Get Seen on Google: A 7-Step Guide to Writing SEO-friendly Content

SEO copywriting is not about repeating the targeted keywords over and over again…

That tactic worked  in the early years of Search Engine Optimization. Things has changed since then and the major search engines has become more sophisticated than ever.

Writing SEO-Copywriting today is about crafting quality content (while using relevant keywords).

How Google Search Works (and how to work Google)

  1.  When you make a search on Google it returns about 10 non-paid search results.
  2. Your job is to reserve your spot on the 1st page, for the relevant keywords or even better as the first organic result, right?
  3. Google’s job is to provide the best and most relevant results for its users in order for them to return to Google the next time they are looking for information.
  4. Therefore; You should create the best content!
    Quality Content will please Google and your readers! I know it takes a bit more time, but quality is far better than quantity!

For the sake of this example, I’ll use this article as a showcase and walk you through how I will make this blog post SEO-friendly and how you can do the same.

The formula to rank on the first page of Google is basically to answer the searcher’s question, better than anyone else!

Step 1: Find The Perfect Topic (and make it laser-focused)

Writing an starts by selecting the topic you want to write about.SEO-friendly laser focused topic

Your topic will shape the foundation of your blog post, so pick the topic carefully. You should keep in mind that some topics or keywords, are more competitive than others. But we’ll get back to that later on..

I picked “SEO Content Writing” as the topic of this article.

The blog post you are about write has to be one of the best articles about the topic you cover. (This is what Google wants to show in their search results) and if you have the best content Google will be more likely to rank your on the 1st page. Makes sense right?

The easiest way to write the best article about a topic, is to narrow the topic down to the essentials.

Again, my topic is about how to write SEO-friendly content.

But let’s say I picked the topic ”How To Get Traffic from Google”? Then I had to cover EVERY single method there is on how to get traffic from Google:

  • SEO Friendly Content
  • Link Building
  • Meta-Tag Optimization
  • Site architecture
  • Technical SEO
  • ….

The article ”How to get traffic from Google” would be 10+ pages long because I had to cover all the different ways on how to get traffic from Google – which brings me to my point: Narrow your topic down!

Narrowing your topic down and write a laser-focused and in-depth article is the key to write quality content!

The more laser-focused your blog topic is, the better will your chances you’ll have of writing the best article and the better odds you get on ranking nr.1 on Google for your specific keyword.

Your 1st Assignment: Pick a topic for your next article and narrow your topic down to the essentials. If you want to write about ”How to make a lasagne”, but what you really know a lot about is ”How to Make a Chicken Lasagne”, then that’s the topic you should target. Don’t make a headline that is to big for your topic or knowledge – It’ll backfire!

Step 2: Keyword Research: What are people searching for?  

Now you want to find out which keywords people use, when they are searching for your topic

Which keywords do you think people will use?
Try to put yourself in the mind of the searcher, and think about which keywords they will be using.

When people look for “How to write SEO-friendly articles” I’ll imagine that they will use keywords like:

  • How to write SEO friendly content
  • SEO Content
  • SEO Copywriting
  • How to write SEO articles
  • How to write SEO Content
  • Content writing for SEO
  • SEO-Friendly Content

How To Get Even More Keyword Ideas With Google’s Keyword Tool

Now you should have 5-6 keywords that you think are relevant for you blog post.

Your next task is to expand your keywords, by adding them to Google’s Keyword Tool (or Ubersuggest if you like)

  1. Go to Google’s Keyword Tool.
  2. Type your keywords in the box that says ”Word or phrase”.
  3. Pick your “location” and “language” of your audience.
  4. Select [Exact] and un-check ”Broad” in the left side that says ”Match Types”.
  5. Press ”Search”.

This is what you output from Google’s keyword tool should look like (click the image to enlarge)
Google Keyword tool for keyword research

Now you should see a lot of related and different keywords for your topic.

The tab that says “Local Monthly Searches”  is an estimation of how many times this keywords is searched for, on Google.
The data is not super-accurate, but you can use it as a benchmark. The more people who search for the keyword, the more visitors can you expect to get, if you rank on the keyword. You can also export this data to excel if your like, or write the relevant keywords down on a piece of paper.

It’s super important that you use these keywords in your article. If you don’t use the keywords in your blog post, you’ll never rank for it!

Your 2nd assignment: Make a keyword research. Think about 5-6 keywords that you think people are searching for to find your content. Go to Google’s Keyword tool and add them. Pick your location and language. Select [Exact] and un-check ”Broad” in the left side that says ”Match Types”. Press search and now you should have a list og relevant keywords to include in your article.

(Optional) How Competitive Is The Keywords You Are Targeting? 

I like use SEOmoz’s Keyword Difficulty Tool (You need a PRO-account to use it) after I’ve done my keyword research to inspect the competition for each search phrase. It’s a great way to prioritize which specific keywords you should focus extra hard on.

