SEO Content Writing Checklist: A Guide for Bloggers and Writers

Writers come up with a lot of questions when it comes to writing SEO optimized articles. Some of the common questions pertaining to keyword density, finding original ideas, structuring your content, the approach and tonality of the content, and more. In this article, we are going to understand what constitutes a good SEO optimized content and what content writing checklist one should follow to achieve the most appropriate content. This article is relevant for writers, editors, bloggers, and newbies who are looking to know more about digital marketing and content writing.

1. Understanding the Objective of the Content

As a writer, before you start writing SEO optimized content, always ask yourself, “the objective and the end goal of the content”. In some cases, your editor or project manager would already be briefing about the objective of the content and the target audience. Every piece of content is expected to fulfill a specific task. It can be a lead generation, brand building, brand recall, product recommendation, initiate a purchase decision, etc. Understanding the objective and writing in accordance with the lines would help you achieve the right approach to the content.

2. Identify your Audience

It is mandatory to understand whom you’re preparing the content for, the expectation, and how the content will be consumed– whether it will be informative, entertaining, funny, serious, action-oriented. Once you identify the niche and objective of the content, the next most important aspect is to know your target audience. If you’re writing marketing content, then you should have an informative tone and a little authoritative choice of words since the content is expected to be coming from a subject matter expert.

However, if you’re writing a lifestyle content, the tone and approach should be more friendly and out of an experience where the user should be able to connect to their writer. Also, it is crucial to know which generation you’re creating the content for and the expertise level of the people who will be reading it. Young people prefer skimming through the content while matured ones prefer a more in-depth reading.

3. Finding Informative Content

One of the biggest challenges as a writer is to create authoritative content that is original. The originality factor plays an important role in getting your content ranked higher in search engines when compared to already existing content. So, just copying the ideas from 3-4 similar articles and manipulating them to prepare a Copyscape filtered content would really help you solve the statement. As a writer, you’re essentially adding value to your content, and that is why someone will read your content and not someone else’s. Finding reliable, relevant, and experienced-based information is difficult, but there are main sources from where you can find such information and structurize them to present unique content that actually solves a problem.

Reddit: It is a storehouse of information, especially if the topics are technical and required in-depth analysis. If you’re creating content related to marketing, technology, ad tech, advertising, startup, and others, you can read through the subreddits or search the sub-reddits to find content inspirations, topic ideas, and more.

Quora: Again, a simple quora search can give you a lot of information about a subject. Quora is a storehouse of information and all of that is available for free. The content will enhance your existing knowledge about a product and shall give you additional pointers and information that will have your writing more in-depth.

Facebook Groups: There are a lot of influencers and good quality content on Facebook groups. Be it on AI, neural networks, startups, marketing, growth hacks, etc. You can even consider getting in touch with subject matter experts if you think your content really requires expert advice.

Existing Reviews: You will be writing a lot about software, products, apps, etc and you need to talk about their features, pro, cons, etc, etc. You can get a lot of content inspirations just by going through the reviews of the products on sites like Trust radius, Capterra, g2, etc. Existing reviews can really talk a lot about the product and it’s your expertise to create a story out of it.

4. Creating Your Content

The content you create is your personal space, it gives you the freedom to express and also share your opinion. However, good content is all about the right balance of expressions, conversation, and information. Be expressive when it is needed, and at the same time provide the relevant information. The very flow of the content should be conversational so that your readers are naturally drawn into the content.

5. Including Meta Description

Whenever you submit an article, ensure to write a 140 character meta description. A meta description is a text snippet that appears on the search result just after the title. A good meta description can increase the click through rate and eventually you’ll get more traffic to your site. Ensure the meta description is simple and is like the ‘thesis statement’– basically describing the entire article. As a content writer, you should include the meta description in italics before starting your article, just after the title so that the publishing team doesn’t have to find excerpts from your writing to create the meta description.

