14 Top SEO Tips For Content Writers in 2022
The following is a complete SEO guide for Content Writers in 2022
Search Engine Optimization is constantly changing and evolving, and sometimes it can be difficult to know how to properly structure and optimize your article or story, to make search engines and your readers happy. There have been quite a few new content trends that have made their way to the top of the list this year of “the most important top SEO tips to follow from a content perspective”. You are going to want to follow these 14 Top SEO Tips for Content Writers.
This guide provides a complete breakdown and overview of the most important trends and necessary steps to be aware of as you write your next story. Here is a highlight of what will be covered:
- Page optimization for web search
- Featured snippet tips
- Tips on how to structure and ask for backlinks
- Why you should include text-to-video
- Page length recommendations
- Using emotion in your content
- Why and how you should optimize old pages
- Why you shouldn’t keyword stuff
- Tips on how to structure internal linking
- How to write for FAQs
- What are long-tail keywords and how to utilize them
- How to choose and structure your focus key phrase
- Yoast SEO tips
- Yoast SEO image attributes tips
#1 Optimize your webpage for voice search
65% of traffic (and growing) comes from a mobile device. This means many things. But one important factor that stands out is that a lot people use voice command to search on the internet. Here’s how to optimize for voice search:
- Use Long-Tail keywords, to provide search engines with more information, (suitable for specific searches). Just remember to avoid keyword stuffing
- Take a look at your list of queries and turn that into a question. When answering that question, make sure you provide a clear, but detailed answer. Putting the question in your headline is a good idea, but make sure you follow up with the answer in the first paragraph
- Make your content conversational, (this is where long-tail keywords come in)
- Cater your content by optimizing your queries for a featured snippet
- Create FAQ-related content. Searches typically begin with “who, what, when, where, why, & how”. To optimize your page, answer your FAQs with a “conversational-like” answer. And within your page title question, SEMrush recommends including “fillers”, (I, the, of the, on the, to, for, etc.)
#2 Featured Snippet
As previously mentioned, everyone’s goal is to have their page content show up as a featured snippet on search engines. This should be your goal as well! Why? Because this is the very first thing you see at the top of a search. One thing to point out first, featured snippets play a big part in voice searches. Here’s how to structure your article to show up as a featured snippet:
- Put out content that features “how to” guides or tutorials
- FAQs are perfect for a featured snippet. When appropriate, format your content for a FAQ
- Know your keywords for your brand, topic, and the theme of your story. These keywords will most likely be what someone is searching for, and what search engines want to see in your article to be considered for a featured snippet
- You can structure your story to be potentially used as a featured snippet through a paragraph, a list or a table. Moz reports that Google loves structured content; (numbers, steps and lists), so find a way to incorporate that into your article
- Quick pro-tip, Search Engine Journal recommends for the specific featured snippet part of your story, to be no more than 42 words and 250 characters for paragraphs (using “what” and “why”), no more than six items and 44 words for lists (using “how” and “why”), and no more than five rows and two columns with 40 to 45 words
- Long-tail keywords! Those play a big part to show up as a featured snippet
- Structure your content in a way that someone would ask a question on a search engine
- Know your top and low performing queries and keywords so you can structure your stories that are related to those terms
- Having keywords and backlinks within the first paragraph for your desired featured snippet article(s) is also a good idea. But make sure you’re only using one main targeted keyword within your page title, meta description, and H1 tag
- Incorporate eye-catching images and ditch the stock photos. (This is important for overall SEO, not just for a featured snippet). Stick with unique and original images for better ranking. Believe it or not, it starts with visual content rather than actual text. If your image isn’t popping out or standing out as its own, you’re losing clicks. Visualization and visual experience are among the topmost important aspects to pay attention to in 2022
- Stick to two-three sentences, NOT in the first person language. When answering a question, use “is”, while also adding “what is” within your heading. Words like “why”, “do”, and “can” are good choices to use for a featured snippet. Whereas the word “where” is the least important
- Take advantage of structuring a story to show as a featured snippet that features keywords you are already ranking high for (aka low-hanging keywords). This is the fastest or easiest way to have one of your pages show up as a featured snippet
Acquiring backlinks is one of the most important trends that search engines want to see. Adding more backlinks should be towards the top of your to-do list, since backlinks are the heart of SEO. Gaining backlinks are also crucial to the strategy because it builds authority and makes your site more reputable.
