Writing website content for SEO

Writing website content sounds easy enough. So easy that many of our clients try to write it themselves. And why not? It’s quite possible that no copywriter will understand your business or your customers more than you do. Maybe you have a complex product or service that means industry language or tech-speak is a must. That’s fair enough, and both are good points, but what about search engine optimisation? What about writing website content for SEO?

This article will help you write website content for SEO. After all, the best content in the world is no good if no-one ever reads it (because they can’t find it!)

If you forget everything else about writing website content for SEO, remember this:

First things first. Your customers, your potential customers, your target market if you will. These people are your top priority. Don’t forget that. Ever. Yes there are things you can do to keep Google happy and help your website rank higher in search results, but at the end of the day, writing useful, helpful, interesting and engaging content that is relevant to your target market is absolutely the best SEO strategy you have at your disposal. Park that thought.

To quote the SEO experts over at Yoast:

the technical design of your website should be excellent, the UX of your website flawless and all security aspects covered. Most important, however, is that the content of your website should be well-written and targeted at the audience your website serves.

Ok, let’s make a website content plan with SEO in mind.

Presumably at this stage, you already have a web designer/developer. You chose someone who cares about the user experience, from a clean and clear design that’s super-easy to read, to a fast loading website that engages and delights your ideal customer. So, assuming that you’ve already taken care of the quick wins that will help your website rank better in Google search results, let’s turn our attention to your content. More specifically, how you can write website content for better search engine visibility.

Keyword research

We’re often asked about keyword research. It sounds a bit technical, but ultimately what you need to consider is what are the words that you want to show up in Google for? What are your target market looking for? What phrases/words will they type into Google when they’re looking for your product or service? Then, what do you want to write about? How can you incorporate those keywords and phrases into your initial cornerstone content and your content marketing strategy going forwards?

This article by Yoast explains exactly how to conduct your keyword research. Work out the keywords you want to rank for first. This is important, so go work that out before you carry on.

This research will also help you work out the information architecture (navigation and content hierarchy) of your site. Choose your words wisely.

Writing search optimised content

Before you start writing, go back to the beginning, ask yourself:

  • Who are you writing for? Keep this in mind. All the time.
  • What’s their problem, how are you going to help them solve it?
  • What are they looking for?
  • What do you want them to do once they have read your page/post?
  • How will you structure your content?

Know that writing for the web isn’t the same as writing for print. There’s no room for fluff. Our digital attention spans are short (and getting shorter). You have literally seconds to convince visitors to hang around and consume your content. Get to the point quickly. Made it readable – use headings and paragraphs to break up large sections of text). Accept that visitors will scan-read to get to the content they want.

Structure your website content for better search visibility (and help your visitors too!)

Structure is everything. Be clear. Be concise. Don’t make them think. Create a list of headings/topics before you start. Make it easy for your readers to find what they’re looking for. Once you have your structure, you can go ahead and populate your content. Write clear paragraphs that expand on your topic and headline. Get to the point quickly and then expand on that throughout the paragraph/section. Keep. It. Simple.

Check your content. Keep it relevant. Remember your reader.

Does it still make sense? Are you on point? Is it interesting, engaging and relevant to your target market. Are you solving their problem? Read though your content out loud. Is it still sensical, logical? Goes without saying you’ll need to check for typo’s and make sure it’s easy to read. Remove any fluff. Get someone else to read it too if you can.

Then what?

Well, then you hit the big red button. You can speculate about your content (or design or user experience of content hierarchy ’till the cows come home, but the proof is in the pudding. Get your newly created, search-optimised content out into the wild and see what your readers and the SERP’s make of it. Practice makes perfect. Good luck!

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