What Is an SEO Article? Why Should You Write One? And How?
You’ve just written an article. And you think it’s pretty good. But is it fit to compete with the millions of other articles in Google’s index on the same topic? In this post, I’ll explain how to boost your articles so that they can be the most relevant for a person’s search on the topic. Read to learn:
What Is an SEO Article?
An SEO article is a piece of written content like a blog post that is featured on your website as a page with a unique URL. An SEO article educates, informs and/or entertains your target audience with expertise and quality. An SEO article is also optimized for search engines so that it has a better chance of getting on Page 1 of the search results.
Why Should You Write an SEO Article?
Here are six reasons why you should write an SEO article.
1. Web content is why Google exists.
Webpages, including articles, are what search engines like Google store in their index. When someone performs a search, the engine analyzes their query and matches it to the most relevant indexed items. Without these webpages, Google would have nothing to show users in its search results.
2. Google’s algorithm is getting smarter all the time, but it still needs help.
An SEO article is optimized for search so that it can help search engines better understand what the topic is about (see Google’s Webmaster Guidelines for more on this). This increases the chance it will be considered relevant to a query and show up on Page 1 of the search results.
Search Engine Optimization is about helping search engines understand and present content.
3. Being found for a search can impact your revenue.
The organic search channel drives more than 50 percent of traffic to a website on average (and up to 64 percent for B2Bs). Organic search is also responsible for up to 59 percent of revenue over other channels.
4. You can establish your expertise and authority on a topic.
Google places more value on websites with high expertise and authority, and a well-written article is one of the key ways to demonstrate this.
High quality pages and websites need enough expertise to be authoritative
and trustworthy on their topic.
-Google, Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines
5. Delight your intended audience.
SEO articles can result in things like return visits to your site, more time on your site viewing other content, and conversions.
Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factors discussed here. Users know good content when they see it and will likely want to direct other users to it. This could be through blog posts, social media services, email, forums, or other means. Organic or word-of-mouth buzz is what helps build your site’s reputation with both users and Google, and it rarely comes without quality content.
-Google, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide
6. Beat your competition in the search results.
How Do You Write an SEO Article?
To write an SEO article, you need at least these two things:
- A professional writer and a subject matter expert.
- SEO tools that can provide the data you need to optimize the content.
Here are eight key steps to writing an SEO article.
Step 1. Define the document specs.
First, specify the basic article facts such as the topic, target keywords, meta title, meta description and URL. At the top of your document, create a table that contains the key details for the new content. This table helps you organize all the details of a well-optimized article before you start writing.
Step 2. Create expertly written content.
Google wants the search results on Page One to have an element of expertise. That’s because Google wants its users to be satisfied with its results. Quality content keeps your audience happy, too.
That said, before you write an article, make sure you have at least one of the following:
- Subject matter expertise or a subject matter expert you can interview
- Writing ability or a professional writer
- An expert editor
For example, if you are the subject matter expert but you’re not confident in your ability to write, hire a ghostwriter or editor. If you are a writer, make sure you have access to a subject matter expert (or really great research skills) to help you craft the piece.
From Google’s SEO Starter Guide, here are two pieces of sage advice:
Expertise and authoritativeness of a site increases its quality. Be sure that content on your site is created or edited by people with expertise in the topic. For example, providing expert or experienced sources can help users understand articles’ expertise. Representing well-established consensus in pages on scientific topics is a good practice if such consensus exists.
Users enjoy content that is well written and easy to follow.
– Writing sloppy text with many spelling and grammatical mistakes.
– Awkward or poorly written content. …
Step 3. Use SEO tools.
Many writers are not trained in SEO, so mastering an SEO article can be intimidating. Good news: SEO tools exist that can help writers easily optimize their content.
For instance, Bruce Clay’s WordPress SEO plugin helps content creators get SEO data before, during and after the writing process. So articles are optimized with best practices for a specific search query (not blanket best practices that aren’t that useful).
Step 4. Research keywords (aka search queries).