- Ask people to add your article/story to their website. Reach out to your contacts and think of something as an offer in return for a backlink, (since that is what would be desired from others). Delta Marketing put together a great step by step guide on how to ask for backlinks
- Acquire more guest blogging to expose your website and share your content through other outlets. You should also attempt to guest blog as well to link back to your site. The same goes for appearing as a guest on podcasts or participate in an interview, in exchange for a backlink
- E-books, infographics, longer blogs, testimonials, and how-tos, are great content forms to try and gain backlinks
- Stan Ventures recommends “Contact influential bloggers and brands with content ideas to contribute to their site in exchange for backlinks”
- Participating in forums such as Quora or Reddit is another way to not only gain backlinks, but help drive traffic to your site
One of the top SEO trends of 2022 is adding video content to your routine. This means adding a video to your webpage article/story. Yes, it’s a little more work, but the stats are not lying about how important video is. Think of it as text-to-video. Because of how popular video is in terms of how we consume content, you want to make sure you cater to all audiences. Which, that percentage is continuing to not only increase, but represent the more preferred way of consuming content today. Here are a few reasons why you should include a “video readthrough” towards the top of your article:
- Video makes up over 80% of all internet traffic
- Medium.com states: “Video enjoyment was found to increase brand association by 139%”
- Having short videos on your webpages is a great way to reach people, and because of how often the average person spends time watching videos, your webpage would not only see an increase in average duration, but an increase in conversion
- Need some more quick facts for why video is important and why it should be a priority to have in your B2B marketing strategy, see here
A better explanation on how to optimize your webpage and content for video can be found HERE.
#5 Page Length
It starts with a clear, readable URL with five to eight words max, and no more than 60 characters. Don’t forget to include your main, top targeted keyword within the title. It’s recommended for higher traffic and position ranking, to keep stories around 2,500 words, with content broken up into multiple sub-sections using H2 and H3 subheadings. The bare minimum length of your page should be 300 words. But you should always aim for at least 1000 words per page.
You need to make sure that the keywords you want to rank for are included in the first 100 words of your page, (the first paragraph). The only part of your story that should be kept very short is your first paragraph, (especially if you are aiming for a featured snippet). Believe it or not, backlinks also play a part in this as well, making it yet another reason for why they are such a big ranking factor. Keep in mind, the longer your story is, the higher the possibility for gaining a backlink.
Why should you aim for longer form content? Here are a few reasons:
- Higher online visibility
- More social sharing
- Better link building
- Reliable website authority
- Generates better reader value
- Better engagement
- Better conversions
- More leads
- Longer website visit duration rate
- Better CTR
Don’t forget “Heading Tags”. Wordtracker recommends having 3 – 6 heading types, as long as you properly use a heading tag. You open a heading tag using <h1> and close it using </h1>.
To make search engines happy for original content, and to make users happy by offering engaging content, add emotion to your stories to keep readers interested and satisfied. Emotion is what gives meaning to your story. If they find your content valuable enough, new readers will continue to refer to your stories. Here are some SEO tips on how to approach adding emotion to your articles:
- Understand your audience
- Create a compelling title
- Use power words to grab attention and set off a response
- Add some positive and negative emotions to your story to increase engagement
- Share a backstory and personalize your content
- Add facts, stats, and other figures to make it more real and increase trust
#7 Optimize Old Page Content
One of the ways to improve your overall website ranking is by going back and updating your old stories. This effective method can help boost traffic and improve CTR. Go back to your old stories and add any updated/new information that is now available since you first released your story. Start with the oldest pages first, especially the ones with high traffic. Follow these tips so you can optimize old page content:
- Consider adding emotion
- Increase the page length
- Readdress the main targeted keywords for your specific article
- Fix grammar and spelling
- Add some fresh material to the existing paragraphs
- If you’re linking to another external website, but have something better to link to that is more relevant and higher quality, replace the external link (this also includes updating resources and citing)
- Update and/or replace old photos
- Add internal links to relative internal stories
- Update meta and alt text for the page and image
#8 Don’t Write For SEO and Don’t Keyword Stuff
The old way of incorporating all the relevant keywords into a sentence or paragraph is gone and is very detrimental to the website’s SEO. Instead, pick one to two top, relevant, or most important keywords, and include that in your paragraph. You can pick a maximum of five keywords for the entire webpage. These are the keywords you think relate to the story the most or the words that you think users will search in search engines, along with the words that you believe should represent your targeted audience for your specific story. Not only should you not keyword stuff in your page content, but for your SEO attributes as well.
