How to create seo content – a step-by-step guide
SEO content means content that’s optimised for search engines. And that, in turn, just means online content that’s geared towards achieving better search engine rankings.
Great SEO content shouldn’t read too differently from other great online content… except for a few small characteristics. Learning how to create SEO content isn’t rocket science (unless you’re writing SEO content about rocket science, of course – ha!)
The basic principles of copywriting great content still apply:
- Write for your audience: who are they and why would they want to read what you’re writing?
- Make it engaging: ensure that whatever you write is interesting and informative – and above all, don’t bore your readers.
- Know what comes next: why are you creating the content, and what do you want your audience to do after they’ve read it (AKA what’s the ‘call to action’)?
Then, add in a set of search engine optimisation (SEO) principles:
- Research what your readers search for: find out exactly what your audience are searching for online, and the language they use to describe it.
- Identify the best keyword phrase/s they use: select a ‘primary keyword phrase’ from that research – and some related ones too if you like.
- Use the keyword phrase/s in your content: include that primary keyword phrase in a few select locations, both where your reader will see it (‘on-page’) and in the fields they won’t (‘off-page’).
And that’s it! Simple, right?
Welllll… maybe there’s just a little more to each step – but I promise you, it’s still not rocket science. Let’s dive into the detail of each key principle as a step on the path to creating the best SEO content for your business.
Step 1: Write for your audience
This is the most fundamental step for creating any content. Know exactly who you want to reach, and then create content just for that person.
If your brand sells budget pizza, there’s no point in creating content for people who only buy premium. If you’re a local business in Abbotsford, Sydney, there’s no point in writing for people who live in Abbotsford, Melbourne.
The best way to understand who your ideal audience are is to delve into your past sales data. Then have a good think about who you want to buy your products and/or services. Finally, once you know who you want to talk to, find out where they spend their time online, and start to think about the kinds of things they may search for there.
Step 2: Make it engaging
The number one rule when it comes to any content? It HAS to be worth reading. And I don’t mean it has to be worth reading for search engines. Rather, it has to be worth reading for humans – and in particular, for the humans you want to come to your site.
So no matter what you’re writing about, make it interesting and engaging. Do this by:
- communicating your (sincere) excitement about the topic
- revealing something new about it
- structuring your content well.
Also consider making your content as readable as possible by using:
- headings and sub-headings
- a mix of short and long paragraphs
- bullet point lists (like this one)
- graphics, infographics and images.
All of these elements work to break up the content to make it more engaging. It doesn’t have to be short (in fact, it’s better if it’s a piece of long-form SEO content); it just has to be readable. Picture a long, boring ‘wall of text’ page vs a well-designed, well laid out article…
Which would you rather read?
Step 3: Know what comes next
Again, there’s no point in creating content for content’s sake. Every piece of content needs a purpose – a ‘why’. It also needs a ‘call to action’ – something you want your reader to do once they’ve finished reading it.
A good place to start as you identify your content’s ‘why’ is to picture the problems your ideal readers are facing. Then, once you’re clear on a particular problem, create content that provides the solution. Not only does this help you to get clear on the content’s purpose and messaging, but it also helps to make it engaging (Step 2) for your reader.
For example, this article has two purposes:
- To educate you (and all our other clients and potential clients), improve your skills and help you to write great SEO content.
- To show you (and them) that we know what we’re talking about.
And it has one call to action:
- To encourage you (and them) to book in a free 15min SEO consultation, so you know whether we can help you further or not.
Once you know who your audience is from Step 1, your ‘why’ will help you to define what the content piece should be about. Likewise, your call to action (whether it’s a contact form, a giveaway or a request to share the content), has to align to that why.
Sure, you could ask someone to leave their contact details to get in touch with you about SEO. But that would look a bit odd as the call to action on an article about lightbulbs.
Step 4: Research what your readers search for
OK, you now know what you want to create content about because you know:
- who your audience are
- why you’re creating the content piece
- what you want that audience to do once they’ve read it
This will help you to find out which topic-related phrases your audience are actually searching for in Google and other search engines.
Step 5: Identify the best Keyword phrase/s they use
As an example, for this article, I researched the keyword phrases people type into Google when they’re searching for ‘SEO content’. I started by looking at the top SEO trends around the topic, then dove deep into a raft of keyword research. One of the phrases that came up in my research was ‘how to create SEO content’. I chose that as my ‘primary keyword phrase’ based on its volume and competition (see Kate’s course for more on that).
In Australia, 10 people search for that phrase every month, and it has a 0.71 rating for competition. Now, that may not sound like a lot. But it means that if this article rises to #1 on Google for that phrase, I’ll get around 3 clicks/mth (30% of the search volume) straight to my site.
Then, let’s say I publish a blog post every week targeting a keyword phrase with a similar search volume and competition level. If each post goes to #1, I’ll enjoy 30% of a combined 520 searches/mth, which is 156 clicks/mth.
If I choose all my keywords wisely, that’s 156 extra clicks/mth from my ideal audience. And because they’re ideal, they’re then more likely to go on and do what I want them to at the end of each article.
Need a hand with this step?
Keyword research is often the part of creating SEO content that brands and businesses find the hardest. They may have internal content creators, but need help to figure out their content topics and which keyword phrases to choose.
Luckily, that’s exactly what we here at Content Copywriting do. We do all the research for you, then present you with a simple, easy-to-follow calendar of content topics and aligned keyword phrases. That’s often everything you’ll need to create great SEO content and articles.
Interested? We can chat about this more on our free 15min SEO consultation – just get in touch.
Step 6: Use the keyword phrase/s in your content
Search engines rely on the terms and phrases you use in your content to tell them what it’s about. That way, they know what content to show to people who are searching for those phrases.
So to get your content showing up in a search engine’s results page for your chosen keyword phrases, you need to actually use them verbatim in certain places.
Let’s start with the ‘On-page’ locations. Use your primary keyword phrase:
- verbatim in your page heading (the heading with the H1 tag on it – your web developer can help you with this)
- verbatim within the first 100 words of your first section
- peppered throughout the copy, in something close to verbatim (although it’s OK to change it up very slightly here – search engines are pretty smart these days).
NOTE: There’s no perfect ratio of how often to use your primary keyword phrase. Don’t stuff it in a hundred times; but also, if it makes sense to use it a lot (because it’s the name of your product for instance), that’s OK. As a rough guide, a ratio of around 2-5% is usually fine.
Then, for ‘Off-page’ locations, use the primary keyword phrase verbatim:
- at the start of your Page Title tag
- within your Meta Description tag
- as your first Image File Name and associated Image Alt Text
- as your anchor text (live linking text) from other pages/menu navigation within your website to this content
Finally, use the related keyword phrases and variations of your primary one as:
- subsequent Image File Names and Alt Texts
- anchor text (live linking text) from other websites to this piece of content
But! The golden rule is… if a keyword phrase doesn’t really flow as it’s written? Ditch it and just write so that the content reads naturally to your human audience. There’s no point in having a search engine bring people to your site, only for them to get frustrated because it looks really badly written to them.
That first step – knowing who you’re writing for – is far more important than trying to ‘hack the search engines’.
Thirsty for more content creation info? We’re here to help
So there you have it: the formula for creating great SEO content that speaks not only to Google, but to your audience as well. Follow these steps to start creating great SEO content sooner than you can say ‘GO!’
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