You’re an established business with a modern website, but you don’t get many visitors. Everything looks great, so why can’t people find you online? If you haven’t optimized your website, that lack of SEO might provide an answer. But what is SEO article writing, and how can it help you drive traffic? We’ll dive into that in this guide.
What Exactly Does SEO Mean?
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you know what SEO means. Please feel free to skip to the next section if so.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. In short, SEO is an online marketing strategy — and like other marketing strategies, its main purpose is to drive traffic to your business. SEO does that by helping your content appear in search results of various search engines – Google, Bing, YouTube, etc.
There are a ton of ranking factors that these search engines use to determine what content to show searchers. Most search engines want to show the best possible content to answer a searcher’s question, so that’s your goal.
Broadly, what you need to know about SEO when it comes to article writing is that you need to create engaging, comprehensive content that thoroughly explores a topic. You also need to optimize for some keywords that reflect that topic.
The most effective SEO strategies act like filters, helping your audience to find relevant content at every stage of their journey. And ultimately, it summons visitors who really want to buy your products.
Online Marketing Tactics 101
SEO article writing is just one of many online marketing tactics you can use to boost your business. Others include:
- SEO product descriptions, page content and blog posts
- Collaborative marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Social media ads
- Banner ads
- Pay-per-click (PPC) ads
Some of those strategies are known as “organic,” while others are “paid.”
Organic marketing drives traffic naturally — and it also builds brand awareness. It includes any traffic generating efforts that happen naturally and without any paid promotion. That could include traffic from SEO, social sharing, word of mouth, etc.
Blog posts about your company contribute to organic marketing. SEO articles fall into this category, too. Both can organically draw in traffic over time without you spending to win that traffic.
Paid marketing includes PPC, display ads, programmatic ads, social media ads and influencer marketing. You pay for ads or pay an influencer to promote your product. Some types of paid marketing aren’t too pricey; others are very expensive.
So, which tactics work best? In a word, both. Most successful online businesses use a blend of paid and organic marketing strategies to maximize their reach.
How to Write SEO Articles
If you want to write great SEO articles, you need to follow a set of rules. Why? Because search engines like Google use web crawlers, or spiders, to find your site. These bots “fetch” web pages, which they categorize — or rank — according to specific criteria.
In other words, if you want Googlebot to notice your site, you need to create attention-grabbing content. That’s SEO in a nutshell.
#1: Find the Best SEO Queries – Keyword Research
You can’t write SEO articles without knowing what search terms you’re targeting and what topics your audience is interested in. Before you start writing, make sure your company has done exhaustive keyword research to identify all the search terms your audience uses, what topics they represent, and what stage of the buyer’s journey they’re at.
At most companies, once this is done you’ll develop a content plan that makes sure you create content that targets all the topics your audience is interested in.
Keyword research is an amazing tool to help you understand your customers. Just make sure you’re using keywords to learn what customers are trying to do and what their search intent is. Make sure that your content is written to satisfy it. That’s the most important part of SEO writing these days.
Finding The Best Keywords
We had a chat with SimpleTexting marketing manager Alfredo Salkeld, who gave us some tips about SEO best practices. According to Alfredo, “the most successful SEO writers are those who know how to find queries that have purchase intent.” In other words, you need to incorporate the search phrases people use when they really want to buy a particular product. These phrases are called buyer intent keywords — and they’re the gold standard for SEO.
“Alright, Alfredo,” you might say, “How do we find queries that have purchase intent?” The answer is simple — albeit somewhat time-consuming: detective work. Before you begin, consider your ideal customer’s:
- Needs: What are their pain points? Why are they looking for your product in the first place?
- Wants: How could they use your physical products or digital solutions to solve their problems?
- Voice: Which words would your customers used to find answers?
Hint #1: most consumers don’t use overly technical language.
The Keyword Research Process
The next step is keyword research. You can perform keyword research yourself, or you can use a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner or SEMrush. Here’s what you do:
- Enter your seed keyword ideas into the search box
- Review your keyword search results
- Check out keyword metrics: search volume, SEO difficulty etc.
- Pinpoint relevant keywords with a lower SEO difficulty score
- Choose your short-tail (general) and long-tail (niche) keywords
Hint #2: Don’t pick misspelled keywords, because they’ll affect your article credibility.
Buyer intent keywords aren’t usually too ambiguous. Look for phrases like, “buy X,” “best X,” “price of X” or “coupon for X.” Stay away from lower buyer intent keywords — avoid “free” anything, for instance.
Some paid keyword research tools (SEMrush) actually let you filter for specific keywords types, so you can find buyer intent keywords more easily.
While search terms with buyer intent are most valuable, you’ll also want to create articles that target search terms used by buyers who are earlier in their buying journey. These search terms also have value as a source of top of funnel prospects. More on that later.
#2: Use Keywords Properly – Focus on Topics
Forget everything you’ve ever read about keyword stuffing. These days, Google and Bing penalize keyword-heavy pages, so keyword overuse might actually put you at the bottom of the stack. Instead, use your keywords carefully to ensure you get noticed without making a scene. Follow these tips for success:
- Identify the topic that your target keyword represents, and focus on creating a piece that comprehensively covers that topic
- Try to use your main keyword in your page title, in your first paragraph (or within the first 100 words) and again a couple of times in the body of your piece.
- Use secondary keywords at least once in your article.
- Identify complementary topics and LSI keywords that would help you create a more comprehensive article
Whatever you do, don’t force keywords into your piece. Google’s main mission is to identify quality pieces of content: if your content looks clunky, you can bet it’ll notice and knock you down a peg. Always focus on readers first and search bots second.
