SEO Writing Tips: The Human Side of SEO
Once you’ve decided on your angle and learned all the nuts and bolts of SEO tactics, you’ll need to consider one more thing: how your readers will interact with your content.
The end goal of all your hard work for SEO friendly content is not that Google will love you; it’s that people will read you. For a small business or individual trying to gain some influence, the human side of SEO writing tips is the most important at the end of the day.
We’ve got some of the newest and top SEO content writing tips that keep your readers in mind here.
10 SEO Writing Tips for People and Google
Semantic Search Keywords: SEO That Answers Real Questions
Google and other search engines are beginning to recognize the existence of voice-based searching. If you’ve ever asked Siri, Cortana or any other voice assistant a direct question, you’ve done this.
Voiced questions function quite differently than a typical written search. For example, if you were shopping for blue suede shoes on Google, you would just enter in ‘blue suede shoes’. If you were asking Siri, you would probably say ‘where can I find blue suede shoes’.
Search engines are now valuing the presence of these whole phrases more highly. If you can use that semantic search keyword, your SEO content will be more likely to show up for both types.
One of the best ways to get Google’s attention while answering all of your potential customers’ questions is to take advantage of related keywords. Discovering other potentials areas around the area you specialize in will help revitalize your ideas and create great SEO content.
A great way to find related keywords is to search your chosen keyword or topic before beginning to write. There are usually Related Searches on your list of results. Some of the related searches will be helpful to you.
Header tags are not only important for the search engine side of SEO. Headers make it much easier for a reader to quickly scan your article and make sure that it covers the information they wish to receive.
Your headers should not only include your keyword or a slight variation of your keyword, they should also make it clear what your content addresses. This way, your SEO content will also be easy-to-understand content.
Don’t Rely on Old SEO Tactics: Avoiding Overstuffing
In the olden days, it was suggested that 3% of your written content be your SEO keyword. Today, that’d be considering overstuffing and likely ding your search engine results status.
There are two reasons for this change. First, having a precise number allowed many people to game the SEO system. Instead of writing good and useful content, many creators focused on hitting a number of keyword mentions. Making the number smaller allows good content to rise to the top naturally.
The second reason is that people aren’t interested in reading content that says the same thing over and over. If your work is saying the same exact group of words three times in 100 words, it’s bound to be tough to read.
Aim for a sweet spot between 1-1.5% for your keyword. This is enough to tell search engines what you’re writing about without turning off your readers.
Aim for the Right Length for the Best SEO Content
It used to be that you only needed to write about 300 words for search engines to consider your content and its SEO value. In 2016, longer blogs and content have begun to rise to the top of SEO content writing.
New SEO techniques suggest that posts over 750 words tend to do better than those under. You shouldn’t push yourself to write fluff — good content is better than long content — but try to be thorough. Most experts on SEO writing tips agree that longer posts tend to rise to the top.
Using your related keywords from above can help with this. If you’re at 300 words and stuck, try searching for related keywords to spark some ideas. You’ll get deeper, more interesting, and better SEO content.
SEO and Readability
People love to scan content. If your work is a big block of text, readers are going to think heck, no, and bounce. There may be some (some) exceptions to this rule, but it’s pretty much guaranteed.
If you’re breaking up your paragraphs into small, readable chunks and using your headlines to signal what’s contained in each section, readers are more likely to stay on your page.
This will affect the quality of your SEO content and your search engine ranking in a couple ways. The longer users stay on your site, the more Google thinks that your content is good.
When a user enters, spends only a few seconds, then bounces back to search results to view another page, Google sees that they didn’t find their answer on your page. This will end up pushing your content further down the results.
Search engine robots are also now checking for smaller, more swallowable chunks of content on your site before users even encounter it on a search engine. So, to write great SEO content, you should chop up those paragraphs.
Aim for paragraphs with no more than three or four lines of text and subheadings at least every 300 words.
Small Business SEO: Tend to Your Reviews
If you’re a small business or entrepreneur, you should be using social media, especially Yelp, to help improve your SEO ranking. The stronger your relationship between your social media and your website, the more highly your content will be valued.
Be sure to claim your business on Yelp and respond to reviews. Reviews on Yelp can bump your Yelp and main website up on your Google search results. If you notice that one of your customers is particularly satisfied, don’t be afraid to ask them to review you on Yelp!
Remember, though, that you cannot offer incentives for your customers’ reviews. Discounts and rewards for reviews are against Yelp’s Terms of Service and could result in your business being removed.
Remember that SEO writing isn’t just about the content on your site — it’s also about the links that back you up.
Mobile Friendly SEO
Is your website mobile friendly? As of 2016, as many as 50% of website page views are via a mobile device. If users encounter your site on a mobile device only to see that it’s impossible to navigate, they will be leaving quickly.
Mobile optimization means that your site works on a smartphone as well as a laptop or personal computer. Google and other search engines are now penalizing websites without a mobile friendly format. All the SEO writing tips in the world can’t help you overcome that.
Have You Optimized Your Images?
Images in your content help with readability and keep your reader engaged with the text. Infographics can be a great way to connect with a reader in particularly informative or fact-driven posts.
Images also offer another opportunity to boost your SEO content with titles and alt text. You can see more on this topic in our post on photo editing for the web.
Encourage More Page Views With Related Content
On each article, product or document you have on your site, you should be referring to and linking to related content. For example, I’m linking to our article on link building here.
Linking within your own website helps Google understand what you find important more easily. It can also direct your readers to content that may be an additional help or products that may be more interesting.