How to write SEO-friendly content: not easy, but we’ll guide you through it

We’ve all heard at some point that “content is king”. That’s the truth – but only when it’s found by an audience. Otherwise, it might as well be a king without a throne. Epic metaphors aside, you may have the best content in the world, but if nobody reads it, sees it or interacts with it, what’s the point?
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Regardless of the type of content – articles, guides, blog posts, product pages, videos, you name it – your unseen, unfound content won’t really be doing anyone a service. Least of all content that’s meant to be part of an SEO content marketing strategy. That’s why it’s so important to know how to write SEO-friendly content from the start.

In today’s online world, writing SEO-friendly content is no longer an option. It’s a pure necessity. Regardless of which marketing channel you wish to push or prioritize, your website needs to get correctly crawled and indexed by search engines, as well as being found by users who are looking for content like yours. In that sense, it becomes critical to balance your content between those users and search engines, so that one won’t overshadow the other.

Is it easy? Nope. It takes a good deal of analyzing, planning and dedication. But fear not, we’re here to offer some help in the form of quick – but relevant – SEO content writing tips. With our guide to writing SEO-friendly content, we’ll navigate you through the most important points to get this mission accomplished. 

But first things first: what is SEO-friendly content anyway?

Whenever considering how to write SEO-friendly content, it’s important to get the basics right. Any content produced with the goal of attracting organic – or search – traffic can be considered SEO content. 

That doesn’t mean your content won’t acquire traffic through other means – like social media or paid search, for example – but the fact that it’s meant to generate search traffic puts this very special label on it. We’ll get more into that later, but for now let’s just say that SEO content writing tips are usually focused on one special thing: keywords. Keywords are the basic units of all content created with the purpose of being found through search engines.

So, again…how to write SEO-friendly content? Let’s get to it. 

Let’s start with the “cheat sheet”. Here are our main SEO content writing tips:

  1. Choose your toolkit
  2. Research your keywords
  3. Use your keywords well
  4. Look out for your on-page elements
  5. Optimize everything
  6. Don’t suck. Be exceptional
  7. Get it out there!
  8. Track your performance

1. SEO content tools: they're here to help

You might want to get a bit of orientation before starting to write your SEO-friendly content. For instance, are you using the right keywords? What kind of text are your competitors coming up with, and how well do you compare to them? No, you really don’t have to be an SEO wizard to use some interesting and helpful tools. 

There are plenty of cool, resourceful platforms that help you get vital insights into your website, audience and content before starting with your SEO content marketing strategy. We’re talking MOZ, SEMrush, Ahrefs and, of course, Google Ads. 

Without getting into too much detail, it’s enough to mention that each of these platforms offers important stats regarding keywords and their competitiveness. 

So it might be good to look at them and get some much-needed first-hand intelligence before starting. For logic’s sake, let’s do a quick recap with the main features of each service/platform:

  • MOZ Suite: a lot of SEO tools, including MOZ keyword explorer with relevant information about keywords (including suggestions)
  • SEMrush: lots of keyword insights
  • Ahrefs: mainly backlinks and referring domains information, but keywords as well
  • Answer the Public: very interesting information about overall user queries
  • Google Ads: not a keyword tool per se, but relevant keyword information – such as search volume – directly from Google
  • Google Trends: great overview tool to gauge the audience interest in specific topics and queries over time
  • Google Search Console: along with lots of other information, there are relevant insights into search analytics, including queries being used to reach your website – and how they are performing.

2. Keywords: the bricks of your content castle

What keyword would you type to find your website? Type it. See what appears in Google. Now use some of the tools we’ve suggested and run some keyword competition diagnostics. How hard would it be to rank with that keyword? Maybe another one would make more sense in your overall SEO-friendly content plan? Do some keyword research and get this kind of question answered before really diving into your SEO articles. This is going to provide critical insights into how to write your SEO-friendly content.

Details such as keyword search volume, keyword types (informational, navigational or transactional) and what kind of content is showing up in search engine results are very helpful. While there may be several different approaches to this process – some content creators prefer to leave that to later – we believe that gathering this information before actually writing your SEO-friendly content is going to be more productive.

3. But wait! You must choose keywords wisely!

Here’s some critical information for your SEO content: search volumes and competition stats are not enough to determine how good a keyword – or set of keywords – is. You need to evaluate search intent – what exactly is the user looking for when typing this keyword?

The most competitive keywords – with high search volume and many results on search engines – aren’t always the best ones. Look into what your users are really typing into search engines to find SEO content like yours. One big tip? It’s usually long tail keywords: the more specific ones, the ones that give away search intent more easily. Sure, you need some high-profile keywords spread across your content to help with visibility and structure, but keep in mind that the more useful, the better. And the longer the keyword is, the more specific the results are. In SEO content marketing, the long tail keywords – more niche-oriented – end up being the game changers.

4. How's your on-page SEO doing these days?

On-page SEO is a big part of every SEO strategy. But what exactly does “on-page” mean? Well, basically everything within the boundaries of your web page. Titles, URLs, links, headers, meta descriptions and, of course, the actual content. Once you’ve established a clear keyword hierarchy, use them well across all these elements. The more important the keyword is, the more it should appear. But don’t overdo it: use it in a reasonable and natural way. You don’t want to commit the crime of keyword stuffing, do you?

