How Writers Can Supercharge Their Content and Services with Basic SEO
Writing is an art, and quality content writers are valued highly by brands today.
But there’s another aspect of writing that’s more of a science. And this aspect has become a desirable skill for web copywriters: search engine optimization.
We’re not saying writers need to be SEO professionals. But writers who understand the basic principles of SEO in order to properly optimize content offer more value for their product and more efficiency to their processes.
But the majority of professional writers aren’t trained in SEO. After all, it’s a completely different profession.
A few facts:
- Most writers have not learned SEO on their own. It may be because they’re not sure where to start, don’t know how involved it’s going to be, or don’t have the budget or time.
- On the flip side, marketing teams rarely train their content creators on how to optimize content the best way. This is because the marketers either don’t know how to do it themselves or don’t take the time to train anyone else.
- Worse, writers are typically told to follow arbitrary SEO guidelines. These instructions don’t help them understand SEO any better. Nor do they learn exactly what search engines are rewarding when it comes to content. Guidelines like “use this one keyword” or “make all pages 1,000 words” are not SEO.
As a result, writers seldom naturally follow Google’s best practices for optimization.
Yet without this skill set, content writers can’t compete with other writers who do understand basic SEO.
This post is aimed at content creators who want to empower themselves with enough SEO knowledge to create more informed content — without the effort that comes with taking on a new discipline entirely.
In this post, you’ll find out:
- Why you, the writer, should care about optimizing the content you create.
- How WordPress plugins can help to guide your optimization efforts competitively.
- Ways you can inform and empower your content with data through a new WordPress SEO plugin that we’ve just released.
Why Should Writers Care About Optimization?
First things first: Google values quality content. So, professional writers who demonstrate expertise and authority in their writing already offer a leg up on the competition in the search results.
But quality content alone isn’t enough. Google’s algorithm uses countless ranking signals to determine if a webpage is relevant for a search query. And various search filters (like Panda) aim specifically at preventing poor-quality content from showing up.
It’s true that writing about a topic in a sense naturally optimizes that content. When an article focuses on a specific topic, you use words and phrases related to that topic throughout. But, key SEO insights can take that content further.
Keywords Still Matter
When it comes to content, keywords matter. While Google’s algorithm is getting smarter every day at identifying the most relevant content for a search query, it still relies on content clues.
How can you, as a writer, help search engines see the value in your content?
For writers, help comes in the form of keyword optimization and competitive analysis.
For example, it’d be great if you could easily:
- Analyze the top-ranking pages for your keywords to discover target ranges for page length and keyword usage.
- Visualize all keywords throughout the content you are writing so that you can better distribute keywords throughout.
- Be alerted if what you’re writing poses a duplicate content issue compared to other pages on the site, so you can avoid having that page be filtered from the search results.
- Check your content against the top-ranked pages for a keyword to understand if readability is on par with the best.
- View how pages are performing in search so that you can inform your writing with what’s working (and what may not be).
That’s why you want quality content plus SEO. It’s your best chance for any given webpage to show up in the search results.
What a Writer Needs to Know
Writers are not expected to know Google’s hundreds of ranking signals. (Even SEO experts don’t know all of Google’s secrets.)
But you can know the basic ranking principles when it comes to the content — the product — that you produce.
Side note: Check out our SEO Copywriting Checklist PDF for handy tips!
Rather than just providing writing services, you can deliver tangible results.
After all, why else are you paid for your writing?
Some of the most important content assets are webpages and blog posts.
These writing products need to be optimized for organic search. Otherwise, the business misses out on massive opportunities to drive traffic to its site.
So optimizing content is really a writer’s responsibility — whether the writer is in-house or outsourced.
By the way, according to the Content Marketing Institute, nearly half of all businesses use contract writers. Specifically, they found that 49% of B2C businesses and 47% of B2B businesses outsource content.
So companies rely heavily on contract writers to fill an expertise and resource gap. They need outside writers to make their businesses more efficient.
The other half of content writers work in-house. They are certainly charged with writing content that generates traffic.
At this point, some writers may be thinking …
I’m only comfortable focusing on what I know best. Let the company be responsible for what happens to the content after it’s delivered.
And that’s OK — until you start working alongside marketing and SEO teams for content. Without knowing basic optimization, you’re back to blindly following (often wrong) SEO guidelines without understanding why.
And, without understanding SEO, you’re not making the process efficient. The SEO team will likely have to go in and make adjustments to your content before publishing it.
This can feel intrusive and disagreeable. But it can get worse …
Over time, many of these companies will prefer working with writers who have a basic understanding of SEO to make things easier. They will rely on writers who can speak with insight on the optimization process.
By creating content that’s more targeted for organic search, you can alleviate some of the burden on their end. And you can increase demand for your services!
