How To Become An SEO Content Writer
The online marketplace is getting more saturated than ever and SEO content writing is now higher in demand. Maybe you want to increase your income or you want to launch as a full-time writer, SEO writing is one of the highest paying jobs (even for freelancers).
But getting into SEO writing can be tricky, especially for beginners. It is different from just writing for the sake of it. Writing for SEO involves some knowledge of SEO. This article covers all you need to know about becoming an SEO content writer.
WHAT IS SEO WRITING?
SEO content writing is different from regular content writing. The purpose of SEO writing is to create content that will rank among the top results in search engines.
SEO content writing is simply writing content that helps generate organic traffic, by making your website more visible in the search engines.
Why is SEO Content Writing Important?
The world is going digital; which now means that anything you want, you can easily find it on the internet. The internet is like a very wide and saturated marketplace. If a business is not careful, it is easy to get swallowed up by bigger competitors in the industry.
This worldwide marketplace can only be beneficial to businesses that attract customers very often.
Unfortunately, customers cannot be attracted to people they cannot see. This is why a lot of business owners are paying heavily to be among Google’s top search results.
Search engines, especially Google, are so influential that any result not displayed on the first page is seen either as “not important” or “non-existent”. The easier internet users see your website, the more they are drawn to visit it.
Now, because of how important SEO is, business owners pay heavily for SEO content writers. It is one of the highest-paid jobs. The more skilled you are, the higher your pay becomes.
ROLES OF AN SEO CONTENT WRITER
An SEO writer is responsible for researching and writing content to boost a website’s visibility on the internet. He/she is more responsible for onsite SEO practises.
Specializing in SEO means you have to be active and up-to-date on the latest SEO trends. You also track the success of the SEO. This means you are responsible for:
- Researching on industry-related keywords and topics
- Understanding your client’s target audience and user’s search intent
- Writing, editing, and proofreading search engine optimized content – in-depth and relevant
- Researching and staying updated on various industry-related market trends
- Exploring the competitor’s content to get an upper hand in the content marketing
- Rank analysis
- Analyzing content marketing strategies
- Writing the client’s content in various forms like eBooks and blog posts
- Updates and optimizes already-existing content for SEO
SEO Content Writing Vs SEO Copywriting
Is there really a difference between the two terms? The answer is yes, although most employers use them interchangeably. Knowing the difference will help you to specifically know what you are required to do.
The difference between content writing and copywriting is the intent/purpose. Both of them aim to improve your visibility in various search engines.
However, SEO content writing is focused on generating traffic to a website. While SEO copywriting is all about generating sales and increasing your conversion rate.
2. Content Style
Another key point to know is that SEO content writing is informative. It provides a valuable solution to customer problems or pain points. Each information is clear and valuable. On the other hand, SEO copywriting is more persuasive. It includes target keywords in persuading potential clients to take any action, preferably to make a purchase.
3. Content Form
SEO content writing is ideal for information guides like ebooks, blog posts, white papers, long-form content, and case studies. While SEO copywriting is ideal for any means of achieving sales. Such as sales pages, online brochures, product descriptions, landing pages, social media content, and press releases.
Note: Most employers request their writers to develop some copywriting traits, especially if some persuasion is needed to boost the content.
HOW TO BEGIN YOUR CAREER AS AN SEO WRITER
Becoming an SEO writer is not difficult. But it requires your hard work, passion, and commitment. It requires you to be a master of words, who is intelligent and very proactive.
Step 1: Understand the Basics of SEO
To fully understand something, you need to start from the foundation. This helps you know what the concept is all about. The same is with SEO.
For something as complicated yet not so complicated as SEO, you must be willing to start from scratch (especially if you are just a beginner).
1. Understand the Key Terms
Every marketing concept or strategy has its key terms. As an SEO writer, you need to be familiar with common SEO terms like:
- Keyword selection
- Keyword density
- Meta description
- Search intent
- Internal and external links
- Target audience
- Search engine algorithm
- Anchor text
- Ranking factors
- Conversation rate
- Dwell time
- Search queries
- Organic traffic
- Search engine results page (SERPs)
It may not be possible to learn them all at once. But with consistency, you can know more about each one. Just start with the basic knowledge of each one.
