The Essential SEO Writing Guide

The Essential SEO Writing Guide (With 11 SEO Writing Tips)

If you write for a blog, you need to know about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). In this post, about SEO writing, we share 11 SEO writing tips.

Writers wear many different hats.

There’s fiction writing, but also letter and email writing, plain language writing, business writing, and SEO writing.

It’s an essential skill for any writing that’s intended for online use.

Here’s what you should know about writing SEO the right way.

What Is SEO?

SEO is short for Search Engine Optimisation.

Writing is read by people, but online writing is also read by search engine bots.

Good SEO writing is considered readable by both bots and people.

What Is SEO Writing?

SEO writing is the language of the internet.

Search engines examine (or ‘trawl’) text online to correspond with the terms people search for.

When you type ‘plumber in Putney’ into a search bar, the search engine bots take over. Pages that contain the direct keywords ‘plumber in Putney’ will be shown first. Anything else is prioritised differently by the engine – and might get less or no hits.

All SEO writing is keyword-based. Writers should imagine what people would search (and do their Google Trends research) to find these keywords.

When To Use SEO Writing

Do you want the text to show up when certain keywords are searched for?

If the answer is yes, use SEO writing.

If you’re a novice read 10 SEO Copywriting Tips for Beginners and 3 Easy Ways to Improve SEO for Your Blog.

SEO writing is good for blogs, website content, product descriptions, email lists, and online advertisements.

It’s not a good match for fiction, letter writing, internal writing, or any writing that’s not meant for online use.

Some Necessary SEO Terms 

SEO writing is a more technical form of writing. There are basic terms every SEO writer should know. Some of them include:

  1. Tags (Or Keywords): Keywords are the start of every SEO piece. It’s what users type into their search engines.
  2. Long-Tail (And Short-Tail): Short-tail keywords are singular terms like ‘plumbing services’. Long-tail keywords are longer, like ‘where to find plumbing services’.
  3. Readability: Readability is an AI-assessed score of how search engines see your content. Sentences are ranked, and it might take a couple edits to get it right.
  4. Backlinks: Backlinks are internal links that return back to the original domain. These links help to keep users clicking around the same place, like YouTube’s related links.
  5. External Links: External links live outside the domain. When including external links, choose websites with a good ranking and reputation (for example, BBC instead of Daily Mail). Good links result in a higher possible ranking.
  6. Do-Follow (And No-Follow) Links: Do-follow links are ones that search engines follow, but no-follow links are ones that are there to click (but not for search engines to index). Usually, this is indicated with an HTML tag.
  7. Blacklisted Content: Search engines have rules. Nonsensical text with keyword overload, too many links or illegal SEO tricks can be banned. Always take care to write ‘ethical’ SEO that sticks to the rules, and makes sense to human readers.

11 Essential Tips For Effective SEO Writing

Writing for SEO purposes? Here are 11 essential tips for effective SEO writing:

1. Remember That SEO Writing Is Keyword-Based

SEO is written for search engines that read keywords. Start SEO writing by making a list of the three to five most relevant keywords to include. Then build the rest of your outline from there.

If you are a writer, Writers Write has The Most Popular Writing And Publishing Keywords for SEO to help you out.

Remember that SEO writing should also make sense to people. If not, what’s the point of writing it down?

2. Find The Right Keywords

The right keywords for your article are always the top keywords people would type in to find it. Imagine how you’d search for something, and there’s the start of your keyword research. 

Sure, you could do keyword research last, but why on Earth would you? It’s like trying to knit a scarf backwards. Start with your keywords, always.

3. Research Keywords

Once you’ve found the keywords, research them. Type these tags into your search engine, and see what the top three pages have to say about them. Do some more keyword research with keyword tools like Google Trends: this tells you how many times a keyword has been looked up.

4. Use Simple Sentence Structures

Search engine bots prefer short sentences and paragraphs. Longer, cumbersome sentences (or search-engine-only writing) can be penalised by bots instead. 

Checking readability through your word processor is a quick way to assess sentence structure whilst writing.

5. Remember How Search Engines See

Search engines look for keywords first. 

Bots also consider things like superfluous words, too many links, overall paragraph structure, and embedded images. 

Writing that scores low to a search engine bot, won’t show up as high-ranked search engine results.

6. Avoid Penalty-By-Bot 

Bots are smart.

Writing can incur penalty-by-bot where writing is deliberately nonsensical, but keyword-loaded. Bots like links, but not too many links. Bots can spot spam, and bots know bad writing.

SEO writing incorporates keywords, but doesn’t abuse them.

7. Ensure Legal SEO

Speaking of keyword abuse, let’s talk about blacklisting. 

SEO writing that abuses keywords or uses deliberately misleading techniques can be illegal. When a domain or website crosses the line too many times, bots can blacklist certain pages. 

A blacklisted page or domain shows up automatically lower in search results, if it shows up at all. 

How do you undo the big blacklist SEO error? 

A full content rewrite using ethical, legal SEO techniques.

8. Follow The Terms (Of Service)

Websites like Google, Yahoo, and YouTube have rules that are contained in their Terms of Service. Sometimes, these Terms are updated. A clever SEO writer keeps up-to-date with these changes, which can impact how search engine bots are picking up work (or not).

9. Rewrite For SEO 

Writing can also be edited (or rewritten) for better SEO.

When you have good content that isn’t getting hits, keep the content. Like any writing, an edit could help.

Static website content (such as ‘About’ pages) should be updated when hits slow down, or when big updates to Terms of Service takes place. 

10. Check Your SEO

How do you know that your SEO writing gets it right?

Use these tools for effective SEO writing to make your job easier.

  1. Plagiarism checkers (for example, Copyscape or searches for possible duplicates, and grades content by originality.
  2. Grammar checkers (for example, Grammarly) searches for grammar, sentence structure, readability and more.
  3. Keyword checkers (for example, Google Trends) can help writers find specific, ‘hot’ keywords to research or use.
  4. SEO checkers (for example, Yoast) will rate your readability and SEO.

11. Use The Correct Links

Great SEO results use links and keywords correctly. Bots love links, but they have to be the best links by ranking, and there can never be too many of them.

For the best possible results, use 3 to 4 internal links combined with 1 to 2 external links.

I hope this post helps you improve your SEO writing techniques.

Top Tip: If you want to learn how to blog, sign up for The Complete Blogging Course.

 By Alex J. Coyne. Alex is a writer, proofreader, and regular card player. His features about cards, bridge, and card playing have appeared in Great Bridge Links, Gifts for Card Players, Bridge Canada Magazine, and Caribbean Compass. Get in touch at

If you enjoyed this, read his other posts:

  1. The Definitive Plain Language Writing Guide (& 10 Sentences Decoded)
  2. 10 Essential Tips For Eliminating Distractions From Your Writing
  3. 10 Editing Errors Writers Should Avoid At All Costs
  4. 10 Bits Of Writing Advice From Stephen King
  5. The Essential Copywriting Crash Course
  6. Everything You Need To Know About Business Writing
  7. About Essays (& How To Write A Great One)
  8. From Full-Time To Freelance Writing: Ways To Cope
  9. 9 Practical Tips For Being A Faster Writer
  10. 6 Ways Bridge Can Make You A Better Writer

Top Tip: Find out more about our online courses and workbooks in our shop.

Posted on: 19th October 2020

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