Writing for humans helps “spiders” (search engine crawlers) and vice versa. If you are only writing for one side of the equation, you are not playing the SEO card correctly. After all, search engines only ever exist to help people find what they are looking for.
Firstly, if you write about topics that are irrelevant to your target audience, they are not going to visit your site. There are two ways to approach research for SEO writing.
This means taking advantage of readily available data provided by search engines and third-party companies. Besides Google’s Keyword Planner tool, there are a bunch of tools for keyword research, such as Ubersuggest and Keyword.io. Also take note of related topics, which will generate more keywords that you may have previously overlooked.
This strategy involves digging deeper into your target reader’s mind. Social listening tools and alerts can help you stay on top of trending issues, which will generate interest for content directed at those. Moreover, researching forums and sites where people ask questions such as Quora can sometimes give you pure gold.
After uncovering the topics that define your target audience, addressing the questions they have is obviously the next step. That means click-bait writing tactics won’t get you very far. Traffic might roll in at first but in the long run, search engines will penalise your content.
Generally, you should aim to write more than 300 words. Some experts have pointed to the strong performance of long form content. But long doesn’t mean stuffing in keywords. You either have a very interesting angle, or a very thorough piece of resource to make this work. That is why popular evergreen content that is updated every now and then gets consistent traffic over time.
Both humans and web-browsing spiders love reading content that has a clear structure, headings and subheadings.
Again, it can’t be emphasised enough how important it is to stay on topic. If you branch out to talk about things outside of your domain, people might find you unauthentic; and your SEO might be hurt. If you talk about a relevant topic badly, then some serious editing is in order.
A search-friendly URL is something that is easy to do but often forgotten. Would you prefer to see a URL containing relevant keywords than a string of disorganised words and/or numbers?
Internal linking not only helps SEO but also readers to discover other gems on your site. The same logic goes for having appropriate metadata for your content. Don’t stuff keywords in your title tag and meta description. The best thing to do is pick one “hero” keyword and briefly summarise your writing using that word as if talking to a friend.
Linking to the editing stage above, adding Alt-tags and descriptive titles for all images you use would help increase the relevancy of your content to search engines. Also, it is worth taking a few extra seconds to give the actual image file a descriptive name.
As visual creatures, we are more likely to read and share content with relevant, interesting images. If your target readers click the Images tab on their search results, you would want them to click through to your hero images. Embedding infographics into your writing is yet another great way to generate traffic.