While you can become a professional SEO writer without any degree, you should not give up studying it. Your first steps should be to have a clear knowledge of how SEO works and the terms used.
The best way to gather as much knowledge as possible is to keep studying. Read blog posts and ebooks, watch YouTube videos and listen to podcasts. Take online courses to increase your knowledge level. You can also connect with other SEO writers on social media.
The goal is to fuel your mind with as much knowledge on SEO as possible. Because the trends are always changing, you have to stay up-to-date and get the latest information.
SEO is such a broad but very important topic in digital marketing. It is not really possible to Learn everything all in one day. However, you can learn them one at a time, even after you have launched your career as an SEO content writer.
3. Understand the Basics of SEO Writing
The next step is to understand the basics of SEO content writing. It requires more than regular writing because you are not just writing to release information, you are writing to rank high on search engines and attract more visitors to the website.
Your understanding is based on how much you research.
- Learn how to write attractive headlines
- Research the target audience to know who you are writing for
- Research the topics and how it affects the target audience
- Research on relevant keywords your target audience use regularly
- Have a unique content style
- Use relevant images
- Learn about internal and external links, and how to use them.
Step 2: Develop the Necessary Skills Required
Although SEO can be very technical it takes more than just great writing to work it. Great writing skills are good but they are insufficient. It takes specific key skills to succeed in your SEO writing journey.
Fortunately, these key skills can be learnt and improved.
1. Ability to Research Keywords
As an SEO writer, you are focused on the right keywords needed to boost content. But first, you have to understand your target audience and know what keywords they use to describe the product or services.
You should also know how to use keywords in your content. Stuffing keywords is the worst way to convince search engines, especially Google, to rank your content.
Employers want SEO writers who know how to research and incorporate keywords intelligently.
Being able to adapt to various types of tones and styles is a very important skill, especially if you are a freelancer. You should be able to adapt to your client’s brand style and preferred tone.
This skill is very important, especially if you want to be a freelance writer. You must be able to adapt to different writing styles and tones.
One client may want you to sound authoritative or write for a knowledgeable audience. However, another client may want you to sound simple and conversational or write for a ground-level audience.
Adapting to your client’s tone of voice and content style is a unique skill that employers value very much.
3. Organizational Skills
Whether you want to be a freelance writer or work for a company, you still need to know how to organize your work assignments. Being organized helps you stay focused and timely when it comes to delivering your work.
SEO writing thrives on research. You cannot be an SEO writer without knowing how to research. From researching keywords to the latest market trends, facts, statistics, and numerical data, everything you do must be backed up by research.
Your content must be in-depth and valuable. Writing generic content will only make you look amateurish. You are likely to lose contracts and potential clients if your work looks shallow. When writing your content, use Google and YouTube to fuel your knowledge on the topic.
Just like regular content writing (and any other job), you need to maintain good communication with your client and the marketing team. Clients can be overwhelming and demanding. But a clear understanding of what the client needs can help you deliver the best work.
Before you start writing, you need to ensure you are on the same page with your clients.
Also, your target audience are real-life people. So you have to know how to effectively communicate your message in simple and concise words without rambling.
Pay attention to spelling or grammar mistakes. Also, verify each fact before you submit or publish it to prevent misunderstandings. Take communication classes to improve your communication skills.
Step 3: Write Samples to Test Yourself
The best way to be great at something is to practise it consistently. The demand for SEO writers is rapidly increasing but if you are not good enough, you are likely to miss out on the good benefits.
Practice writing SEO content so you can learn how to include keywords, meta descriptions, and links to authority sites. Pick a topic on your preferred niche, research it and create valuable content on it.
