- Good content writing depends on a combination of writing skills and SEO skills.
- Content writers should read as much and as widely as possible to improve grammar skills and to expose themselves to a variety of voices and styles.
- Content writers need good routines that allow for research, outlining, writing, and revision.
- Digital tools can help catch grammatical errors and instances of plagiarism.
- Readers want relevant, authoritative, well-written content. SEO should be informed by the writing, not the other way around.
As we emphasized in Part 1 of our Content Writing 101 series, the biggest ranking factor for content is good writing. In other words, content that is relevant and well-written tends to outperform content that relies on good SEO alone. That’s why successful content strategy depends on a combination of good SEO and good writing.
So what does this mean for SEO professionals looking to boost rankings, attract more traffic, or increase conversions? If you find writing more than a little challenging, don’t worry. Maybe you love writing and just want to level up your skills. Maybe SEO is your true forte and writing just happens to come with the job.
Whatever the case, we’ve put together a guide to good content writing for SEO professionals just for you. You’ve got the skills you need to get your content in front of audiences – now make sure your message is as impactful as possible with these writing tips.
Content writing tips for SEO professionals
- Read A LOT.
It’s not enough just to do some cursory research every time you have an assignment. To boost your skills as a writer, you should read a lot, and read widely. Reading doesn’t just help you polish your grammar skills naturally, but it also exposes you to a variety of voices and styles – crucial for content writers who are often responsible for adopting different personas across pieces.
Read whatever entertains you, whether it be true crime, mystery novels, non-fiction, or just the news. But get outside your comfort zone, too. It’s also a great idea to read industry blogs and articles, both in your own industry and those of your clients.
- Create a writing routine.
Find a system that helps you find your flow. Figure out what time of day you work best, and in what kind of environment. Do you need absolute quiet with no distractions, or do you feel stimulated by the buzz and motion of a café?
Make sure to account for time to research, outline, write, and revise (more on all that below). You may find you need different conditions for different stages of your writing process.
- Use outlines.
This is especially important when working with tight deadlines or short turnaround times. Outlines may seem like extra work – if you know what you’re going to write, why not just get started? – but they actually make your writing process much more efficient. Outlines give you a roadmap to use as you work through your piece. Without that roadmap, you can get lost pretty quickly and end up wasting time on dead ends in your writing.
This doesn’t mean you have to start with an outline right out of the gate. In fact, many writers prefer to do some research and even brainstorming or free-writing in order to drum up ideas for a particular subject.
But once your research or brainstormed ideas start to point in certain clear directions, it’s a good idea to outline the major points your blog or article will hit. We guarantee it’ll make the writing process much faster.
- Don’t forget to revise.
Good editors are a godsend in SEO content writing, but you can make their lives easier by always making time for revision in your own writing process. Revision doesn’t just help get your blog or article ready for publication – it also helps you learn about your own process, tendencies, and strengths and weaknesses as a writer, which will improve your skills in the long run.
- Don’t get (too) hung up on grammar.
Lots of content is more casual than what we might be used to from school. This means you can often err on the side of what will sound most natural to the reader. Don’t worry too much about starting sentences with “but” or using fancy vocabulary. Readers will resonate more with writing that sounds conversational yet credible.
That said, you should brush up on the basics of punctuation, capitalization, and how complete sentences work. Check out our guide on Ten Grammatical Errors that Damage Your Credibility for a quick lesson.
- Build an arsenal of digital tools.
You already know that analytics tools like SEM Rush can help you use data for keyword research and content calendars. But there are some great post-writing tools available, too. No one’s perfect, and some of us just can’t ever remember if it’s “affect” or “effect.” That’s where good revision tools come in. Grammarly is a great place to start, with its proofreader function and plagiarism checker.
- Write for readers first.
As we’ve said before, your content strategy should prioritize the reader’s experience first and foremost. Today’s readers are savvier than ever, and they can see through shallow content pretty quickly. While it’s tempting to put your mad SEO skills to use crafting the most technically-sound, data-driven pieces possible, even Google prefers well-written, relevant, authoritative content.
Don’t worry – your SEO skills play a crucial part in any content strategy. They should simply be used to complement and strengthen the writing, not the other way around.
We hope these tips are helpful in your quest for good content writing. But if you’d rather trust the experts, don’t hesitate to reach out to Redefine Marketing Group. We’d be happy to answer your SEO content writing questions!