newspaper headlines
newspaper headlines
#SEO #QualityContent

How to Write Quality SEO Content

Devon Butler

Quality SEO content starts with good keyword research and keyword research should be the base of any Search Engine Optimization strategy. Now, keyword research is both a science and an art which requires robust data, solid intuition and an understanding of your customers. 

Ah, SEO. There are two schools of thought when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The first school of thought comes from dedicated digital marketers who live and die by the almighty Google machine. 

They tend to believe that every single piece of content must be properly optimized. In fact, the actual words and content are less important than filling a page with the right keywords. 

Then there are the others, who believe words still matter and while it’s important to appease Google, we must never forget that we are still writing for humans and not machines. 

(For now anyway). 

Now, I'm about to blow your mind, but both schools of thought are right. Not to give TMI into the internal arguments at a creative agency, but there is a middle ground in the ever-present SEO vs quality content debate. 

In fact, it’s quite possible to write quality SEO content without sacrificing best keyword practices, marketing strategies, or quality copywriting. 

So how is that achieved? We’re going to lift the curtain and give you inside insight into how to write quality SEO content that won’t sacrifice either SEO practices or copywriting. 

In this article we will cover:

  • What Is Quality Content?
  • How To Write Quality SEO Content
  • How To Conduct Keyword Research 
  • How To Effectively Write Keywords
  • Get SEO Writing Help

Ready to learn more? Let’s dive in.

Okay, first.

What Is Quality Content?

Right, before we go any further let’s discuss. What is quality? Quality can mean one thing for Google and a completely different thing to your users. So maybe the more straightforward question to ask is who determines if content is quality? The answer is your users.

Sure, you may think that the man behind the curtain at Google makes this determination, and, on some level, you’d be right. However, the true measure of the quality of your content is going to depend on your users.

Users want thoughtful, readable, shareable, clickable content. If a user is searching the internet for a specific topic however, then that user wants content that educates and informs. This doesn’t mean, however, that they only want to read buzzwords and keywords.

Have you ever clicked on an article on the first page of Google that ended up not answering your question? Better yet, have you ever read an online article that was almost certainly written by AI or perhaps a toddler who was given a set of three keywords to use.

One minute you’re searching for ‘Best Restaurants in Tokyo” and the next you’re skimming a scarce blog post that reads:

“Are you looking for the best restaurants in Tokyo? Experts agree these are the best restaurants in Tokyo. Keep reading to find the best restaurants in Tokyo!”

But wait, they barely even mention the actual restaurants.

This friends, is not quality SEO content. Naturally, creating quality content will require some creative writing skills and writing strategies to improve your content. Better content has a higher probability of being considered quality by your users and the engines of search.

Japanese restaurant

How To Write Quality SEO Content

Regardless of whether you’re writing for SEO purposes or to drive sales for your products, when it comes to writing quality SEO content, keep in mind the lessons you’ve learned about writing effective copy. These key elements, like writing for your specific audience, can be found in our precursor article: the Content Quality Checklist.

#1 - Conduct Keyword Research

Quality SEO content starts with good keyword research and keyword research should be the base of any Search Engine Optimization strategy. Now, keyword research is both a science and an art which requires robust data, solid intuition and an understanding of your customers.

Throughout this process you will get to know your customers better, have more insight into what your competitors are doing, and come out the other end with an extensive list of target keywords.

To help narrow down your target keywords, it’s helpful to ask yourself a few questions. For example;

  • Who are your customers?
  • What do they need?
  • What format do they like to receive information in?

All of these questions will help you narrow down and focus on the keywords that actually matter. Once you have a list of keywords you’d like to use, research each to see what other phrases people are searching for. This can lead to further impactful keywords that will help boost your content.

One of the most important aspects to consider when conducting keyword research is keyword difficulty. Keyword difficulty is a metric that can be pulled via several tools. Google's Keyword Planner will give you a base score and if needed more specifics can be pulled via Ahrefs or similar SEO specific software.

