There are a lot of content writers out there and the reality is that most writers are actually pretty good. However, one of the issues we often find with content writers is that while they know that writing with SEO is important, they have little understanding of the right way to actually do SEO for article writing.
What is the purpose of your blog?
If the object of writing content for your blog is to increase traffic to your website and gain customers; writing fluffy, feel good content without considering what people are searching for is not going to do it. Your lovely content is going to sit on your website and, likely, the only people who will read it will be people who are already on your website.
As with any content on your website, what people are searching for is always going to get you more traffic. SEO article writing, awesome content which reflects peoples search intent is really the only way to add content.
Keyword Research for SEO
So how do you find out what people are searching for or want to know? First port of call should be the people in your business who interact with customers. They will know. Ask them what the most common queries they get are. What things do they think it would be useful to have information about? This information forms great seeds in your exploration of what to write about.
If you have a mailing list, you could even use that to ask existing customers and prospects directly. Next time you create an email to customers add a section at the end and be honest.
Jim, we are always on the lookout for topics for our blog. We wondered if you could respond to this email with one or more topics you would like to see us cover on our blog that you think would be helpful to you and other customers.
Once you have some starter terms, ideas, keywords; you can dig in. Tools like Google Trends which allows you to enter topics to get a sense of the interest in that subject or term can be a good start. Google itself is a good source of what people are searching for. Enter in search terms, ideas and keywords to Google and look at what Google suggests focusing your search on. These suggestions are based on what other people have searched for.
If you click on ‘Google Search’ and go to the bottom of the results page you will see further suggestions from Google, again based on previous searches:
You can also of course, look at other articles about the subjects you are interested in and glean keywords and content ideas from those articles, particularly the ones appearing at the top of the search engine results page.
And Google now also incorporate for most searches featured snippets and questions and answers, which again will guide you in what people are searching for.
Once you have a list of keywords and content title possibilities you can use a keyword research tool to further refine your research with an indication of search volume for those terms.
Keyword Tools for SEO friendly content
The easiest way to do this is to use your Google Ads account (if you have one) and use the Keyword Planner tool. If you have Google Search Console set up for your site, you can also use the search queries function there (to find keywords). Try a free keyword research tool such as Soovle, Ubersuggest or Keyword Sheeter though these may not be so good at giving you search volume. There are also any number of paid for digital marketing tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs or Moz which have keyword research tools. If you are still stuck for topic ideas you can use a tool like Answer the Public (SEMrush has a similar function) a fantastic free tool (though there is a paid version) which will actually give you possible article titles/subjects.
Getting the SEO Optimised Blog written
Once you have keywords and subject ideas create a content planner using a spreadsheet (Google sheets is great if you need to share it) or one of the online project management tools such as Monday or Trello. You’ll need to indicate things like:
- Blog Topic
- Title (using well searched keywords)
- A paragraph explaining what the article is to be about.
- Tone of the article; warm, authoritative, fun etc.
- What category it is in (if you have numerous products or services)
- What buyer stage people who read the article are in (awareness, interest, consideration, decision)
- Who is writing the blog
- A due date
- A publish date
- Keywords to be used in the blog
- Any visual assets you’ll need (images etc that are also named with keywords)
- Expected opengraph or schema tags
- Places you will post links to the blog (Facebook, LinkedIn etc)
- Places you will do paid promotion of the blog
Once a writer has this information he or she can create an article that will have some possibility of gaining attention because it will fill all the boxes for Google.
Don’t create content and then try to retrofit it with keyword research. Start with keyword research based on what people are searching for. Ensure your content uses relevant keywords throughout the post and of course, make sure that it’s actually useful for people who find it and read it.
There are a few other things you should be doing to optimise blog content for search. If you are not sure what they are, feel free to email me; or lookout for my next article.