A well-thought-out and considered content strategy is crucial if you want some big wins with your SEO strategy. Content is also something you can do without a load of technical knowledge and special apps or software. All you need is an idea of what makes good SEO content. Writing content is good, writing SEO copy is better.
What is SEO content?
SEO content is content that has the intended purpose of helping your web pages rank in search engines for user queries. It’s a key part of how SEO works. Content is one of the 3 pillars of SEO and includes everything to do with the writing and structuring of content on your website. There are three major elements you need to consider to produce content that will make your website rank well: keyword research and strategy, having an optimised site structure and page structure and copywriting.
SEO content is arguably the only content you should have on your website. Every piece of content online should have a purpose, from blog articles answering sought after questions, images with alt tags to show off your products and services; product pages with copy at the top of the page to both explain to the user what the products are all about, but also to help the search engines index and recognise what is on that page.
This article is going to present to you the full range of SEO content, what it is, the different kinds of content included in this category and why SEO content is important to the success of your website. We’ll also go through how to get started with putting SEO content on your webpages.
Why is content important for SEO?
- Context- The more content you have for the crawl bots, they can get a better idea of what your website is about.
- Visibility- This means more chances for your website to be delivered in a SERP.
- Immediacy- You can begin to target new keywords quickly and easily with fresh new content.
- Activity- new content updated regularly shows Google that your website is active, so they could prefer returning search results from your website as opposed to one which hasn’t been updated in months.
- Building Brand Awareness– If your brand is higher up the rankings on a SERP, the impression by users is that you can be trusted, and Google thinks your website can give them the best answer.
- Social Sharing– With good content drawing organic search users, if you have social share buttons, users can easily share with their social networks. This can bring more people back to your website, increasing the good metrics.
- Increase Domain Authority- If all of the above helps bring more people to your domain, the increased traffic tells Google that the content you provide must be good. This can raise your domain authority and hence your ranking with Google.
The different types of SEO content
SEO content feels like an all-encompassing phrase. There are many different kinds of SEO content you can produce, which serve a different range of SEO purposes.
Blog posts are the SEO workhorse of content and are what most people think of when content is mentioned.
A blog can be packed with SEO keywords, internal links, embedded videos and more aspects of good SEO. They can tell the story of your products and services, how they help other people and how they can help you.
Blog posts can also be used in multiple ways and are great value for money.
Products drive cash flow. They service transactional search intent. Strong SEO content on product pages increase the chances of your products being found, and increases the chances of someone adding your products to their shopping carts.
SEO content for product pages can include above the fold copy, with keywords associated with the products. It can include Product descriptions with FEATURES and BENEFITS listed for clients to be enticed.
Properly optimised, product pages will be indexed by Google and served up for transactional search intent. Clear SEO content makes this process easier.
Similar to product pages, instead you are creating content for services offered.
Have the FEATURES and BENEFITS written for the user to understand. Have the page optimised for the crawl bots to index and understand as well.
Product and Service Pages sit underneath a Category Page. For example, the category page could be all about sports shoes, with subsequent product pages for basketball shoes, football boots, tennis shoes and so on.
Think about the search intent. Some people may search for tennis shoes, while some will just search for sporting shoes. Linking to your products from the category page is a powerful SEO strategy. The craw bots can follow the logic from Category to Product, and as such help rank you for your products.
Similar to blogs but with a more formal tone. These are still SEO compliant, with keywords and a structure which the search bots can understand, and often the word length is above 2000 words.
Another function of the article, they can be submitted to news agencies and magazines. Include a backlink to your site and you begin to raise the Page Authority of your website, and hence the ranking results in SERP.
The more niche you can get with your articles the more SEO power the content will have.
Often called Listicles, these are blogs framed as a numbered list. The top ten cookies, 7 ways you can paint a house. It is literally a list to help users out.
There is a higher chance your list can appear as a SERP Snippet, the zero-click text that appears at the top of a SERP.
Guides are longer form content with the intent to help users understand a topic or a concept. A lot of time and research is invested into a guide so that it can be the ultimate resource and reference point.
They follow the same ‘rules’ as a blog, with keywords, title tags. You can also hunt backlinks to point to your ultimate guide to increase the ranking on search results.
It is also advised to have a downloadable PDF version to enhance the user experience.
This is SEO content which caters to people who digest more information through visuals rather than just text.
Infographics are great pieces of SEO content to download, to share onto other sites, and to catch the eye with how the information is presented.
A good SEO tool to collect keywords without being penalised for keyword stuffing. Also good for internal links when a definition is required.
SEO content which is colour and movement, serves people who don’t want to read text. It can be shared with YouTube as well, the second largest search engine after Google.
