How to write good SEO content for your website
One of the hardest things to do when planning a website, is thinking about the content. It’s all well and good having a lovely written piece, but to make it work well for getting found online, you need to make sure it’s written for search engine optimisation (SEO) purposes. We all know how important good quality, unique content is for SEO, but having your content structured correctly and understanding how search engines priorities content will greatly improve your website SEO and hugely increase your chances of being found organically.
1. Prewriting Questions
Before you start writing your content, there are a set of questions I recommend clients think about for each page:
1. What is the goal of this page? What do you want to achieve? What do you want your visitor to do?
2. Which audience/persona is this page targeting?
3. Which phase of their buying cycle is this page addressing? Do you want them to buy a product, view a catalogue or simply get in touch?
4. Based on the topic you’re covering, what are the primary benefits you want to communicate?
5. What keywords and phrases do you need to include for SEO?
2. Structure your pages correctly
So you’ve answered each of my 5 top content questions and you’re ready to start writing the content for your website. But how do you actually format your pages in the best way for SEO? Search engines work on a hierarchy system and will priorities certain headings over other content blocks on your pages, therefore having a really well structured page is extremely important
PAGE HEADLINE / TITLE
Your page headline / title should be clear and catchy, include primary keyword/phrase if possible. Page headlines should always be set as a Heading 1 (or <h1> in HTML) to give it the highest priority.
This should be a nice short and sweet, catchy summery of the ONE thing you want the reader to understand after they’ve read the header. This ONE thing should be captured in ideally only a couple of sentences, and you can then continue this further on the rest of the page. This first paragraph should also include a call to action, i.e. what do you want the user to do after reading the copy? Do you want them to get in touch? Do you want them to buy a product? Always provide a clear link to the next step.
These headings should be set as a Heading 2 (or <h2> in HTML) and should summarise the first main benefit discussed in the following paragraph. As with the main page headline / title, you should include keyword/phrase if possible. Search engines will priorities headings over body copy.
BODY CONTENT BLOCKS
These content blocks should back up the headings with supporting information either structured as paragraph text, bulleted or numbered lists, imagery and links. This content should still contain your keywords in a well written paragraph, written for the user to understand in a step by step format.
MAIN CALL TO ACTION
Once you’ve clearly defined what your page purpose is, backed it up with clear and well structured content, you then need to provide your user with clear direction as to where they should go next and the action you want them to take. This is similar to the call to action you would have implemented in the first paragraph, however as your visitor has taken the time to read the content on your page, this CTA should then be really clear and easy for them to spot, as chances are they’re ready to take that next step.
3. Post Writing Checklist
Once you’ve written your content, follow this simple checklist to make sure what you have written has been optimised for SEO in the best way possible:
1. Does your page content contain 250 to 500 words?
2. Is your headline clear and catchy containing your most important keywords?
3. Is your content relevant to your target audience? Does it address at least one of their problems, provide them with a solution, and clearly guide them to take the next step (call-to-action)?
4. Have you used short sentences and paragraphs and structured your content with the correct sub headings?
4. Have you stated your main point in the first couple sentences?
6. Are you writing in a way your user can understand? I.e. not confusing them with a load of industry jargon?
7. Are you addressing your visitor directly, showing you understand their problem and providing them with your solution?
8. Is your content interesting to read?
9. Have you triple checked your content for any typos and grammatical errors? You could always get someone else to give it a once over
10. Have you provided a clear call to action?
In summary, as tempting as it is to cram as many “keywords” into your content as possible, the best way of writing good quality content optimised for search engines is to be unique in what you’re saying, write for the user not a computer, keep a good structure to your pages, and guide the user through the actions you want them to take in the clearest way possible.