Creating strong, SEO-friendly articles is all the rage right now, isn’t it? If you Google that phrase, thousands of websites, blogs, and informational articles will pop up. And why? Because SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is what helps your website or business be seen by people online. It’s what drives traffic. And it’s what engages your audience with you. If they can’t find you, they won’t care. It’s that simple.
But how do you create this type of content? And is it possible, even if you’re not a good writer?
When I started my writing coaching/editing services company, Be A Light Collective, this was the first time I truly realized the value of strong, SEO-friendly article writing. Prior to my business, I was focused on creating emotional, passionate content I loved. But if I wanted to grow as a writer, I had to move beyond that.
Thus, my new focus with full-time freelance writing through Be A Light is to help businesses, brands, clients, and companies achieve that powerful, brand-building writing that they deserved. (And teach people how to do it, too.)
So, is it possible to build your brand without being a writer? Yes, but you have to learn the tools (keep scrolling!) But honestly, sometimes it’s better to trust someone else with that important piece of your marketing. [And if you’re in that boat, here’s where you can learn about my content writing services! 😄 I’d be honored to help you grow your online traffic and stand out from the competition!]
If you want to learn the ins and outs before you make any decision, then keep reading:
1. Know your audience.
Honestly, the first and most important thing you need to understand about creating strong, SEO-friendly articles is that you have to know your audience. You can be the best content writer in the world, but if you aren’t reaching the target market, you’re going to fail.
For example, let’s say your client is a professional lawyer. If you write with a playful, fun tone, you’re probably not going to relate to the audience that’s serious and business-minded, right? What about if you run a website for dog products? Your audience is probably dog owners, right? It’ll be in your benefit to figure out whether your buyers are older or younger or even what their sex is. If you have a large audience of females in their 20s, it could be great to write about “best products for the girl’s best friend” or something along those lines, right?
Knowing your audience can help you properly target them, while creating writing that’s both engaging and genuine.
2. Focus on keywords and searchability.
When you think about SEO, think about what will truly make your writing searchable. Take the dog products example: if this company is selling products for dogs, a great article keyphrase might be “best toys for dogs” or “best leashes for dogs” etc. Then, depending on the type of articles you want to write, you can modify this to be “best tear-resistant toys for dogs” or “best retractable leashes for dogs” etc. As you get more specific, you’ll reach a more targeted audience.
Applying these keywords within the text of the article, the title, the heading, etc. (without overdoing it, of course) will help to boost the article’s SEO and allow it to come up more frequently in searches. (Which is the whole point!)
3. Make the most of the article and text components.
SEO includes different article and text components: headers (h2, h3, h4 etc. tags), introduction with keyword (and between 100-300 words), internal and external links throughout, keywords/phrases, and overall length. It’s important that you include these components and pay attention to how your writing is throughout the piece. These are just simple ways to boost SEO without too much work.
- Headers: You need to break up your text with headers, not only for visual appeal, but for readability. Headers should be main points (like the numbers in this article!) However, don’t overdo these.
- Introduction: Your intro should be no more than 200 words, with the keyword/keyword phrase appearing within the first 100. You won’t want to link out on the keyword/keyword phrase, but you can have internal or external links in the intro (although it’s not always preferred or recommended).
- Links: Depending on your piece’s length, you’ll want to have both internal and external links throughout. (More on this in the next point!)
- Keywords/phrases: This needs to appear in the title, hyperlink, at least one header and at least 2-4 times organically in the text, depending on the length.
- Length: You’ll want to keep your piece interesting. Think about what length will appeal to your readers. You must be over 300 words (500 is the shortest!) and no more than 1500 unless that’s your typical content range for your website.Head4. Think about the length and word count.
5. Build links (internal and external).
Linking is one of the main ways you can create strong and sharable articles. Links appear in two different ways: internal and external. An internal link is one that points to another page on your website. For example, I might choose to share my shop, where I sell different products and services.
An external link is something that shares away from your website/page. Although it might seem counterintuitive, it’s actually helpful because it is a means of link-building. And if the sites you link out to are credible, it can help your page’s credibility, too. [Here’s an external link example to a relevant article on Forbes!]
6. Focus on quality.
I can’t emphasize this enough: quality over everything! So many people think that boosting SEO is about writing a lot, or writing a bunch of clickbait articles with tons of links. No! When you share something on a site or blog, it’s really important to focus on quality writing. Google has a tool for detecting quality writing and will definitely pick up on poor quality writing. This will make your site actually rank lower, so honestly, it may benefit you to hire someone for content writing.
7. Market the hell out of everything!
The final step in creating strong, SEO-friendly articles is to go beyond the writing and posting to the sharing. This is the aspect that helps to boost your site’s traffic. The more ways your posts are being shared, the more people are engaging. Whenever I write a new post, I share it across my social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. Although this might feel like overkill, it’s really helpful and will get the word out to more people!
Featured Image Credit: TONL