If you want to make the same analysis of your keywords, do you need a PRO-membership on SEOmoz. They offer a 30-days free trial right now. The point of using their keyword difficulty tool, is to get an idea of which keywords you should prioritize in terms of traffic and competition.

Step 3: Structure Your Article Like a Baws

Now you know the topic of your article and you know which keywords that you should focus on. Awesome..

It’s now time to make a quick structure of your upcoming Search Engine Optimized article. The reason for creating a structure, before you write the article is because it’s a lot easier to make a great article when you have a feeling about what you will be covering, before you start writing. This is not an SEO Copywriting tip, it’s more of a way to creating good content.

Here is the structure of this blog post:

- a short Introduction.

  1. Pick you blog topic
  2. Do a keyword research
  3. Create the structure of your blog post (You’re here)
  4. Start writing your article
  5. Write the perfect headline
  6. Spy on your competitors.
  7. Make your article SEO friendly
  8. Final Touch

Your 3th assignment: Write a chronological structure for your blog post. By creating a structure, before you start writing you get the advantage of knowing exactly what you want to cover, from the beginning to the end. I haven’t always been very good a structuring my blog posts, but now I’m convinced that it’s the best way to do it – especially if you are writing long articles.

Step 4: Start Writing Your Article

By now you should have the structure, the topic and the keywords to write a great article.
The next step is start writing your article. But there is no recipe for writing a great article. And there is no perfect length of an “SEO article”. – but here is a recipe for becoming a better writer.

I like to use this method when I’m writing:
Try think of a specific person you know, that will benefit from your post and write it to him or her personally. Put yourself in the mind of the person you are thinking of and think about how you can make your content more compelling and more digestible for that person.

Your 4th assignment: Write the best article you can about the topic you chose in step 1, with the keywords you found in step 2. by following the structure you made in step 3. While writing your article, keep thinking about that one person you know and make it personal. Write like you speak the readers of your blog will get to know you and your tone of voice.

Step 5: Write The Perfect Headline

The two of goals of your headline:

1. Attract people
When you share or when other people “like” your newly written blog post on Twitter or Facebook, will their friends only see your headline and an image perhaps. That goes for your newsletter and RSS-feed as well. Which is why your headline should be so compelling and so interesting that you turn the viewers into visitors!

2. Make your headline SEO-friendly
It’s very important that your Title (or Title Tag), contains the keywords you are targeting as well! Your Title Tag is one of the most important on-page SEO-factors and that’s why you ought to include the keywords you are targeting in your headline!

I’ll recommend you to look at these headline formulas from Copyblogger. They are great inspiration and I think you’ll know exactly what I mean, when you read them.

Here are some of the headlines I’m thinking about using, as I’m writing this:
SEO Copywriting: How to Write SEO-Friendly Content That Gets Traffic
SEO Article Writing 101: How To Write SEO-Friendly Content!
How to Write SEO-friendly Content Without Being an SEO Expert!

I chose: “SEO Copywriting 101: The REAL Guide to Write SEO-Friendly Content!” – The headline has the relavant keywords included and most of the articles about my topic are a bit rubbish and misleading, hence the “REAL guide”.

Your 5th assignment: Write a Killer Headline!
Your headline is so important! You should write a killer headline for your blog post that contains the relevant keywords. You might want to get inspiration from some of these headlines formulas or these “How-to headlines“. It’s a good idea to include the benefit people will get from reading your post, in your headline.

Step 6: Know Thine Enemy..

”It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles” – Sun Tzo, Chinese Military Strategist.

By now you should have written your blog post. But we’re not completely done yet.

It’s time to spy on the competition to see what you can learn from them – before your publish your article.

Perhaps you think you don’t have any competitors.. While that might be true, there is still people ranking for the search terms you are targeting; which means you are competing for the same eyeballs.

Make a search on Google for the keywords you are targeting and inspect the  top 10 results that Google thinks are the most relevant. I just made a Google Search for ”How To Write SEO Articles” and ”SEO Content Writing”. Two of my main keywords that I’m targeting.

Now take a look at the search results Google already thinks is the most relevant to your targeted keywords and ask yourself:

  1. Do they cover things you haven’t covered?
  2. Do they seem like a bigger authority than you do?
  3. Do they use better images or video?
  4. Do they explain the stuff better?

Your 6th assignment: Make a Google Search for the keyword you are targeting. Inspect the top 10 results Google already thinks are the most relevant. You might get inspiration to better you own article!

Step 7: Make Your Blog Post Keyword-Rich

While there isn’t any magic bullet to how many times you should mention your keyword, to make it rank in Google or any magical keyword density, you still need to mention the keywords you want to show up for, on Google. As you can see by reading this article, I mention keywords like; SEO-Content and SEO Copywriting as few times, because the are the keywords I’m targeting.

If you use WordPress as your blogging platform I’ll suggest you to download SEO for WordPress, by Yoast. SEO for WordPress has an inbuilt SEO tool that will scan you post for how great you’ve targeted your keywords – before your publish it.

