3 SEO writing tips to improve content

3 SEO writing tips to improve content

It can be a challenge to stay creative with your copy while also competing for higher search rankings, especially if you’re constantly crashing on deadline.

Here are three ideas to help take the pressure off so you can churn out more effective, SEO-friendly content without creative burnout:

1. Get help—tap your SMEs. “Unless you’re writing marketing or PR content, you probably shouldn’t author your content,” says Samantha Rideout, marketing director at Pharmaceutical Strategies Group. “Instead, work with your subject matter experts (SMEs).”

This helps you get more content out and helps boost your search rankings, according to Rideout. That’s because the top search engines usually include “authority” as a ranking factor.

Google, for example, may give preference to sites with higher levels of what’s known as E-A-T, which stands for “Expertise,” “Authoritativeness” and “Trustworthiness.”

“When dealing with SMEs at your organization, it’s tempting to turn to Professor Google as source material,” Rideout adds. “But if you can Google it, so can your audience. What are you offering that is different or special? Why is your content the thing everyone needs to read?”

The answer, of course, is the unique expert perspectives of your thought leaders. But they’re usually in high-demand and too busy to draft content from scratch.

Her solution is to interview them for content they can review or personalize later. Here’s how:

  • Schedule time in advance and send prep questions with your calendar invite.
  • Record the interview.
  • Use active listening tactics, like summarizing their answers back to them, to simplify the editing process later.
  • Consider an instant transcription service to accelerate the interview-to-draft process.

2. Write as you speak. “Mirroring verbal communication leads to content that’s stronger, more clear and more accessible,” says Rideout. “You’re also more likely to show up in search with keywords that people ‘speak’ and don’t write.”

Again, she recommends interviewing your SMEs to get it right.

“It lets you write in a true industry voice so you can replicate the lexicon in an article or post,” says Rideout. “An email Q&A might feel like a shortcut, but if the questions are answered via email, the tone can be more formal and miss the nuances of language.”

She admits the approach can slow the turnaround time, especially if you’re interviewing SMEs.

“It can take two weeks to meet,” she says, “but an interview will be the most efficient and effective write-as-you speak process over time, especially from a search perspective.”

3. Don’t plan content without Google Trends. “When selecting core topics, check-in with their popularity before creating your content,” advises Rideout. “Before you position yourself as the authority on a topic, be confident it’s one that matters based on real search data.”

Timing is everything, she adds: “As you plot out your editorial calendar for the year, use real data from Google Trends to understand when your efforts will have the most impact.”

Even so, Rideout warns against chasing the latest trends or buzzwords.

“Stay true to your content strategy as long as it’s directly tied to your organization’s get-to-market (GTM) strategy,” she says. “Watch Google Trends and understand where your strategy can plug into the current conversation among your target audience. To thine own customer journey and content strategy be true!”


Brian Pittman  is the Dean of Ragan Training a Ragan Communications event producer. For more information about Ragan Training, contact him at [email protected].