Freelance writers

10 SEO Content Writing Tips to Improve Your Rankings

You’ve selected your topic, painstakingly crafted an outline, and drafted a killer blog post… Buuuut your organic traffic numbers are abysmal. What gives?!

Knock, knock. It’s the strategy police. Did you put together a solid SEO strategy before you started writing? No? You’ve missed out on golden opportunities to bring in that organic traffic—SEO writing is a must, alongside quality, when chasing that coveted first-page ranking!

In a world full of SEO content writing tips, it can be tough to get guidance written by SEO pros (instead of just thrown together from ChatGPT). That’s why we’ve whittled all that info down into a simple guide that will help you easily improve both your content and your organic traffic. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide. (You can add it to your bookmarks now and thank us later 😉).

What is SEO content writing?

SEO content writing is the process of writing content, typically blog posts or other long-form content, with the primary goal of ranking on the first page of search engines like Google. Writers do this by researching relevant SEO keywords – and more, which we’ll explain in the rest of this post! Based on that research, crafting optimized content that answers the user’s questions and responds to their intent.

4 step SEO Workflow: you publish your content, google bots crawl your page, then indexes your page and your page appears in SERPs when it aligns with a search query

Google is pretty darn smart—it uses hundreds of algorithms to inspect content on the internet to see what it’s about. As Google indexes your pages, it comes up with its own understanding of what your content is about and how relevant it is to search queries. The better aligned with queries it is, the more likely it is to be featured on the front page of search results.

SEO content writing crafts content so Google’s algorithms can easily and quickly understand what your content is about. When that happens, the content gets a better search engine results page (SERP) placement because it’s determined to be search engine-friendly.

Why is SEO content writing important?

Put simply, SEO content has the sole purpose of helping content rank better on Google. If content isn’t optimized correctly, it will come up several pages back in a Google search—and we all know that’s where articles go to die.

Let’s look at some of the numbers behind why the first-page ranking is so important

  1. Research shows that more than 25% of web browsers click on the first Google search result they see after typing in a question.
  2. A first-page ranking is a free marketing tool – you get plenty of eyes on your results without any ad spend.
  3. Good SEO content keeps organic traffic coming in without such a large financial investment as CPC ads require

Still not convinced? SEO content writing is a solid investment in your content strategy and your marketing goals as well! By creating SEO content, you’re basically putting money back into your marketing budget; write it and post it once, and (if it’s optimized correctly) watch the organic traffic roll in!

SEO content writing still feeling like a big, overwhelming task? Don’t worry – we’d never let you go at it alone! Keep scrolling for our top 10 SEO content writing tips that we’ve tried and tested with our clients.

The Top 10 SEO Content Writing Tips to Snag First-Page Rankings

1. Identify your audience’s relevant keywords

Did you know that Google is estimated to process over 100,000 search queries a second? That’s an insane number!

In order for your SEO content writing to cut through all that noise and outrank the competition, keyword targeting is essential to get right. If you know what keywords and phrases your audience is searching for, you’ll need to know how to make sure they find your content.

Keyword research tools are invaluable for this. They can give you insights into what users are searching for and how popular those keywords are. Keywords bridge the gap between Google and the user’s search intent; using the right keywords for your content is key.

Keyword research tools to try

While every SEO keyword research tool is a little bit different, all of these serve the same core purpose: helping your SEO content writing reach its target audience with the help of understanding the keywords and terms they’re using.

However, keep in mind these tools don’t know the complete workings of Google’s algorithm—they’re great for suggesting a best bet, but take everything with a pinch of salt.

2. Optimize your title tags and meta descriptions

We know this may sound like we’re teaching you to suck eggs—that’s the expression, right?—but, you’ll be surprised by the number of prospective clients who come in and haven’t covered SEO basics like this.

Your title tags and your meta descriptions should be optimized! These two elements are the first things that pop up on a search engine query—meaning they’re the first thing a potential reader sees. Get them to click!

Your title tags and meta descriptions are read by Google, and other search engines, as they try to identify the best responses to people’s search queries. SEO keywords are vital here, but so is clear, concise information—users should be able to understand instantly what the results will link them to. But keep in mind, no clickbait!

This is where SEO content writing meets creative writing; finding clever ways to work SEO keywords into other elements of your content provides you with even more opportunities for your content to rank well in search results. Plus, being able to do this with the limited character counts most meta descriptions require is a special skill!

3. Format your headings

You’ve probably figured out by now that good content uses plenty of headings. It’s scannable. No matter how narrow your topic, it’s never a bad idea to break your writing up with headers—they make your content more digestible and searchable, and allow you to prominently feature your keywords on Google, and other search engines.

In SEO content writing, headers do more than just allow readers to skim for the information they’re looking for (but that’s important too!). They also make it easier for search engines to understand the hierarchy of information and index the content accordingly.

Using H1, H2, and H3 headers liberally—but where it makes sense, don’t go crazy!—helps search engines see the value in your content, as long as your SEO keywords are included organically.

Your most important keyword should feature heavily in H1s and titles, as search engines index those first. Your secondary and lower keywords should go in H2s and H3s. We recommend not drafting content with headers below an H3 – if you can, stick to H1, H2, and H3 for best SEO results.

4. Add descriptive alt text to images

In keeping with the theme that SEO content writing is about more than just a body of text, don’t forget about alt text attached to images. This alt text should do two things: describe the image and include SEO keywords relevant to your content.

The image description is the most important element of any alt text – even above what search engines could index. Alt text is read by screen readers, which describe what the image looks like to people with visual impairments. If you’ve never implemented alt text before, now is a great time to start from an accessibility standpoint alone!

