What is SEO in Content Writing? A Step-by-Step Guide in 2020

What is SEO in Content Writing? One can be good at English. Fantastic writing skills, grammar, sentence construction, depth etc and yet the post may not be good enough for Search Engines. Why? Because Search engines like Google understand a certain format starting with Top Performing Keywords. 

For example, my article on Google Ads was randomly titled ‘A Guide to Google Ads’. I quickly discovered that there is no Long Tail Keyword called ‘A Guide to Google Ads’. So I had to change my Heading to “What is Google Ads and how it works” because it is a Long Tail Keyword that people use online to search for SEO articles. This is Search Engine Optimization!

I use the “Yoast SEO” plugin for my blogs and it has some very basic, simple steps that help one write SEO-friendly content. Content that is likely to rank #1 on Google Search Rankings and drive organic traffic to your website. And remember the ground rule, traffic is equal to money! So let’s dive in.

Focus Keyphrase

SEO experts are of the opinion that new bloggers can rank #1 in Search Rankings if they use Long Tail Keywords. Long Tail Keywords usually stretch to 3 or more words. For example “SEO” is a one-word keyword, compared to “What is SEO in Content Writing” which is a Long Tail Keyword. I have chosen “What is SEO in Content Writing” as my article’s “Focus Keyphrase”.

Keyphrase is the search term that you wish to rank for on Google search results pages.

Keyphrase in Introduction

SEO guidelines state that your “Focus Keyphrase” should appear once in the first 100 words. But Yoast SEO insists that you start your post with the “Focus Keyphrase”. A simple Google search validates Yoast SEO’s point. When I googled “SEO”, all the top-ranking articles have the word SEO in the very first line!

Focus Keyphrase - At the start of the blog

How to look for Long Tail Keywords?

Google Autosuggest

Type in the search term “What is SEO in Content Writing” in Google. And you will see a list of Long Tail Keywords at the bottom of the page. Refer to the image below: 

Google Autosuggest

This is Google Autosuggest and search terms from this list can be used to pick Long Tail Keywords.

Long Tail Keyword Finder Tool

Chandan Sahoo and his team at hindime.net run the #1 hindi blog in India and have created a tool to look for Long Tail Keywords. One can access the tool on this link. It is fairly reliable and one can find the keywords as per the image below:

Long Tail Keyword Tool

Keyphrase Density

Let’s say one is planning to write a 1500 word article, the Focus Keyphrase should appear at least 5 times in the text. That boils down to 0.3% of the total word count.

Keyphrase Length

Long Tail Keywords should not ideally exceed 6 words. For example “What is SEO in Content Writing” is 6 words in total.

Previously Used Keyphrase

While writing content for your website, you have to make sure that the same Focus Keyphrase is not used twice or for two different articles. That way both your articles will be competing with each other to rank on Google. Two articles ranking in the top 10 results for the same query would require a lot of Site Authority. Therefore it is advised that a Focus Keyword is used once on your website.

Keyphrase in Title

Please have a look at the image below. The arrow in peach points to the SEO Title / Page Title or Meta Tag. Your Keyphrase should appear at the beginning of the SEO Title. A lot of people confuse the SEO Title with the heading of the page. In the image below, it is clearly demonstrated. The arrow in blue points to the main heading of the page. Users also look at the SEO Title while deciding which post to click on. So it is important to show your Keyphrase in the Title. 

What is SEO in Content Writing?

Text Length

Long, high-quality content, preferably 1000 words and longer maximise your chances of ranking higher in search results. Why? Because the longer your post is, the more your focus keyphrase appears. The more LSI keywords appear, Latent Semantic Indexing gives all the clues to Google that here is an authority post on the subject. 

More headings, sub-headings, internal links, images, long-tail variants of the Keyphrase, deep dive into the topic send signals that the content is likely to answer all the user’s queries. Thin content can’t rank higher simply because it would not offer complete answers or fully satisfy the user’s inquisitiveness.