Essentially, keyword difficulty exists on a numerical range that lets you know how tough it will be for your content to rank highly using that word. For example, if you offer luxury rentals and want to use that term to promote your new homepage, you’ll find the keyword difficulty for “luxury rentals” is 56.

In an ideal world, you’ll want to find keywords that are below a keyword difficulty level of 50. So instead of luxury rentals you could try:

Luxury cabin rentals (Keyword difficult: 48)

Aspen luxury cabin rentals (Keyword difficulty: 25)

google logo

#2 - Intent Is Important

When it comes to conducting keyword research it’s also vital that you consider the actual user’s intent. Thus, search intent is the attempt to guess what the user’s internet search term means about what they are looking for and prioritize keywords that are more likely to convert.

For example, the keyword "work boots for sale Chicago" is significantly more likely to result in a sale than "best way to waterproof work boots". This isn't to say that low intent keywords have no value. They can be extremely valuable in more advanced SEO strategies.

Looking for more help conducting SEO keyword research? Read our How-To Guide to learn more.

Keyword research is both a science and an art that requires robust data, solid intuition and an understanding of your customers.
The Experts

#3 - Ensure Specificity

Listen, we’ve been hard on Google during this article, but other than displaying paid ads, search engines genuinely want to send users to the most relevant content to their online searches. But sometimes you gotta help ‘em out. 

If you google ‘apple near me’ Google will likely be like WHAT. Does this person want to know where to buy organic apples in Des Moines or are they looking for a nearby Apple store? Like the Steve Jobs kind? Yeah that seems more likely. 

So, if you choose to use ‘apple near me’ as your target keyword for your organic orchard, chances are you’ll have a huge exit and bounce rate. 

Instead, cut Google some slack and make it easier on yourself by ensuring specificity when using keywords. By using specific keywords related to your audience, you’ll have a much better chance of ranking well if that content piece aligns with the query. 

Of course, you will also need to consider the actual content that will accompany these keywords. Even if you think you’ll have a better chance of ranking higher and getting more site visits using a specific keyword like “Aspen luxury cabin rentals” (since it has a lower difficulty level) if your entire content is about luxury vacation rentals across the United States with little to no mention of Aspen, your content won’t be nearly as effective and you’ll once again see massive bounce rates.  

There’s no way to cheat the system. The best way to create effective SEO content is to have copywriters and marketing experts work in tandem to ensure the most effective keywords are being used with top-notch, relatable content.

#4 - Break It Down

As our collective attention spans continue to shrink, the number of digestible tidbits and informational subheads grow. Think about it, when is the last time you fully read an article top to bottom or side to side. It’s much more likely that you read the headlines, skim, and pick out what’s important to you. 

Your content might be incredibly entertaining and engaging but can easily get lost in a wall of text that’s unorganized and unformatted. 

Instead, be sure to break your content up into smaller paragraphs with subtitles and headlines (also known as H2 or H3 tags) that not only help keep users engaged, but also helps search engines understand the structure of your content. 

#5 - Write Well

pen writing on paper

Does this point seem obvious? Probably, but we’ll never miss an opportunity to beat you over the head with the importance of quality content. While SEO refers to the research and formatting of an article, blog, landing page, or more, the actual writing needs to be conducted by a copywriting professional. 

Does this also seem obvious? You’d be surprised by how much content is written by marketing managers and SEO-lovers. The consequences? Robotic, boring, and often depth-lacking content. 

Make sure a real writer (like a person who is only getting paid to put good words on a page) creates content that is carefully crafted to address what the reader wants, needs, and desires. Don’t just be another thin, whimsy blog. Provide content that gives your reader something.

Have ThoughtLab do your SEO

Did this article overwhelm you? Do you feel even more at a loss than before? Understandable. SEO content writing is a complicated business. It’s not easy, but it’s fundamental to any successful business as it can significantly impact your brand, products, or pages.

You know you need quality content, but you may not have the time or skills to produce it. That’s okay; we’ve got you covered.

Hiring a professional digital marketing agency is a smart way to take control of your content and SEO strategies. Contact Thoughtlab today for a free consultation and let’s tell your story the right way, together.