- Diverse writing skills
- Understand search intent
- Write for topics about keywords
- Close thoughts
I have worked with other SEO industry professionals of all kinds for decades, from technical SEO specialists to web developers.
I believe that every individual in an SEO environment needs to bring an innate skill to a role, but there is also expertise that is often best learned on the job.
SEO content writers know this as well as anyone.
If you’re looking to get into digital marketing as a content marketer, you’d be surprised that good writing skills are required but not enough.
There are many basic SEO concepts that content writers need to be familiar with if they are to do their job well by writing content that matters to their customers.
Here are three skills SEO writers need to be successful in the industry.
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1. Various writing skills
No wonder: The first core skill an SEO writer needs is the ability to master different writing styles.
When a writer joins an agency, chances are good that the writer will be hired to create content for all types of clients.
Digital marketing agency workers know this is true: content writers can spend the morning writing for a candy and funeral home and later turn to a blog post about the construction industry.
The content itself is different for each of these customers, but what matters is the tone.
Tone is something that the reader cannot tell precisely from the words themselves, but from the sound of the words when they are put together.
Funeral home content deserves a serious, straightforward, and compassionate tone, while displaying candy ads requires light-hearted and fun writing.
A strong SEO content writer instinctively knows not only what type of tone to use, but also how to use that tone in a way that will appeal to readers.
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Speaking of engagement, this next skill is also crucial for any SEO content writer looking to make it big.
2. Understand search intent
The content writers you employ at your digital marketing agency don’t have to be accomplished search engine optimization gurus to succeed in their roles.
But there is also one method of writing content that fits perfectly with overall search engine optimization, and that is understanding search intent.
If content writers want to get involved in their work, they need more than just professional writing skills.
To get involved, writers need to generate the content online users actually want to read, rather than just throwing topics on the wall to see what’s stuck.
Now SEO pros and other industry experts know all the tools that content writers use to determine what people are looking for, tools like BuzzSumo and SEMrush.
Being aware of these tools isn’t the hard part. It uses the information they provide to work and create better content for readers.
Once content marketers are experts at navigating the topic generation capabilities of these tools, it’s up to them to turn those topics into Lightning Rod content that actually answers users’ questions.
There are four main types of search intent that content writers must consider when writing.
- Information – when people want to know things.
- Navigation – when people want to visit a specific website or webpage.
- Transaction – when people want to buy things.
- Commercial Research – When people are looking for products, they are interested in buying.
Writing for the different search intentions requires different approaches from the content writer.
At the same time, each content is designed in such a way that it leads readers to purchase the customer’s products or services.
For example, an informative piece of content could be a list of the 10 best fashion styles for the upcoming season.
Then the author can create a link to a product of the customer in each article.
In the meantime, writing for an ecommerce website would require transactional content that is a little more open when it comes to getting readers to buy a product.
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Additionally, content writers understand that each type of content written for a given context uses different keywords.
Depending on your digital marketing agency setup, your content writers may be responsible for doing this keyword research themselves, or they can get it from the SEO specialists.
Either way, knowing how to use the right keywords should always be part of an SEO content writer’s toolbox.
For example, an informative search term could be something like “best brands of trampolines” while a transactional query could be “trampolines for sale online”.
A strong writer will know how to naturally use such terms to answer what people want to know.
3. Write for topics about keywords
The final skill that every professional SEO content writer must have is the ability to write about keywords on topics.
When writers are just getting started with SEO content marketing, they should know the history of keywords in SEO.
People used to write for keywords because Google put more emphasis on keywords in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
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People used black hat techniques to put keywords in the content.
This is all penalized now as it leads to poor user experience.
What SEO content writers need to do in order to rate their content is focus on writing about keywords for topics.
Yes, keywords have their place, but if a piece of content focuses too much on getting them in, it won’t read well for users and Google won’t rate the piece as well.
Instead, authors must do their best to make content original and relevant to the original query.
You should focus on answering the actual question in as much detail as possible.
To see what’s already ranked, authors can scan the SERPs and then work on improving their content.
I think it’s wonderful when a professional writer, maybe one who didn’t know anything about SEO before, wants to get into the industry.
I don’t want to minimize the fact that it does indeed take strong writing skills to be a successful SEO content writer.
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I just want to highlight the marriage that needs to take place between writing acumen and SEO knowledge for people who want to call themselves content marketers.
Digital marketing is going nowhere!
To all of the professional writers interested in SEO, I hope you learn some lessons from this post and delve even further into the fascinating world of content marketing.