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6 Tips for SEO Writing

  • Caroline Pieracci

How do you write a search engine optimized text that reads nicely and performs well? We’ve put together our 6 top tips for SEO writing.

SEO writing is anything but easy

We all want to reach the top of Google & other search engines with the help of SEO: Because organic conversion is free, and users trust organic search results more than ads. After all, they’ve found the result themselves.

However, writing for search engines and in line with SEO rules is not an easy task. Writers used to only focus on content, but now we also have to take technical SEO requirements into account and focus on a keyword and supporting keywords. A challenging process. Our six tips show how to write search enginge optimized copy that will make your content stand above the crowd.

SEO advice 1: first content, then keywords

If you try and fit as many SEO keywords into a text as possible, it soon starts sounding quite stiff. So we recommend going ‘old school’ when writing a text: introduction, main section, conclusion. Make sure that your text is tailored to the reading habits of web users. Once the text is finished, it’s time to weave in your SEO keyword and the supporting keywords. SEO writing therefore comes at the end, another step in the process.

SEO advice 2: use synonyms

Thankfully, our colleagues at Google & other search engines are clever engineers, and are making their search engines increasingly smart. Their algorithms can now recognise synonyms and contexts. This means that you can use alternative words and even long-winded descriptions for your keyword and supporting keywords when getting your text SEO ready.

SEO advice 3: play with formats

Who reads all the way to the end of a text nowadays? A long article might make sense for specialist topics, but our experience is that people look for entertainment. Since search engines love what’s popular, text only is no good idea (retention time and page views per session are key concepts). Here’s a few formatting ideas to stop your SEO from becoming too boring.

  • Advice article (like this one)
  • Photos with captions
  • Infographic with written explanation
  • Interview
  • Article with ‘decorative materials’ like titles, subtitles, quotations and info boxes
  • Q&A article (buzzword: featured snippets in search engines)

Whatever presentation you choose, test the mobile view as well. Make sure that your SEO content is still easy and enjoyable to read on mobile devices.

SEO advice 4: dip into your bag of tricks

What every SEO content manual says but is often forgotten: body text isn’t the only place you can put SEO keywords. Make sure that the keyword is in the URL, title tag, all image and video names, and above all in the heading (‘H1’). This means that your keyword has already appeared at least five times without overdoing the text. However, with all these technical tricks, don’t forget the copy itself – so make sure that the SEO keyword appears particularly frequently in the first few paragraphs of text. Google & other search engines will love you for it.

SEO advice 5: do the maths

As a rule of thumb, an SEO keyword should make up 3-5% of the text. There are various online tools you can use to check keyword density, this is one we like.

The statistics for this text are the following
Main keyword: ‘SEO’ used 34 times = 4%
Supporting keyword: ‘keyword’ used 17 times = 2%

However, this is quite a long text. A 300-word text is enough for a search engine to work with. This means that the keyword needs to appear about 15 times. Instead of using a calculation tool we recommend just highlighting the keywords in the text and then counting them up – this means that you keep an overview, and you know how much redrafting you need to do to keep the search engine happy.

SEO advice 6: don’t forget the translation

Give your translation company the right SEO keywords – because SEO keywords don’t come from dictionaries, they come from SEO specialists. And don't forget to keep an eye on what the translation company is doing, since translators are not SEO specialists. Make sure that the translator sticks as closely to your guidelines (and these tips) as the original text does.

Learnings

The good news for all fans of relevant, exciting content: high-quality material wins the day. Google clearly emphasised this by

integrating a quality algorithm into the search engine’s core algorithm with Panda. And that’s positive news because it rewards good work and not only SEO technicalities. However - good performance is much more than just SEO writing. If you want to know what else it takes, you best talk to this person.

Checklist

  • SEO advice 1: content first, then keywords
    Have you written your text? Now you can add in your keyword to work on your SEO.

  • SEO advice 2: use synonyms
    Write the ‘right’ text and use paraphrases for your keyword.

  • SEO advice 3: play with formats
    Use formats that suit your users (and your keyword) so they truly engage with your content.

  • SEO advice 4: dip into your bag of tricks
    Weave your keyword in everywhere – URL, title tag, H1-Hn, alt text, image names, image captions.

  • SEO advice 5: do the maths
    4-5% keyword density is perfect for search engines.

  • SEO advice 6: don’t forget the translation
    Give your translation company your keyword and supporting keywords– they won’t automatically know them.

The experts behind this article

Thanks to Fabian, Christoph, Jenny and Benoît for content and copy cleverness, and to Jérémie for the visual. This article would not have been possible without you!


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