SEO content is a complex, time-consuming task that requires a specialised approach. It’s beneficial for digital marketers to work with SEO content creators. These are experienced professionals who are up to speed with the latest SEO best practices including keyword focus, on-page optimisation and, above all, creating helpful, high-quality, user-focused content.
Your marketing team plays a key role in shaping your organisation’s buyer journey and promoting its mission. But marketing teams are notoriously overworked and understaffed – especially in today’s turbulent economy. As a result, most marketing teams lack the time, staff and resources to keep up with the non-stop need for new marketing content. It’s also increasingly difficult to keep up with the latest SEO best practices to make your content as visible as possible.
That’s why 84% of B2B and 55% of B2C marketing departments say they outsource part or all of their SEO content creation. In addition to saving time and freeing up your limited in-house staff to focus on more strategic tasks, outsourcing your SEO content writing provides many other benefits.
In this complete guide, we’ll explain how to get the maximum impact out of your content by outsourcing to professional, expert SEO writers. We’ll discuss the importance of professionally created SEO content for growing your brand. And we’ll share our top recommendations for creating high-performance content every time, whether you’re working with external talent or you’re considering creating SEO content in-house.
What is SEO writing?
In short, SEO writing is all about creating written content that’s designed to rank on the first search engine results page (SERP) of search engines – especially Google, which accounts for over 85% of all online searches. SEO writing is used to create any type of external content you want to use in your content marketing strategy, whether it’s blog posts, client cases, press releases, social media posts or long-form content like research reports and whitepapers.
To create effective SEO content, you’ll need to apply the latest best practices and tactics that align with Google’s search algorithms. Since those algorithms are constantly being updated – and since Google is in the process of rolling out its AI-powered Search Generative Experience (SGE) – it takes dedicated expertise to achieve the best results.
That’s why many marketing teams are opting to work with specialised SEO copywriters, whose entire focus is on creating top-ranking content.
What is an SEO Copywriter?
SEO copywriters are content creators who know how to combine the art of persuasive writing with the science of SEO. Unlike traditional copywriters, SEO copywriters possess a deep understanding of search algorithms, keyword optimisation and user intent. They create content that not only appeals to human readers but also aligns with search engine guidelines to secure better SERP rankings and make sure your content is as visible as possible.
Practically anyone who knows how to write can call themselves a copywriter. In contrast, SEO writers offer a specialised service. They have a background in marketing and communications. And they have valuable experience helping brands like yours achieve their content marketing goals.
This means they understand content marketing strategies and workflows. They’re also used to receiving content briefings from digital marketing teams, so they can work proactively and efficiently to deliver the SEO-friendly content you need.
What’s the difference between copywriting and SEO copywriting?
First, let’s look at what good copywriting and good SEO copywriting have in common (with an emphasis on the word “good” – remember, anyone can call themselves a copywriter, but a “good” copywriter is hard to find):
- Storytelling: Good content uses storytelling techniques. According to scientific research, the average person is 20 times more likely to remember information that is presented in the form of a story, compared to a list of facts and figures. Stories don’t always have to begin with “Once upon a time…” Experienced writers know how to embed subtle storytelling elements into your content, so your readers can identify with the topic, remember the message and engage with your brand’s mission.
- Emotional impact: Neurological testing has proven that customers primarily rely on emotions (not facts and figures) when assessing whether they like a brand. Good copywriters understand this. They know how to appeal to your audiences on an emotional level. This involves showing empathy towards your audiences, addressing their concerns and triggering their pain points to help them see the added value your brand offers them.
- Language & communication skills: This one may seem obvious, but good content creators simply have good writing skills. They have a background in language, which makes them linguistic and grammatical experts. They write clearly and deliver refined, user-friendly content – without typos or errors. Plus, they understand the rules of writing content that’s enjoyable and easy to read.
- Resonance: Good content is relevant to your audiences’ interests and needs. Good copywriters know how to identify those needs, so they can cater to your audiences’ wishes.
Although good SEO copywriting has all of these things in common with good copywriting in general, it is different in many important ways. These are all aspects that make SEO content more likely to rank high on Google, compared to content that is not SEO-friendly:
- Search intent: SEO copywriters design content specifically to match your audiences’ search intent. This means they design the content to answer real questions your audiences are likely to type into Google. They also use the same terminology that your audiences use, which means they’re able to make your content findable even to niche audiences.
- Keyword optimisation: A big part of optimising for search intent is keyword research. SEO content creators know how to strategically integrate important keywords into your content so that it matches online searches. Some SEO writers perform keyword research with you. Others rely on keyword input provided by you or by an SEO consultant.