#9 Internal Linking
Adding more internal links is an important step to keep people engaged on your website and help reduce the site bounce rate. When writing your article, you can link to another existing relevant internal story to use as a reference. Just make sure it’s not too old of a story. Adding internal links also helps search engines understand your website so they can index your page. As Yoast explains, internal links allow for easier navigation, and helps search engines discover your content so it can rank it within their search results. When adding internal links, make sure it contains the following SEO tips:
- Context, meaning alt-text and/or even a related image
- Unique, original, and natural anchor text. Avoid using the main keyword that you are targeting for in the anchor text. Make sure the text you use doesn’t exist as another anchor text on a separate page
- Include internal links towards the top or middle of your page content. Two-five links per page is ideal
When people search online, they often use queries in the form of questions when trying to seek an answer, even when it’s not formatted that way. FAQs can catch readers attention on a higher level. Since most searches are in the form of a question (even if it’s not specifically formatted that way), having FAQ intended articles or a dedicated section of a page is very important. According to Forbes, having FAQs help improve your website ranking, keeps your page(s) organized, and is perfect for featured snippets. It also allows for a more user-friendly-like page, making it easier for navigation too.
For the latest SEO tips on how to optimize for user behavior and user experience, see here.
Here’s how to optimize your page content for FAQs:
- Structure FAQs in a way that the reader finds the content valuable and satisfying. Answers should be kept short, clear, concise and factual
- Format your FAQ section exactly how a Q&A would appear
- To get started with this, utilize top search queries and keywords, and turn that into a FAQ article. Look at your keyword list that has high traffic/volume, and go from there. Utilizing Reddit, Quora, and other forums, can also help contribute to finding FAQ topics/themes to help structure your story
- Using header tags (H1, H2, & H3) are important to help search engines understand your webpage so it can boost the search performance
- If you’re structuring an FAQ article, but feel the answer or related topic exists on another internal page, make sure you include that link in your story. Just make sure the anchor tag for the internal link is properly filled out
- When putting together your specific FAQ article, put in a short sentence to encourage interaction from your readers
- Another recommended tip is to upload a text-to-video that quickly explains the topic of the story or answers intended/popular queries
Lastly, adding long-tail keywords to your FAQ section is also a good idea. In fact, Forbes points out; “Long-tail keywords should make up the headings of your FAQ section. Write out each long-tail keyword exactly as the searcher would and format them as a heading 3 or 4”. Answers should come immediately after the question, especially if intended to appear as a featured snippet.
#11 Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are a great way to get traffic to your website. They’re less popular and more specific terms or queries, usually containing three to six words. They aren’t searched as often, (such as your main, targeted keywords), therefore, they’re easier to rank for and less competitive. In fact, lower volume words make up most of all searches, which then accounts for higher conversion rates.
