SEO Writing: Tips for Your Website & Blog

SEO-Writing

Ranking your website on google requires regular SEO writing and editing. 

Search engine optimization is an enormous industry with multiple specialties. Writing is just one of them.

In this article, I’ll go over what SEO writing means for your content and how to apply copywriting formulas that’ll create more meaningful interactions for users. I’ll also talk about some other things you should consider for a high Google ranking. 

SEO Writing Dates Quickly

Oh, did you see that flash? That’s all the technology of yesterday outpacing your sleep-wake cycle. 

Things evolve fast these days, especially in digital marketing. SEO writing is built around specific keywords and search behaviors that change more often than a teenager’s mood. 

Anything you wrote last year or before is probably outdated.

Updating your website and blog’s SEO writing is essential to improving your content’s performance. 

If you’re struggling to stay on track with marketing content, try creating a calendar in Google or Outlook, and use Excel to plan topics and keywords. 

Dos-and-donts-seo-writing

The Do’s and Don’ts of SEO Writing

What Not to Do with Your Content

SEO is divided into creative and technical sections. Creative includes things like SEO writing, image optimization, and developing multiple content types for the different parts of your sales funnel.

Technical SEO includes maximizing page load speed and ensuring the entire site is mobile friendly. There’s more to it than this, but speed and screen size adaptation are the most critical pieces.  

With commerce shifting to digital platforms, SEO is vital to your marketing plan. Search engines are brilliant, though, so here’s what not to do with your content in SEO writing:

I like focusing on what I should be doing, so let’s cover a few ways to optimize your SEO writing and maximize your content’s performance in Google.

What TO Do to Start SEO Writing

Whether you’re starting from scratch or overhauling an existing website, follow these steps to start ranking higher in Google.

Keywords should be well-researched and strategically placed. A few free keyword research tools include:

  • Your website’s Google Search Console
  • Google My Business Insights

Start with a one- or two-word primary keyword. Find medium-level competitive keywords in Google’s planner tool, and explore those further in search engines, on social media, and throughout your competitors’ websites.  

Use one primary keyword per page and post.  Create a long-tail keyword for every 500 words. Aim for a natural writing style while aiming for 0.5-1% keyword density for your primary and long-tail keywords.

Once you have a list of keywords and phrases you want to work with, it’s time to write!

Copywriting formulas for marketing content writing

Apply Copywriting Formulas to Your Website & Blog

Every company sells something. It makes sense to ensure your website’s pages and posts – even the strictly informational ones – have some copywriting to maximize online business performance.

Copywriting is the art of writing sales copy. It’s a skill set that requires a thorough review of the audience and a formulaic writing approach.

If you intend to sell something – a product, service, idea, promotion, or even yourself – copywriting convinces strangers to become customers and customers to become advocates. 

A couple of dozen copywriting formulas are available to help you enhance the visitor’s online experience and make you more memorable. I’ll show you my favorites below.

My Top 3 Favorite Copywriting Formulas

I start with one of these three copy formulas for web pages. Sometimes, they morph together on a single page, and other times I end up using an entirely different recipe.

Formulas help organize thoughts. Don’t be afraid to use them creatively. I encourage you to edit everything you write at least three times over two days before making it public!

Formula #1: FAB (Features, Advantages, and Benefits)

State the most prominent features that would interest your visitors.  Describe all the best advantages of those features.  Paint them a picture of how they’ll benefit from using your product or service.

Remember to include a call to action. Always ask the visitor to do something at the end of every page and post!

Formula #2: AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action)

This time-proven formula is everywhere. Use it a few times, and you’ll start recognizing it on your favorite websites and brands. 

  • Grab attention at the beginning.
  • Build on their interest
  • Create a desire
  • Inspire an action

Here’s an example from Moz:

Moz-AIDA-example SEO Writing

Formula #3: PAS (Problem, Agitate & Solve)

This one is quite popular and one of the easiest copywriting formulas to follow.    

  • Identify a problem or pain
  • Agitate the hell out of it!
  • Solve the problem.

As always, remember to ask them to do something at the end. “Call Today,” “Schedule Now,” “Add to Cart,” etc. 

Copywriting Formulas for Informational Pages and Posts

You may not think you need sales copy for informational pages posts. You’d be mostly right. You don’t need to sell anything on those pages, but you do need the flow of storytelling. That’s where the below formulas are useful.