- User experience: Since user experience is an important factor for your content’s SERP ranking, SEO content creators design their texts with UX in mind. This means formatting and outlining text in ways that make it easier to read.
- Skimmability: Skimmability is an important part of the UX for online text. 73% of online readers say they tend to skim articles, such as blog posts, rather than read them word for word. That’s why SEO content creators understand the importance of using easily identifiable formats (like a listicle or complete guide) and adding clear headers, bullet lists and infographics to make your content quick and easy to consume.
- Shareability: SEO content is also designed to trigger engagement, which is an important factor for generating online traffic and boosting your content’s SERP performance. It focuses on offering interesting insights and unique perspectives that your audiences will want to recommend and share with their peers.
- Instant recognition: SEO content creators also know how to write accurate yet eye-catching titles and meta descriptions, which entice readers to click on your content when it shows up on a SERP.
What skills should SEO writers have?
So, if you consider the “good” qualities for copywriting that we listed above, you can imagine which specific skills to look for in an SEO content creator. These can be divided into two broad categories:
- The art of writing: This involves excellent “soft” skills like creativity, empathy, communication and language skills.
- The science of SEO: This involves excellent “hard” skills like analytical thinking, technical capabilities and an understanding of how specific tactics influence your content’s performance.
The best SEO content creators are experienced in marketing and communications. They often have a relevant education in fields like journalism, public relations or languages.
Many of them also have special training or long experience working in specific industries, which gives them an insider’s perspective on the topics that matter most to your niche audience. All SEO content creators keep up to date with the latest best practices and strategies for improving your content’s SERP ranking.
Why is writing for SEO important?
SEO writing is a complex, time-consuming task. So, it’s completely valid to ask yourself: is it really worth the effort? Are there any downsides to SEO writing? Does it really work?
Study after study proves that SEO does in fact improve your content’s SERP ranking. Successful digital marketers know from their own experience that their SEO activities are absolutely worth the effort.
SEO-friendly content, created by experienced SEO writers, opens your brand up to many key advantages:
- Visibility: SEO is the best way to ensure your content ranks high. This is crucial to brand visibility online, because 75% of people never look past the first page of Google search results.
- Lead generation and conversion: SEO content has been found to deliver 3 times more qualified leads than paid search ads. According to research, 15% of SEO-generated leads ultimately convert.
- Cost-effectiveness: SEO content is much more cost-effective than paid search, because it never expires and you can continually update and optimise it to get even more value out of your initial investment.
- Boosting traffic: The number-one ranking search result on the Google SERP gets 33% of all the clicks for that search. The number-two position gets 18%, and the number drops quickly from there.
Of course, there are two sides to every story. When it comes to SEO, there are also a few potential downsides. These include:
- Time investment: Google is known to use at least 200 different factors to determine a page’s ranking – that’s a lot of variables to keep in mind. This is one reason why content creators with SEO experience are so highly in demand. It takes a long time to create content and optimise it for SEO.
- Staffing: Hiring a full-time SEO content writer is beyond the budget for many marketing departments. Especially for small to mid-sized brands, it is not realistic to have all the talent and skills you need in-house. This is why most brands outsource their SEO content creation.
- Costs: Although it is more cost-effective than paid search, SEO does still come at a financial cost. Most marketers still find that it is worth the expense, due to the strong long-term return on investment it offers.
What are the basics of SEO writing?
If you’re considering creating SEO content yourself, there are quite a few factors to keep in mind. Here are some of the most important tactics you can apply to improve your content’s SERP ranking and generate more organic traffic:
- User focus: Google has stated time and time again that it prioritises web pages that offer helpful, accurate and user-focused content. That means the quality of your content should always be your top SEO priority. Make sure your content answers real customer questions, offers helpful and insightful information and cites valid, accurate sources.
- Keyword focus: Use an advanced SEO keyword research tool, like SEMrush, Ahrefs or the Google Keyword Planner to identify keywords for topics that are important to your business and its audiences. Long-tail keywords can often help you attract higher-quality leads. They are based on search terms that are used less frequently, but reflect more specific interest (and buyer intent) on the part of the person doing the search.
- On-page optimisation: Integrate keywords into your text in a natural, helpful way (never “stuff” keywords, as this is a red flag for Google). Use easily recognisable formats and layouts, like “How-to” guides, “Top 10…” lists or Q&A type articles, just to name a few. Ensure your images are compressed to a maximum of 500 kb per page to ensure fast page load speed: this is crucial for your Google search ranking. Above all: make sure your content is always optimised for viewing on a mobile device, as Google has switched to mobile-first indexing. Most online searches take place on mobile devices, so your content absolutely has to be mobile-friendly.