An example of a “perfectly” optimized SEO article

If you don’t run on WordPress you might find this illustration by SEOmoz useful, on how to “perfectly” target a keyword.
As you can see do SEOmoz use their targeted keyword “Chocolate Donuts” in:

  • Their Headline (page title)
  • Frequenlty in their body as a sentence and as stand-a-lone keywords.
  • In their Title Tag and Meta Description
  • in the URL
  • Also is their image optimized for SEO.
That’s pretty much how it’s done. No biggie right?

 

SEO friendly content writing

Your 7th Assignment: Remember to use the keywords. Do you have the list of keywords from Step 2? Go through your article and make sure that you are using the keywords frequently in your copy. Take a look at the screenshot above to see approximately how many times you should use the keywords, while keeping in mind that you are writing for humans – Not for robots. So don’t spam keywords too much. Use the keywords where it’s relevant.

The Final Touch

  1. Is your article chronological structured and understandable? Send it to friend or a colleague whom you think is a relevant reader and ask for feedback.
  2. Can you improve your article with images or video?
  3. Is your article worth sharing?
  4. Have you used all the relevant keywords you found in step 2?
  5. Read you article again and think about if there is ANYTHING that you can do to make the article even better.
  6. Make a Google Search for the keyword you are targeting and look at top 10 sites again.
    Is your article better than the top 10 sites? If yes; congratulations and well done!

Getting On-Page SEO Right in 2012 and Beyond

But even though your article is the best article around, you’ll still need links from other website to make Google believe it’s a quality article.

Google’s way of analyzing if your article is of great quality or not, is by measuring how many websites that links to your article. Post this newly written article everywhere and make people share it! I’ve also written an article with 28 examples of high-quality content that gets links you might find it interesting!

Do you have any questions? Tips? or ideas on how to write SEO-Friendly content?

Thanks for your time!Share on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

18 Comments Get Seen on Google: A 7-Step Guide to Writing SEO-friendly Content

  1. Halfdan Timm

    It’s a real shame that you don’t get any more response on posts like these, seeing as they obviously take a lot of time to write down and provide the reader with lots of value. And it’s not just theoritical value – I can actually take this and use it in a matter of seconds to improve my own texts and pages.

    Nevermind the fact that theres only 1 comment above me and be certain that we’re a lot who really enjoy these posts and read them for the value they offer. Thanks a lot for that!

    Reply
  2. Frederik Trovatten

    Wow Halfdan – Thank you so much for, perhaps the most encouraging blog-comment I’ve ever gotten :)!

    It’s awesome to hear that you and other people really use the articles to better their SEO/Online marketing. And yes, as you point out, does the articles take quite some time to craft, but from the feedback I’ve gotten so far, is it definitely worth the effort!

    Thanks again for your comment!

    Reply
  3. Lasse Nielsen

    Hi Frederik.

    Halfdan is absolutely right. You don’t get enough credit for the work you put in these posts.
    I’ve also found this post very helpful in order to improve texts on my website.

    Thank you for not only putting this post out, but also having an exciting blog to follow.

    //Lasse

    Reply
  4. Pawan

    “quality content will please google and your readers” i am going to take this more seriously!!! . Write content for your readers rather for crawler.

    Reply
  5. Julie Bertelsen

    Hey Frederik

    Just ran into this blog and quite a nice one you got here!
    About what people search for in search engines, do you think if I wants to optimize on lets say ‘bikes’ and do it with more worded keywords like ‘quality bikes’ will I still rank on the word ‘bike’ for it self?

    - Julie -

    Reply
  6. Frederik Trovatten

    Hey Julie,

    Thanks for you comment.
    The short answer to your questions is: Yes, it helps talking about “cheap bikes”, “quality bikes”, when you want rank for “bike”. And by including keyword-phrases likes “cheap bikes” will your long-tail traffic increase as well.

    But the challange of ranking on a competitve single-keyword like “bike”, is the enormous competition. Which brings me to my next point; getting links.

    When you have written your copy about “Bike/bikes/cheap bikes” etc, you must hunt links from authority sites and make your page as sharable and converting as possible. But it’s going to be uphill either way :)

    Reply
  7. Pingback: How To Write SEO ArticlesOpnRev | OpnRev

  8. Austin Geraci

    Thanks Frederik, this is excellent. If I was to add anything it would be to have someone proofread the article before you post, ideally someone in your target audience.. If they can understand and connect with it, you’re on the right track.. I just started doing this with some articles I’m working on.. I can tell it’s really going to improve the content we’re pushing out..

    Just subscribed, keep it up brother.

    Reply
  9. Vitaly

    I am a content manager working for a classifieds site. Writing content for my pages I never thought about making my content SEO friendly. I am new to SEO techniques and the article gave me a load of important information that I’ll start using in my work. Thank you very much, Frederik!

    Reply

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