How do you write articles that will satisfy your human readers and search engines? How do you keep your piece appealing to people but also optimized for search engines?
In this article, we’ll be examining how you can create content that is both suitable for search engines and gets your message across.
While the main purpose of content is to be helpful and useful for readers, it also needs to appear in search engines, and creating online content with a focus on SEO is the best way to do this.
With good SEO content comes good rankings, more readers, and increased online visibility which is great for your content and your company.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is about creating valuable, compelling and useful content.
This content targets specific words to increase the authority and relevance of your content and improve its ranking on Google for the selected keywords.
SEO writing is a form of writing that helps websites and blogs become more visible to major search engines like Google and Bing. One of the biggest issues that bloggers have is writing articles that are optimized for search engines, while still appealing to people.
You need to understand that in the creation of content, your priorities should lie with your readers, search engines and their algorithms come second to reader satisfaction.
This, however, doesn’t mean you should ignore the effectiveness of writing your content to be in line with what search engines want to see.
You have to go beyond just writing content, your content needs to simultaneously solve problems and appeal to the reader.
SEO can easily be broken down into 2 parts:
- Technical SEO which includes links and structure.
- On-page SEO which includes keyword inclusion, length of article, outbound links (whose quality also serves to tell Google that your website is authoritative and relevant), Images and style of a post.
How Useful Is SEO for you?
Efficient SEO would make sure your article and website in general would pop up in response to the questions millions of people use search engines to find answers to.
This is why your content has to solve a problem, your content has to give answers to your readers’ questions. More on this later.
Effective SEO will make your articles address the problems of readers.
When your article is among the top 5 ranked postings by popular search engines such as Google, there’s a higher chance that people in need of the magnificent content you have to offer will see it and click on it.
Rankings and How They Work
In Neil Patel’s words, Google displays web pages in their search results based on the authority and relevance of the page to enhance the user experience.
Google determines the relevance of your page by analyzing its content based on several factors, including where and how often you use certain words in that piece of context.
Google measures authority by the number of links pointing to that page and how trustworthy those links are.
So, in essence your website’s rank doesn’t depend on the quantity of its incoming links but rather on the quality of the said links.
If you want to improve your website’s rank, you should improve the quality of articles that your own article can be linked with.
Make references to reputable websites and sources, and SEO will work very well for you.
Writing with Readers in Mind
The primary goal of your article is to solve the problems that your readers might have. In doing this, you have to make concise points while making your piece simple to read for them.
Here are 8 tips on how to get your content to give readers a satisfactory experience on your website:
- Use Attractive Headlines
- Write High Quality Content
- Make The Content Shareable
- Practice Good Content formatting and structure your posts
- Use Humor (if possible)
- Prioritize clarity
- Incorporate imagery
- Use social media effectively
Use Attractive Headlines
What you want is to get the attention of a person who is in need of information that you have.
Your Headline is the first thing that the person will see, and they’ll decide whether or not to check out your website in under 5 seconds.
David Ogilvy’s famous quote comes to mind here;
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar”
Craft the quintessential headline, craft the perfect headline, it differs with context but it can be done exceptionally well in all situations.
An attractive headline would propel people to your website. Your headlines should carry a message and do so vividly. Don’t let your headline be ordinary, else you drive people away from your website.
For example, if I want to write on the subject matter of Arsenal FC and the depressing nature of their fall, I could go about it in two ways.
For sample A, I could go on and say “Arsenal FC have fallen” and alternatively for sample B, I could say, “Arsenal FC: The English Giants Plunging through the Depths of Horror”.
One of the headlines incites the reader and sparks curiosity in them, I’ll let you determine which one that does, so you’ll effectively get my point.
Also, it’s been found that the presence of numbers in headlines bodes well for sparking curiosity in people, however if it doesn’t read smoothly, don’t force it.
Write High Quality Content
I think this goes without saying, the only way to get readers hooked on your website is to give them quality on a consistent basis.
Whatever your subject matter is, quality is an underlying theme that always remains important. Highly useful content will always attract thousands of social shares and sales.
A great storytelling ability is also key to keeping your readers engaged, it’s something every human can relate to.
That’s all there is to say here…
Make The Content Share-able
For every article you write, there should be a plug-in for readers to be able to easily share your post with their friends and relatives.
It’s easier for your post to go farther if your readers can share it as soon as they choose.
Practice Good Content Formatting and Structure Your Posts
Arrange your content in a manner that makes it easier for your readers to skim through. And yes, I really did mean to say skim.
You will get your readers to stay on your website longer. Properly arrange your points and make them easy to read, use the simplest words that you can.
Use Humor (If Possible)
Laughter is the best medicine. That sentence is evergreen and ever true. Whenever you can, infuse subtle humor and make your readers laugh, smile or even produce a smirk, it all counts.
People will associate your website with a happy feeling and will always want to come back for more.
Avoid ambiguity, make sure that your every point is simple and understandable for your readers.
Make it easy for your statements to register well in their heads. After all, your purpose of writing is to get what is inside your head into theirs.
Humans are visual learners. We tend to learn faster if we can associate certain images to certain phenomena.
Try as much as possible to put images in every one of your articles. Your goal is to engage readers and keep them on your site for as long as possible, capture their attention with beautiful imagery.
Use Social Media Effectively
After writing, become your own PR officer. Spread your work by the word of your own mouth (it’s mostly keyboards that do the talking but you get my point).
