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SEO content and copywriting, explained

If your website is to be successful, you’ll need to provide SEO-friendly content. This means content that makes both search engines and users happy. We explain what good SEO content is, and how to create it.

What is SEO content anyway?

One definition might be content that's primarily written for search engine optimization. However, this is a limited definition, because if you only have Google in mind when it comes to writing content, your readers might not enjoy reading it, or find it valuable!

So let’s try a different definition: SEO content should be understood as content that fulfills an important user need or search intention, and gives users real added value. At the same time, the content is structured and prepared in such a way that it can be crawled and understood by search engines, and reads well for humans on any device.

Your content is just one part of the SEO picture

Even if we're talking here about SEO content, you shouldn't forget that written articles are just one part of the content, and therefore only a part of the on-page SEO.

Because the best article in the world won't succeed if the website that hosts it doesn't work. Likewise, a technically flawless website won't work without high-quality content. This means that both website and content must work together. Both form the basis for on-page optimization.

Off-page optimization (via active and passive link building) is another important part. But link building only works if you optimally exploit the on-page potential of your website. Ideally, your high-quality content will naturally attract backlinks from relevant sources without active linkbuilding. That's when you know you're doing it right.

Remember also that while your website can get relevant backlinks from high-quality websites, but if your content isn't right and you can't convert your website traffic into longer-lasting users or conversions, these backlinks won't serve you either. The key is to use high-quality content to attract the right visitors.

How thin content can kill your authority

We've already mentioned the importance of high-quality content. But before we show you how to get there, let's discuss so-called "thin content". This might take the form of too short an article, or copied text.

Thin content can also happen when no relevant content can be found on your page at all. For Google, thin content is often an indication of a poor quality website. This page will then rank accordingly badly.

You should therefore always try to fill your websites with relevant and high-quality content. We'll show you what is important.

Tip: Ryte will help you track down “thin content”, like this:

Fig. 1: The "Word Count" report gives you an overview of pages with "thin content" and a detailed list of all affected pages.

SEO copywriting as part of content optimization

SEO copywriting can have a big impact on the success of your website. But this doesn't necessarily depend on how much copy you write, because text is only one part of the content on your website. Sometimes an image, an infographic or a video can tell the story better.

Images, videos and text should always work together, and never stand alone. You'll find out which content is the right one once you understand your target group and their needs properly.

Search intent: What needs does your target group have?

Website content can perform a variety of different functions. This can be reduced to three basic functions:

  • To sell

  • To inform

  • To discuss

When creating SEO content, you should keep one of these three goals in mind, and ask yourself what your users need when they come to your website.

In the case of an online shop, this is relatively clear: to buy something. For other website types, informational searches are very common. This can take a variety of purposes, such as searching for ingredients for a recipe, or searching for help with a technical problem.

Once you have identified the needs of your target group, you can proceed to keyword research!

Keyword research – what about the long tail?

SEO content typically focusses on a central keyword, around which the content revolves. You can therefore equate the main keyword with the main topic of your text. Important to note is that a keyword is often a combination of words.

So the more thoroughly and precisely you cover a topic with your content, the higher the probability that Google will also rank your optimized website for synonyms or related terms.

This has very concrete effects on your content production workflow. Let's assume you want to write a text about "health insurance". Only a few years ago, the content plan for such a topic would have meant writing several articles that cover the topic, for example one article for for each of the keywords “health insurance cheap”, “health insurance guide” and “health insurance costs”.

However, Google's search algorithms have become more sophisticated, and can now rank your holistic text on the subject of "health insurance" for these long-tail terms, provided, for example, a paragraph of your text deals with one of the topics in a meaningful way.

Fig. 2: Google shows the most helpful articles in the search results and now goes far beyond the main keyword when classifying them

Just a few years ago, when optimizing for search, you would have had to pay close attention to whether you aligned your text to the plural of the keyword or the singular. With the evolution of search, Google is now able to recognize that the content of your SEO text will not differ if the word is written in plural or singular ("health insurance plan" vs. "health insurance plans").

This makes the creation of SEO-friendly content less rigid, because web copywriters no longer have to write unnaturally. Now, they can naturally integrate main and secondary keywords into the texts without, for example, being forced to use a plural.

Fig. 3: The Ryte content analysis provides you with thematically relevant keywords to enrich your texts with the right keywords.

But it's still important to decide whether you want to rank with a generic, short keyword (like "health insurance") or with a long-tail keyword (like "best health insurance plans for men over 50 in UK").

The benefit of the generic keyword is that you can potentially drive more traffic. In addition, you have the opportunity to occupy a large "topic" with your website and thus strengthen the authority of your site for this topic. As a result, with the right internal link, corresponding subpages can also rank better.

A disadvantage of generic keywords is the potentially greater wastage . For example, if someone just enters the word "car" in the search field, many different ideas are hidden behind it. While some people would like to know what a car costs, others would like to know who invented the car for the first time.

And that brings us to long-tail keywords. The search volume decreases with these, but the search result is better targeted at the search query. So the chance is higher that your users will find exactly what they were looking for, and click/convert.

This plays a particularly important role in ecommerce, where optimization for the long tail can help to significantly increase your conversions without you ranking in the top 3 results for generic keywords.

