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SEO Content Writing: 14 Golden Rules For Creating Optimized Blog Posts

by Tom Kotze

Want to know the secrets behind excellent SEO content writing?

According to research, companies that publish top-notch content have 434% more web pages indexed on search engines.

That’s a lot of potential traffic to tap into if you get it right.

60% of marketers also say that SEO blog content produces the highest quality leads.

Clearly, SEO and content writing is something your business should focus on.

Producing well-written content that speaks to your company values and product is the easy part. If this content isn’t SEO-friendly, it won't perform as well as it should.

There’s good news, though. SEO optimizations can be relatively simple to apply. I have covered some of the best practices for SEO content writing below to get you started.

Apply these tactics to generate more traffic to grow your business.

What is SEO content writing?

SEO content writing is the process of writing web content that is optimized to rank well on search engines for specific search terms.

When content writing for SEO, it’s critical to understand your target audience as well as how search engines work. Simply writing compelling content isn’t enough to get your web pages ranking on page one.

SEO content writing combines various processes to ensure each page you publish has the best chance of ranking for the right search terms.

Quick glossary: Key SEO terms to wrap your head around

Before going any further, there are a few must-know terms about writing content for SEO. Let’s take a quick look at some key terminology in this space so you have the bigger picture:

  • Keyword: The word or phrase you optimize your web page around. This is the phrase your ideal audience types into search engines to discover content.
  • Traffic: The number of visitors who land on your web page.
  • Backlinks: Links that point from an external website to your web pages.
  • Internal links: Links in your content that send visitors to other pages on your website.
  • Anchor text: The words on your web page that you place a link over.
  • Site architecture: How the different pages on your website are structured and connected through internal linking.
  • Domain authority: How well-trusted a website is based on search engine algorithms. Authority is mainly built up through backlinks.
  • HTML: The code form of your web pages that search engines read.
  • Crawl: Search engines crawl sites to understand the information on each web page and index them accordingly.
  • Meta description: A short description of the content on your web page. This is displayed on the search engine results page.
  • SERP: Stands for search engine results page. This page displays the indexed content and website URLs that result from an internet search.

Why is writing content for SEO mission-critical?

Mission critical SEO writing

The primary purpose of writing SEO content is to drive organic traffic to your website.

Implementing SEO in content writing will set up your web pages to rank well for specific search terms. This lets you access a consistent stream of organic traffic, i.e., traffic you don’t have to pay for.

This traffic is highly targeted. After doing keyword research, you can be specific about what keywords you want to go after. Focus on terms that speak to an audience of potential customers.

You can also be strategic in how you use content to target different users based on their stage in the sales funnel.

But, publishing web pages without applying the relevant best practices means the pages will likely disappear to the furthest depths of Google. Nobody will see them, and they won’t help you grow your business.

Beyond the increased visibility, SEO-based content writing also helps you build domain authority within your niche. If your website ranks for tonnes of keywords relating to a certain space, people will begin to view you as an authority.

Through this, you can build trust and build your up brand.

What type of content should be SEO-friendly?

The short answer is any page on your website should be SEO-friendly.

SEO website content writing helps people find the right pages on your website through internet searches. This means you should optimize everything from product pages to landing pages, blog posts and service pages for search.

14 Rock solid SEO content writing tips

A lot goes into writing great content that will rank on the SERPs. At a minimum, I recommend putting the following tips into play:

1. Write for people first and foremost

Even though SEO principles are rooted in optimizing content for search engines, it’s crucial to put your readers, humans, first when writing content.

Historically, your content could rank by stuffing it with keywords. This doesn’t fly anymore, and keyword stuffing can be repetitive and provide a poor reading experience.

So, focus instead on providing valuable insights for your readers. Ask yourself whether you’d enjoy reading your own content. Does it sound expert and provide unique information?

2. Use keywords strategically

Every web page must have a primary keyword to target.

Your goal here is to have a keyword that:

  • Attracts your target audience
  • Has a difficulty level you can compete for
  • Has the potential to deliver enough traffic

To do this, you need to use keyword research tools that reveal metrics like search volume and keyword difficulty.

what is seo content writing

You must also understand which websites rank top for these keywords. How many backlinks do their pages have, and what are they doing right in their content?

