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How to write an SEO article people will read

Content Marketing

An SEO article is a piece of content on your website that is written for search engines focusing on keywords that will get your website to the top of search engines, right?

Wrong.

Yes, an SEO article needs to have some search engine optimisation work built around it, like focusing on a keyword that customers are using, adding keywords into the headline, meta description etc.

But you’re not writing your SEO article for a search engine. When was the last time a search engine bought something from you?

You’re always, always writing for people first. And this is why so many SEO articles fail.

Because they’re not focused on issues that customers care about. Instead trying to cram keywords into every possible place in the hope Google will put it at the top of search.

So, how do you write an SEO article that stands a chance in search, but that people will actually read?

Finding the right topic

Figuring out what to write about for an SEO article is always tough, but it’s easier than you might think.

For a start, think about things your customers need to know, that your website doesn’t already tell them.

Think about a few questions that they’ll be asking that you can answer for them:

  • How to do something
  • How to fix something
  • Why they need to do something
  • Why something they’re doing isn’t working
  • When should they use your product?
  • How much does something cost?
  • Why choose one product over another one?

These are all legitimate questions that you customers will have and, importantly, are going to go to Google to find the answer.

Wondering how to figure out the right questions? Google it. If you go to Google, type in a main topic and then simply add the start of a question, Google will fill in the blanks for you based on the most frequent searches it gets.

Like this:

Google search results for SEO question

Or this…

That’s a load of ideas right there just on one topic.

Do that for all your services, and you’ll instantly have a batch of ideas that you can start to work on.

If you struggle to know which topics to prioritise, try looking at Google Trends data, which will give you an idea how popular search terms are at a particular time.

 

Writing a headline for an SEO article

Headlines.

They can kill your hard work instantly if you get them wrong.

Your headline should entice your readers to come to your article, and make them feel like they’ll be missing out if they don’t.

From an SEO perspective, your headline should include your chosen keyword. It’s a big signal to Google on what the article is about.

But again, it shouldn’t just be written to put a keyword on your website. Yes, it’s tough writing SEO headlines, but no-one said it was going to be easy.

There’s a tonne of tricks you can use to help.

Ask a question.

Did you know X about X?

Is your X killing your X?

Why isn’t X working in your business?

Use research

X% of people think this about topic

X% of employees hate this about their jobs

X% of businesses would be more efficient by using this

Give advice

How to do this in your business

How to fix this problem

Where to go when you need this

Why this thing you’re doing isn’t working, and how to make it work

Use lists

5 trends you should know about

6 things every business does, but shouldn’t

7 things that can make your employees more productive

 

Writing your SEO article

This is when most people go wrong when it comes to copywriting for SEO.

They look for every opportunity to stuff a keyword into the article, to the point that it doesn’t make sense to anyone.

When writing an SEO article, like everything else, remember that you’re writing for people first.

It’s also worth remembering that Google is way more advanced than it used to be when it comes to ranking, and simply putting keywords into a 600 article isn’t a guarantee of success anymore.

You should follow few rules to help improving your writing:

  • Be clear and concise: Tell your readers what they need to know in as simple terms as you can
  • Avoid too much technical jargon: Sometimes jargon can be reassuring when your audience understands it. It can show them that you can speak their language and understand their industry. But don’t go overboard. Explain your points so that someone not familiar with a topic will be able to understand it
  • Cut out unnecessary words: You’d be surprised how easy it is to cut out words without changing the meaning of a sentence. Words like ‘that’ for instance. 
  • Read your copy out loud: You might feel silly the first few times you do this. But reading copy out loud is the best way to figure out if it makes sense. If you get tripped by sentences, edit them.
  • Use short sentences: Did you know that the ideal sentence length is about eight words? Short sentences help keep readers moving through the copy. They help keep interest. And they get your point across better. 
  • Use keywords in sub-headings: You will need some keywords in your SEO article to give Google a helping hand. To avoid stuffing them into your copy, use sub-headings as a chance to add more keywords.
  • Include links and images: Link to other relevant sources on yours and other websites to add further details for readers, and use relevant images to add more context to what you’re saying.
  • Remember to include a Call to Action (CTA): There’s no point writing an informative article if readers have nowhere to go afterwards. Either send them onto other content they’ll find useful, or ask them to download a guide, or sign up to a demo. Just be clear about what you want them to do next.

 

Review performance

This is probably the most important part of SEO article writing.

The truth is, as much advice as you get on writing, as much time as you spend on doing the writing, the only way to know whether an SEO article will perform is to publish it and see what happens.

Once you’ve published your article see how people respond to it initially. Does it get a lot of engagement when you promote it? Doesn’t get engagement.

Does it get a lot of traffic? Does it get many conversions.

If you keep reviewing performance over time, you’ll start to see trends on the topics and types of articles that perform well with their audience.

You might find that your “Top 10 list posts” consistently outperform everything else. In which case that gives you a steer on what to focus on.

And don’t just look at traffic numbers.

Check goal conversions that are coming through your blogs as well. Are people clicking the buttons you want them to?

Are they reading one article and then leaving the website, or moving onto something else?

All this data can help you figure out how your content is performing as how you can improve it over time.

Looking for help so you can write SEO articles more consistently and get better results?

Get in touch.

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