Handy keyword research tools:

  • Google Search: Yes, you read that right. Do a Google search for keyword research. Enter the keyword and look at the search suggestions. Also, consider the “similar searches” at the bottom of the SERPs.

  • Google Ads Keyword Planner: This tool is part of Google Ads, and is designed to help advertisers find high-reach keywords. But you can use the Keyword Planner to determine the search volume for your terms, without paying anything. This gives you the opportunity to decide whether you want to optimize an SEO text, for example, for a topic that more people are looking for.

  • Google Trends: This tool can help you to identify seasonal or regional search trends.

Now that you've found your main keywords, let's move on to the next step.

Answer all the important questions

A very simple but effective approach to good SEO content is to answer all the possible user questions that could be asked about this topic by your target group.

The nice thing about this approach is that you can often integrate many of these questions directly into the article as a subheading. This gives you the chance to win a featured snippet in search results, or get into the answer box of the SERPs (which would be nice).

Above all, it's important that you put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Think carefully about what their need or search intent is, and how you can fulfill this need with your content, in order to create added value for your readers.

Keyword focus completes your texts

Your main keyword should ideally be found in all relevant parts of your SEO text . But that doesn't mean you're blindly stuffing keywords into it (those days are long gone!). Rather, you should check whether the key term occurs in all the key places:

  • Meta title

  • Meta description

  • H1 heading

  • 1st paragraph

  • Body text

  • Conclusion/closing paragraph

  • ALT tags

You can use Ryte Search Engine Optimization to examine your texts for these elements . Ryte provides you with individual reports on topics such as "headings", "descriptions" and "alt tags", and also gives you an overview of the elements of a specific page in the "single page analysis":

Fig. 4: The Ryte single page analysis provides an overview of all important on-page elements of your pages

Structure, structure, structure

SEO content can easily be found by both users and search engines. This means that you'll address the right readers with your content, and they can find what they're looking for. It also means that search engines can identify and index the content more easily. Therefore, SEO content needs structure.

That means:

  • Each article has an H1 heading

  • The article consists of several short paragraphs (for “scannability”)

  • If necessary, the paragraphs are provided with a subheading (hierarchically arranged SEO headings)

  • Important terms can be written in bold or in italics

Use meta tags to increase relevance and click-throughs

In order to create the keyword focus, you need to use an appropriate meta description and title. While the title is the only meta element that's still relevant for ranking (as of mid-2022), the description can increase the click-through rate in the SERPs.

A well-optimized title alone will not rank a website. But in a competitive environment, an it can bring a decisive advantage when it comes to top rankings. In less competitive keyword areas, even a small change in the page title can mean a leap forward in the SERPs. Try it out for yourself.

Should you pay for SEO content?

Not everyone can write SEO content to a high standard. Many companies face the decision of whether to buy SEO texts or write them themselves. When it comes to getting professional copywriting help from someone who knows how to do it, quality purchased copy can make all the difference in the SERPs.

However, copywriters should be up-to-date when it comes to SEO, and not just string together an article with a sprinkling of the right keywords. Ultimately, it's a question of quality. Whether that means paying someone to do it for you, or writing it yourself, is up to you.

Always keep in mind that articles make up a large part of on-page optimization. Even with the most technically advanced website, you won’t get far without well-written, search-optimized content.

Your SEO content is online – now what?

SEO does not consist of one-off actions, but of continuous work. This also applies to SEO content. It's not enough to fill the website with articles and then let several years pass before you revisit it.

Therefore, the content should be regularly checked, analyzed and, if necessary, optimized. Sometimes a content refresh is necessary. Other times, new content is required – for example, to cover an evolving topic better, with more up-to-date info.

Tip: Ryte can support you in creating and reviewing your articles, for example with the Ryte Content Editor, which shows you optimization potential for existing articles, or with the content analysis, which provides you with keyword recommendations for a given topic:

Fig. 5: The Ryte Content Editor provides you with suggestions for the SEO optimization of your articles.

Also check how, for example, bounce rates or session duration on your website are changing over time. If technical errors can be ruled out, negative user signals can also indicate deficiencies in the content.

Common myths about SEO articles, debunked

“The longer the text, the better”

False – it's not the length of the text that matters, but that an SEO article optimally meets a user need or intent.

“I need a keyword density of x percent”

False – keyword density is an outdated SEO concept. Instead, optimization via term weighting works better. A TF-IDF tool (like the Ryte Content Editor) will help you with this.

“Anyone can write website articles”

False – just like any craft, copywriting needs to be practiced regularly. Online articles get better with practice. So if you give SEO articles to inexperienced people, you're likely to get poor quality.

“Backlinks are more important than content”

False – there are many factors that make up a successful website. In order for backlinks to have any effect at all, the SEO basics of on-page optimization must be right. This also includes high-quality, unique content.

Summary: How to create good SEO content

Definitions on how to do this will vary. But here’s our working definition of what good SEO articles typically offer:

Unique: Good web articles are unique, and not copies or automated translations of existing content.

Added value: A good SEO article gives website users added value, and meets their needs.

As long as necessary, and as short as possible: Good SEO articles are concise, they do without unnecessary filler words, and are clearly structured.

An SEO article is good when the copywriter vouches for the quality of the text with his or her name, and the target reader would recommend the content to a friend without hesitation.

Does that sound like your content?

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Published on May 2, 2022 by Philipp Roos