SERPs for SEO content writing writing

Once you find the correct keywords, use them strategically throughout your content. Ensure they’re in your page’s title, URL, meta description, alt text, and scattered into your content where they make sense.

3. Directly answer search intent

When it comes to the basics of SEO content writing, answering search intent is one of the most critical things to get right.

This refers to the content someone wants to discover when they hit the search button for a specific keyword.

Let’s say you want your web page to rank for the keyword “sales enablement.” What type of content should you publish to achieve this?

The easiest way to understand how to approach writing is to run a Google search of your target keyword.

Look at the top-ranking content for that keyword. You’ll compete against these pages, and Google understands them as providing the best answers to the user query.

sales enablement Google search query

If we look at the top three SERP results for ‘sales enablement’ in Google, an explanatory guide is the best way to meet search intent.

Let’s consider something a bit more ambiguous - “employee recognition.”

employee recognition Google search

The top five pages for this keyword show a mixed bag of results. You can read:

  • Explanatory guides
  • Guide to why and how of employee recognition
  • Recognition ideas
  • Recognition messages

A reasonable approach to writing for this keyword would be to create a complete guide. 

In writing, always ensure you understand the keyword and its search intent. Then, offer the most relevant, authoritative, and insightful content that matches this search intent.

4. Add value, add value, add value

If you're going to generate meaningful SEO results, you need to deliver great content that provides real value to your target audience.

This means publishing well-researched content that actually answers your audience’s questions. It should be expert-led, offer advice, provide insights, and deliver new information your readers won’t find elsewhere.

The best ways to add value to your content are to make it interesting, educational, entertaining, or inspiring. Always cover every question a user might want to know when they visit your web page, and make sure you speak with authority.

Google’s EAT principle is another significant factor when it comes to determining the quality of your content. Make sure you factor these elements in when writing web pages.

5. Write content that attracts backlinks

Backlinks are a critical foundation for successful SEO web content writing. You need to attract high-quality backlinks to give your site a competitive boost. 

Basically, receiving a backlink from a website with good domain authority tells search engines that your content is well-researched and a trustworthy resource.

Check how many backlinks Backlinko has to their post on SEO backlinks. They rank position one for that keyword and generate a traffic value of $37k.

Overview backlinko backlinks keyword Ahrefs

The more of these backlinks you generate, the more authority your website will build. This gives you a greater chance of ranking above the competition.

It’s critical to attract the right kind of backlinks from relevant domains, though, and don't use any black hat SEO tactics to generate these links. Working with a trusted link-building service can help you pull this off.

6. Leverage long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are longer phrases related to a main keyword. They usually have a lower search volume, but they’re much more specific in terms of search intent.

The benefit of this is that you can generate better-quality leads with your content.

For example, say you have a booking platform. The keyword “booking software” is relevant to you. As you can see below, the keyword gets around 1,400 monthly searches and has a difficulty ranking of 78.

That means it will be quite difficult to break the ranks and get visibility there. You’ll have to generate tonnes of backlinks and get thousands of visitors to your site to rank anywhere near the top spaces. 

Booking software

Ranking for this keyword may generate a lot of general traffic to your website, but is it useful traffic if you cater to a specific industry?

Say you’re in travel and tourism. Drill down a level to create content that ranks for ‘travel booking software” or “travel booking platform.”

There is a lower search volume, but the search intent is more specific. So, anyone who clicks on your content will likely be your target customer.

Plus, the ranking difficulty on long-tail keywords is usually lower. This means lower competition for the keyword and a higher possibility of getting your related content seen.

Travel booking software

All in all, going for long-tail keywords gets the right people to your website. In turn, this can help you increase conversions and achieve your business goals.

A good rule of thumb is to combine long and short keywords into your SEO-optimized content writing. This will give you balance with relevant, decent-volume traffic.

7. Create long-form content

Research shows that longer-form content typically performs better on search engines. This is because it includes more information and can better target and answer search queries.

The golden rule here is to ensure all content is useful and relevant, though. Don’t waffle on or include filler content for the sake of it.