Internal Links

Please scroll up to the second paragraph of this post. Did you notice how on the words “Google Ads” there is a hyperlink for one of my posts on Google Ads? That is “Internal Links”. 

These links guide a user to interesting and related content. These links connect one page on your website to another page. Mainly to add context and enrich a user’s knowledge on related topics. Search engines also use these links to find content on your website. More internal linking enhances the value of your page and helps it rank higher in search results.

External Links

Did you notice how I have left a link to the Long Tail Keywords tool on hindime.net or to a Wikipedia page on Latent Semantic Indexing? I was impressed with the Long Tail Keywords tool that the hindime.net team has developed and gave them due credit for all the hard work they put in. Similarly Wikipedia is a high authority website that pretty much ranks on the first page for a large number of search terms.

Welcome to External Links, where your pages connect to high authority, external websites. This is also known as Backlinks. A page that has a lot of backlinks is considered valuable by search engines and is ranked higher in search results.

Add Images and Image Alt Text

It is a good practice to add 1-2 images per post. A featured image at the very top of the page and a few images to explain your content. 

Don’t forget to add Alt Text to these images as you upload them. Adding Alt Text or Alternative Text enables visually impaired users to understand your images. Most importantly, Search Engines use Alt Text to understand what the image is showing, enabling them to show these images when a user performs Image Search. Alt Text is a suitable place to enter your main keyword or Focus Keyphrase to improve your image search ranking for that term.

Meta Description Length

Search Engines display a 155 character snippet, that summarizes your blog’s content. This snippet is displayed in search results, especially when the Search Term is within the Description. If you don’t write a Meta Description for your page, Google will find a relevant part of your post to show in the search results. Make sure you enter your Focus Keyphrase in the Description as an important step for On-Page SEO

Meta Description

No More than 20 Words in a Sentence

Use this online tool called, Hemingway Editor, to ensure clean, readable english that can be easily understood by a 5th Grader! SEO rules specify that sentences should be short and simple. No more than 20 words per sentence will make it easy to understand. If you have ever used WordPress to write a blog, the Yoast SEO plugin clearly specifies this as an SEO parameter.

What is SEO in Content Writing?

No More Than 150 Words in a Paragraph

Yoast SEO also advises that one should not have more than 150 words in a paragraph. Make sure you are following this in your blog posts.

What is SEO in Content Writing?

Passive Voice

A maximum of 10% of your sentences in the blog post should be in the Passive voice. Passive voice is discouraged by experts because you end up using more words and making the sentence complex. 

Example:

The spare tyre always makes your road trips more comfortable.

Your road trips are always made more comfortable with the presence of a spare tyre. 

5 extra words were used to convey the same message!

What is SEO in Content Writing?

Transition Words

Transition words improve the readability of your blog’s text. Words like “because”, “and”, “but”, “so” show your readers the link between paragraphs, sentences and phrases. These make it easy for your readers to understand the connection between two events in your narrative.

Example:

I parked my car near a drain. As a result, it got stuck in the overflowing rain water.

The words “as a result” clearly establish a connection between the two events. Hence it became easy for your readers to understand the situation.

Subheading Distribution

Appropriate headings, subheadings help users, search engines read and understand your post. A user can easily skim through the page to understand what the content is about. He can also go to a specific topic if he wishes too. 

On the WordPress platform, the plugin “Table of Contents Plus” is among the best for headings and subheadings. It easily organises your text in headings and subheadings thus making your article more user-friendly. Refer to the image below.

Table of Contents Plus Plugin

I would love to know which SEO tip from this article “What is SEO in Content Writing?” are you going to use first. Is it “Active Voice” and “Internal Links” or maybe “Paragraph Length”? Let me know by leaving a comment below. Please share on Facebook and Twitter by clicking on the social media buttons on your left. Follow us on Instagram for notifications on the latest posts.

Don’t forget to check out our posts on “On-Page SEO” and “Off-Page SEO” for further, in-depth reading on the topic.