SEO Content Writing: 7+ Tips to Rank Higher (& Boost Traffic)

by Ivy Shelden


You need to master SEO content writing if you want long-term traffic for your site.

Thankfully, it’s not as difficult as it sounds to get a solid grasp of search engine optimization, even if you’re just starting out.

With a little bit of key knowledge and some practice, you can be adept at SEO in no time at all. 

All you need to know to get started are the following strategies:

1. Decode Search Intent

Search intent is the why behind every search query. 

When you understand what your users really want to find when they type a query into Google, you can create content that resonates with them, fulfills their needs and compels them to engage with your content.  

For example, let’s take a deeper look at the search query: “Best smartphones 2024.” 

The obvious interpretation suggests that the user is looking for a list of the top smartphones in 2024. 

But to dive deeper into search intent, you need to examine the top performing content for this keyword and look for additional details. 

When you take a look at the posts ranking in the top 10 on Google, you might discover users are interested in a comparison of the different smartphones, their features, price points, or customer reviews. 

They may be in the research phase, looking for options before making a purchase. 

To meet this intent, your content could provide a comprehensive comparison of various models, highlight the pros and cons of each, discuss price versus value, and include user testimonials or ratings.

For every keyword you target, do a quick Google search and pay attention to the specific type of content that ranks highest. Aim to match that, and provide additional value. 

Ask yourself:

  • What type of content ranks highest? List posts? How-to guides?
  • What do all the top ranking posts cover about this topic?
  • What are the top ranking posts missing that I could include to make my post better?

Simply put: Google ranks the posts that best meet search intent — so making an effort to do so will dramatically increase your ranking potential.

2. Craft a Compelling Headline

Remember the time you picked up a book just because its title intrigued you? 

Or clicked on a blog post because the headline promised to answer the very question on your mind? 

Your headline is your first chance to make an impression, both on your audience and on search engines. So

Crafting an eye-catching, keyword-rich headline is like crafting a good joke — it’s all about timing and delivery. 

Include your main keyword naturally, ideally closer to the beginning. 

For instance, if your keyword is “beginner’s guide to SEO content writing,” a strong title could be: 

“The Beginner’s Guide to SEO Content Writing: Everything You Need to Know.” 

It’s clear, it’s compelling, and it tells both readers and search engines exactly what to expect.

But remember, engaging your human audience is as important as pleasing search engine algorithms. 

Make it punchy. 

Make it exciting. 

Promise value.

And then, with your fabulous content, deliver on that promise.

3. Break it Down with Headers & Subheaders

SEO writing a woman typing on a laptop.

Ever opened a blog post and been greeted with a wall of text? 

Intimidating, isn’t it? 

It’s like meeting someone who talks non-stop, without a single pause. Exhausting and hard to follow.

That’s where headers and subheaders come into play — they’re the pauses in your conversation, the signposts on your reader’s journey. 

H2 and H3 tags not only make your content more digestible, but they also give you another chance to weave in those all-important keywords.

For example, in a blog post about SEO content writing, you might use headers like:

 “H2: Decoding the Mysteries of Keyword Research” or “H3: Why Long-Tail Keywords Boost Traffic.”

But here’s the thing — your headers should guide your readers, not mislead them. 

Make sure they provide a clear, concise summary of the section that follows. 

With the right headers, your readers can find exactly what they’re looking for, and search engines can understand your content better. 

And that, my friends, is the beauty of headers and subheaders in SEO content writing.

Bonus Tip: Subheadings break up your content to make it easier to read, but you should also break up your paragraphs by using plenty of line breaks — creating lots of white space on your page. This will make your post even easier to read. See this post as an example!

4. Use Long-Tail Keywords

When it comes to keywords, you might be tempted to target the ones with the highest volume. 

For example, if you own a yoga studio, you might think about targeting the keyword “yoga” — which has over 300,000 monthly searches in the US alone (millions world-wide). 

But that keyword is extremely competitive — so if your site is small and doesn’t have a lot of content yet, it’s unlikely you’ll rank for it. 

You’re also targeting a very broad audience with that keyword — which is why these types of keywords are called broad keywords (or you might hear them called head terms).

What if you targeted a keyword with a lower volume, but one that’s highly specific. Like “morning yoga for beginners”?

It still has a healthy monthly search volume of 700, and it’s targeting a much more specific audience. 

This is a great example of a long-tail keyword — a keyword with a lower monthly search volume that is more specific and detailed. 

Including these detailed, long-tail keywords in your content is like sending out an invitation to those who are searching for that exact niche. They’re not just browsing — they know what they want, and they’re ready to engage, maybe even make a purchase.

Sure, they might not get as much search traffic, but the traffic they do get? Gold. 

Highly relevant. 

More likely to convert. 

And because not as many websites are competing for these specific phrases, they can give you a higher chance of ranking in search engine results.

So how do you find these keyword gems? 

Start by listening to your target audience. Browse through forums, social media threads, or comments on your blog posts. Pay attention to the words they use. 

And don’t forget about keyword research tools — they can give you ideas for long-tail keywords that are high in user intent but low in competition.

In the grand scheme of SEO writing, long-tail keywords are your secret weapon in content creation. 

