Writing Content With SEO In Mind: Try My “Leading & Lagging” Approaches

Writing Content With SEO In Mind
Writing Content With SEO In Mind – are you a lagger or a leader?

I’ve had this domain KeeMarketing for quite a few years now and I never know what to do with it. It’s only recent – since about mid 2022 – that I decided that I would bite the bullet and just focus on what I do best: writing.

My goal with any blog is to build an audience, people who come to my blog to read, learn and grow. The question then becomes, is it possible to do this, while pleasing the search engines at the same time? Is it actually possible to write compelling content but still keep SEO in mind?

In my mind it’s not only possible, it’s the best way to build a blog. Below, I’ll explain why and how you can get started today, no matter the industry you’re trying to write in.

What is SEO Content Writing?

It’s worth understanding what SEO content writing is before we get too stuck in the weeds. It’s essentially combining two facets of marketing and traffic generation: SEO (the traffic bit) + content writing (the marketing) bit = SEO content writing.

Done correctly, SEO content writing allows you to focus on creating compelling content that gets readers coming back to your blog over and over, while gradually getting more of your posts listed in Google the more you write. It becomes this flywheel:

  • write SEO friendly content,
  • it starts ranking, slowly at first (6-12 months), then faster once Google trusts you,
  • people searching for these keywords find your content, consume it, find it useful. They might share it, link to it, etc
  • this brings in more people, makes you look better in Google’s eyes.
  • your blog becomes an industry leader.

That’s how it’s meant to work anyway. Sometimes, people write content for years and don’t get the traction they desire. The missing piece is the SEO part and implanting little “SEO hooks” that cling to Google’s SERPs.

How to use SEO in Content Writing

So then next question is pretty logical: how do you actually use SEO in content writing? There are a few ways of doing this, but in reality, they’re not rocket science. If you’ve been perceptive, you might have noticed that this blog post is using some SEO. The key is to not make it icky or robotic. Google doesn’t like that.

Approach #1 (Leading) – use keyword tools to find longer key phrases to serve as your headings

You might have an idea for a topic, but you want to mention the key phrases that people are searching for create a little hook to cling onto Google when it does an indexing sweep. To find these key phrases, you can use any of the myriad of tools out there, but right now, I use the Keywords Everywhere plug-in.

When I do a search for a phrase on Google, it will automatically show me what other people are searching for, as well as long tail keywords, that is, key phrases that are several words long that contain the main “root” keyword.

I don’t really pay attention to volume much. My goal, especially in the early days, is just to rank for as many keywords as possible, then over time, to target the bigger, higher volume keywords. If you’re just starting out, this should be your approach too.

Approach #2 (Lagging) – write your content, then “sprinkle” in keywords afterwards

This is the second approach, which also works perfectly fine. I like the first approach as I like to build my content around SEO keyword topics, but each to their own. In this approach, you write normally, focusing completely on writing in your voice and weaving in your expertise in your area. You might naturally mention the keywords here and there, but not in the exact phrase.

After you’re done, during your editing, you rewrite the instances of where you might have mentioned a variation of the keyword, but rewrite it in a way that you can insert the exact keyword or phrase so that it flows relatively well, i.e. doesn’t sound like a computer wrote it or doesn’t sound spammy.

There’s a whole science behind things called Latent Semantic Indexing and keyword density that I don’t want to get into, but the general idea is the more often the keyword appears in an article, the more relevant to that keyword it is and the higher it should appear in Google’s SERPS. You can see how if Google followed this to the T, it would lead to mass spammage. Mention the phrase 2-3 times, don’t push it any more than that. Try putting it in a subtitle or the title and that will help to. Maybe mention it in the caption of an image.

So that’s it: either using keyword to lead your content, or having it lag your content. Has this been helpful? If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment below.

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