Another one of the best SEO content writing tips is to analyze the length of the top-ranking content for your target keyword. This is a good indicator of how long your content should be.

8. Make it visually appealing

Including plenty of visual elements in your writing can make a big difference to the user experience and your rankings.

Think of how much easier and interesting it is to read a post with images, videos, and quotes.

Compare this to a long block of text, and you have a clear winner in terms of which one you’ll engage with. 

Always try to incorporate relevant images. When you explain something, add a screenshot of what you’re commenting on to make it easier to understand. When relevant, consider embedding a video into your content.

The more engaging visual elements you add, the better the user experience.

9. Create original content

Without a doubt, original content always performs best. Instead of just rehashing what’s already on the SERPs, add some original insights and research. This will make your content more exciting and worthy of backlinks.

One relatively easy way to do this is to create an original infographic to include in your content.

You could also quote research other pages that don’t reference. Or provide original guides, templates, or anything useful related to your topic.

10. Be smart with internal linking

A good internal linking structure is essential for SEO content writing. Where it makes sense to do so, link to other relevant pages on your website. This provides additional contextual information and encourages the reader to continue their journey of discovery with your business.

Use relevant anchor text for linking. Ideally, the anchor text should be the keyword the linked page targets.

Remember to add plenty of internal links to your new page when you publish it. This will help speed up the process of building page authority off the bat. 

Create internal links

11. Always optimize for mobile

Nearly 60% of all online searches happen on a mobile device. If your web pages don’t offer a great mobile experience, it will quickly result in page bounces.

A key part of writing and optimizing for mobile is considering the white space in your articles. Keep sentences short. Keep paragraphs short. Make it easy and engaging for users scrolling on a mobile device.

Nobody wants to be hit with long walls of text. Even if this text is well-written, the user will likely abandon the page for a more digestible resource.

12. Run a technical audit of your site

Writing good content for SEO is pointless if your website suffers from technical issues.

Before you publish SEO content, it's a good idea to run a technical audit of your site to check that everything works properly.

A content audit could include looking at your website’s loading speeds and mobile experience, ensuring you don't have broken links, etc.

Otherwise, you might publish perfectly optimized content, but the technical issues will hold it back from ranking well.

13. Use AI writing tools wisely

Generative AI writing tools may seem like a godsend for non-writers. But alone, they won’t help you rank on page one. You still need a professional to polish up the piece.

Currently, there is still a decent amount of editing, research, and formatting needed to get AI content up to scratch.

The tools don’t always produce accurate information; who can forget Bard’s debut? So extensive fact-checking is also required.

Google Bungles AI Reveal With Incorrect Webb Telescope Facts

Image source: Gizmodo

Plus, there’s a lot of work to be done in optimizing your posts for SEO. Strategic inner linking, keyword usage, and heading formatting all need to be performed by a human.

Perhaps the key parts missing from AI content are human insights and expert information. AI can’t produce these things, but a person with real experience can.

AI can certainly help you optimize some processes and save time. However, if you want your SEO content writing to achieve great results, a good deal of human input is critical.

14. Always update and optimize

Here’s one of the most important SEO content writing best practices–go back to your content after it’s been published and indexed and ensure it’s properly optimized.

Use Google Search Console to see what search terms the page is ranking for and relook at the competition for these terms. Now, ensure you offer the best possible resource to compete with these pages.

Don’t forget to update your content over time so that any stats, images, or resources stay relevant.


Writing for SEO purposes involves a lot of different tactics that need to work perfectly together. While the SEO content writing tips above are some of the most important, they’re only the tip of the SEO iceberg.

Without an expert creating SEO-friendly content, you can't expect to generate the kind of traffic you’re after.

If you’re looking for an easy and effective solution for SEO content writing, consider working with an expert SEO content writing service like Contentellect.

This way, you know that every word published on your website is doing everything possible to boost your rankings and attract more traffic. Get in touch to start growing your online presence.

Tom Kotze

Tom is an experienced copywriter and content marketer. He has been writing for Contentellect since 2018, and has covered every niche under the sun. Tom has a hospitality background and was a restaurateur/coffee shop owner before starting his content marketing career.

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