SEO is crazy important for content writers. Here’s why!

When you do this type of writing every day for years on end, it becomes very second nature. To be honest, I give it almost no thought at all because it’s been dialed in so long that I don’t need to think about it. But then I have to remember where I am in the game compared to a novice or someone just trying to break into the game. 

Search Engine Optimization is the bread and butter for content writers. It makes and breaks us; the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is the sword by which we live and die. So, we’ve been working on a project for a year and just saw that it tanked in rankings? We might be looking to secure some new clients.

Let’s dive into the basics of SEO as it pertains to writing in the digital world.

The Basics of SEO

The basic concept of SEO is simple enough: create a plan of action to increase the visibility of your website by targeting certain words and phrases.

You have a website, and you want more visitors. The simplest way is by getting more eyeballs on your content, and the best way to do so is to make it appealing for both human eyes and algorithms.

Keywords 

The very first thing you should learn about is keywords. They are the most simple first step you can take to improve your reach substantially. Because that’s what it’s really all about, right? We are looking for reach here, and keywords extend reach by getting the right people to look up your stuff. 

There are hundreds of articles published about keywords, but I will link to the best source of information that I have found at learningseo.io. 

The key to keywords is to select those that are immediately pertinent to your goals and have a good search density and relatively low difficulty level to rank (all of the major keyword research tools will show you relative ranking difficulty).

Make sure that what you target is what your target audience is actually searching for. 

You can completely whiff an at-bat because your keyword targeting was off by a variation of a keyword phrase (although this is probably not highly likely), so research these thoroughly. 

Meta descriptions

When you place your blog post on your website, you will usually have to fill out the meta description. This is a type of microcopy, as it is limited to 160 characters. I’ll be honest: I hate writing microcopy. Usually, I just feed my article into ChatGPT and have it spit out a 160-character summary, which I then review.

Keyword research is very important with your metas because you will want to use your primary keyword in your microcopy 

Linking opportunities

One of the best habits for you to get into is to link to your other articles. Internal linking opportunities are an essential component in your SEO strategy.

This is really hard early on because you don’t have any content on your site to work with, but it grows over time, which makes linking much easier.

Of course, you won’t always be able to rely solely on internal linking and don’t want to. When you link to a trusted source outside your website, you add legitimacy to your claim or position. You are stating that you know how to do it, whatever it is, and your external link supports that thesis.

How to Optimize Your Content for SEO

Alright, so how do you optimize for SEO? There are a few main things that anyone can work on that will improve their standing regardless of their technical prowess.

Choose the right keywords 

Keywords are one of the simplest things to understand while also being one of the most difficult.

The idea is easy enough: identify words that potential customers are looking for and include them in your content.

But there is so much more than that. Keywords are a veritable treasure hunt. Knowing how to pick the right ones to appeal to the right buyer is a form of art.

Keyword selection is as much trial and error as anything. You need to target keywords that have a good potential ROI. By this, I mean that you want keywords that have a relatively high search volume but low difficulty. People need to be looking for your keywords, but keep your competitors at a minimum.

  • Choosing the right keywords
  • Creating compelling content
  • Optimizing your images
  • Building backlinks

Measuring Your SEO Performance

Finally, your website performance needs to be measured often. That doesn’t mean that you need to be glued to it, but checking in often is compulsory.

Google Search Console is free, so it should be your first visit. You will need to follow whatever steps your domain host requires, but the setup is straightforward. 

I use SEMrush to follow up on my website, but since I pay for All In One SEO, which has analytics tools included in the pro version (which is less than $50 a year, so just buy it), I don’t really look at SEMrush all that often.

I also use SpyFu professionally, which has been a great way to monitor my own web analytics. It’s about $40 a month, which I consider fair for what I get from it.

Conclusion

SEO isn’t a big deal for content writers if you don’t ever want your stuff to be seen by anyone. But for the rest of the world who wants their content to be noticed, you need to have a firm understanding of the basics of SEO. You’ve got plenty of time to go into the granular details of SEO later on, but right now, you need to know keywords, Google search, and how to structure your web content effectively.


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