If you get stuck on your informational pages and posts, start with one of these famous formulas to spark the creative fuse.

Formula 1: PASTOR

I start with PASTOR for blog posts, which include these six elements:

  1. Identify the person, problem, or pain point and capture attention.
  2. Amplify the problem or the consequences of not solving the problem and eliminating the pain. Do it dramatically.
  3. Create the story, solution, or system to solve the problem. Guide them to understanding.
  4. Offer testimonials or describe the transformation of the solution.
  5. Build an offer (spend most of your time in this section talking about the transformation above).
  6. Ask for a response or get them to act.

Formula #2: The 4 Ps

There are two versions:

  1. Picture, Promise, Prove and Push
  2. Problem, Promise, Proof, and Proposal

Both work well, depending on your topic. Experiment! See which one suits you best, or mix them up!

Formula #3: The 4 Cs

The 4 Cs help create a good topic flow by asking a few simple questions. 

  1. Is it clear?
  2. Is it concise?
  3. Is it compelling?
  4. Is it credible?

More Tips for Writing SEO Content

You’ve got your formulas, keywords, and I’m betting a few good ideas. Here are a few more tips for SEO writing:

Other Elements for a High Google Ranking

When optimizing your website for Google, there are a few other things to keep in mind:

  • Your website page load speed needs to be fast. If your pages take too long to load, they’ll go elsewhere. Test it on Google or Pingdom
  • Backlinks and a robust internal link profile can help you build authority.
  • Your website should have a responsive format so visitors can see it on multiple devices.
  • Offer visitors a safe and secure website with an active SSL certificate.
  • Verify your business information on directory listings to ensure there are no NAP issues. These issues arise when you have inconsistent contact and location information on different directors.
  • Social shares and signals indicate to Google your content is valuable.

SEO is a big project. Take one step at a time. Start with improving your content and checking your website’s health.

Marketing-Content-Brand-Consistency

Stay Ahead of Your SEO Writing

It’s kind of like when you make a resolution to go to the gym more often. You know you’ll need some help, so you enlist a friend or family member for support.

Receiving my monthly newsletter will help you learn new ways of communicating with your audience. Every month, I send out an email chock-full of helpful tips, learning materials, resources, and news about industry changes. Each issue includes topics like:

  • What’s New in Google – The Simple Version
  • Tips for Copywriting or Content Writing
  • New Ideas for Content Creation
  • Write This
  • Funny Day-in-the-Life Comic Series

My newsletters focus on providing you with useful information and tools that’ll make your marketing content writing tasks a bit easier.

Why Sign Up for ANOTHER Email?

It’s hard to justify adding your name to another email list when you hardly know me. My suggestion is the same as the advice I give myself: give it a shot! If you don’t like it, unsubscribe.

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3 Marketing Content Writing Tips You Shouldn’t Ignore

Marketing-Content-Writing-Tips

Crafting a well-worded email or business plan isn’t the same as writing marketing content for the web, social media, blogs, and ad copy. Here are two reasons why.

Reason #1:  People Internalize

We all see the world through a personal lens.  We find connections and relationships between new sensory data and what we know, or what we think we know. Then, we catalog it in one of those boxes we organize in our memories.

For example, Cool Water cologne brings fond memories of my childhood and hanging out with old friends. Sweet tea in a mason jar anywhere west of the Mississippi makes me nostalgic. 

The data I receive in each experience is new, but it’s categorized with things I already know, think, and feel.

Your customers are the same way. That’s why it’s important to write for them rather than for yourself and your business.

Reason #2:  We All Have Personal Bias, Especially with Money

We tend to be more biased about our products and services than others. For instance, as the seller, we want the highest price for our product or service. The buyer wants the lowest price for their desired quality. The middle ground is usually the fair market price/value. 

Most of us walk around thinking about our lives and what we need next to make it better or easier.

That gives you common ground for marketing content writing. You can better engage and attract a distracted audience if you remember that simple fact: they are looking for what’s in it for them. Focusing on them in communications will help your content performance in significant ways. 

But how can you do that? It’s not easy. It’ll take a lot of practice and research. If you’re DIY’ing your marketing content writing, here are three pieces of advice you shouldn’t ignore.

