Remember “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” where Indy has to face 3 challenges before he can reach the Holy Grail? Writing website content that search engines will smile upon is kind of like that — only there are way more than 3 challenges and they’re always changing. Also, I don’t have a cool fedora.
What I do have is a little trick we call search engine optimization (SEO). It’s a content writer’s “Grail Diary,” helping me navigate the challenges so I can get to the treasure (which is readers like you). Optimized content has a much better chance of making it through the search engine trials — so brands should never enter any marketing maze or content cave system without an SEO content writer by their side.
Luckily, that’s what SEO content writing services are for. Here’s a look at the what, why and how — plus some of my favorite examples of content writing that survived the trials.
Your SEO Content Writing Glossary
Much like archaeology, SEO services come with all kinds of specialized lingo. To fully appreciate SEO content writing services and how they help you navigate the marketing landscape, it’s important to take a closer look at a few key terms:
You know SEO is “search engine optimization,” but what does that really mean? Well, nobody puts it better than Google itself: “SEO is about helping search engines understand and present content.”
Basically, optimized content knows how to “speak search engine.” That has a lot to do with keywords, but website content also needs to address searcher intent, provide valuable information and include trustworthy links. The better your writing is, the more valuable it will be — and that value is how the search engine decides what to present to users.
A search engine results page, or SERP, is one big leaderboard. If search engines think your web content is relevant, well-written and easy to read, they might show it first on the SERP — and if they don’t like it, you’re banished to a faraway realm like the 23rd “O” in the Google search.
Yeah, right about there.
SEO Content Writer
SEO content writing is 1 of 9 major types of copywriting. A professional writer in this profession is particularly savvy because, on top of all the storytelling tactics and grammar rules that go into everyday writing, they also need a solid understanding of search engine algorithms, keyword research and more. They might not be able to help you find the Holy Grail, but they can usually help you rank better on the SERP.
SEO Content Writing Services
When you work with a content marketing agency, you’re usually getting SEO content writing services. That means you have a team of dedicated SEO strategists and content writers who work together to create a balance between 3 things:
- What needs to be communicated.
- What readers want to find.
- What search engines are looking for.
Why Do Brands Need an SEO Writing Service, Anyway?
The thing about the Holy Grail is that Indy only had to go through those challenges once to reach it. Optimizing your writing for search engines, on the other hand, is something you have to do every time you create website content. Sometimes you even have to reoptimize older content to make sure it can still get through the search engine trials.
That’s why brands need SEO content writing services: It’s too much to do on your own.
Here are a few other benefits of having a content writing service to help navigate these SEO challenges:
- An SEO content writer is a trustworthy expert. Search engines are constantly updating their algorithms. With SEO services, you always have access to content writing specialists who keep up with these changes and adapt their writing styles accordingly.
- Keyword research is a delicate art. If you don’t want to be found guilty of keyword stuffing, you need to know how to use the right words at the right times. Seems like a job for a writer, doesn’t it? Plus, SEO content writers are surrounded by strategists, editors and other experts who back them up, so you’ll have a whole team to help you navigate the search engine trials.
- SEO content writing is still storytelling. You can’t cater to search engines alone when creating optimized content. You also have to consider searcher intent, which means you need to tell a cohesive story. Naturally, that’s where a content writer comes in.
- Your site needs constant content. If you don’t provide a new blog post every week or keep your social media updated, search engines will see you as old news. SEO content writing services help you stay ahead by providing constant content that both current and potential customers will love.
- You have other things to do. Let’s be honest: You probably don’t have the time or energy to get inside a search engine’s head. SEO copywriting experts can do the work for you, giving you more time to focus on other things your customers need.
Long story short, you wouldn’t go after the Holy Grail without your trusty fedora, so why would you face search engines without help from SEO content writing services?
How Do SEO Content Writers Work Optimization Magic?
You know by now that content can be optimized. But did you know that the content creation process can be optimized too?
