Writing SEO Content: A Basic Guide for Writers

by Adam Thompson

Note to SEOs: This article is not written for you. However, if you have anyone contributing content to your website who is not experienced in SEO, this article is perfect for them. It’s a great basic guide to help website contributors write content that follows basic SEO guidelines. This will make your job optimizing pages much easier.

Search Engine Optimization or SEO, is the art and science of getting a website to rank high on search engines. In this article we will cover basic SEO principles that you can use as a writer to ensure the content that you write is optimized and search engine friendly. If you follow the basic guidelines in this article, you will be well on your way to creating content the search engines will be able to understand and rank well.

Important Terms To Know
Before we start, let’s define some terms. A keyword is a word that a user searches for online. So if you go to Google and search for beauty, the keyword you searched for is beauty. A keyword phrase is a group of words that someone searches for. If you go to Google and search for free beauty tips, the keyword phrase you searched for is free beauty tips. However, in many cases people tend to use the word keyword and keyword phrase interchangeably.

Knowing Which Keywords To Write About
It’s important that you write about keywords that people are searching for so that people will be able to find your webpage. Fortunately, it is very easy to find out what people are searching for. Just use a keyword research tool such as the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Type in a few keywords related to the topic you are going to write about and the tool will tell you what specific keywords people are searching for. Once you select one of those keywords or keyword phrases to write about, we say that you are targeting those keywords.

Page Title
The page title is the text that appears in the bar at the top of your web browser. The page title is the single most important factor that search engines look at to determine what the web page is about.

  • It is very important that you include your keyword or keyword phrase in your page title.
  • It is best to include your keyword near the beginning of your page title. So if your keyword is blue widgets, a title such as Blue Widgets: Buy Great Widgets Here would be a great title. A title such as “Online Web Store Where You Can View, Look At, and Buy Blue Widgets” would not be a good title because the keyword is at the end of the title.
  • Also, try to keep your title about 65 characters or shorter.

Content Title
Your content title isn’t necessarily the same as your page title. The page title is what is displayed at the top of your browser window whereas the content title is what is displayed in large font at the top of your article or content. Your content title should include your keyword or keyword phrases, but it should also be compelling and interesting to a user. If you are targeting the keyword blue widget, a good content title would be “21 Ways Your Blue Widget Can Help You Lose Weight and Feel Better.” It includes the keyword phrases you are targeting but it also is very interesting and enticing to users.

Textual Content
The textual content (main part) of your article is also important. Of course, you want to write an article that is interesting and valuable to users, but you want to write an article that search engines will be able to understand and rank well. To do this, just be sure that you use your target keywords or keyword phrases a few times throughout your article. You don’t have to stuff the keyword in there a whole bunch of times. For the average size article, about three to five times is usually enough. Don’t worry about achieving the perfect keyword density or other secret equation. Just use the keyword naturally throughout the article so that a user or computer can readily tell that your article is about the keyword that you are targeting.

Links to and from your page are also very important. When linking to an article, try to make the clickable text (called anchor text) something that accurately describes the page that you are linking to and includes some of the target keywords for that page. For example, if you are linking to a page about blue widgets, don’t make the clickable text “click here” make the clickable text something like “click here to learn about blue widgets.” Search engines look at the links pointing to a web page to help them determine how important the web page is and what that web page is about.

Meta Tags
You may have heard people mention meta tags such as the meta keywords tag or meta description tag. You don’t need to worry about these too much as they are no longer used by search engines to rank pages. However, the meta description tag is used by most search engines as the snippet or little bit of text that will appear along side your webpage in the search results. For this reason it is good to write a meta description that accurately describes your page and would be enticing for visitors to click through to visit your page. Other than that, don’t worry too much about meta tags.

Other Factors
There are many other SEO factors that need to be considered, but if you pay attention to the basics covered in this article like choosing your keywords, your page title, your content title, the textual content on the page, and links you’ll be most of the way there. The rest of the work can be done by someone trained in search engine optimization. But by following these simple guidelines, you’ll be writing content that is search engine friendly and much easier for your SEO team to market and promote.

Adam Thompson is a Partner at RYP Marketing where he specializes in search engine optimization and conversion rate optimization.