According to Backlinko’s analysis, of 306 million keywords, “91.8% of all search queries are long-tail keywords”. CWS also points out; “Over 70% of all search queries are for long-tail terms and the conversion rates are 2.5 times higher than main keywords”. When optimizing your webpages for long-tail keywords, CWS also points out, you can increase your page ranking position by 11 spots compared to 5 spots for typical main keywords. To start implementing long-tail keywords in your articles, here are some SEO tips on what you need to do:
- First, avoid keyword stuffing. Set aside what the main targeted keyword would be for your story and what you think what terms/queries users would use in their search. Think of one keyword for every 200 words. For much longer articles (such as over 2,000 words), you want to make sure that your main targeted keyword shows up a minimum of 15 times. Remember, your keyword doesn’t just have to show up within the page content, but in the page title, heading, meta description, backlink, and H1 tag
- Understand your audience. Who are they, and what and how are they searching? Specifically, with how they are searching, search engines are evolving and they are no longer strictly keyword-based anymore, but now designed to understand and utilize natural language through users’ search queries. They can now understand relevant subtopics based on keywords from your page. Therefore, long-tail keywords reflect or copy how users actually search online. Brightedge explains; “People now generally enter queries using the same types of phrasing as they do when they are speaking with someone. This is called natural language”
- Long-tail keywords also play a significant part in voice search, (which ties in with user experience). Search Engine Journal explains; because of how many people use voice search on a daily basis, “They use long-tail keyword phrases such as questions and commands with clear intent”
- FAQs also play a big part. Long-tail keywords are meant to be included within the content that is answering peoples questions
- Just like for your main targeted keywords, utilize several SEO/marketing tools along with forums to find your long-tail keywords so you know what to include in your stories and what people are using in their searches
#12 Focus Keyword
A focus keyword is the search term you would like the webpage to rank for on search engines the most. When people search for that keyword, they should find your page. There’s a method of finding your focus keyword and how to apply it to your articles. Here’s what you should know:
- Do some proper research to pick the correct focus keyword. Pick a keyword that has a high search volume with low competition
- Just like long-tail keywords, make sure you include your focus keyword not only in your page content (and within the first sentence or paragraph of your page), but in the page title, meta description, slug, alt text, URL, permalink, subheading, internal and external links, and all the attributes for your included image (when appropriate)
- Use synonyms that are related to your focus keyword within your page content to help your webpage rank better and let search engines better understand your webpage. Think of these as your secondary focus keywords. These can be two – four worded key phrases that should appear on your page at least a few times
- The main targeted key phrase that you choose to represent your entire article or story (aka your focus keyword), should only be used for that specific webpage and not on another separate page. If you repeat the same focus keyword on separate pages, that will affect your ranking and will confuse search engines as if you were competing with yourself
- Your focus keyword should appear every 200 words
How do you find your proper focus keyword? It starts with understanding your audience and knowing what terms best represent your topic, and what queries your users would be searching. Consider these tips in your process of selecting your focus keyword:
- Research the search volume and trends of your terms by utilizing various SEO/marketing tools to see how often the term is searched for over and how it changed. To further evaluate the analytics and ranking of your keywords, consider adding on plugin extensions to your browser and hosting platforms. According to RobPowellBizBlog, utilizing these tools can help show the increase or decrease in clicks, ranking position, CTR, domain authority, search volume, the competitiveness of the phrase, impressions, and more, of your intended keyword for your stories, and to see how the keyword(s) perform on your competitors’ pages
- Search your focus keywords on search engines to discover the search intent. This will allow you to see what pops up when that term is searched in terms of other keywords, topics, trends, and competitors
- Aim for less competitive focus keywords first. In-order to determine this, OnlineMediaMasters points out that your focus keyword should be specific, not broad. If there are too many results when searching your focus keyword, then you should avoid using it. A focus keyword is more competitive if the results show a high domain/page authority and lots of links and in-depth content
#13 Yoast SEO Tips
Before you are ready to publish, you need to make sure you have all your boxes checked. Specifically, that your boxes are all green. On WordPress, there’s a section called Yoast SEO. If you scroll down to “SEO Analysis”, this is your final checkpoint before you are ready to publish. Check to see if there are any problems or improvements that are listed. If anything shows up in red or orange, you most certainly need to address these issues before you are ready to publish.