SEO Keyword research
Keyword research is important so you don’t waste the writing you’re doing. The power of your content is significantly weakened if you’ve done no keyword research and not included keywords in your work IF you’re going to spend the time creating content you want it to work for you.
What is keyword research?
Every content SEO strategy should start with keyword research. Discovering the specific words and phrases your target audience is searching for helps to generate organic traffic to your site.
It is finding the words which are key in helping you rank high on search results pages.
Research can help you:
- Find words that you want to rank for
- Find gaps in the market where you can take advantage of by using certain keywords.
- Help you discover if competitors are using certain words, so you can compete with them.
- Attack new words with your new content so you can rank for those searches.
Keyword research has four main steps:
- Write down the mission/purpose of your business.
- List all the keywords you want to be found for.
- Look at the search intent of people searching for products and services similar to yours.
- Create landing pages which serve search intent and include your keywords.
If you do your keyword research right you will have a clear overview of what search terms people use and the search terms for which you want your pages listed for.
This overview will serve as a guide for future SEO content on your website.
Why is keyword research important for SEO content?
Conducting keyword research identifies what search terms you customers are searching for, so you can align the SEO content to match.
The words and phrases you use to describe your products and services may be different to what your customers use. Remember you are trying to rank for any search term your customers use, not what you use. You are serving their search intent, not yours.
If you owned a gardening business, some industry keywords could be fruit trees, vegetables, fertiliser, and so forth. However, people may be searching for – when should I plant tomatoes? They already know you sell fertiliser, so why search for it?
Keyword research can save you time and stop you trying to rank for keywords which your customers don’t use.
What is a keyword?
A dictionary definition will tell you that a keyword is a word or concept of great significance. This is a good definition and it fits into what keywords are when it comes to SEO.
They are the target words which connect a search query with a search result. If you were looking for a new leather jacket, the ‘leather jacket’ would be the keyword. Why aren’t they two individual keywords? Because of context and search intent. You don’t want a target keyword of “leather”. That could branch off into jackets, couches, belts, and all sorts of things. Hence, the keyword is leather jacket.
You would use these words in the content on your website, to attract users via organic search. You can also target these two words in a ‘long tail keyword’, where someone uses a phrase – “new black leather jacket” or “leather jacket worn by TV star in 50’s sitcom”.
Variations of these keywords can be targets on your website, and as long as your content and metadata include the keywords, you will have a chance of being returned as a search result.
What is long-tail keyword research?
This is slightly different from just keyword research in that you’re researching phrases people are looking for, rather than single words.
An increasing number of search queries are using long-tail keywords and keyword phrases as search algorithms become more advanced and gain a greater understanding of user intent.
Understanding these phrases, and including them in your SEO strategy can greatly increase your chances of ranking based on search intent.
Long tail keywords which fit your niche can highlight your products and services. If you compete for low-scoring niche keywords, you can potentially get some good results in a good time. You will also attract customers who are already warmed up to your ideas and are passionate about who you are and what you have to offer.
How many keywords should you focus on?
How long is your piece of string?
You need to focus on enough keywords that you can get results, but not so many that you stress over trying to win ALL the words.
A few hundred is a good number. This gives you opportunities to work on some keywords now and have some ready to move to when you start another campaign. It’s always a good idea to be working on SEO. In the SEO game, being idle is bad.
What is search intent?
In simple terms, search intent is what a person is searching for, the intent of their online query. Are they looking to buy something? Is someone googling for directions?
Google will serve up search results based on INTENT. Knowing what a user’s search intent is and creating content for it is good for business.
What are the 4 types of search intent?
- Informational. People are searching for the answer to questions. “How to” and “what is” indicate informational search intent. If you can answer questions, based on your product or service, then you can possibly rank with informational search intent.
Google knows more than just what the search intent is for thanks to all the data they’ve vacuumed up about you. For instance, if you asked ‘how do I grow tomatoes’, Google knows you’re into gardening and will widen the SERP to include broader gardening tips if there is nothing specific enough about tomatoes.
Google will also include video content if it is available, to shake up the different kinds of content available to answer the intent.
- Navigational. When someone wants to visit a website but can’t remember the actual URL, they will search the name of that company or website and click through.
Ranking for this intent works if you’re the business people are searching for, but this search intent ranking doesn’t have a long shelf life.
- Transactional. A high volume of online traffic is transactional where people are searching for something to buy, to enact a transaction. This kind of search intent exploded during 2020 with online shopping booming thanks to lockdown.
These users are looking to buy, if you can service this search intent and make buying from you easy, your cash flow can look very good.
- Commercial. These are people planning to buy. They are comparing products and prices, matching businesses up against each other.
