Writing for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is all about including targeted keywords and phrases into your content. These keywords and phrases are based on what people are actively typing into search engines — like Google — to find information. The popularity or volume of keywords and phrases people use can vary and change depending on all sorts of factors, including where they are in the world, global events, seasonal trends and the time of year.
The top 4 tips for SEO writing:
Keyword stuffing is the devil's work. Don't do it, it's awful to read and super tacky.
Write for humans, not robots. Natural, conversational language always wins the day.
Tag your headings appropriately. It's a double win for SEO and accessibility.
Be compelling and concise with your meta titles and descriptions.
Metadata: titles and descriptions
Meta titles and descriptions appear on Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). They’re small snippets of information that summarise what a webpage is about which can help encourage click-through rates.
Titles are the first impression a user will have of your webpage. They must paint a specific, accurate and relevant idea of what a webpage will be about.
This is the blue, clickable text you see that proceeds the descriptive sentence about the webpage.
Most titles follow a pretty standard format: Primary Keyword - Secondary Keyword | Brand
Google will typically only display up to 60 characters, so keep it short.
Descriptions are like itty-bitty ads for webpages. They should entice an audience with just enough keywords and information to encourage click-through.
Be compelling. Paint a seductive picture of what that webpage can offer a user.
Incorporate relevant keywords in your sentence. Google might even bold a few of them if they’re specific to what has been searched for by a user.
Try and include a call to action if you can, for example: get a quote, apply online, buy now, read more.
Keep your description to no more than 160 characters to avoid content being cut off mid-sentence.
Webpage content: headings, body text and links
Headings are signposts that help readers get an idea of what information they can expect to read about in the text that follows. Appropriately tagging your headings helps create a logical structure and hierarchy to your content that is important for accessibility.
While there’s a bit of debate around the role heading tags play in ranking, the clearer the content is on your page, the easier it is for Google – and users – to understand your content.
There are six HTML heading tags you can use: H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6.
It’s better to use heading tags in sequential, hierarchical order to break down information from most to least important. H1 being the most important, to H6 being the least.
Only use one H1 tag per webpage. This should be consistent with your title tag.
Use keywords or common search phrases to help capture a reader’s interest.
Incorporating keywords into your content is important, because Google will use that information to determine whether or not the information you have on your page is relevant to a particular search query or phrase. If your page is crawled and identified as showing the best results for a search query or phrase, it will be surfaced on SERP.
Here’s a few ways you can research keywords to include:
Keyword Planner: provides keyword ideas, approximate search volumes and create campaign plans.
Answer The Public: is a web tool that visualises search queries and suggested autocomplete searches from a seed word.
Keyword Surfer: is a Chrome extension that shows you the monthly search volume for any query or phrase you type into Google.
Once you’ve found relevant keywords and phrases that support your website content, you need to incorporate them organically and meaningfully within your text.
Avoid keyword stuffing. Repeating the same word over and over again to try and manipulate your site’s ranking ability is a big no-no. Of course, you want to mention the relevant thing people came to your website for at least four or five times, but you have to do it with integrity in a way that’s interesting and natural to read.
Focus on expression, grammar and simplicity. Readers appreciate well-written content that is easy to follow, free of spelling and grammar issues and clear of any jargon. Plus, with more and more people using voice-activated searches, you want to write like a human speaks; conversational but to the point.
Keep content timely and relevant. Seasons change, trends come and go and new websites and media are being created every day. Keep your finger on the pulse of changes relevant to your industry and refresh your content accordingly.
Adding links provides value to readers by directing them to where they can find other supporting information that’s topically relevant. There are generally two types, external (or outbound) and internal.
External links: are links that direct users to other reputable websites. They help strengthen the credibility and authority of your website.
SEO experts believe that external links are an important source of ranking power because the search engines consider them to be third-party endorsements.
Trustworthy sites link to other trustworthy sites – which helps increase traffic in both directions.
Internal links: are links that direct users to other pages within your own website. They effectively encourage visitors to go deeper into your website and hang around longer.
A high volume of internal links directing users to a particular page on your site can send a signal to Google that lets them know that page is important.
Creating a strong internal link structure also helps users navigate through your website easily and helps Google crawl your content faster.
Here’s how to write good link text:
be descriptive and meaningful – avoid things like “click here” or “read article” and make it more specific, like “visit SEOnerds.com” or “read about SEO optimisation”
format your links so they’re easy to see and it’s obvious that they can be clicked (e.g. bold and underlined)
keep text unique – don’t use the same link text to link to two different webpages.