It’s no mystery that SEO, content writing and content marketing go hand in hand, especially today when many debatable SEO techniques no longer work (just to mention keyword stuffing). If you want to augment your visibility on Google and do so in compliance with the latest Google requirements, you ought to create a lot of SEO-friendly texts. Thanks to SEO-friendly content (including articles, blog posts, product descriptions, web content etc.), you can educate customers, get more backlinks, grow the amount of valuable, unique information on your website and showcase your expertise. And that’s what I want to talk about today – I’m going to show you how to create SEO-friendly content to give your business a boost. Let’s get right to it!
Not that long ago (although, on second thought, long, it’s already been over 10 years), achieving high positions in Google has been relatively easy. You just had to use a lot of keywords on your website, and voila – you were on the first page (or close). However, such a strategy was short-lived. In February 2011, Google introduced a new indexing algorithm called Panda. With this algorithm, Google started assigning “quality scores” to web pages and ranking them based on the quality of the content they comprised. Now, every site with so-called thin content can get minus points and even get excluded from the search results altogether. Panda was actually quite a major shift in the way Google indexes search results…
So the first thing you ought to know about SEO-friendliness is this: Avoid thin content at all costs!
What is thin content, and how can you avoid it?
In general, thin content comprises all sorts of poor-quality texts. That said, thin content describes texts with:
- Duplicate content (plagiarism)
- Keyword stuffing
- No relevance
- Empty “fillers” just taking up space
You should avoid all that, no matter what you write and for what purpose. How can you avoid thin content? First off, forget about copy-paste. Google values only unique texts. Even if you write about something repetitive and non-innovative, use your own words and refer to your knowledge and experience. To make sure your content is SEO-friendly (i.e., unique), use a plagiarism checker. Such a tool will show you how many sentences are copied from other sources.
Every result below 10% is acceptable.
Every result below 5% is perfect.
A good example of such a plagiarism checker (that’s available for free!) is PlagiarismDetector. You can check any text for free, provided it has less than 1,000 words.
Secondly, make sure your texts are of high quality and relevant. What does it mean? They should:
- Provide comprehensive and reliable answers to all the questions asked in them
- Thoroughly cover a specific topic and
- Offer some practical advice
Finally, SEO-friendly content should make your readers’ lives or work easier/better/more effective.
Today, SEO is not just about satisfying the search engine. It’s mostly about satisfying the user.
How content helps SEO
For Google, the information that your website is full of useful and unique texts is a very good sign indicating that your business is active and reliable, which means it’s worth recommending you to other users looking for similar information. When you’re writing SEO-friendly content, focus primarily on:
- Answering frequently asked questions
- Solving your customers’ problems and doubts
- Providing valuable knowledge and advice they can put to work
Here, it’s also beneficial to apply the skyscraper content strategy. If there are at least similar texts on Google, read and analyze them. Note down their strengths and weaknesses, see what could be done better, and simply write a better text!
What’s more, thanks to blog posts and other types of content, you can put more keywords and key phrases on your website. What’s crucial this way, it happens naturally. There’s no keyword stuffing because when you’re discussing a specific matter, it is necessary to mention related keywords – after all, that’s what you’re writing about! So if you want to enrich your website with keywords, creating new texts is the best way to do so.
The third element that’s worth mentioning is related to backlinks. Every website can benefit from an SEO technique called link building. It’s all about acquiring high-quality links from other websites to increase the authority of your domain. You have to know, though, that only 2.2% of web content generates links from multiple websites and over 40% of SEO experts believe it’s the most difficult part of their job (source). The juice is worth the squeeze, though. With backlinks directing to your website, Google knows that others already recommend you as a reliable source of knowledge. The more backlinks you get, the more visibility in the SERP (search engine result page) you can expect. And again, getting backlinks is extremely difficult without high-end content.
From my experience, the best way of getting high-end backlinks is through offering writing dedicated texts that your partners and other companies can publish. Here, content writing mixes with PR. Let’s talk a bit more about that.