This is very important. Otherwise, if you don’t fix the issues or improperly fill out the Yoast SEO attributes, this will definitely affect your page ranking and your overall SEO. Be sure to also check the “Readability, Schema, and Social sections” of Yoast SEO, to see that everything is filled out properly. Here is a quick “cheat sheet” from Yoast SEO to fill out all the Yoast SEO attributes correctly so everything shows up in green:
- Key phrase in introduction – Your key phrase needs to show up in the first paragraph of the text. Depending on Yoast’s analysis of the function words, your maximum key phrase length should be between four to six words. Your key phrase density goal should be 1-2%. Meaning, that your key phrase should show up one to two times every 200 words. Your key phrase needs to also show up in your meta description
- Any internal or external link should have properly filled out text to explain the topic of the link (aka anchor text). There should be a relevant targeted keyword that is related to the topic chosen to be included in the anchor text. However, that chosen keyword cannot be the main key phrase you were using for the page. If you do that, it will confuse search engines and affect your SEO. Look back at older articles and see if your key phrase has already been used. If this is the case, you will have to pick a different key phrase. Anchor text should appear natural, when using anchor text, put your key phrase in “quotes”
- Your key phrase should also appear in your page title, SEO title, slug, headings, subheadings, and image alt attributes. When filling out your Yoast SEO attributes, consider the following:
- Post Title (aka main heading) Length – This is meant to explain to people who are already on your page, what your article is about. 50-60 characters is ideal
- SEO Title Length – Keep it between 50 and 60 characters. Just like the rest of the attributes, this should be a unique and original title that is structured for users wanting to click on your story from their search engine. Be sure to include your full brand name at the very end. Once you set this, it should never change. Lastly, put your key phrase, first
- Meta Description Length – Use active voice and include a unique call-to-action. Think “search intent” as you are writing the meta. Keep it between 120-155 characters. This should be the same for the social media section located under Yoast SEO
- Slug Length – Slugs should be kept short. Filter out what you don’t need and always use lowercase letters. Keep it between three and five words, and between 50 60 characters
- Headings – Use headings to indicate what a section of your paragraph is about such as the topic (H2 & H3 for subheadings). This makes the page more readable, accessible and easier to navigate. Headings should be informative with the intention of keeping readers interested. The first sentence of each paragraph should be the core sub-topic of that paragraph, where you then later elaborate
- Title Width – Avoid using bold letters, capitals, and “wider letters”. Remember to include your focus key phrase in your SEO Title and post title, without keyword stuffing
- Paragraph size – Readability plays a big part in your page ranking and the probability of a user staying on your page. Use lots of paragraphs to break up parts and so you can take advantage of more subheadings. Remember, start with a core sentence to introduce the paragraph and then stick to smaller sized paragraphs, (less than 150 words). Just be sure to not start sentences with the same word (aside from lists and other similarities). Your sentences should have a maximum of 30 words. Use transition words to lead into the next sentence in order to connect them together
- Readability – Shorter sentences with not too many two-syllable or difficult words allow for better readability, such as the “flesch reading ease score” from Yoast. It is also recommended to write in an active voice rather than passive. It’s also okay to have some paragraphs bigger and some smaller. Sometimes that catches the eye of readers when you vary in paragraph size. Even increasing the font size can intrigue your readers more
#14 Yoast SEO Image Attributes
For the “Featured Image”, be sure to fill out all of the “Attachment Details” such as; alt text, title, caption, and description.
For images included in the page content, be sure to fill out all of the “Image Details” such as; alt text, caption, and image title attribute.
- Alt Text – For SEO and accessibility purposes, always include alt text in your images. Keep it under 125 characters
- Title text – For people hovering over the image looking for an explanation of the image, this is where title text comes in. This image and text should represent your page or the theme/topic of your page
- Captions – The text that accompanies the image for a better explanation. Be sure to fill this out
Lastly, remember to rewrite the image file name before uploading to WordPress or other website hosting platforms. Use hyphens to separate each word of the image file name.
Stick to smaller sized images (meaning the file size of the image), so it doesn’t take up too much space on the page or slow it down.
You are now ready to publish! After following these top SEO tips for content writing, your article/story is now correctly optimized and you are now up-to-date with the top current SEO trends for optimizing content.
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