That’s right — and as an SEO content writer, an optimized process is critical for me. It’s the difference between writing a smooth, SEO-friendly article and getting crushed by a giant boulder. (Yes, I know that’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and not “The Last Crusade.” The image was too good to resist.)
Here’s what that process looks like in action:
- Topic Ideation and Keyword Research
When it comes to content strategy, brainstorming and research go hand-in-hand. Sometimes I do research first to find out which topics to pursue, and other times someone brings an idea to the table and then I find out how it fits into an overall SEO strategy — but either way, it’s the homework stage. (Indy tells us, “70% of all archaeology is done in the library.” This is that 70%.)
Once the keyword research and SEO strategy steps are complete, I analyze my topic from a searcher’s perspective. I ask things like:
- Why would someone be searching for this?
- What information would they find valuable?
- How can I structure this blog post, landing page or other online content to create the best user experience?
- Outline Creation
Next, I create an outline. This guides the direction of the overall article writing process, but it also helps me make sure I’m discussing the right subtopics and including relevant keywords in all of my section headings.
- Writing and Editing
When the outline is complete, I begin writing. I’m always careful to balance storytelling and marketing goals with SEO best practices, and the result is website content that works on multiple levels. After that, other SEO writers edit the piece to make sure I didn’t accidentally use a keyword 5 times in a single sentence.
I don’t face the search engine trials unprepared. Instead, I send my content through a variety of tests to make sure it matches up with current algorithms and has the potential to rank highly. (Indy also says, “If you want to be a good archaeologist, you gotta get out of the library!” This is where I do that.)
- Celebration or Review
Finally, it’s time to face the search engines. My content is posted on a website or social media platform, where the SEO strategy team and I watch to see how it will fare in the challenges. If it ranks highly on the SERP, we throw a search-engine-themed party. If not, we review the algorithms and reoptimize for better results.
Our Favorite SEO Content Writing Examples
So, what does SEO content writing look like in action? Let’s see what website content looks like when it reaches the Holy Grail of marketing:
A Helpful Title — Eater Portland
Titles have a big role to play in SEO article writing, as you can see in this example. I searched for “best food on the Oregon coast,” and the first result on Google’s SERP was this article from Eater Portland.
The title includes a common search term — “where to eat” — and tells the search engine (and, by extension, me) that it contains valuable information about hotspots for meals and drinks. These details go beyond my original query by anticipating other questions I might have on the topic — another best practice for SEO content writing.
FAQs — Motortrend
Our next example comes from Motortrend, where the SEO content writer chose to phrase their section headings as frequently asked questions.
In this way, the Motortrend writer was able to cover multiple search queries in one blog post. They also brought in multiple parts of the audience by answering questions of increasing complexity; beginners could cover the basics in “What Is an Electric Car?” while electric vehicle fanatics could put top models head to head in “What Are the Best Electric Cars?”
Social Media Optimization — Nintendo of America
Don’t forget a search engine can also bring up your social media posts. This is a great example from Nintendo of America, where content is optimized in more ways than one.
This post has plenty of terms searchers are likely to use, especially “Pokémon.” It also uses “#ScarletViolet” to tell search engines it’s talking about a specific game in the franchise.
However, perhaps most importantly, it uses images to help bring context to its written content. If, like me, you had no idea what a “Lechonk” was, you’d probably be looking for a visual — and search engines know visual content makes your webpage more engaging, accessible and fun.
Learn the Best-Kept SEO Content Writing Secrets
Using SEO content writing services is like having Indiana Jones guide you through a cave system — except the cave is really a search engine and the treasure at the end is your target audience. With keyword research, best practices and strategy teams at our backs, SEO content writers help your brand appeal to readers and search engines alike.
Of course, SEO archaeologists never give up all their secrets. (That’s how the saying goes, right?) If you want to learn more about optimized content, SEO services and article writing, you’ll just have to subscribe to our newsletter — fedora not included.