Stop writing for search engines! They can’t “read.” They can “crawl” but what these sophisticated engines are really looking for is audience response. They look to others to tell them whether you are producing good quality content. How do they do that? They look for proof. We call it relevance and authority in the forms of things like links, shares, and comments.
As the new SEO marketing adage goes, “Write content for people and optimize for search engines.”
Sharpening Your SEO Content Writing Tools
Know Your Audience
One of the strongest SEO content writing tools out there is a knowledge of your ideal audience. By knowing who you want to talk to, you can better craft your approach. Create a buyer persona of your ideal customer. Who are they? What do they need? What keeps them up at night? What do they want most? By understanding the important drivers behind their actions, you can form a stronger relationship through creating content that is important and valuable to them.
Focus on Your Titles and Your Headlines
Title and headlines are important in writing content for SEO for two reasons -- Google and your audience pay a lot of attention to them. Google weights words in this prime real estate heavier than what’s in the text. Your reader or visitor makes up his/her mind on whether they will click on your content, or read further, based on your title. That’s why some professional writers will suggest spending equal time on your titles as you do on your body copy; perfecting the title until it is interesting and contains important keyword phrases.
Find Out What Your Audience Is Asking
According to Google, it handles about 100 billion searches each month, and some reports estimate about half of those are new searches, terms that people have never searched for before. Google has no interest in spitting out keywords and being a search engine. It’s been very honest that its goal is to be an answer provider.
To that end, your customers have a lot of questions. A very rich keyword source for you are these questions. It may be difficult to place for a term like “travel agency” but “How do I get from Tampa to India?”, for instance, may be a very good keyword phrase for you if your ideal audience is asking that question.
Answer Your Audience’s Questions
Figure out what your audience is asking. Take a look at your competitors. Go to places your ideal customer is hanging out. Read the comments sections. Ask your sales department. Get a big list of your audience’s questions and then answer them one by one on your blog. Use the questions as titles and write them in the language of your customers. This is much more effective than using industry terms they’re not using in search.
Know that not all Keywords Are Valuable in Writing Content for SEO
Before you begin creating content around the most popular keyword terms in your industry, know that some will always be out of your reach. You will never be tops in “pizza.” It’s too big of a search term (there are pizza recipes, pizza places, pizza sauces, pizza wholesale, pizza reviews... you get the idea) and it’s dominated by very large corporations and review sites.
You want to play where you can score. Look for long-tail search terms that incorporate phrases popular with your ideal customer. You’ll have a much easier time placing for these low-hanging fruit than you will trying to take on the Forbes 100 for a term as broad as “pizza.”
Want to know how SEO and content fit into a site redesign? Be sure to download our free e-book, 10 SEO Mistakes to Avoid in a Site Redesign.