The importance of content writing in SEO can't be stressed enough. You may have a beautiful website with the most relevant keywords and perfect page titles, but if you don't have compelling and interesting content to back it up, your site will never rank on Google's first pages.
This post is going to talk about why this is so important not just for SEO purposes but also for your business as well.
What is Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (aka SEO) is the process of optimizing websites to show up higher in search engines for keywords relevant to that business. There are over 200 factors that the Google search engine uses to determine the rankings for that page. These factors are usually grouped into two main buckets: On-page and off-page.
On-page ranking factors include page speed, title tags, heading elements, meta descriptions, and other technical aspects. It also includes the content located on that page. Off-page factors include things like backlinks, social shares, and domain authority.
This means that all 200+ ranking signals are in some way tied to the content on your website. That's why if you want a high Google rank for relevant key terms, it is important to have a compelling and engaging content strategy to strategically target relevant terms.
What does "content" mean when talking about SEO?
There is "content" scattered everywhere on your site. Generally, SEO is focused on two areas. First, we need the content on our core pages. These pages describe our services, products, who we are, and how to get a hold of us. While this content is very important and should be optimized for search, it mainly focuses on the bottom of the sales funnel.
Targeting the top of the sales funnel
The content writing we're discussing in this post has to do with creating content that draws attention and interest from our prospective clients. This content is designed to target keywords that are used by search users looking to solve a problem or answer a question they may have.
This content normally comes in the form of blogs, resource articles, how-to posts, product round-ups, etc. The form of the content should be based on what the SERPs (Search Engine Result Page) is determining is relevant for that subject.
Why content writing is important for SEO
In 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin co-founded Google with the mission:
"Organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."
The items of content that Google is attempting to provide are the various pieces of information that may be found across the web.
The SERP displays the top search results. These results are organized according to their usefulness and relevance to the user performing the query.
And that means, for your content to have any SEO value at all, it needs to be beneficial to searchers.
How do you make sure it’s beneficial? Google helps us with that answer too.
Google provides some guidelines for optimizing your content:
Your content should be interesting and useful.
Creating useful and compelling content may have a greater impact on your website than any of the other variables discussed here. Users recognize excellent content when they see it, and they will want to encourage others to check it out. This might be accomplished through blog articles, social media platforms, email, discussion boards, or other methods.
Organic or word-of-mouth buzz is what helps build your site's reputation with both users and Google, and it rarely comes without quality content.
Know what your readers want (and give it to them).
Consider the words that a user might use to locate your material. Users who are knowledgeable about a subject may utilize different keywords in their searches than those who are unfamiliar with it.
Make your content more useful and valuable than other sites.
Make sure your material is relevant and beneficial to those who are seeking information on that particular topic. Giving more value or a different viewpoint than other articles on the internet will differentiate you from the competition.
Make expertise and authoritativeness clear
The quality of a website is improved by the site's expertise and authority. Make sure that material on your site is written or revised by people who are knowledgeable in the area.
However, putting together excellent material isn't the only aspect of the puzzle. There's also a technical component to consider.
For now, we can conclude that the value of content is contingent on how useful, informative, valuable, trustworthy, and engaging it is.
Why content is valuable for a business (not just for SEO)
Writing high-quality content is important for your search engine rankings, but writing relevant content for your target audience can also prove to be beneficial.
As discussed above, there are many different stages of the sales funnel that prospective customers find themselves in. If a customer is in the "Attention" stage of the funnel, they are unaware of the problem they are facing and will often search for relevant terms to help them identify their issue.
If you have relevant, high-quality content on your website that is well written and relevant for the topic at hand you immediately gain authority in the client's eyes.
One of the great things the progress of Google's AI has brought to users, it the increased importance of creating quality content that dives into a searcher's intent. This is one of the strongest reasons why content writing services have become more important than ever.
This content also builds credibility and trust with your target audience, and this can help you convert readers into leads.
Finally, providing the information a prospect is going to need to navigate their journey is going to provide the information they need to become a qualified buyer who needs to be provided less nurturing during the sales process.
What does a content writing structure look like?
The strategy or structure of how your overall body of content is designed is important. Building a high-quality content strategy helps users find the information that they are looking for, as well as provide credibility to search engines when they assign authority to your site.
Pillar and post content writing strategy
"Pillar and Post" or "Topic Clusters" is a type of website content writing strategy in which relevant and well-researched topics are written about to target relevant keywords. When done correctly, this method is an excellent way to create quality relevant web pages that will add value to your customer's online experience while at the same time providing them with what they're looking for when searching for information on your products or services.
Pillar articles - These blog posts are going to be relevant for multiple topics on your website, but they'll also have more of an expert slant than other types of content will. These posts are usually relevant because they offer a lot of information about the subject.
These articles should be long but not too long that readers lose interest or don't have time to read them. These types of blog posts are beneficial for SEO, as well. If you write these articles with your target keywords in mind and include relevant references to other websites (linking out), search engines will recognize this authoritativeness which improves your rankings within their algorithms.