6. Including Keywords within the Content

Keywords are crucial and they will continue to be crucial in the field of web content writing because it helps the search engines to understand the overall content. Keywords should be considered as individual items, rather as an entity that helps you create unique content.

Primary Keywords: Primary keywords are best described as those content phrases which aptly and best define the objective of the content. It finds a position in the title of your content, in the headings/subheadings and also within the content paragraphs. Also, primary keywords are those which are searched by users and constitute the key search phrases and terms that can make your content visible. So, it becomes essential to rank for those keywords.

Secondary Keywords: Secondary keywords are the continuation of the primary keywords. These keywords also best describe the nature of your content and maybe a bit longer tailed than your primary keywords. So, if you consider your primary keyword as “email marketing platforms” then your secondary keywords can be “best email marketing platforms”, “top email marketing platforms”, “best email marketing tools”, “best email marketing software”, etc.

Contextual Keywords: Contextual keywords are like relevance phrases that should be included in your content because they can’t be isolated. They are not like actual keywords but phrases that closely find relevance to your content.

A good keyword-optimized write-up would involve judicial use of these three types of keywords to generate the most relevant SEO optimized content copy. I would refrain from using the term like keyword density to describe how many times you should use the keywords. Rather, you can follow the rule,

“Place the keywords wherever you think is appropriate; then remove the keywords whenever you think is irrelevant.”

7. Adding Bullets and Hyperlinks

It is a good practice to add bullets whenever you talk about features, pros, cons, or anything that requires a quick overview. Placing hyperlinks at relevant sections is also recommended along with citations.

8. Adding Citations

Adding citations whenever you’re taking reference from any particular source is extremely crucial. This ensures the editors can check the facts which you’re ascending within your content. One of the best websites which follow this rule is Healthline. Here is a sample article on belly fat which you can take a look to understand how citation works. Whenever a statement is made by the author which needs assertion, the author is cited the sources as 1,2,3 and hyperlinked the numbers to the links which ascertain the facts. By doing this, it ensures that your content is relevant and you’re not making any false claims, instead, they are factual.

9. Include Relevant Images within your Content

Images and graphics make your content enriched and more appealing to read. Engaging content can significantly influence your SEO ranks and thus is a significant ranking factor. Ensure you’re mentioning the image source with a relevant link if you’re sourcing the image from google search results or third party websites. You can even create your own graphical content using third-party tools like Crello and Canva and have your website URL and information added to it. If your graphics are good and relevant, other sites will be using them and quite a few organic backlinks can be created in the process. So, the bottom line is, include relevant images and whenever possible, create your own images.

10. Writing a Good Conclusion

A good conclusion can create wonders but we end up paying the least attention to this part of the writing. A good conclusion tied with a call to action can definitely drive your conversion goals. In addition, you can share your opinion and build a trusting relationship with your readers since most of them prefer a takeaway. It can talk more about the services offered by the website, or by you or the company you are writing for. The trust which the reader develops while going through your content needs to have a smooth closure instead of an abrupt one. You can even interlink some of the relevant pages of your blog while concluding.

11. Always Use a Proofreading Tool

There are many tools in the market that boast of fixing your grammatical errors. I’ve gone through quite a few of them and finally preferred to stick to Grammarly. The premium version does provide you with the most accurate grammar checks which are way better than MS word. It also comes with a much in-depth plagiarism checker. So, the tool allows the editors and writers to proofread their writings and also provide warnings and links of texts which may be potentially copied from other sources across the internet. This last step is extremely important, trust me on that, and Google takes duplicate content seriously. So, if you are looking to establish an authoritative blog across your industry with quality information that people can rely on, this should be one of the first investments you should be making, majorly because the returns are invaluable.

Good SEO content should be well optimized for keywords, should carry insightful information, and have higher user engagement. These three are the top deciding factors that will ensure a gradual improvement in your rankings and better visibility across search engines.