SEO once existed in a vacuum. You could set out to improve the SEO of your site and barely touch the content. But those days have been over for a long time.
Now, search engines understand, categorize and rank the internet with content. They read it. They do a pretty good job of understanding it — and even assessing its quality. And that’s how they decide where your website should rank.
In other words, it’s hard to overstate the importance of content writing in SEO. It’s essential. Read on to learn five ways content writing can improve your SEO efforts.
In SEO, it all Comes Back to Content
There’s a lot to talk about in SEO. There so much, in fact, that Search Engine Land has filled an entire periodic table with the elements of SEO. (Download that — it’s a great resource.) You have metas, links, header tags, site speed, site structure, crawlability, anchor text and proximity, among dozens of other factors.
Here’s the most important thing to understand about all of that: None of it matters if you have bad content. It all comes back to content every single time. The impact of every non-content SEO factor combined pales in comparison to the importance of content writing in SEO.
Quality is Key
With that said, you can’t just have any content on your website and check the “content” box. Your content needs to be high-quality. It needs to deliver value. You can find content writers who will work for pennies, but they are unlikely to deliver the quality content you need to stand out from your competitors.
Do not underestimate the ability of search engines to assess content quality. With major updates like Panda and BERT, Google has learned to understand content quality and user search queries better than many people can.
You won’t fool Google with low-quality content. Eventually, Google and other search engines will figure you out and rank you accordingly. Quality is and always will be key in SEO content writing.
Copywriting vs. Content Writing in SEO
Before we describe the SEO benefits of great content writing, we need to make clear an important distinction. Content writing is not the same thing as copywriting. Both matter for marketing and SEO, but they’re not the same.
Content writing is done to inform the reader. Most blog posts, for example, are content writing. This content is educational or explains a process. It will have little, if any, sales language in it. It will address a topic and inform the reader about it. If you’re looking for an example, what you’re reading right now — this blog post — is content writing.
Copywriting is about sales and marketing. Your landing pages, product descriptions and homepage content are likely to fall into the copywriting category. It’s all about using language to sell your product, service or idea.
In this post, we’re talking about the importance of content writing in SEO, although copywriting has major SEO implications, too.
How Content Writing Affects SEO
With our definitions and distinctions out of the way, let’s get into the reasons why content writing is important for SEO. Here are five of the most important ones:
1. Get Your Keywords on the Page
If you’ve done any reading at all about SEO, you’re familiar with the concept of keywords. You need to choose the right keywords and convince search engines that your website should rank for them.
Content writing is how you do that. In your blog posts and other content, you include your keywords. Search engines read them and associate your website with them.
2. Naturally Build Backlinks
Backlinks — links from other websites that point to yours — are an essential part of SEO. They’re considered off-page SEO (as opposed to on-page SEO), and you can find hundreds of people and businesses selling backlinks, claiming they will boost your rankings.
They might, but buying backlinks is a violation of Google’s guidelines for website owners. Google considers paying for backlinks a “link scheme” and says quite explicitly that it will negatively impact your search rankings if it catches you doing it.
So, where does that leave you? You need backlinks, but you can’t (or shouldn’t) pay for them. You need to naturally build backlinks. And you do that through great content writing.
Here’s how it works: You write or publish some amazing content — something that is more comprehensive, informative, interesting or engaging than the existing content on the subject. That content begins to rank for relevant keywords, and other website owners who are creating their own content use it as a resource. Naturally, they link to it.
That’s a backlink. And with great content writing, you can generate hundreds of them. Accordingly, your rankings will increase.
3. Get Clicks with Great Content
Organic traffic — meaning traffic that comes from search engines to your website — is a ranking factor. Search engines watch users’ behavior when they encounter your website in the search results, and they use that to inform their opinion of your website’s quality.
If a blog post on your site appears high up in the search results but no one ever clicks on it, you’re likely to lose that ranking (and others) after a while. Why? Because that tells search engines that your content is not answering users’ queries or is somehow low-quality.
That’s why you have to have high-quality content. You need to provide enough value to convince people to actually click on your content when they see it in search results. That way, you get website traffic and, if the traffic is consistent, a boost in your search rankings over time.
4. Reduce Your Bounce Rate
Google has said many times that bounce rate — the percentage of your website visitors who leave your site after landing on only a single page — is not a ranking factor. However, a high bounce rate tells Google and other search engines that your content is not keeping users on your site and engaged, and that is likely a negative ranking signal.
It’s difficult to provide definitive evidence to contradict Google’s statements here, but it’s common wisdom in the SEO community that high bounce rates are bad for SEO, whether their effect is direct or indirect. That wisdom is the result of years of anecdotal evidence stacked up against Google’s statements, which should almost always be taken with a big fat grain of salt.
So, how do you reduce your bounce rate? With high-quality content writing. If your content is fun and easy to read and addresses users’ questions, users are much less likely to leave your site after reading only one post. As a result, your bounce rate goes down.
5. Provide the Value Search Engines Are Looking For
This benefit can pretty much summarize the importance of content writing in SEO. When you boil search engines down to their most essential purpose, they all really want the same thing: to deliver the best results for each and every query their users search. They want to rank websites — and the content on those websites — that provide value to their users. It’s as simple as that.
That means you need to provide that value. And there’s only one way to do that: with high-quality content on your website.
Need Great SEO Content Writing? Hire a Great Writer
In SEO, content writing is incredibly important. Unfortunately, most business and website owners have neither the time nor the skill necessary to write their own content in any sort of consistent or effective manner. That’s why content writing is one of the most common marketing tasks to outsource.
If outsourcing is the route you take, remember that quality is key. In truth, if you publish low-quality content on your website, you might as well have saved yourself the money and not published content at all.
If you want great SEO results, you need great content writing. And to get that, you need a great content writer. At Hire a Writer, we are a team of expert content writers and copywriters who know how to make your SEO dreams come true.