What is your audience typing into Google’s search bar when looking for the info you have on your website?
In its SEO Starter Guide, Google explains the very basics of keyword research:
Think about the words that a user might search for to find a piece of your content. Users who know a lot about the topic might use different keywords in their search queries than someone who is new to the topic. For example, a long-time football fan might search for [fifa], an acronym for the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, while a new fan might use a more general query like [football playoffs]. Anticipating these differences in search behavior and accounting for them while writing your content (using a good mix of keyword phrases) could produce positive results.
You want to have at least one primary search term you optimize your article with, and up to two secondary keyword phrases. Does that mean you have to use more than one? No. But it can be an advanced strategy for some.
At this point, it’s worth noting that an article will be naturally optimized when you write it. That’s because if you write enough (quality) words on a subject, the words you use will describe the content well.
So why optimize? To help your great content better compete in the search results. When you use specific keyword queries in your content, it can signal to Google that your content is more relevant to the searcher’s query than other content like it out there.
Step 5. Identify and analyze the competition.
Did you know that your competition online consists of the top-ranked pages for your keywords? These are the webpages in which you are vying for attention in the search results.
Once you have your keywords, you can begin a competitive analysis. Using the right SEO tools you can find out which pages are ranking in the top spots on Google for your search query.
This is where things get good. Armed with that data, you are not blindly following general SEO best practices (“It must be 1,000 words!”) for your article. You are optimizing specifically to be on par with — or even exceed — the top results for that keyword.
For example, Bruce Clay’s WordPress SEO plugin examines your competition and presents data such as:
- Total word count to aim for
- The title tag and meta description length
- The number of times a keyword is used
- The readability score of your SEO article compared to the top-ranked webpages
(And all of this is in real-time before or during the writing process, not after.)
Step 6. Optimize the content in your SEO article.
At this point, you should have both the well-written article and your keywords. Now is the time to optimize.
You want your keywords to show up naturally in the content. So the first step is to identify where you might be able to switch up a few words or phrases with your key terms.
Rule No. 1: Always make sure it reads well. Slapping your keywords any old place without regard to grammar can make your article look spammy to Google and annoy readers.
Optimize content for your users, not search engines … Designing your site around your visitors’ needs while making sure your site is easily accessible to search engines usually produces positive results.
– Inserting numerous unnecessary keywords aimed at search engines but are annoying or nonsensical to users. …
-Google, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide
In general, you want your keywords to be evenly distributed throughout the content from top to bottom. For more on this, see our in-depth article on how to use keywords in content, and check out our handy and printable .
Step 7. Review the content.
Depending on the size of your organization or circumstances, you will also need an editorial and SEO review prior to the article being published. This can ensure that the article is written well, free of errors, and in line with Google’s guidelines.
Keep in mind that if you are accepting guest posts, you should hold that content to the same standards as the content you produce in-house. Not doing so can have serious implications for the quality of your site.
As an example, guest posts done wrong can cause a site to get hit with a manual penalty from Google.
8. Track the Content’s Performance
Writing an SEO article is not a set-it-and-forget-it approach. You will want to track the performance of that article and learn from the data.
Using Google Analytics or an SEO tool like our WordPress SEO plugin, you can view how an SEO article is performing in search. You’ll want to look at things like:
- The number of page views
- Average time on page
- What queries are bringing search traffic to that SEO article
Google Analytics and Google Search Console data displayed in the Bruce Clay SEO WP plugin
With this data, you can:
- Learn what’s working and not working in comparison with your other SEO articles
- Update the content with new more relevant keywords
Compete Better in the Search Results with Optimized Articles
An SEO article is a quality, search-optimized article written for both readers and search engines. These articles have a better chance of getting on Page 1 of the search results.
There are several reasons why you’d want to write an optimized article, including getting more traffic to your site from the organic search results.
With the right process and tools, like those mentioned in this article, you are on your way to winning over both your readers and the search engines.
If you use WordPress, take our plugin for a 7-day free trial here: Bruce Clay SEO for WP