#3: Write Valuable Content
Let’s drill down into quality content a little more. Quality is a pretty subjective word, isn’t it?
What we mean when we say “quality content” is:
- Content is error-free and reads well, engaging the reader
- Well researched offering unique info
- Comprehensively addresses the topic it covers
Within the context of SEO, that means you should focus on white hat SEO (which is much more focused on delivering value to readers) rather than black hat SEO (focused on manipulating search algorithms and keyword stuffing) when you write your content.
White hat content still focuses on a target keyword and topic, but it doesn’t shoehorn it in to reach target keyword densities, and it certainly doesn’t do so at the cost of readability.
Don’t write general content that doesn’t offer any value: write topic-focused content that revolves around your main topic and keyword.
For example, if your main keyword is “paint suppliers in Boston,” you wouldn’t want to write about DIY in Boston. Instead, you could create a top ten list of painters and decorators in Boston.
Part of offering your readers valuable information is ending with a call to action – what can they do next? Do you want them to buy a product? Refer them to a related article or resource?
#4 – Focus on Readability
Break your text into snackable, scannable chunks — no more than three or four sentences per paragraph — to make it easier to read. Listicles go down well, and so do how-to guides.
“Most importantly, ensure that your content is readable—you want it to sound as natural as possible. Remember, the content is for your readers; search engines are merely the bridge to get your content across.” — Hung Nguyen, Smallpdf
Are your site visitors in a hurry, or do they have time to spare? Use your existing knowledge to craft quick reads or in-depth content to match your potential readership. If you’re not sure, create buyer personas — imaginary customers based on evidence — and use them as inspiration whenever you write SEO articles.
#5: Size Matters
When it comes to the inner workings of its search algorithm, Google doesn’t give anything away. SEO experts make educated guesses about what Google searches for and how page rank works. Short blog posts — maybe 300-350 words — used to be de rigueur; now longer blog posts — over 1,500 words — are “in.”
In the end, you need to let your subject dictate the length of your SEO article. You can wax lyrical about curtain rods, but will your readers really trawl through 2,500 words on the merits of steel vs wood? Probably not. In reality, most websites use a mixture of short and long articles to build readership and drive traffic.
Pro Tip – Evaluate the Competition
One of the most effective ways of crafting SEO articles that rank is to look at what already ranks. By looking at the top of Google results for your targeted search terms, you can evaluate what topics they cover and how long they are. This lets you understand what Google thinks is valuable to searchers, and guides you on what to cover and how long your piece should be to outdo the competition.
Numerous tools can help with this including MarketMuse, Ink, Surfer SEO, SEMrush’s Content Template and more.
#6: Think About Your Buyer’s Journey
You can use SEO articles to pull people into any stage of your buyer’s journey. Buyer’s journeys have four main stages:
- Awareness: People first become aware of your product or service via social media, word of mouth, ads or SEO marketing
- Interest: Prospects evaluate your business to see what your brand is all about
- Decision: Interested consumers want to know more about your prices and shipping options are
- Action: Visitors either become customers or they exit the sales funnel
“SEO article writing needs to serve your underlying business goals: increasing leads or revenue, either directly or by filling your remarketing funnel.” — Owen Mansfield, Majux Marketing
You can hone your keyword choices to match any of these four stages, like this:
- Awareness keywords: “best espresso coffee” or “how to lose belly fat”
- Interest keywords: “why X is the best coffee” or “how X can help you lose belly fat”
- Decision keywords: “how to get X for less” or “free shipping on X”
- Action keywords: “get free shipping on X for a limited time” or “save up to 50% in the X winter sale”
If you’re doing keywords research, you should sort your keywords according to what stage of the buyer’s journey they represent. Alternately, make sure your SEO team provides you with that info if they’re doing the keyword research.
For best results, write articles aimed at each part of the funnel — and make sure you’re creating content that speaks to what your reader is trying to accomplish at that point.
Articles Aren’t Always The Right Choice For Your Sales Funnel
While articles do help rank for keywords representing all stages of the buyer’s journey / sales funnel, for some businesses (especially eCommerce), the decision and action stage keywords usually don’t make sense to target with an article.
For example, if someone searches for “buy Nintendo Switch” that shows a ton of purchase intent and you’d want to direct them to a product page where they could take action. In this case, creating an SEO optimized product page will be way more successful and likely to rank as it better matches search intent.
What is SEO Article Writing: The Wrap
Let’s take a moment to recap SEO article writing. Like other types of organic marketing, SEO builds awareness, drives website traffic and — hopefully — draws each visitor into your funnel.
Leverage keyword research to identify search terms and topics important to your buyers, and then map those out to the stages of the buyer’s journey.
Then, map out what types of content you need to create to cover each topic. Articles work for most topics, especially ones higher in the funnel.
Remember you need to understand the search intent of the keywords you’re targeting and write to satisfy that. That’s your primary goal. But, you still need to do some keyword optimization.
Include your main keyword in your article title, in the first paragraph (or first 100 words), and a couple of times in the body of your piece. Make sure your content provides value, is comprehensive, and don’t go overboard on article length if you don’t need to. Benchmark your content as your top SEO competitors for the targeted search term and outdo them.
If you’re looking for stellar-quality SEO articles, optimized product descriptions and advertorials, get in touch with us here at Crowd Content. We work with entrepreneurs, SMBs and enterprise-level organizations: simply tell us what you need, and we’ll come up with a custom content plan.