in Search Engine Marketing

2018 SEO Writing Trends: 22 Tips You Can’t Afford To Ignore

by Bilal Warsi

Digital marketing and brand strategist, information junkie with a penchant for quick wit. I'm a basketball fan and a loyal friend.

Back in the days, some slight adjustments in your copy, a few well placed anchor texts and a strong meta description would guarantee a solid spot for your article, things have long changed since then, so we wanted to give you a quick recap of things to keep in mind when writing with "some intent to rank".

2018 SEO Writing Tips

Proven Organic Rankings: The Basics

1. Broader VS Longer Terms

Never target more than 1 or tops 2 keywords for each page or blog. Well, except for your homepage. Always focus on wider terms for your main pages and put long-tails to good use in your inners.

2. Mighty Title-Tags

Never rush through your title tags. They should be around 60 characters long, so be strategic about this. Place them at the beginning of the title tag and make sure that you target 3 of the most important keywords for your specific niche.

3. But, Where?

If you really want to help search engines crawl your content in your favor, then make sure to use your keyword in the following:

Title tag

Internal links within content

Alt attribute of image

Headline tags (always have an H1!)

Meta description

4. Research Is Both An Art And Science

Industries change. As a result, fresh keywords resurface quicker than you'd imagine. So go ahead and do your research. There are countless keyword research articles out there; do your due diligence, test, and discover what really works best for you, alternatively use the available third party tools to make your keyword selection bullet proof.

5. Keywords Are Alive And Well

Even though search engine algorithms weigh more towards the quality of writing, this doesn’t mean that they’d be able to crawl it in your favor without a hitch. In absence of the necessary keywords for your chosen niche, you’re in trouble. If they are there on the other hand, you’ll have the chance of being heard. If not, regardless of how big is your company or how important you are of a person, no one who matters will ever get your message. Not organically, at least.

6. Write for low competition keywords or high competition keywords ?

Competitive keyword analysis is one of the most effective ways to compete in a crowded space and gain a crucial advantage over other businesses in your industry. SEO experts often advise finding high volume low competition keywords. But…I’d recommend not focusing at all on high search volume keywords. At least not at first. The temptation can lead you to make bad decisions when choosing keywords.

Instead, focus on two things:

Finding keywords that are relevant to your subject matter and your business

Finding keywords with low competition

The first priority, finding relevant keywords, requires knowing your audience and your business. Usually a quick gut check works fine.

The second priority, finding low competition keywords, requires knowing your site’s Competitive Power. All websites do not have an equal chance of ranking on the first page of Google. After all, there are only 10(ish) spots. You can use a tool that most of us agencies use called Google Keyword Planner, it will make your life much easier at identifying which keywords to use in your content strategy.

7. Be Bold

Google still pays attention to both bold letters and bullet points. If you use your keywords together with these features, then you’re in for a big win.

8. Related Keywords: The Name Of The Game

If you start adding keywords after you’ve done all the writing then you’ve already lost. Having a list of semantically connected keywords will pay you dividends in the long run. The hard bit is that they need to be placed naturally.

9. Keywords & Metas

Google officially claims that they don’t take into account meta descriptions in their ranking algorithm, but you’d actually be better off if you place your main keyword in your meta description. Use storytelling basics to match this with the psychology of your target audience. After all, it will appear in bold, and 9 out of 10 times this fact alone will make them click.

SEO Writing: The Art (And Science)

10. Turn Off Your WiFi

When you’re practicing the art of writing, you need to be focused. If you’re easily distracted, you might as well take those distractions out of the equation once and for all. Make yourself unable to get your mind off the prize and flip the switch on your wifi router.

11. Write. Rewrite. Write Some More

Repetition is key. And remember, mastery comes from a fixed routine. Perfection on the other hand comes from a well-defined process.

12. Follow Hemingway’s Advice

“Write Drunk, Edit Sober”, he famously said. But this doesn’t mean you actually have to drink anything. What we really mean by this is that you need to get yourself in a state where words will flow naturally. Go on a ride, exercise or simply meditate. Regardless of what you choose, you need to master this state and leverage it to your benefit.

13. Plan Well In Advance

We’re not dealing with novels here. You can’t expect this to be a purely creative process, so utilize time to your advantage. Start with your headlines (yes, put the keywords in there) and then take on the paragraphs underneath. At the end of the day, whether you like it or not this is business writing and we need to make it work.

14. Make It A Habit

Just like the muscles in your body, your mind works best when you train it daily. Work them out, relax for half a day and then go at it again. That’s how you achieve real growth.

15. Daily Reading

Crisp and simple writing; what’s not to love, right? Make sure you read the stuff written by writers who like simplicity.

16. Don’t Wait To Be Inspired

Real writers make it a practice to write daily. They make this a lifestyle that slowly develops into an art. Otherwise, it’s useless. Don’t dare to wait for inspiration, unless you want to be out of a job. Discipline and practice will help you in your craft, and become a leader.

17. Dare To Ask Questions

The more you do it, the more you learn. Family, friends, loved ones - whoever. And the more you learn, the more you put yourself in a position to add real value.

18. Ask Siri Or Alexa

You might not know it, but your digital assistant can be your best pal. Decrease your writing time by asking them questions that would normally take you more than 60 seconds to type. Believe me, they do add up.

19. Know Your Audience Like The Back Of Your Hand

Style and tone of voice? Adjust it to your audience if you really want to make a difference. There’s an endless supply of content out there, so you better set yourself apart.

20. That Dreaded Deadline

Some people simply work better under pressure. Set yourself tight deadlines and watch creativity flow out of you.

21. Appeal To All Senses

Reading, by definition, is a visual task. Try to appeal to other senses, like sound, smell and taste. If you do this in every piece of content you create, you will definitely set yourself apart from the competition.

22. And...ACTION!

Think of it like a movie. Provide insight from an eagle’s view, up close and behind the scenes. Think like a director. Give your readers a chance to experience the action, not just read about it.

Wrapping Things Up

The ideal solution to create conversion-optimized content in 2018 involves way more than good SEO. It has to do with mastering the art of writing. Once you manage to combine both of these elements, you’ll see digital magic happen right in front of you.

If you’re serious about giving your readers what they need, embrace both the technical and the creative part of SEO writing. At the end of the day, if the content has that special appeal, its impact will compound over time.