Pillar articles are going to be built around a general topic and correlate around a service or product you offer. We want to target highly competitive keywords with these pillar posts, leaving room to dive deeper into more specific topics and target more specific keywords. These posts are generally named things like "Ultimate Guide To ...", "Complete Guide to ...", or "Everything You Need To Know About ...".
Post articles - These posts are relevant to only one topic. When you write your post articles, it's best to be more descriptive; use helpful lists and bullet points in addition to paragraphs of text
Post article topics could range from industry resources, tools & tips 'how-to' guides, case studies about business problems that were solved with our services/products, etc., depending on what your target audience needs help with learning.
Structuring your posts for search engines
Now that we've discussed the importance of content writing, and the big picture structure of our content strategy, let's dive into what search engines are looking for on-page optimization and some strategies on how to structure our blog posts for improving search engine results.
The first step to structuring our posts for search engines is making sure we're targeting relevant keywords based on what your target audience and customers will be searching.
We want to make sure that the keyword research we use will tell us how relevant a specific term or phrase is, as well as how many people are using it when they search online. There are a wide range of tools for this, but Google Trends and Google Ads can give you a great idea of the volume and ranking difficulty a term or keyword might have.
While we are always tempted to target high volume general keywords, if you're not the major player in the sphere with a giant web presence, you'll likely want to target what are known as "long-tail keywords". Long-tail keywords are more relevant to a specific topic but are used much less frequently.
This makes them easier for you to rank, but also targets your content towards people who would be specifically looking for what you offer, as opposed to the general public searching randomly online.
One great way to find long-tail keywords is to use Google's autocomplete feature on their search page. For example, when using the main keyword phrase of "protein powder", we get a list of longer keywords that are likely to be more relevant to our product or service.
You can also check the "Related searches" section at the bottom of a search result.
Optimizing on-page elements for search engine rankings
Now that we've completed our keyword research, and we have a topic idea from our content writing strategy, what can we do to make sure Google sees what our page is truly about?
There are several things we can do to a blog post to give Google an idea of exactly what our target keyword is:
Title tag: The title tag is "code" that is placed in the <head> tag of the HTML file, and is said to be one of the most important ranking factors Google uses. This tag appears in the "tab" of an opened webpage at the top of the browser, but also as the title of the page in the SERPs.
The best practice for title tags is to make sure to include, in less than 70 characters, the relevant target keyword at least once. You can also use this as an opportunity to optimize for long-tail words by including them in the first part of the title tag. Many sites place their company name in the title tag, but this can often be a wasted use of prime real estate.
Meta Descriptions: As the title tag, the meta description is "code" that is placed in the <head> of the site's HTML. On the contrary, the meta description is not a direct factor for SEO but is instead optimized to draw user clicks increasing click-through rate.
The meta description appears in search results under the title tag and gives a brief description of the content on the page. The terms a user searches are highlighted in the description can grab the searcher's attention to increase your site's click-through rate.
Headings: There are 6 levels of headings, H1-H6. These headings describe the relevant and important content of a page and give search engines an idea about what your page is truly about. Each page should have only one H1 heading and should contain the main keywords the post is targeting. The H1 heading is thought of like the title of a book.
H2 headings are thought of as the chapters of a book. They should target keywords, but also terms related to the topic. By including relevant content in these heading tags, you can increase your pages' weight and relevancy to those terms by Google's algorithms.
Keyword Density: Search engines look at the keyword density to determine whether or not you're just stuffing "keywords" into your post relevant or irrelevant ones that don't relate to the topic. Use keywords strategically and in natural language. The best way around this issue is to use keywords relevant to your topic naturally in the context of the article.
You can also check information on density tools online which will show how much one word appears within a certain frequency throughout an entire document/website.
The last thing we want to do before writing the actual content of a blog post is to optimize our page using alt tags on images, and schema markup.
Alt Tags: Alt image tags are used by accessibility tools to help users understand the image. Google also uses this information to determine what the image is and how it is relevant to the site.
Schema Markup: Schema markup gives Google more information about specific types of content through various tags (e.g., Person/Organization schema for authors). By including this markup, Google gets a better understanding of guest posting,the structure of the website and company information.
High-quality backlinks for the win
To truly drive your SEO content to the first page, we need to build links. The more relevant and helpful the links we build, the better.
Backlinks are important for SEO because it shows search engines that your content is so relevant and important, that other people recommend it enough to share it.
The more traffic and social media shares we get on a piece of content, the better it is for SEO purposes especially if those shares are coming from relevant sources.
Backlinks can be obtained by guest blogging, reaching out to other publications that write on the subject, and producing content writing that has such high-value content that it gets shared organically.
One of the most important aspects of a successful SEO strategy is content writing. Content drives rankings and traffic for your website, which means it’s an essential part of any marketing campaign. It also highlights your knowledge and elevates you as a thought leader in your industry.
In this blog post, we covered what "content" means to SEO, why content writing is so vital for search engine optimization success, as well as guidelines on how you can optimize your content-writing efforts with these tips!
What have you done to increase the quality of your online content? Has using some or all of these suggestions helped improve your site's ranking visibility?
Want to learn more about how TJG Web Design can help your business grow through a professionally managed SEO campaign?