Writing reviews or articles of comparisons, opinions about which product or service is best, and why, would service this search intent.
Thinking that merely having a website with content online is enough is a limited view. You can optimise the structure of your website to help serve the web crawlers which come to index your website for the best search results.
Organising your content into ‘silos’ helps crawl bots understand what content links to what, how much content you have on a certain topic, all of which adds to the chances of your web pages being returned in search results.
A good example of this are retail stores. Imagine an online store which sells Jewelry. Ear rings, necklaces and rings.A bad structure would be to have all your jewelry listed on one product page.
A Better structure would be to have three product category pages, one each for earrings, necklaces and rings. From these pages you then link to different styles of each. To keep it all organised, you wouldn’t link to necklaces from the ear ring silo.
By doing this, Google knows firstly that you’re a jewellery store. Secondly you sell three kinds of jewellery, and thirdly you have all these products under each category.
What is the ideal structure of a website?
The ideal structure for your website is a hierarchical pyramid type structure, where you have content silos, and no more than 3 clicks to get to the information you’re looking for.
The top of the pyramid is your home page.
The next level of your pyramid is your CATEGORY PAGES, or sections. These should appear as a menu at the top of your screen. This menu should follow you around the website. It is great for navigation, and reduces the number of clicks needed to get from page to page. This is good User eXperience, and helps with Google ranking.
Beneath each category are subcategories if the main categories need to be broken down further.
Then you have the third level. These are your blog posts, your products. Notice how they’re staying beneath each category? These are called- Content Silos.
Linking internally between pages within the same silo can help build page authority, show Google how content is related and supported on your website, and hence help boost the ranking of your pages.
It also helps users navigate. They know that by clicking on a certain menu item leads them to the second level of your website, and further, in a logical manner. By the third click they are exactly where they want to be, and hopefully this means they’re interacting with your site and a transaction is made.
Why is website structure important for SEO content?
Planning your website structure and knowing where everything goes helps Google to understand it as well. If you write a blog, make sure that it is posted under the right content tree, that way you know where to find it, and so too will Google. There is a logical path down the content branch.
Secondly, knowing where your blog sits in the structure can help identify opportunities for internal linking. This helps share page authority around your website.
Thirdly, without an optimised structure, if you write on similar topics, it will dilute your SEO experience. Google will look at your website, and will assess all content as equal and won’t know what to rank first. With a structure, Google can rank your content hub post first, which users can land on and then follow internal links to other articles which are related.
A good way to think of your website and why structure is important, is to imagine your website is a house.
The front page of your website is like opening the front door to your house. You can get a good idea of the size of the house, how many bedrooms, what the kitchen is like, the lounge room and so on.
When you walk through the house you can choose a room to view for more details- poke your head into a bedroom, or sit at the dining table. This is like clicking on a menu item and going to the second tier of your website.
Page Structure for SEO
This is also called on-page SEO, these are more than just the words on-page, it is how they are set out and used to help with the SEO. The way the words are used and tagged and placed helps crawl bots index the page and identify the content on the page quicker and easier.
What is the ideal structure for a page?
There has been a traditional structure for web pages since HTML was introduced. You have the page title and heading, and then you have the body content.
It is simple and it works. It allows the web crawlers to know what each page is about (title) and then what content there is to relate to that title (body content). And these two things need to be related otherwise the crawl bots will not rank your page highly.
What do we mean by this? If the title of your page says About Us, then we would not expect to see offers and calls to action to buy a product or service. Google will not rank your site, and if someone ever made it to your ‘About Us’ and read those things, they would probably click away, and so your bounce rate would be high, which is another factor Google would consider in the overall ranking of your website.
Optimised heading structure for SEO
A heading structure for SEO content is quite intuitive. There are HEADING tags that go from HEADING 1 (H1), all the way down the hierarchy to H6. H1 is more important than H2, which is more important than H3, and so on.
You can only have one H1 tag per page, which indicates to the reader, and to the crawl bots, what the page is about.
You can have as many H2’s and H3’s and so on, but they must sit beneath each other. You can’t randomly have an H4 tag sitting there without the H2 and H3 beforehand. The crawl bots will struggle to index the content, and it will not be effectively ranked from search.
Why is page structure so important for SEO Content?
Structure helps both the reader and the crawl bots.
A person reading the text can be led by the Heading tags. It breaks up the text from being just a Wall of Text, into bite-sized portions of information.
If there is something specific a reader wants from your article, and it has a heading tag, it stands out. The reader can quickly find the information they’re looking for without having to read through all the text.
Think about recipe blogs. You want the ingredients and recipe, but you need to read pages of backstory before you get there. The smarter recipe sites now have a jump button that takes you directly to the recipe.
