Search Engine Optimized Writing: 7 expert tips for 2022

Updated on 30th December 2021

Search engine optimized writing succeeds on two fronts: Prose and Processes. Read our tips to becoming a successful SEO Content Writer.

What is Search Engine Optimized Writing?

In short, SEO writing is carefully primed for rank ahead of other content on the same subject.

At the heart of Google’s algorithms are keywords and its principle of E-A-T, which stand’s for a website’s Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.

Search engine optimized writing addresses these needs on two fronts: Prose and Processes. That is, the words you write, and how and where you apply them. Being sure to consider the whole story from the whole point of view of both search engines and prospective readers.

Many SEO content writers follow exactly the same rituals when creating new content to rank well on Google and the other search engines. It’s rarely about new tactics or fancy strategies. Just repeating worldclass basics, again and again. Something you can do to!

Why Is Search Engine Optimized Writing Important?

In short, search engine optimization (SEO) increases the visibility of your website and drives organic traffic.

There’s hundreds of billions of webpages on the internet but 66% of the clicks go to the top 5 results.

Learn how keywords and how technical, on-page and off-page SEO works and your website can be one of them.

This article covers the planning, creation and optimization of SEO friendly content, and to improve engagement with readers.

Our SEO writing tips look at key ranking factors such as target keywords, structured data and headers, SERP presentation, adding internal links and external links, and more. The cornerstones of organic search success.

7 tips for Search Engine Optimized Writing

1. Modern SEO writing - for readers and search users

The challenge for blog writers is to publish high-quality articles in the eyes of readers and robots.

SEO copywriting marries the two, combining the art of storytelling with the structure and signals search engines are looking for. It’s a balancing act for sure, but there’s a ton of search engine optimized writing tools to help with that.

Readability tools (e.g. Grammarly & Hemingway) check the tone and grammar of your content before you hit publish. These real time editors make suggestions on the clarity and flow of sentences, passages and entire sections of text. However, writing truly relevant and engaging copy also requires you to do you subject matter research and have a point of view. Making sure you present a unique perspective, killer insight or thought-provoking takeaway for readers.

Meanwhile, SEO all-rounders such as Surfer and Semrush can help to ensure your writing is ticking all the optimization boxes, which we’ll come onto next.

2. Keyword research - unearthing your target keyword

It all starts with your target keyword. A low-competition, highly-relevant keyword that has the potential attract the right type of audience to your website.

In short, you want to understand:

  • What are people searching for
  • How many people are searching for it
  • In what format do they want that information
  • How competitive the keyword or phrase is

Once you’ve found your target keyword you need to use it as the cornerstone of your content. This doesn’t mean keyword stuffing. Instead you must strategically use and position the target keyword in on-page elements such as Headers and insert related phrases to help search engines distinguish the wider topic being written about.

Top tip: Use Surfer for keyword ideas and its on-page editor to optimize your blog post for Natural Language Processing (NLP) - the artificial generation of human-like text that Google looks out for.

3. Search intent - directly answer user questions

Search intent is ‘why’ a search query is submitted.

Answer that ‘why’ directly, succinctly and expertly, and you’re far more likely to rank higher as a result. Common types of Search Intent include informational, commercial, navigational and transactional.

Map queries to answers, in the format users appreciate, and Google will reward you handsomely. It’ll also improve your conversion rate, as your relevance shoots up.

You can discover the search intent for any keyword by looking at what’s ranking well for the search term, looking at ‘People Also Searched For’ Or ‘Searches Related To..’ at the bottom of SERP, or using a tool to assist you.

For example, AnswerThePublic crawls the autocomplete data of search engines, turning it into high-potential phrases and questions closely related to your keyword. A similar feature can be found within Surfer too. Ideal for forming topic clusters, without any of the manual homework.

4. Structure matters - Headers and subheads

Your SEO article is not an essay, so a single headline is not enough.

