Jamie is a freelance SEO content writer. She writes for a large publisher in 6 verticals, and does freelance work on the side.
What Is SEO Content?
Before we get into how to write SEO content, let's clarify – just what is SEO content?
SEO content is written with the goal of being easily found in a search engine like Google. For the purpose of this article, we will assume that your publisher has provided the key search words to you.
For example, if someone were to search "what are the different kinds of life insurance?" or "how to clean vinyl floors," Google automatically pulls the articles that best match. SEO content is written with this in mind – structured in a way that Google will recognize and pull when someone searches for the keywords that match your content.
The goal (though it's not always possible) is to be the best, most thorough answer possible so that Google will rank your article at the top of the search list. Never try to trick Google by forcing your keywords into places they don't belong, just to make it look as though your article covers the topic. If you don't actually provide the information that people are searching for, no amount of shoe-horning in irrelevant search words helps. Google is smart – so write appropriately.
The Beginning of an SEO Article
In the introduction, you typically want 2 or 3 paragraphs. The first paragraph should phrase the question or topic of your article, but not answer it. This establishes with the reader that your article does pertain to their search.
If you begin with a long, complicated story about a plant, the reader might not be able to tell that sooner or later, you'll explain how to clean a floor. Your story might be entertaining, but most people aren't going to stick around. They need an answer, and they'll just click on the next link to get one.
In the second paragraph, you summarize the answer or resolution of your topic. For example, now you actually list three methods for cleaning floors. Don't go into a lot of detail - that's what the body of your article is for. But it lets the reader know that you DO understand their question, and you DO have an answer.
The third paragraph is a "hook" to encourage them to stay on the page. Explain what else you have to offer. There's got to be more information in your article, so what is it, and why do they need to know it?
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The Body of the Article
The body should be structured in a fairly clear, easy-to-read way, covering each topic thoroughly before moving on to the next. I always like to follow the order of what I "promised" at the end of the introduction. If I told the reader that I was going to explain three ways to clean their floors, give them a recipe for a homemade cleaner, and tell them what chemicals are bad for their vinyl floor, then that's what I do.
I try to follow the order of my topics as I listed them. A lot of people skim through articles looking for the part that interests them. If I say I'm going to explain three ways to clean floors, then the reader expects all three ways to be the next part of the article. They might scroll down, wanting to see my cleaning recipe, and have a hard time finding it if I'm jumping all over the place.
In addition, because people do tend to skip chunks of articles, use subheadings well and often. It makes it easier for people to find everything they want. I avoid ever going above four paragraphs without a new subheading. If I have that much to say, it can normally be divided into two topics and subheadings.
The Summary or Conclusion
In an ideal world, the summary is just one paragraph. You don't want to restate every bit of information you covered in the body of the article, just summarize it. This wraps up any loose ends and makes sure the reader understands the "gist" of the article.
Put this under a subheading that makes it clear to the reader you're transitioning to the end. For example, a simple "In Conclusion" will do.
If it's appropriate, you can pick something a bit more colorful or entertaining. Just keep in mind that most buyers of SEO are interested in relatively factual articles. They want something that succinctly covers the topic material, but doesn't complicate the answer with too much fanfare or over-the-top storytelling.
The most important thing to remember when writing SEO content is that your goal is to provide information to the reader. Always pay attention to your keywords or topic, trying to provide the best response. Craft an opening that states the topic, and provides a short answer; a body that uses subheadings to clarify or provide additional information; and a short conclusion of 2-5 sentences summarizing your content.
And have fun writing!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
John Hansen from Gondwana Land on October 14, 2021:
Great advice. Thanks for sharing.