LINK BUILDING: PR’S ROLE IN WRITING SEO-FRIENDLY CONTENT
Undoubtedly, there are many ways of acquiring backlinks. But if you want to get them from really big and recognized websites and platforms, you have to put your best foot forward and offer writing sterling texts that your partner’s audience will appreciate. There are no shortcuts here; copy-paste won’t get you many worthy links. Here’s what you can do:
- First off, create a list of websites and platforms that you want to talk to. Start with baby steps, and get five worthwhile places for your content; that’s enough.
- Analyze what these websites write about and what kinds of texts they publish. Of course, you ought to concentrate mostly on the blog/resources section. Note down all the relevant information you can find.
- Get in touch with the owners of these websites. You could write something like that: “Dear Mike, I really like your blog! I would ask whether you’d be interested in mutually beneficial cooperation concerning content for your website. I’m happy to write a piece just for you. It could be about X, Y or Z – it’s up to you. All I’m asking in return is for you to put a do-follow link to my website. How’s that sound?”
- It is likely that at least one website owner will be interested in such cooperation. After all, why not? Everyone’s after unique texts! And once you get at least one such link, you can go further and show it as an example of successful cooperation.
That’s an excellent way of getting not just backlinks but also publicity for your brand, especially when you co-operate with a company with a similar client profile. In such a scenario, it could also be a vital source of hot leads!
SEO-friendly content needs a strategy
You shouldn’t just decide that you want to write something. It all starts with an idea. You have to know what your customers/users are looking for and give it to them through your texts and articles. Again, that’s what SEO-friendly content is about. You can find inspiration and good ideas thanks to two useful tools:
ANSWER THE PUBLIC
In this tool, you get three queries for free each day. All you have to do is type in a keyword or a phrase that you are interested in, and AnswerThePublic will provide you with a list comprising dozens of good ideas. Just like in this example, where the query is “SEO-friendly content”:
image source: https://answerthepublic.com/reports/dd382fab-b87e-4dec-a490-71ab768d897e
It’s another useful free keyword tool you can use to generate ideas for SEO-friendly content. It allows you also to choose a specific market that you are interested in. Let’s do the exact same thing – the query is “SEO-friendly content”, and I want the results from the American market:
image source: https://app.neilpatel.com/en/ubersuggest/content_ideas?keyword=SEO-friendly%20content&locId=2840&lang=en
In this tool, you get even more information, comprising:
- The estimated number of visits
- Shares via social media
Granted, with this particular keyword, Ubersuggest doesn’t show all the information it usually does. If you have a simpler keyword, you’ll most likely get even more data to work with.
Of course, you can use many more similar tools, but when it comes to looking for good content ideas, these two are my favourites.
Always create SEO-friendly content
Suppose you already have a good idea for a new blog post. Now, your goal is to make it as SEO-friendly as possible. There are a few things to remember here.
KEYWORDS IN YOUR TEXT
They should be located in different places in the text, both in headings and in individual paragraphs. SEO-friendly headlines (H2, H3, H4) are especially important – if possible, try to squeeze as many keywords as you can in them (of course, not at the cost of losing sense or flow – headlines should be directly related to the following paragraphs). Secondly, remember about the introductory paragraph (frequently referred to as a lead). Lead is always a good place to include at least several keywords, but it also has to be inviting. Make sure your lead summarizes the text and shows why the reader ought to read the whole piece.
Do you know how to use H1-H4 headlines? They play a crucial role in SEO (that’s why I have 15+ headings in this text) so let’s get this straight:
- H1: Tells what the whole piece is about. Usually, the title is automatically the H1 headline.
- H2: Indicates key issues related to the topic.
- H3: Expands the content of the H2 heading.
- H4: Expands the content of the H3 heading.
Of course, there are more headlines (up to H6), but, frankly, H5 and H6 are very rarely used. Even I, in this 2,500-word article, use only headings up to H4.
AN ATTRACTIVE TITLE
Undoubtedly, the title is extremely important. If you can put the major keyword in it – that’s great. But the title should be, above all, interesting and intriguing. Make sure it clearly indicates what the whole text is about and encourages readers to click it.
THE OPTIMAL STRUCTURE
Don’t write a wall of text. Use paragraphs, headings and other devices that make the text more digestible. Just like I do in this post. It’s always beneficial to include:
- External sources and media (e.g., YouTube videos, charts, infographics etc.)