Luckily, there are tools that writers can use to inform their content creation with SEO best practices — without having to go through lengthy SEO training.
WordPress Plugins Help Bridge the SEO Knowledge Gap
WordPress is a leading content management system across the globe. It’s likely that most — if not all — of the websites you write for use WordPress (and you probably have one, too).
That’s what makes WordPress plugins a great option for SEO guidance when creating online content.
Writers often work directly in the website to create and upload content. And when they don’t, they often use their own WordPress sites as a testing ground for the content they’ve created before they deliver it to a client or boss.
Today, WordPress plugins exist to help lots of different professionals facilitate SEO.
However, until recently, they weren’t necessarily made with content creators in mind.
But the flaw for writers is that these plugins expect the user to know and make decisions about SEO.
They don’t customize the technical guidance based on competitive analysis. They don’t show analytics data to give the writer feedback. Instead, they can only offer standard best practices as the writer is creating content.
It’s time for writers to take optimization into their own hands … to create better, more targeted content that performs for their clients.
7 Ways to Create Optimized Content with the Bruce Clay SEO WP Plugin
The Bruce Clay SEO WP™ plugin fills the gaps where other SEO plugins fall short for writers (and SEOs, too).
Its features are designed with content creators in mind who want to write SEO-friendly content.
Let‘s look at seven features within the plugin that help writers deliver better content …
1. You can get customized optimization guidance based on top-ranked competitors.
Our plugin makes knowing some key metrics easy for writers. It offers insights on how to optimize the content based on analyzing the top-ranked competitors.
For example, how many words should be on a page? There’s no magic number because the answer depends (on things like query intent and competition behavior).
Some pages on your site might need to be 500 words and some 2,500 words to fare well in search results. It’s different for every keyword topic.
So the plugin evaluates the top-ranking webpages for your keywords. It examines total word count, title tag length, meta description length, the number of times a keyword is used, and other factors. And you get the resulting recommendations in real time as you write — versus having to find it out after you’ve published.
2. You can optimize content for more than one keyword.
Other SEO plugins only give you the ability to track one keyword in your content as you are writing (unless you purchase a premium version).
Content creators often work with multiple keywords, including a primary and secondary keyword per page. So they need to be able to see how their keyword set is performing in terms of how they are optimizing the page.
3. You can see a visual map of keywords within a post.
Even better than being able to track the numbers in terms of how many times you’ve used a keyword in a post is the ability to see it visually. This helps with keyword distribution, which ensures the keywords you’re using are properly distributed throughout the content on the page.
4. You get a reading level score compared to top-ranked competitors.
Every keyword will have different search results, and different pages within the top spots. When you’re able to understand the readability of your content compared to the top-ranking pages, you can easily make tweaks to better compete.
As an example, a medical website may have very different standards of what constitutes an “easy read’ versus a comedy website.
The plugin lets writers know instantly if the content is on par with the other pages in the top of the search results for a keyword.
5. You get automatic duplicate content warnings.
When multiple people are working on a website, duplicate content can happen.
The plugin automatically checks meta titles and descriptions to make sure they’re unique on the site. Alerts let you know when two titles or descriptions are identical. This helps prevent inadvertent duplicate content that could be filtered from the search results altogether.
6. You can view content performance data.
Writers often hand over their content and never find out how it goes. Wouldn’t it be great to see important metrics on your web content performance?
We wanted to give this kind of feedback to writers directly in WordPress!
With Bruce Clay SEO for WP, you can see important analytics data about your body of content on a website and individual pages. Then you can use that data to inform and improve future content.
Our plugin integrates with Google data to show you things like:
- Number of page views and average time on page, per page.
- Top-ranked posts or pages you’ve created (so you know which content to model).
- What queries are bringing search traffic to a page.
- Which pages are the top performers.
- Who are the top authors, and more.
7. You get access to rich, integrated research and analysis tools.
The robust SEOToolSet® powers the Bruce Clay SEO plugin. This is what sets it apart from server-based plugins.
Plugin subscribers can use additional, professional SEO tools and reports outside WordPress if desired. The integrated SEOToolSet is designed for specific SEO tasks like page analysis, keyword research, rank tracking, crawl error detection, and much more.
Access to the SEOToolSet is included with a plugin subscription — just for when you want a deeper dive into SEO.
Get the Bruce Clay SEO Plugin
This plugin is live! You can install Bruce Clay SEO on your WordPress site and try it out for a week for free — with a 7-day free trial.
Also, we made it fully compatible with Yoast. So you can take advantage of both plugins and give yourself a real competitive edge.
Start your free trial of Bruce Clay SEO for WP and see what your SEO plugin has been missing!