- Off-page optimisation: Promote your content and your brand using channels other than your own website. This can include social media channels and YouTube. It can also mean gaining PR placement in key online publications, like industry or lifestyle blogs, as well as influencer marketing and user-generated content (like customer reviews and ratings on pages like TrustPilot, Yelp, etc.).
SEO copywriting services
If you’re considering outsourcing your SEO content creation, you’ll find plenty of options on LinkedIn and via talent agencies and platforms. But like any business decision, there are a few factors to keep in mind to help you make an informed choice.
Choosing and working with freelance SEO copywriters
Freelance SEO content creators are the go-to choice for most brands, as they offer an excellent combination of flexibility, cost effectiveness and quality. Yet finding an managing your own freelance talent pool can come with some risks:
- Time-consuming: There are only so many hours in a busy marketer’s day. Scouting for talent is a time-consuming task and it may not be part of your usual skill set. It involves finding qualified candidates, interviewing them, negotiating contracts and possibly working on a trial basis at first to see how things go.
- Onboarding: Onboarding new freelancers and introducing them to your brand is also challenging and time-consuming, but it is essential for achieving the best results.
No guarantee: As we mentioned above, literally anyone can call themselves a copywriter. Individual freelancers usually do not offer a quality guarantee, so there’s a risk that you might be less than satisfied with their work.
- Administrative hassle: Especially if you need multiple freelancers, it’s a time-consuming task to keep track of individual contracts and rates. Each freelancer works in a different way, so it’s hard to develop a consistent way to manage all of them.
- Poor scalability: If you need to quickly scale up your content creation, you’ll need to have an adequate talent pool at your disposal. This is difficult to achieve if you have to go through a time-consuming tendering and selection process each time you need extra content creators on your team.
With these challenges in mind, most marketers prefer to work with talent agencies and platforms, the benefits are clear...
- Time savings: You save time by outsourcing all the time-consuming tasks related to finding, screening and selecting talent. Contentoo, for example, pre-screens all the freelancer SEO content creators on our platform to ensure they have the experience, skills and work ethic to offer an excellent experience for our clients. We also onboard each content creator that we supply to you, so they’re up to speed with your brand before they start working on their first project for you.
- Quality assurance: The best talent agencies and platforms offer a quality guarantee. If you’re not happy with the quality, they can quickly connect you with a replacement writer or offer another alternative solution to get the job done right. Otherwise, it’s “no cure, no pay”.
- Availability: Agencies and platforms maintain vast networks of talent, so they can almost always find a writer for you when you need one, even on short notice.
- Easy administration: With a talent agency or platform, you have one point of contact for managing all the projects you outsource, including briefings, invoices and talent management.
- Scalability: Because of their large talent networks, agencies and platforms can also supply all the talent you need when it’s time to scale up your content production, for example, during peak seasons, rebranding or when entering a new market.
When choosing a talent agency or platform to work with, here are some key factors to keep in mind
- Reputation: Does the agency or platform have a track record of success in your industry? Have they worked with similar clients in the past? Be sure to review their customer cases and reviews. If you know someone in your network who has worked with a specific agency or platform in the past, ask them about their experience. Would they recommend the agency or platform to you?
- Service level: Since saving time is one of the main benefits of outsourcing, you’ll want to make sure your chosen supplier offers the service level you require. For example, do they onboard the talent for you to ensure they are up to speed with your brand? Do you have a designated customer success manager who serves as your point of contact in case of any questions or concerns?
- Interactivity: The ability to interact directly with your freelance talent is crucial to achieving excellent SEO content results. It’s much more efficient than having to relay messages via a project manager. Insist on being able to interact with your individual content creators. Take an active part in introducing them to your brand. By feeling personally connected with you, your team and your brand, the freelance content creator will be more motivated to deliver excellent quality. They also understand your brand’s vision, mission and values, which enables them to become more personally and professionally invested in the content they create for you.
- Technology: It’s essential for your chosen agency or platform to offer convenient, modern technologies that help you organise and keep track of your ongoing content projects. This is the key to working together efficiently while maintaining an overview of your costs. If an agency only gives you the option to communicate via lengthy email threads, look the other way. It’s also increasingly important for your content partner to have a firm understanding of generative AI technologies, which are quickly changing the way content marketing works.
- Workflow: Each marketing team has its own workflow for developing and publishing SEO content. It’s important to look for content partners that fit into your workflow and offer you the flexibility to decide what works best for you. That means choosing, for example, how long you need to review a first draft and provide feedback.
- Quality assurance: Investing in SEO content can be risky business if there’s no quality guarantee up front. Look for a content partner that backs up their quality with a satisfaction guarantee. Talk to them about your expectations and ask them to be real about what they can and cannot provide. This will save you from having to start all over in case things don’t work out as planned.
