When it comes to writing content for the web, we can’t ignore Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It doesn’t matter how great your content is if the user can’t find it quickly. That’s why a good relationship between SEO and content is key to improve content visibility.
Here are some of the SEO content writing techniques that we use at USAGov that can help position your content higher on the Search Engine Result Pages (SERP).
- Figure out the user intent: A person visiting your site might want to know or do something or go somewhere in particular. Once you have an idea of the need you want to fulfill and what the user journey might be, it’s easier to do an outline of your new content.
- Stand out: Keep in mind that you should offer some extra value to your readers. Is there any service or information that only you can provide?
- Keep your topics relevant: Use specific terms that people will use to search for that topic in the title of your page. Also use those keywords and some variations of them in the meta description and on other parts of the page to tie the topic together. Ideally, your keywords should feel natural in your writing. For example, someone may search for “food stamps” or “food help” rather than knowing the name of a specific program like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
- Write content for a wide audience: Make sure the language is neither too simple nor full of complicated terms. At USAGov, we strive to write at a 7th grade level so that our content is easy to understand -- both by our users and search engines.
- Make sure your content can be scanned quickly. Short paragraphs, clear headings, bold text, bullet points and numbered lists make the text easy on the eyes. Search engines also favor content that is well-structured. Stay away from long paragraphs and sentences. Users tend to get lost in them, especially if they are on a mobile device.
- Make sure the content provides a complete answer: When you start writing, refer back to your research on your user’s intent (from tip #1). Make sure your content addresses all the key questions your audience is seeking help with, and make sure that you answer them. You may consider highlighting related questions under new subheadings to make them more clear to your user and the search engine. This will align your content with the users needs.
- Think mobile: Nearly any type of content you develop may be viewed on a mobile device, and building a strong user experience requires you to make sure it is ready for this Google also now favors mobile-friendly content in its search results, so designing content for mobile is good for search algorithms and your user experience.
- Try to make your content scrollable instead of forcing people to click through multiple pages, which can be challenging on mobile.
- Make sure any videos on your pages are compatible with smart devices.
- Make sure any buttons on the screen are big enough for mobile customers to use.