Instead, think of Headers as adding much-needed structure to your content. They’re a valuable opportunity to present Google with the most important and keyword-rich points in your argument, whilst also giving readers an overview of the subject matter at a glance. Approximately 5x more people read headlines than read body copy, so write for the skimmers!

Using the correct header will help search engines to quickly index your new article in the right context and improve your appearance and performance in results.

Aim for a single H1, then key constructs in H2, with supporting evidence or key points in H3 and beyond. A on-page optimization tool such as Surfer SEO can guide you through this entire process and critique your efforts as you write.

5. Optimize the fine print - title tags, meta descriptions and alt text

Out of sight and often out of mind, ignoring these key elements is a rookie mistake.

The title tag and meta description are the prime real estate in your post. As such, they absolutely must contain your target keyword and not compete with those on other pages on your website.

The meta description is the snippet Google uses to ascertain what a web page is about and display in search engine results. Leave it empty and Google will create one for you, or worse yet ignore the article altogether.

The meta title and descriptions can differ to your H1 and intro copy, and have distinct fields in the main popular blogging platform CMS and WordPress SEO plugins. Meanwhile, alt text (‘alternative text’) is a keyword rich description of any imagery accompanying the post, which is great for accessibility and ranking performance.

6. Research SERP presentation opportunities

Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is the page that a search engine returns on the back of a search query.

Today, there’s a number of different ways you can appear in SERP. In addition to standard search results showing simple meta data, users are also presented with images, FAQs, Knowledge cards, shopping suggestions, local suggestions and more.

The main types of SERP formats are:

  • Knowledge graphs: Key facts from a variety of sources, contained in a small box on the right-hand side of results
  • Rich snippets: Enrich results with info such as review stars and price, helpful images and videos
  • Paid results: Unfortunately you compete with these too. Have a small ‘paid ad’ indicator
  • Universal results: The entire universe of summary info Google can return across a variety of intents in order to speed up finding the right answer to your query

It’s important you study not only what’s currently ranking for your target keyword phrases but how those results are showing and where the SERP gaps and opportunities are. You’ll then want to apply Schema markup to provides structured data about the information in your page to help search engines return richer results on SERPs.

7. Illustrate with examples and subject matter experts

Bringing in outside expertise to validate your article is an easy win.

Google has made it well known that it prefers content created by a subject matter expert, that is factually accurate, and found on an authoritative website. They even have an acronym for it: E‑A-T, short for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

Add quotes, case studies and links to industry research or papers to back up the case you’re making. Also be sure to give your own credentials, whether bylines of notable publications or years in the profession.

Best search engine optimized writing tools

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to SEO tools, however how do you pick between them?

That’s where Surges comes in. I’ve pulled together over 30 of my favourite SEO Content Writing Tools for 2022, to help you plan, write and rank better than ever before. I’m forever writing for SEO myself and running new marketing tool experiments, so the guide is constantly being updated.

And if you’re wondering what I’ve used to optimize and re-optimize this article, it’s Surfer SEO.

How long does Search Engine Optimized Writing take to work?

I’ll defer to the classic SEO answer: “It depends”

A number of factors can speed things up, such as Domain Authority and backlinks, however you can expect to rank somewhere in the top 100 results within 2-3 days with good-quality, SEO optimized content.

Hitting the Top 10 takes longer. A study by Ahrefs advises it can take anywhere between 2-6 months (approximately 61–182 days) to rank in Google’s Top 10. However, an overhaul of your SEO strategy or starting from scratch usually takes from 6-12 months, even for seasoned SEO professionals.

Once there, you’ll also want to keep your web content fresh and re-optimize your biggest traffic drivers. It’s an incredibly competitive space, so if you’re occupying top spot for a high-volume keyword they’ll always be other SEO copywriters trying to outdo you.

So much of your search engine rankings success will come from a simple mantra: show up consistently and master the basics.

More resources: → 30 Best SEO Content Writing tools for 2022100+ free startup directories for link buildingHow to buy and sell startupsWhat’s In A Blog? 12 Essential Ingredients & Blogger Habits

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