Structure helps with SEO through the heading tags. IF you wrote a blog about widgets, and you had some H2 tags about blue widgets, and someone was searching for blue widgets, because it is in a heading tag, it will stand out. Google will know that you have a blog with a section about blue widgets and will serve this up based on the user’s search intent.
Copywriting for SEO Content
We have written about how content is important, and what kind of content you need. You still need to write it, which can be a time-consuming activity. Or you can get a copywriter to write it for you.
Copywriting is not like regular writing, like writing an email, or in your diary, or a novel. It isn’t a casual blog where you happily write about your day and include a banana bread recipe.
Copywriting is a tool, it has a function. It is a blend of function and craft.
SEO Content starts with an original idea.
This is a misnomer. As Mark Twain said- there is no such thing as a new idea.
But, you can put your spin on a current idea. Plus you need to be shown to be up on current knowledge, just like your competitors.While there may not be original ideas, you can have original SEO content. That difference is powerful.
For example, Google’s Core Web Vitals update. There are a lot of sites online with news and opinions about this update, and many of these sites have similar views, so not original. However, if you’re an expert in this field, you need to have your opinion out there, with everyone else.
Don’t waste time trying to find an original idea. Find an idea that excites you, do some research on keywords and competitors, write something more current and better than your competitor, have an offer for people who read, and start competing on those keywords.
Keep in mind content design and imagery.
Writing words is one thing. How they look on the page is another. A well-laid-out web page can influence a user’s experience in either direction.
- You don’t want big walls of text. These can be hard to read and put people off. It looks intimidating and can be hard to find nuggets of information buried in the many sentences and lines of writing.
- Have short, punchy paragraphs. One or two sentences and you’re done. Then have a new paragraph. This both helps digest the topic, plus the white space between paragraphs helps visually.
- Dot point lists break up the flow of text and can draw a reader’s eye to the information you think needs to stand out. Dot point lists can also become Snippet Results on SERP.
- Consider where photos and images are going to be sitting within the text. Are they related to a part of the story? DO they connect to the text at that point? Always caption your photos and have Alt Text for your photos.
- Can you get some pull quotes to draw a reader’s eye?
- Work with the web designer so the layout looks professional and clean.
Always remember content, context, and search intent.
When you’re writing content for your website, be it product copy or blog articles, you need to be aware of what you’re writing and why you’re writing it. It has to have intent, a purpose for being there. It is perfectly fine if you had an opinion you wanted to share, as long as you know that such a piece probably won’t rank for any words, unless that opinion is about something current, and you use keywords strategically.
Always be aware of the search intent you are trying to serve. If you’re answering an Informational search intent, then answer the question. Don’t waffle on with mountains of text. Answer the question at the top and then have added content afterward. This helps Google index your page for that intent and helps the user get the information they need quickly.
If you’re doing product copy, talk about that product, the features and benefits. Don’t have a big story about how Joe saved the day by using this product. That story is a blog post and should go in the blog section of your website. Reading a story about Joe was not the intent of the person landing on that particular product.
Know your audience.
Write to your audience. Imagine the people you’re writing to and use their language. If your audience is technically minded then back up your statements with facts and evidence. If your audience is young and fashionable then try and speak their language and make them feel good about buying your products and services.
Use the language of your audience but be genuine when you do. Your audience can pick a fake a mile away and will leave your website and shun your brand.
If you’re writing about computers, are you writing for IT techs or young gamers? Are you talking to gamers who want high-end gear, or families who want a home PC everyone can use? You can write a blog piece for each audience, but understand that a family is not going to be interested in the top-of-the-line Alienware laptop with VR Goggles for the latest game.
SEO Copywriting best practices
There has been a lot mentioned here, and there is more you can find on the StudioHawk website, but to give you the Cliff’s Notes:
- Update your content regularly. It shows Google you are current and have more content to offer people who are searching.
- Always consider keywords and how to use them wisely.
- Know your audience and know your niche and write to them in their language.
- Have a compelling heading and top copy so people are enticed to read.
- Have a purpose for your content. Why would someone read this? What purpose is it serving for your SEO and your customer base?
- Write like a human, write TO someone.
- Don’t be too over-complicated. It doesn’t help with the crawl bots nor with your readers.
- Write with SEO in mind.
Want to know more?
StudioHawk is Australia’s largest SEO Specialist agency, with a lot of wins on the board. We have Hawk Academy to help anyone who wants to know more about SEO get an understanding and increase their knowledge. We have a friendly Australian-based studio, and a studio in London, to help you with whatever SEO you need.
Contact one of our friendly specialists to find out more!