5 Tips for Writing More Search Friendly Content
I’m sure you’ll agree:
SEO copywriting was a very bad idea.
Writing content only to help rank it in search engines and providing no essence or value at all, as it was often the case, was just … wrong.
But it worked, at least for some time.
Suddenly the SERPs got filled with low quality posts and pages, offering nothing but generic information.
Luckily the SEO copywriting is gone now.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t write content to rank and attract search traffic.
It’s just these days you do it differently.
And if you’re wondering how to:
- Write quality content your audience will love,
- Make it rank worthy and,
- Avoid being caught by Google algorithm update…
You’re in luck.
Today, I’m going to show you 5 things you need to do to write search friendly content readers love.
Ready, let’s roll…
#1. Start with a Click-Worthy Headline
Let’s be honest:
These days you don’t have to rank among the first 3 results to attract search traffic.
For one, these might not include content at all.
They might feature images, videos, products and many other elements.
Today’s searchers are used to scrolling the SEPRs page often clicking on the result that first grabs their attention.
And for that reason you should write a headline that not only includes your keyword but also convinces the reader to click it.
In his amazing book, Confessions of an Advertising Man, David Ogilvy calls a headline:
“[…] the telegram which decides whether the reader will read the copy.”
And according to another copywriting hero, Bob Bly, a good headline must achieve 4 things:
- It must grab the user’s attention. That part is obvious.
- Define the audience. A headline should also communicate who is the piece for.
- Deliver a complete message. According to Ogilvy, 4 out of 5 readers will only read the headline. And so, for that reason alone you must ensure that your content’s title hints at the entire message. Failing to do so means you’re going to lose 80% of your audience.
- Draw the reader to the main copy. The role of the headline is also to convince the reader to click to the rest of the article.
Instead of focusing on including the keyword at the start of your copy, write a headline that’s going to attract the readers.
Make sure that this headline looks great in SERPs….
It may seem like an obvious advice but take a look at this screenshot.
That result at the bottom might include great advice. But the cut headline doesn’t deliver the entire message and probably fails to entice anyone to click.
In such case you rely on users not finding what they’re looking for among other search listings on a page and thus, giving their attention to your content.
But how likely is that to happen….
#2. Answer 3 Questions in the Copy
Isn’t it amazing:
Thanks to the Panda update, the quality of content on the web has increased exponentially.
It almost goes without saying – to rank in search today you need to provide the highest level of information to users.
But how do you do that?
Simply extending the length of your content might not always cut it. After all, there are topics you simply can’t write thousands of words on without risking beating around the bush.
The solution is actually quite simple – make sure that you always answer those 3 questions:
What’s the key problem you’re trying to solve?
Most content on the web is just water.
There are just too many posts that offer generic solutions or advice but providing no practical essence whatsoever.
And the first reason why it happens is because their authors target keywords instead of a real user need.
Defining the problem helps to avoid that mistake. It also makes the copy more relevant to the audience and in turn, helps to engage them more.
What’s the main solution to the problem?
Once you know the problem, state a highly practical advice to overcome it.
What practical steps does a person need to take or advice they need to follow to overcome the problem?
And then, list practical steps a person needs to take to overcome the problem.
It’s that simple.
But what’s more important, it will make your content highly useful to readers, regardless of its length.
#3. Make the Content Easier to Read
Making the post easier to read will have no effect on its rankings.
- More people might actually read it,
- Talk about it,
- Share it and,
- Link to it.
And in turn, help it become more popular, also in search.
Here are some basic ways to make the post more scannable:
Break it into sections with subheadings.
Include bulleted lists.
Write very short sentences.
Set crucial words or phrases in bold.
#4. Include Plenty of Images
It doesn’t make any sense, does it?
As a content writer you should worry about getting the right words on the page, not replacing them with images.
Unfortunately things have changed recently…
Posts with images perform better.
This A/B test by Buffer for instance proved that posts with visuals attracted more clicks from Twitter.
They attract a larger audience.
Posts with visuals stand out in social media and thus, help grab more users’ attention.
They keep readers on a page for longer.
For one, images and visuals make the post seem longer and get the person to spend more time reading it.
They attract more links too (at least according to this post).
And also, they help communicate the information quicker.
Why, because we humans process images 60000 times faster than text. And thus, visuals in posts help to convey the main message faster.
It’s true then:
As content creator your job is now not only to write elegant and engaging words but also support them with appropriate visuals.
#5. Change your keyword research habits
When I started in SEO, writing content looked more or less like this:
You’d use software like Market Samurai, Long Tail Pro or something similar to find keywords worth targeting. Next, you’d write copy to include the said keyword a certain amount of times (that was called keyword density) and… you were done.
All you had to care about was the number of times the keyword appeared in the copy, ideally in an unchanged form to help search engines match it with a search query.
Luckily that’s all long-gone.
Thanks to semantic search, Google and other search engines are now far better at understanding the intent and context of the query and matching it with relevant content.
But that also means that the keyword research has changed too.
Instead of just including the main key phrase you need to sprinkle your copy with more LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords.
LSI keywords are terms relevant to your target phrase but not necessarily including the same words or terms.
- “Latest Macbook”
- “The new Mac book”
- “The latest Apple laptop”
Including LSI keywords extends the amount of queries your content could rank for.
To find out more, check out this great guide on conducting keyword research for semantic search.