Search engines do index alt text, though the alt text doesn’t show up in the content itself—meaning it’s a great place to flex your SEO content writing skills and add a keyword here and there.

That said, stuffing the alt text full of keywords at the expense of an actual description of the image will work against you on two counts:

  1. Search engines can tell when you’re adding keywords for the sake of it, and it can actually hurt your ranking!
  2. People who are visually impaired use screen readers to describe images, and not including that description in your alt text can put a bad taste in your reader’s mouth if they rely on it to fully enjoy your content.

5. Keep URLs concise and descriptive

The best URLs are simple, easy to read, and include keywords that describe the content on a web page. This way, they’re optimized to help search engines map your entire website to understand where your content fits in with your site – and with the whole of the internet. They’re also a minor ranking factor that search engines use, so don’t spend too much time obsessing over them (we’re guilty of it too, don’t worry!).

screenshot of page url:

Check out this example of a descriptive, concise URL. While our post’s title is a bit longer, you can get the gist simply from reading the URL slug (that’s the part after that final slash). Not every blog post can have such a simple URL, but this should be the goal.

6. Create high-quality and engaging content

While SEO content writing is about snagging that coveted top spot on the first page of search results, never forget that you’re writing content for the real people looking for it. Create engaging, informative, and valuable content that your readers love, and the organic traffic will follow.

If you’re worried about straddling the line between creative content and SEO content writing, why not work with professionals equally skilled at both? Leaving SEO content writing in the hands of the experts—👋 hi, that’s us—can be a huge weight off your shoulders.

7. Build high-quality backlinks

If you’ve noticed that we’ve been linking to our own pages (which we’ll cover in a second) and pages on other websites, then congrats; You’ve experienced backlinking! Backlinking happens when a piece of content appears in a search engine and someone writing an article links to it.

Are you getting the vibe that SEO content writing is just one part of a broader SEO strategy? Backlinking is another important element of the whole process.  

If you need help from a team of content and SEO experts, we’re ready when you are!

The content you write should attract backlinks from other websites. This means your content should be high-value, sharp, and human-centered; otherwise, who would want to link to it later?

Psst. If you want to earn bonus points, work on winning links too: put together unique graphics or highlight the research you own—anything that other organizations in your niche would want to share.

8. Incorporate internal links

At dslx, we see huge benefits from internal linking AKA sharing links to relevant pages within our website in all our blog posts. This helps search engines understand our website’s structure, improves user navigation, and ensures that our readers hang out with us longer.

As with everything else around SEO content writing, moderation is key. Every other word shouldn’t be an internal link, but peppering in a few valuable links here and there gives readers additional resources and gives those Google bots a stronger sense of what your content is about. A win-win!

9. Optimize for featured snippets

Another SEO-related item many SEO content writers chase is the featured snippet – it’s almost like a gold star for SEO rankings.

Screenshot of search results for "What is a Google featured snippet?"

While this is an example of Google giving itself a featured snippet, there’s no reason why your content couldn’t be there instead. Optimizing your content to answer a search query in a whole, complete sentence can earn your SEO content a featured spot.

10. Try to write in-depth articles

New search engine algorithms are rewarding longer, more informative content and penalizing thin content. If you’re a person of few words, look out—a good rule of thumb is to have each page contain at least 2,000 words of quality content.

For SEO content writers, this is great news; you get to focus on providing a wealth of information to your readers instead of stressing over what to keep and what to cover later. Plus, packing a lot of information into each page gives you a chance to cover more topics on the subject, and in turn, use more keywords.

That said, make sure each and every one of your sentences is unique and adds value. If part of your content is copied from another web page—even one of yours!—it might be ranked poorly as a result. Websites like Copyscape can help make sure all of your content is unique.

Why opt for a content writing agency?

If you’ve read this entire article and still feel at a loss, don’t feel bad; SEO content writing can make your head spin. Working with a content writing agency might be the perfect partnership: your ideas paired with someone else’s SEO copywriting expertise. Content agencies hire SEO-savvy writers and top-notch editors who can whip up great content for you – leaving you with more time to focus on your other priorities.

dslx is here to help. We’ve removed all the pain points from content strategy, SEO keyword research, SEO content writing, and more so you can focus on serving your customers while we focus on bringing them to you through high-ranking articles.

SEO Content Writing Tips FAQs

How can I incorporate SEO into writing?

Focusing on natural keyword integration is a key part of SEO content writing. Place keywords in the title, headers and body of your content in natural ways – ways that would make sense without jarring the reader out of the flow of your words. Remember, you’re writing for humans first, search engines second. With time and practice, you’ll find the right balance!

What are the mistakes to avoid in SEO content writing?

Keyword stuffing! Overloading content with SEO keywords to manipulate search engine rankings. This leads to a poor reader experience and diminished credibility, and can often harm your search engine rankings – those bots are so experienced that they know how to find keyword stuffing.

How can SEO writing improve website traffic?

SEO content writing ensures that your web pages rank highly on search engines like Google, meaning there’s a higher chance that people will click on a link to your website instead of someone else’s. This then translates to high-quality organic traffic to your website that will likely last as long as your content lives online!

guest writer
Amanda Lien
Amanda is a seasoned copywriter who’s been writing for businesses and people for more than seven years. A background in journalism and her passion for writing content that shows the true voice of her clients have made her work shine. Her ghostwritten work has been published in Forbes, Business Insider, NASDAQ, and many other high-quality publications. She’s also the founder of her company, Minutiae Content Co.

I am the text that will be copied.