They help you tap into niche markets and draw in quality traffic that’s ready to engage. It’s a win-win content strategy.

5. Boost Your Content with Dynamic Visuals

If you were reading about how to grow a garden and wanted to know what month to start planting each crop, would you want to see that written out in a block of text, or in a nice visual table?

Visual content not only enhances user engagement but also improves your website’s SEO performance. 

Images, infographics, videos, and slideshows have the power to convey information more effectively, leave a lasting impression, and increase social shares. 

To harness the power of visual content for SEO, it’s crucial to optimize it effectively. 

Use descriptive filenames, alt tags, and captions that include relevant keywords. 

Compress images to improve page loading speed. 

Additionally, ensure that your visual content is responsive and mobile-friendly, as an increasing number of users access the web through mobile devices. 

By combining stunning visuals with SEO-friendly optimization, you’ll create an immersive experience that resonates.

6. Embrace the Power of Internal Linking

Internal linking is an often overlooked but powerful SEO strategy. 

By strategically linking relevant pages to each other within your website content, you can enhance user experience, distribute link equity, and improve your website’s crawlability. 

Internal links help search engines understand the structure and hierarchy of your content, leading to better indexation and potential ranking boosts.

When implementing internal linking, keep these best practices in mind: 

  • Ensure that the anchor text (the hyperlinked text) of your internal links is descriptive and includes relevant keywords. 
  • Link to pages that are contextually related to the current content, providing additional value to the user. 
  • Aim for a balanced link distribution throughout your website content.

By weaving a web of relevance through strategic internal linking, you’ll enhance your website’s authority and visibility.

7. Acquire Quality Backlinks

When it comes to backlinks, quality trumps quantity. 

Focus on acquiring backlinks from authoritative, relevant websites within your industry. 

These high-quality backlinks signal to search engines that your content is trustworthy and valuable. 

Building a strong backlink profile not only improves your SEO performance but also boosts your website’s authority and credibility in the eyes of both search engines and users.

To acquire quality backlinks, master the art of outreach. 

Reach out to relevant websites, influencers, and industry leaders, showcasing the value your content provides. 

Personalize your outreach emails, highlighting how linking to your content can benefit their audience. 

Additionally, consider guest blogging opportunities and collaboration with other content creators

By nurturing the backlink ecosystem through effective outreach, you’ll expand your reach, strengthen your network, and enhance your SEO efforts.

8. Optimize Your Website Performance

Website speed has a significant impact on user experience and SEO performance. 

Slow-loading websites frustrate users and lead to high bounce rates, negatively affecting your search rankings. 

Optimizing your website’s performance is crucial for providing a seamless browsing experience, increasing engagement, and improving your overall SEO efforts.

To optimize your website’s performance, consider implementing these techniques:

  • Compress and optimize images
  • Minify CSS and JavaScript files
  • Leverage browser caching to reduce load times 
  • Choose a reliable hosting provider
  • Consider using a content delivery network (CDN) to distribute your website’s content across multiple servers worldwide, ensuring faster access for users across different geographical locations
  • Optimize your website for mobile devices by using responsive design principles, ensuring that your content adapts seamlessly to different screen sizes. 
  • Test your website’s mobile-friendliness using tools like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and address any issues that may hinder user experience. 

9. Continuely Monitor and Optimize

Scrabble tiles that spell out SEO

SEO writing is an ongoing process. 

Regularly monitor your website’s performance using an SEO tool like Google Analytics or Google Search Console

Analyze key metrics such as organic traffic, rankings, and user behavior to identify areas for improvement. 

Stay updated with the latest SEO trends, algorithm changes, and industry best practices to continuously optimize your content and maintain a competitive edge.

Master SEO Content Writing & Dominate the SERPs

You now have all the tools you need to become an SEO content writing pro.

But of course, to actually become a pro, you need to take time to hone your new skills.

So don’t forget what you’ve just read, but put it into practice. Work on your researching and writing skills, and serve your audience value-packed content.

Now, go forth and become the SEO content writer you were always meant to be!

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Ivy Shelden

Ivy Shelden is freelance writer and course instructor at SmartBlogger. When she's not helping students crush their freelance writing goals, you might catch her hula hooping to hip-hop music in her back yard, watching YouTube with her two boys or laying down a beat on her drums.


A "cheat sheet" to making 2-5K per month as a writer, even if you're a total beginner.
Photo of author

Written by Ivy Shelden

Ivy Shelden is freelance writer and course instructor at SmartBlogger. When she's not helping students crush their freelance writing goals, you might catch her hula hooping to hip-hop music in her back yard, watching YouTube with her two boys or laying down a beat on her drums.

1 thought on “SEO Content Writing: 7+ Tips to Rank Higher (& Boost Traffic)”

  1. Clear headlines are Google gold, Ivy. Scanning page 1 reveals this. Doing just a little bit of experimenting also proves that a simple headline offering a clear promise seems to be the most popular type of title for our readers, too.

    Of course, we need to back up the title-promise with a long form post that delivers. Make the promise with titles and deliver solutions with targeted, long form blog content. Drill down to add ample details. Format effectively with headers as you mentioned.

    SEO is not terribly difficult but requires being patient, mindful and willing to follow small details that make a big difference.



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