Copywriting formulas for marketing content writing

Tip #1:  Spend Some Time on Keyword Research, Headlines & Titles

Even if you’re not creating something for a search engine, you still want the company’s marketing content writing to reflect your customers’ interests and desires.

You can determine keywords by performing thorough research on platforms and websites like Google’s Keyword Planner, Google Trends, Answer the Public, Ubersuggest, and many others. 

I also like to use Google search autocomplete to see the most popular terms for common questions.

Marketing-Content-Google-Search

Check Google Search Console or Insights in your Google My Business profile to see what words people are using to find your website.  If you don’t have this yet, you’ll need to make some guesses until you have data to analyze.

When it comes to creating titles and headlines for pages or posts, follow simple copywriting formula rules. There are dozens. Some of my favorites are reviewed in Buffer’s article, 27 copywriting formulas.

Tip #2:  Grammar, Spelling, and Word Count Matter… A Lot

spellcheck-1292780Don’t bother writing pages or posts under 300 words these days. Google prefers at least 500 words of original content that’s formatted in a reader-friendly way. The longer the topic, the more relevant and helpful, the better.

Use a reliable spellchecker and grammar check. Don’t skip this part. Seriously. Nobody’s that good. However, a grammar checker isn’t going to do the editing for you. Edit your content at least three times over at least two days. You want to edit with fresh eyes. 

Grammarly is one of my favorite and most used tools. It helps catch those pesky typos and assists with rewording when necessary. They offer a free version, but if you’re doing a lot of marketing content writing, I’d recommend going for the pro version. 

My advice is to take a good look at your writing. Is it hard to follow? Full of errors? Is it made of one big paragraph? Ask friends and family for candid opinions.

If you’re not getting results or aren’t a great content writer, it’s time to consider hiring a reliable, long-term marketing content writing specialist.   

Marketing content writing is a specialty in the complex industry of communications. If this doesn’t convince you of the importance of good writing, here are some stats:

  • Three-quarters (74%) of online consumers look at your grammar, sentence structure, and spelling.
  • More than half (59%) will not do business with a company with many spelling and grammar mistakes in their copy.
  • Visitors will only read about 20% of your content, so make sure it’s a good story with plenty of arrows pointing to a call to action.
  • Most visitors read in an F-shaped pattern, which means they won’t even see a lot of your copy unless it’s engaging.
Marketing-Content-Brand-Consistency

Tip #3: Build Brand Awareness with Professional Marketing Content Writing

Writing website copy, ad materials, social media posts, and blogs should never be taken lightly. These are your brand’s personality and character. They’re the things people talk about when they think you’re not paying attention. 

Brand messaging is the key to consistency in your communications. It’s the part of marketing content writing that’s highly specialized and performed by creative artists who closely watch search behaviors.

Brand consistency includes things like:

  • Appropriate use of brand elements, such as logo, colors, and fonts
  • Predictable tone of voice
  • A regular point of view
  • Company values and social responsibility
  • Imagery that defines the business, tells a story, and is easily identifiable
  • Relevant, timely, and motivational calls to action
    • Stick with one direct call to action, like “shop now,” “schedule appointment,” or “buy today.”
    • All other calls to action, like “sign up for our newsletter” and “download this guide,” are transitional calls to action and just as important to your sales funnel.

Those are the obvious branding elements.  Some of the not-so-obvious ones include:

  • Image positioning and angles
  • Line spacing
  • Page formats
  • Shapes and icons
  • Quote/call-out fonts and layout

Everything matters when it comes to writing marketing content. I’ve seen small startups tank their business’ reputation because of poor writing and shabby digital communications. I’ve watched medium-sized companies over a decade old lose loyal customers because of disjointed messaging. 

In a world full of other people who offer the same thing as you, marketing content writing and branding is where you stand out. Don’t take that lightly.  

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3 Easy Ways to Improve Content Performance

Improve Content Performance

So, you have a website somewhere on the internet, but it’s not really doing a lot for you, and you know you need to improve content performance on the beast.  You’re not getting any leads, and traffic isn’t growing either.

If your website is a big ‘ol nuisance on your radar, and you’re not sure what to do about it, you’ve come to the right place.

Here’s the thing. If you have an active business, you need a website. Google and social media are where most consumers begin and end their buying journey. 

From initial research to online ordering and product reviews, digital commerce isn’t just about transacting with money online. It’s about connection, communication, and building virtual relationships.

