How can you write a blog post or article that can engage your audience and keep search engines happy?

To some, writing for SEO purposes and writing to attract an audience can appear to be contradictory.

That’s a misconception.

In fact, SEO-friendly content is satisfying and useful for both readers and web crawlers.

Factors like keywords, titles, headings, lists, images, and internal links not only make your content more structured and easier for your audience to digest, but it also helps search engines understand what your page is about.

Fortunately, most good copywriting techniques also make for good search engine optimization.

  • Titles and headings are important (h1s, h2s, etc). Not only do they help search engines understand what the page is about, but they also help users understand if this is something they want to read.

    • Use relevant keywords and geographical information.

    • Example:

      • h1: Michigan Roofing Services

      • h2: Comprehensive Roof Repair in Detroit, MI

  • Put conclusions at the beginning of the page. Introductions are important because, much like your audience, search engines want to find what they are looking for and determine if this is a relevant and useful page as fast as possible.  

    • Include keyword phrases in your first paragraph - keywords should be denser towards the top of the page.

    • Example: “For over 40 years, Michigan Paper Die has been Detroit's leading source for creative packaging design and custom printing services. We began servicing the sheet-fed print industry and with new technology developed over the years, our business has blossomed into a comprehensive source for packaging design, folding carton manufacturing, intricate steel-rule construction, and common paper construction. For decades we have worked directly with design firms, corporations, educational organizations, commercial businesses, and entrepreneurs to create innovative products our clients are proud to put their names on.”

  • Make links part of copy. Interlinking to other pages throughout content is good for SEO. Use relevant keyphrases as your link anchor text rather than “click here.”

  • Try to use lists instead of paragraphs. Lists are not only easier for search engines to read, but they also make content more digestible for readers and easier for them to scan through the text to find what they want.

  • HTML elements are important, too.

    • Don't forget to add alt text that includes a keyword phrase to your images or videos. This lets search engines know what the image/video is. Bold, italicize, headings, and other emphasis HTML tags can be used to highlight your keyword phrases or relevant information.

  • Optimize URL structure. Since search engines display URLs in search results, they can impact visibility and click-through rates.

    • Empathize with your audience. Put yourself in the mind of a user and look at the URL. If you can easily predict the content you’d expect to find on this page, that’s a good starting point.

    • Keyword use is important, but shorter is better. URLs should be specific and descriptive, but you don’t have to go overboard by trying to stuff in multiple keywords (this looks spammy to people and search engines).

    • Use hyphens to separate words.

    • Examples: If the page is about gutter guards, the URL should be “/gutter-guards” rather than “gutters.html”. If the page is about home air conditioning services, the URL should be “/air-conditioning” or “/air-conditioning-repair” rather than “/cooling”.

The most important thing to keep in mind about writing SEO-friendly content: it does not mean writing for search engines. The best ranked content on any given topic is written for an audience first and search engines second or third. You don’t have to sacrifice good writing for SEO.

Guide to Driving Traffic to Your Website