none-quality content. Google is happy when the users are happy.
Principles of SEO content writing
As mentioned above, it’s not enough to just write content, you need to have high quality and valued content in order to increase the SEO rank, as Google monitors and analyzes the site’s visitors behavior, and not many visitors will stick around after noticing poorly written content. But being a good writer is not enough for SEO purposes, there are some other principles you need to be aware of:
- Keywords – Each written article must contain suitable keywords. These keywords should be defined after performing thorough keywords research, looking for relevant popular search entries and examining the competitors. The keywords must be used wisely in the article, they should be placed naturally as part of logical sentences and not stand out too much, and should be used at least 2-3 times. My recommendation (but it’s not mandatory) is to place it in the H1 title, in one of the H2 titles and in one of the paragraphs. Which leads us to the next SEO content principle…
- H1 title – This is a pretty easy concept, but it’s highly important for SEO and must not be underrated. The H1 tag is the title presented at the top of the article, and it’s the most noticeable text on the page for the human readers, and also is recognized with great importance by the search engine bot. This title must describe the article’s topic, and is recommended to be with average length (between 20-70 characters). But if you have to remember one rule, this is it – SEO is all about the user experience, not about the search engine experience. If the H1 title is highly noticeable and appealing, then your SEO ranking is most likely to be higher as well.
- Meta tags – The article writing process was finished, everything looks good, perfect H1 title, no spelling errors and a great flow with all the keywords, maybe even some sarcastic remarks, so let’s get this show on the road… Stop! Haven’t you forgotten something? One of the most important SEO elements is meta tags: title and description. It’s easy to forget it since you can’t see it on the page itself, but it is at least as important as the other elements. The meta tags are important both for search engines and for users.
- The meta title is the real page title for the search engine bots. The title must contain the page’s keywords, and it basically tells the search engine what the article is all about, so it has to be focused and clear, and again – contain the page’s keywords. It also appears to the users in 2 places: in the browser tab title, and in the search results page. For that reason, the title must not be readable only for the search engine, but also for human readers, it should be both informative and appealing. The meta title length should not be over 70 characters.
- The meta description appears only in the search engine results page and it gives a wider explanation of the page’s purpose, it gives you the opportunity to elaborate more about the article’s subject so the search engine and the users can have a more accurate understanding of what the page is all about. It is not mandatory to use the keywords in the description, but it is recommended so the users can recognize their search term in the description and therefore get more motivated to read that article. The meta description length should not be over 155 characters.
- Again, don’t forget that the most important principle is the customer’s journey. If the customer is having trouble to navigate through the website, to find the relevant information, to understand what he has to do in order to make the purchase or engage with the company, or if he gets lost in a disoriented text which doesn’t encourage him to stay in the journey – then none of the other principles matter. Give the website’s content and UX real high quality and meaning, and you’re heading towards SEO success.
So we’ve covered the technical part of SEO content writing. In my next blog post, a couple of weeks from now, I’m going to go back to the soul, and to the main obstacle I’ve encountered as a green content writer – writer’s block. What do you do when your job is to write and write all day long, and suddenly you get stuck? What do you do when you’re expected to be creative nonstop, but there are days when you wake up on the wrong foot? Stay tuned.