- Range of service: Often digital marketers need a range of content-related services in addition to content creation. It’s convenient if you can count on a single partner to deliver all the talent you need, whether it’s content creation, content refresh, editing, transcreation, SEO consulting, strategy consulting or something more.
- Price: Of course, competitive pricing is always a priority. The best talent platforms offer bulk discounts based on larger order commitments. You may also prefer a more flexible arrangement in which you only pay for the content you order. Look for a content partner that’s willing to negotiate and make you an offer that meets your budget requirements.
SEO content writing examples
If you’re interested in seeing good examples of SEO in practice, it’s easy to find them. Simply perform a Google search on any topic related to your business or product. The first search results you see are virtually guaranteed to be SEO content. Those competitor web pages did not make it to page 1 of the Google SERP by coincidence: they were strategically developed with SEO in mind.
Some of the main strategies we see for achieving consistently high-ranking content include:
- Effective use of long-tail keywords: These are far less competitive than much more popular, short-tail keywords.
- Content refresh and update strategies: Keeping your content up to date is key to remaining top of mind on Google. Regularly audit and update factual information on your existing pages.
- Link building: Brands that are able to earn backlinks to their content rank higher on Google. That means focusing on securing guest posts and being referenced on influential sites in your industry that have a higher domain authority than your own website.
10 must-follow SEO writing rules
Based on our extensive experience in SEO content creation, we can confidently say that these 10 rules are essential to creating excellent, high-performance SEO content:
- Know your audience: Always write for humans. Focus on the vocabulary that your customers are actually using. Understand what triggers and motivates them. Address their concerns and needs in every piece of content you publish.
- Keep up to date: Understand how Google’s algorithm is changing. Apply proven best practices but remain flexible enough to adjust your strategy as the SEO landscape shifts.
- Pick powerful keywords: Use the technologies at your disposal to perform in-depth keyword research. Monitor keywords and be prepared to shift your focus and update existing content to remain competitive.
- More is more: Writing longer-form content is a proven tactic for attracting more organic traffic. According to SEMrush, texts of 3,000 words or more generate 3 times more leads than short-form content.
- Offer original insights: Focus on truly adding value for your audiences. That means offering perspectives and stories they won’t find elsewhere.
- Build your domain authority: Especially for B2B brands, building your domain authority by earning backlinks on key industry websites is a major benefit to your SEO content strategy.
- Use recognisable formats: Offer content in formats that your audiences expect and prefer. Make sure the purpose, benefit and takeaways of your content are immediately recognisable.
- Use a variety of formats: Take a campaign-based approach to your content and create clusters of content with various formats (blog posts, long-form copy, press releases, social posts, infographics and more). Interconnect your content to create a cohesive content experience that appeals to multiple audiences’ media preferences.
- Structure your content for readability: Use lots of heading, follow a logical outline and make your content easily skimmable.
- Leverage meta information: Always write accurate, enticing and helpful meta titles and descriptions to help your content stand out even more on the SERP.
More best practices for SEO copywriters
In addition to the 10 rules above, there are countless tactics you can deploy to help your content rank better every time. Here are a few more best practices that we recommend:
- Focus on long-term returns: SEO is a process, not an event. It usually takes 6 to 12 months before you can fully recognise the impact of your SEO activities.
- Monitor and optimise: Use analytics tools like SEMrush or Google Analytics to keep track of which content is doing well and why. Continually optimise your content to keep it moving up the search rankings.
- Set clear SEO goals: The success of your SEO content depends entirely on what you’re trying to achieve. Setting clear goals for your content campaigns enables you to choose valid KPIs, monitor performance and assess your return on investment.
- Add pictures: Content that contains a combination of text and images appeals to different types of readers and scores better on Google. Just remember to condense images to avoid slow loading speeds, which negatively impacts your SERP ranking.
- Think mobile-first: All top-ranking content on Google has one thing in common: it is optimised for mobile. Google takes a mobile-first strategy, and so should every digital marketer.
Connect with your audiences through SEO content
Lastly, remember that the entire purpose of SEO content is to make it easier for your audiences to connect with your brand. Content quality and relevance are the keys to success. By focusing your SEO efforts on getting to know your customers, understanding what makes them tick and offering helpful information to them, you’re already on the right track towards SEO success.
If you’re interested in working with a structured, professional pool of SEO content creation talent, don’t hesitate to contact us, Contentoo can help.
We screen all our SEO content creators to ensure they meet our high standards of quality, experience and expertise. With our global talent pool on your side, you can grow your brand with content that drives visibility online while also resonating and engaging with your audiences.