Use forums like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and the likes to get your article read by a wide range of people.
Writing With Search Engines in Mind
When writing and trying to target search engines, there are a few things you must know about search engines and their relationship with articles.
Ideally, you want to create content that is interesting, persuasive and well-optimized for search engines. Search engines feed on fresh SEO content, and this is why you must consistently update your website.
Striking a balance between content that persuades and content that Google can find is key to the success of any website.
Here are 5 tips on how to create content that will rank high on search engines lists:
- Target keywords.
- Better Meta Descriptions.
- Site speed.
- Use long-tail keywords.
Keyword phrases are similar to the search phrase that people type in when they are looking for information on the internet.
For example, I want to find out what the best Toyota cars are, I use a search engine like Google and type “The best Toyota cars”, it will give me results i.e articles that have keywords like “best Toyota cars”.
So, when writing, use your chosen keywords as much as possible but without stuffing them into your blog post.
Better Meta Description
After your headline, your meta description is the next thing a reader sees, this usually helps the reader determine whether or not you have answers to their questions.
A tool like Yoast can help to effectively determine what parts of your article is shown to the readers before they open it. It is important that you have a keyword in your meta description.
Your site speed also plays a huge role. The standard load time of any page should be 2 seconds, if it’s taking longer to load, people will leave.
This affects you because Google is keeping tabs (no pun intended, well, maybe…) on how long a reader stays on your website.
Dwell time is the amount of time visitors spend on your website before returning to the search engine. Search engines use dwell time as an indicator for content quality.
Use Long-Tail Keywords
The use of long-tail keywords is also effective in getting search engines to quickly find your article and refer the readers to them.
With long-tail keywords you don’ go after generic words, but instead go after longer search phrases. While long-tail keywords might have lesser search quantity, they represent users who are further down the customer acquisition funnel.
For instance, a person who searches for “Shoe” on Google is less likely to be interested in buying shoes. However, a person who searches for “best running Nike shoes” is more interested in making a purchase.
There are a couple of tools that will serve to help you as you go along, I’ve listed some of them here:
Readable can be effective in grading your piece, a score based on how readable and simple it is. It also specifies what age group will easily read your work.
PlagTracker will help you by analyzing your piece, find plagiarism if there be any and replace them with new content that is also original. What a time to be alive.
Smallseotools Keyword Density Checker
SmallSEOtoolsKeyword Density Checker scans your piece to find out how many times you have cited each keyword. It’s effective and reduces your workload if your article is long.
People generally perceive SEO writing to be a difficult thing.
Well, it isn’t. I can be sure that after reading this article, you should be confidently able to write content for search engines and people. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.
Feel free to post your comment below. An email address is required but it will not be shared with anyone, put on any list, or used for any kind of marketing, just to alert you if there are any replies. Thanks and happy hunting!
Updated: Originally published March 7th 2018
This Post Has 11 Comments
Great content on SEO and article writing, I am a new blogger in this network and have come to the crossroads of grasping SEO content for my viewers and search engines. I really appreciate your layout and the way you articulate the breakdown’s in regards of the technical and one page SEO, I must say I was really engaged in this read, for me it was very enlightening. The eight tips are very useful in keeping us focused, especially for me being as new to the platform as I am. What is your take on a great plugin for our platform that will keep my site loading fast as my goal now is to obtain some authority, keep up the great articles, and I will definitely be following you, Jack
Hey Jack. Are you referring to an SEO plugin or a caching plugin for page speed?
I use All In One SEO for my SEO and my hosting platform does page caching at the server level so I don’t use a plugin for that. There are caching plugins out there but I have no experience with them, sorry.
Let me know more specifically what you meant and I will try to help.
HI, Steven. I read your post on article writing with interest, and I found your points to be spot-on. I especially liked your words on writing a compelling headline, and I think that’s something I need to work on. Also, your thought on humor hit home. I tend to get too dry sometimes with my writing. Thanks and keep up the good work.
Thanks Grant. I wish I could use more humor but this subject doesn’t really lend itself to goofiness. Too bad…
Thanks for the comment!
Excellent article! I really have a hard time breaking down exactly what SEO is, but you put it in a way that makes it make way more sense. It’s simply the search engines way of providing the world with quality content that SOLVES problems. Maybe I was overthinking it lol
What SEO tools do you use?
Many people put way too much emphasis on SEO. If you do a little keyword research and produce quality content the SEO takes care of itself for the most part.
For this site, I use All In One SEO plugin. It takes care of pleasing the search engines. Be sure to submit a sitemap to both Google and Bing, produce quality content and do your basic keyword research and you will get organic traffic in time.
Yeah, quality is really important! Backlinks are no longer that relevant as they used to be, so all your focus should be on writing great content for the search engines and for the readers as well! And to get great results, consistency is the key here! Posting regularly is really important, because the search engines start to trust you more!
Good quality wins these days. Always keep your readers in mind when creating content and you can’t go wrong.
Thanks for the comment Rich!
Hi! I loved the information in this article to help me understand the importance of writing good content, but also how important keywords are too. I appreciate the helpful links you shared in this article as well. So much to learn and yet reading this helped a lot to sum up what the focus should be on and not what you may think it should be. Thank you.
Thanks for the kind words Diane! I’m glad the article helped you out.
Thanks Diane! I’m glad the article helped you out.