Five Best Practices For Writing SEO Content

best practices for writing seo content | SEO Without Borders

Target One Primary Keyword Per Landing Page

Remember the keyword research you did when you were considering your target audience?

Pick the single primary word or phrase that the article or page you’re writing should distill, and be found by.

Select something that will resonate with your audience.

Include The Keyword In Your Copy

If a visitor is coming to a page on your website from a search engine, they expect to see the words they searched for on the page.

You want to use each keyword phrase three to four times within your copy — more if it makes sense and still sounds natural.

Longer copy gives you more chances to do this.

Use The Exact Term

Search engines are very good at interpreting a searcher’s intent, but they still rank pages that exactly match a searcher’s query higher than a page that has all the words – just in a different order.

Your keyword research told you how your customers think and the words they use.

This includes the order in which they use words.

Write Your Content Accordingly

As an example, “Symptoms of diabetes” returns different rankings than “diabetes symptoms.”

MayoClinic.com didn’t rank in the top three for “symptoms of diabetes.”

They instead optimized for “diabetes symptoms,” probably because their research showed that this was the precise term much of their audience was using.

The other factors remain the same, but because the word order matches the search query, they are able to bump WebMD and About.com down and take the number two spot on a query that gets 673,000 searches each month.

This increased ranking for this one term brings MayoClinic.com an estimated 40,000 additional highly qualified visitors each month that would otherwise go to one of their competitors.

Optimize, But Don’t Overdo It

You are writing for real people, not search engines.

You want your writing to sound natural. If your text sounds awkward to you, slice your keyword usage or use synonyms.

Have a coworker read it and give you feedback. If that’s not possible, read it out loud.

People may not consciously know what’s wrong with your page, but if you use the exact same words in the exact same order, too many times, your visitors will feel like something isn’t right.

This requires a balancing act with #3 (“Use the exact term”), but you want to make sure that you use natural language to communicate your message (synonyms, varying word order, etc.).

Synonyms help make copy read more naturally; they may serve as proof words, as well.

Use the exact term in the most strategic locations, including the URL, title tag, and headlines (see the next section, “How To Optimize a Page,” for details).

Use it throughout the body copy when appropriate, but if a different term makes more sense when you are writing the main copy on the page, use it!

Never sacrifice the user experience to force your copy to meet an SEO goal.

Page Length

Page length should be dictated by the message you want to communicate, not an arbitrary limit.

However, a minimum of 300 words is a good target.

Longer copy provides a better opportunity for keyword placement that sounds good and allows you to provide more information to your visitors.

A few other considerations:

Structure your content so it’s easy to read. Use subheads, bullets, and numbering, and break long paragraphs up into shorter ones.

The easier your content is to read, the more likely it is the reader will remain on the page to read it. More time spent on the page tells the search engines your content is valuable.

Make Every Word Count

Duplicate content filters are getting more aggressive.

If two pages are using the same metadata and have very similar HTML title tags, perhaps you don’t need both pages.

Combining them or making them distinctly different will make life easier for your reader.

Julian ConnorsFive Best Practices For Writing SEO Content