Rather than scrapping the idea of doing some real digital marketing, try these three things to improve content performance on your website. There are many ways to improve this part of your digital storefront; however, I’m all about small steps, so the buck doesn’t stop here.

Check out the bottom of this article for more references and tools!

The Basics of Google’s Updates

Oh, Google.  The ubiquitous “they” in day-to-day conversation.  So big and mighty is Google that their algorithms can sniff out a lousy website like a veteran canine officer. 

The most recent Core update (Dec. 2020) is a tricky one and seems to have caused many losses at first, with many industries starting to see gains toward standard traffic momentum. 

Here’s what you need to know and do to keep up with the last year’s updates on Google:

For more information about content requirements for optimal rankings in Google, check out this article.

Here are three things you can do to improve content performance and boost rankings on your website. 

#1:  Re-evaluate Your Website Keywords to Improve Content Performance

Keywords change as often as the algorithms that index your searches like a digital library.  Search behaviors change like a teenager’s mood, so the keyword you used a few months ago may no longer be relevant. 

Take a deep dive into your top keywords. Don’t worry about using tools other than Google for this just yet. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends to help you figure out which keywords are better suited for your industry and topic. 

You can also check your Google Search Console performance area for common queries over the last 3-6 months. It’ll give you a good idea of what people are typing or saying into Google to find you. 

You may also find this information in your Google My Business Insights.

KEYWORD TIP

Aim for medium competitive words with more than 100 average searches per month. Don’t try to rank for the most competitive keywords! Choose one focus keyword (1-2 words) and a couple of long-tail keywords (4-6 words).

PAGE TIP

Use a different keyword for every page and post. Don’t cannibalize (overuse) the keywords, or Google will ding you for it.

#2:  Refresh, Reformat, and Reimagine Your Content

To improve content performance, you’re probably going to need to reimagine things a bit.  If it’s not performing well, then it’s likely not written in a way that attracts visitors or encourages them to continue scrolling. 

Make sure you’re focused on the customer, not your business, product, service, or yourself.  Remember, it’s not about you. It’s about them and what you can do for them.  Everyone is walking around this planet with the same thought: “what’s in it for me?”

Address the main problem you solve.  Explain, briefly, why what you can do is better than what your competitor can do. 

Start with one page, such as home or contact, to test different ways to improve content performance on that page. What do you want it to do?  Should it inform? Entertain? Lead into a form? Sell a product?

Trust me; you’re going to want a great writer for this project.  Repurposing content sounds easy, but it’s a difficult job that requires a unique skill set, especially when you want to rank in Google. 

Difference Between Copywriting and Content Writing

How do you know if you need a content writer or a copywriter?

Click here to discover the difference between the two.

#3:  Use an SEO Plugin to Improve Your Website Content

To help give search engine juice to your content, add a plugin like All-in-One SEO, a multidimensional SEO tool for small businesses. With more than 2,000,000 downloads, the AIOSEO toolkit is both easy to use and incredibly powerful.

An SEO assistant tool will make optimizing pages and posts quick and streamlined.  It’s one of the easiest ways to improve content performance. Some other options include Yoast and Rank Math.

These plugins are mainly built for WordPress because that’s what I use. Here, I mean wordpress.org, not wordpress.com.

WordPress is one of the fastest-growing CMS platforms in the world, and with good reason. It’s magic on SEO, and it’s totally open source, which means nobody is going to own your website but you.

Need some help with WordPress?

Check out my partner’s website to see if he's the kind of talent you need to help.

Additional Resources

3 Must-Haves in Your Content Marketing Plan

Content-marketing-plan

A content marketing plan is one of the most cost-effective ways to help potential customers find your website. But that’s only half the battle. Once you get them there, you need to provide high-quality, relevant information that answers their questions and keeps them engaged.

What is Content Marketing?

It’s the behind-the-scenes script.  A content marketing plan is a strategic approach for providing valuable, reader-friendly information to a targeted audience who’s expecting something from you. Generally, you’ll include at least a general timeline as well, such as “post to blog once a week” or “post 20 times to social per month.”

When you’re building your content marketing plan, make room for brainstorming topics to find fresh, compelling material that keeps people coming back to your website and spending more time on each visit.