Your texts should have at least 300 words, but nowadays, the optimal length for a medium-length text is about 1,000 words. It’s sufficient to cover most of the topics and not wear out the reader at the same time.
SEO-friendly content is always correct from a linguistic point of view. If you are not a native speaker of the language that you write in, there are at least two tools that you can use to verify the correctness of your texts. The first one is GrammarlyGrammarly. Unfortunately, it works only with English. On the upside, though, it comes with valuable features such as a plagiarism checker and a virtual drive for your texts. The basic version is free to use.
image source: https://www.grammarly.com/browser/chrome
The second tool that you can use is LanguageTool. One of its biggest advantages is that it works with many different languages (over 15). And, just like Grammarly, it’s free to use in the basic version.
Every subpage (including every product tab and every blog post) comes with something called metadata. Metadata are small pieces of content used by Google bots to discern what the given page is about. There are three crucial metadata components:
- Meta title: If your main article title doesn’t comprise keywords, make sure the meta title does. The title that’s visible on top of the blog post and the meta title are not the same thing and they should not be identical.
- Meta description: It’s a description that’s visible in the SERP. You can use it to squeeze some keywords, but as ever, the goal is to describe what the given page is about.
- Alt attribute: Every image that you put into your article should have an alt attribute describing what the given picture is about. It’s also a good place to include at least one major keyword. Currently, though, the role of alt attributes slowly decreases as Google uses AI to find out what different images show.
CTA is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about SEO-friendly content, correct? Nevertheless, I strongly encourage you to put it at the end of every article you publish. The reason is twofold:
- CTA can trigger some of your readers to get in touch with you and ask about your services.
- CTA is a terrific place to add yet another link to your article. Usually, companies put links directing to a specific landing page, to a contact section or to a particular subpage with related service.
Is your content SEO-friendly?
Knowing all that and verifying the SEO-friendliness of each text are two different things. Thankfully, you’re not on your own. There are tools that measure the SEO-friendliness of every text that you want to publish. I want to mention two tools, one of which is free to use (in the basic version).
I use Rank Math on my website and I honestly have to say – I really like working with this tool. Rank Math verifies each text according to one major keyword of the user’s choosing. Then, it uses two scales to show you how SEO-friendly your content is. You should always opt for the green scale (it starts with 80 points), indicating that your text ticks all the right SEO boxes. For example, the text that you’re reading right now has a result of 87/100 – not bad!
Unfortunately, this tool is mostly paid (there are some extensions you can get for free, e.g., the keyword extension) but it’s extremely helpful and worth every penny. Surfer SEO comes with several useful features, but the one I want to mention today is the content editor. It’s a dashboard that looks pretty much like any other content editor, but it comes with SEO guidelines, e.g., concerning keywords and their density and other SEO-related guidelines (regarding text’s length, the number of headlines etc.).
Surfer SEO also uses a colour-slash-point scale to show you how good your text is. The green scale starts with 70 points. That’s the minimum that you want to achieve. Thanks to these two tools, everything you put on your blog or website will always be tailored toward the needs of the search engine. Of course, you still have to work on other sections of your website, but that’s what you need when it comes to SEO-friendly content!
Summary: SEO-friendly content
There are three things that I want you to remember from this article.
FIRST: ALWAYS WRITE SEO-FRIENDLY CONTENT
And SEO-friendly content:
- Is fully compliant with Google requirements
- Answers to the needs and doubts of your customers
- Is thorough and substantive
- Uses relevant keywords and key phrases to attract the right traffic
- Is produced, published, and promoted regularly using all available communication channels
SECOND: USE HELPFUL TOOLS TO STREAMLINE YOUR WORK
In this post, I’ve mentioned several tools you can use. Many of them are available for free, at least in the basic version. Rank Math and AnswerThePublic are your must-haves!
THIRD: ALWAYS PUT QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
There’s no room for art for art’s sake. Everything you do has to be well-thought-out and purposeful. Forget about copy-paste, and create top-of-the-line content that will amaze your customers!