  • URLs are really, really important for SEO 

Yep, URLs are one of the most important SEO factors. Ideally, they will reflect your main keyword – or your most strategic keyword. And they need to be lean, easy to share, and descriptive at the same time.

  • Special keyword-y mention to titles and headers

Special importance goes to titles, headers and sub-headers in your SEO-friendly content. Why? Not only do they help to make your content more readable – or scannable – but they also help to structure your keywords according to a specific hierarchy: main keyword comes first, secondary keywords come second, and so on. And, obviously, they make your text more attractive, making readers more curious about it. But keep in mind: as with other SEO writing tips, it isn’t meant to be overused (we really can’t stress this enough).

So, with good sense in mind, do go ahead and use your titles and headers – H1, H2, H3 tags – in a creative and optimizing way.

  • Meta descriptions: click me!

Also, don’t leave your meta descriptions behind. While they might not be a ranking factor, they need to reflect your most important keywords, as well as being very attractive to the reader. They might be a decisive factor when it comes to clicking – or not – on your website in a list of search results.

  • Images also need keywords

And lest we forget: don’t leave your images behind when it comes to SEO. Be sure to add your keywords to image file names and include them in the ALT tags as well.

5. Optimize like there’s no tomorrow

It’s not enough to optimize the title, the URL and the headers, and to use keyword density reasonably. It’s also important to take care of other optimizing details. Have you placed internal links to other pages of your website – and used keywords as the anchor text? Are your internal links part of a structure that makes sense? And, again, did you use keywords as the file names of the images in your SEO content? And what text are you using for the ALT tags of said images?

These kinds of questions illustrate the importance of looking at the big picture when it comes to SEO-friendly content. It’s not enough to be optimized and great, it needs all the help it can get. And by looking into all of these SEO details, you’ll be providing this much-needed assistance.

6. I was told there would be great content here

This one is crucial: if it’s not great, don’t bother. Trust us, your reader’s attention is being competed for by many different websites, apps and streaming platforms at this very second. Competition is savage and it’s only expected to get worse. So what do you do about it? Write great, meaningful, interesting content. Plus, it has to be useful for their particular query – it needs to actually solve their problem. In a nutshell? It needs to stand out. Otherwise there are no keywords on the entire internet that will help.

When it comes to SEO content marketing, it’s a widely known fact that the uniqueness and usefulness of your writing is going to be much more important in your success than the number of keywords you sprinkle over it or how many backlinks it has. Especially after some content quality-oriented Google algorithm updates, such as Hummingbird and RankBrain.

7. How do I share my SEO content with the world?

Well, you’ve done it! Your fully optimized, carefully structured and incredibly interesting SEO content is ready to appear before the world. You’ve probably heard the cliché “sharing is caring”. 

It might be a cliché, but it’s very true when it comes to SEO content marketing. Why? Because actively reaching out to people and showing them your content – a landing page, a blog post, web page content – creates traction. 

When actively contacting stakeholders and showing them your content, you’re opening the possibility of getting more traffic, engagement, and – voilà – backlinks. It’s also a symbolic gesture in that it shows you have confidence in your own work. You know it’s good, and that’s why you’re suggesting it to other websites and their owners. 

This is the “promotional” aspect of your SEO-friendly content – researching websites, gathering contact lists, sending emails, etc. If your SEO content is really interesting, it might start to move on its own through this mechanism.

Another important step is to allow your SEO content to be shared through social media outlets. It’s very important to add some social media buttons to each page, making it easier for your readers to post your SEO-friendly content through their social media profiles – something that actually helps your ranking possibilities, by the way.

8. It's not enough to be SEO-friendly. It needs to perform!

SEO content is a special kind of content. You see, those three magic letters add a special patina of performance to the whole thing – they create higher expectations for traffic. And the expectations are justified – if it’s SEO, it should be fulfilling its basic premise, which is to generate traffic (and potentially other benefits down the road, such as leads, conversions, etc.).

So, you’re going to need some sort of system to check whether you really are following the best SEO writing tips and creating great content. Let’s start with the basic three items:

  • Traffic
  • Links
  • Rankings

While the platforms and tools used to check these items may vary – and this is a topic for another article – these three items by themselves can give a pretty clear idea of how your content is doing. If it’s bringing in a decent amount of traffic – at least compared to your goals – if it’s attracting some interesting backlinks from cool websites and if it’s ranking among positions 1–3 for its respective main keywords, then you could say it’s doing pretty well, thank you very much.

Sure, it all depends on what the original goals were. But still, it’s always important to keep things in perspective – you know you’re not following the best SEO writing tips if your article isn’t getting any organic visits, attracting referring domains or not ranking on the first results page – at the very least – over a period of time. 

Conclusion: it really is an SEO-friendly content world out there…

We’ve all heard before that SEO content is so important because, when done well, it’s got one of the best “bang for your buck” ratios out there – also known as ROI. But it’s much more than return on investment, traffic, conversions or simply following SEO writing tips; it’s about actually presenting relevant and useful information to the searcher. It’s about helping them solve a particular problem – whether that’s trying to find a website, a product or a critical piece of information. And that isn’t going to change, which means that creating SEO-friendly content is going to remain a critical aspect of all content creation – now and for a long time yet. The question of how to write SEO-friendly content, in that sense, will remain relevant for many years to come. So better get to it, and get it right!