Returning Visitors Google Analytics Content Marketing Plan
A content marketing plan and SEO campaign helped boost these results for a local restaurant in the middle of a pandemic. That’s how I roll.

With Google changing their algorithm to be more logical and content centered, this kind of plan is what every marketer and business owner should be focusing on as we adjust to the new requirements from the world’s largest search engine. 

Why Implement a Content Marketing Plan?

Implementing a content marketing plan helps businesses:

It’s Time to Focus on Content.

Content is King. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. However, there’s some fine print to our creative king – it’s not about pumping out content that’s so dense with keywords you could cut it with a knife. It’s not even about posting random content.

It’s about recognizing, honoring, and respecting the Queen of organization and nurturing as well. The two must work together to run a prosperous realm (business).

Remember, people turn to Google for information. Google’s goal is to provide the freshest and most applicable answers to its users’ questions. If you publish relevant, accurate content, then Google will notice and award you with higher organic search engine results.

Also, keep in mind that high-quality and compelling content is more likely to be shared. Google will share your content to their contacts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other popular social networking platforms.

The 3 Things Every Content Marketing Plan Needs

You can’t get onto a stage without a microphone. Websites, blogs, social pages, industry directories, news outlets, and SEO tasks all play significant roles in broadcasting your content marketing plan. These will be your channels and tools of communication. 

Once you have your list of tools and channels, add these next three pieces to your content marketing plan to get started. You don’t have to do everything all at once. Small steps are okay!

#1  Make a Calendar with Different Content Types

Everything is content, so consider the following types to include in your content marketing plan:

I’ll review how to write each one of these using simple formulas and tools in later posts. 

For now, start with what you know.  Pick one or two content types you can do. It’s a good idea to get a feel for the content projects before hiring out for them.

Regardless of the types you choose, the writing and design need to be thoughtful, relevant, free of errors, easy to read, helpful, and entertaining.

For content calendars, I use either Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, or Google Calendar. For some clients, I’ve had to use all three. Keep yours simple. Use Google to your advantage to find free templates that’ll help you get the ball rolling.

#2  Perform Market & Audience Research

You won’t do very well developing targeted content for your customers if you don’t know who they are, what they want, and or they spend their time online.  Identify your target audience by using data you already have, data from your competitors, or general research data. 

Understanding your buyer should be a top priority before attempting to implement a content marketing plan.

In defining your audience, be sure to explain their problem or desire for which you have a solution.  Make your offer clear, followed by the reason why you’re offering this product or service.  

Important Reminder

You are not the customer. Your audience may be different from what you expected, so make no assumptions. Keep an eye on your sales and most profitable leads. Who’s buying from you? Be ready to modify this audience regularly. They change their behaviors and attitudes as often as a teenager.

Clarify who your service is for, and be as specific as possible. For example, my primary audience is entrepreneurs and small businesses. That’s pretty broad, so I break that down further to marketing managers and those looking for some DIY support.

Mostly, the people I talk to have a product or service they can and are willing to sell online. 

How am I doing? 😊

Finally, research your competition. What types of content are they publishing and where? Are they running ads? SpyFu is a great tool that can help you with this part of the research.   

#3  Use an SEO Plugin

I use WordPress, so all my plugin suggestions have been tested only on that platform. WordPress is the #1 CMS in the world and the fastest-growing. Note, I’m referring to wordpress.org not wordpress.com. The difference is between renting and owning your website.

SEO writing is the Golden Snitch of digital marketing. Catch it, and you’ll likely win the game. Search engine optimization is a core element to any successful content marketing plan. A plugin and online platforms can help make this process simpler and more efficient.

A few of my favorite WordPress SEO plugins include:

Getting started is always the hardest part. Your content marketing plan doesn’t need to be an enormous, exhaustive document. Just include the basics:

  • Who’s the audience?
  • What do they want?
  • What do you offer?
  • How will you sell it to them?
  • How will you promote it to them?

Refer back to your plan regularly and adjust it as needed.

As always, if you get stuck, reach out! I have more than a decade of experience writing digital and traditional marketing and sales content.  Together, we’ll find a way to communicate with your audience.

Want Better Content? Make Sure Your Team Knows This TRUTH

Want Better Content? Make Sure Your Team Knows This TRUTH


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3 Things You Should Know

LinkedIn for Content Marketing: 3 Things You Should Know


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