Writing web content is a lot different than writing any other type of content. The main reason for this is SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization, and is essentially a writing style that focuses on writing content that is optimized around a keyword and helps that webpage rank higher in search results for that particular keyword.
This means that writing web content can be much more difficult, because you're writing content for SEO. There are a few different practices that go into optimizing your content for SEO, so here are the steps you should take whenever you write a new blog post.
1. Do keyword research.
The first step to writing content for SEO is determining which keywords are going to make the most sense for your business, get searched often, but that aren't oversaturated and you can still rank well in search results.
For example, you don't want to use the keyword "heating and air" because that's an incredibly saturated keyword that every single heating and air business is including in their web copy. Instead, you might want to write a blog post with the keyword "charleston air conditioning" or "tips for staying cool in miami".
Using Google's Keyword Planner can be a great way to find relevant keywords to your industry without focusing on keywords that are too saturated to provide results.
2. Incorporate that keyword into your writing 2-3 times.
If you write a longer blog post, then you'll want to include the keyword more often, if possible. Google's algorithms are smart, and they can tell when you're keyword stuffing (i.e., putting keywords into sentences and paragraphs that don't make sense to try to rank higher).
Keyword stuffing is a slimy practice that the search engines will penalize your website for. Instead, you want to slide your keyword into your article in the few places that it makes perfect sense. Typically you'll have the perfect opportunity in your introduction and conclusion at the very least. If you can, try to include the keyword at one to two more places in the meat of your copy as well.
Again, we cannot reiterate enough that you only want to include your keyword in sentences where it flows naturally and doesn't feel as if it's been forced. Google's algorithms are smart, and you can change conjugations of words in your keyword to make it fit better.
3. Include subheadings.
Readability is another aspect of SEO that's extremely important, and readability is also extremely different on the web than it is in print. It's much more difficult for a web reader to stay focused on the content, especially on a bright screen. This is why Google prefers web content to include subheadings that separate the main points in each article.
Including subheadings in your content is more than separating your content with bold lines and numbering your main points. In order for the search engines to recognize subheadings, you need to change the format of each of your points from <p> to <h2> or smaller.
4. Optimize your meta description.
The meta description of an article is what appears in search engine results and in the description of your article when you share it on social media sites. You have the option to edit this so that it isn't simply the first 160 characters of your content, which may not necessarily include your keyword.
Instead, you should write a one-two sentence summary of the article that includes your keyword. This helps to increase your SEO rating and can push your article even higher in search engine results.
5. Write in bite-sized chunks.
Aside from subheadings, another way to win points at readability is writing in short, easy-to-digest chunks. This increases skimmability of your article as a large wall of text is likely to send an online reader running for the hills. Paragraphs should typically only be three to four sentences long, with your subheadings breaking up content at least every 300 words.
6. Include links.
You should be including links to both your content and other reputable sources. When you link to sources that Google knows to be good content creators, it helps increase your website's reputation. And linking to your old content helps your website to build back links, showing Google that you have a lot of great content to be crawled.
Writing content for SEO is a whole new ballgame, but it doesn't have to be a challenge. By utilizing these tips, you'll see your website ranking even higher.