Another benefit of practising is that you get to provide samples when prospecting to clients. The content writing industry is getting more competitive. No one will just hire you like that. If you say you are good, then you have to show them how good you are.
Practice every day. By practising, you can test your knowledge level. The more samples you have to show, the better.
Step 4: Set Your Rates
Now you want to become a professional SEO content writer, you are now a business. The sooner you start treating yourself like one, the better. Evaluate your knowledge level and the quality of work. You don’t want to overprice and underprice yourself.
You may choose to charge per word or per hour. But the problem with these two charging methods is that they may not be accurate.
Employers also want what is best for them so they tend to reduce the total amount of words you should write or give you a short period to complete a project. This would leave you overworked and underpriced.
Also, charging too much when your skills are still at the beginner level will only scare away potential clients. In worse case scenarios, you might get a bad review as an overpriced scam.
The best way professional SEO writers set their prices is per project. That way, they get to evaluate each task and charge accordingly. This is the part where networking comes in handy. You can ask other SEO writers for advice on how to set your rates.
When setting your rates, consider other miscellaneous expenses like time and tax. Tax is very important, especially if you are a registered business. Invading tax is a crime against the law.
Your charges do not have to be static throughout your career. The more you improve your skills and value, the higher you increase your rates.
Step 5: Create an Online Portfolio
Your portfolio is proof of how good you are. Every professional writer should have an online portfolio. It is one of the factors clients use to evaluate your professionalism and your work. Without an online portfolio, it’s almost like you do not exist
1. Create an Introduction
Your introduction should be brief and simple. It should just contain your name, what you do, and a photo of you. The photo should be clear.
Your introduction should also be interesting. You don’t want to bore your prospective clients with the information they don’t care about. Any work qualifications will be made available in your CV.
2. Showcase Your Best Projects
This is the most important part of your online portfolio. Even if you haven’t written any major projects or had any major clients, you can still include the minor works you have done. But make sure it is relevant to SEO writing.
You can also include your test samples. They are part of your work, too. But only include the best ones.
Carefully explain the skills you used to complete the project. You can give a brief description of the research, keywords, and user intent. It helps your client better understand your projects.
3. List Your Services
Make it clear on the services you offer. Just saying “Professional SEO Content Writer” is not enough. What your prospective clients need are clear and specific services you offer. There are many SEO content writers out there, so what makes you unique and worth hiring?
4. List Your Achievements
Your portfolio should contain your qualifications and skills. List out each key skill you have. The skills should be relevant to the roles of an SEO writer.
Don’t forget to include your past experiences. If you don’t have any, no problem. With time, you will have some then you can update your portfolio.
Also include testimonials. Testimonials add a positive vibe to your portfolio. They can convince your prospective clients of your skills and level of expertise. If you do not have any testimonials, you can get your friend and family members to drop in one word or two about your business.
5. Connect to Social Media
Most prospective clients prefer to know more about a job seeker before hiring them. Link to your social media account. It is advisable to link to professional accounts like LinkedIn and Twitter. Connecting to your social media accounts gives your clients an idea of what you are like.
6. Have Some Form of Contact
After going through your portfolio, it will all be useless if your clients cannot easily reach you. Include a working email address and your phone number so they can contact you if they have any work available for you.
Step 6: Start Seeking for Job Opportunities
SEO writing is one of the top skills in high demand. But employers and prospective clients will not just come to you in your place of hiding. You need to make yourself more visible by going to them.
1. Try Job Sites
2. Open a LinkedIn account
LinkedIn is the place where professionals go to seek talent. Grow an online presence on LinkedIn and apply for jobs. It is also a great way to connect with other SEO writers – beginners and veterans alike.
You can start with getting small contract jobs just to build your portfolio and increase your experience level.
3. Cold Pitch
Cold pitching is one of the best ways to get a job as an SEO writer. You get a chance to present your skills and experiences to prospective clients. The more you cold pitch, the more possible it is to get high paying clients.
The best way to cold pitching is to identify the niche you want to specialize in, look up companies with a similar niche, and check if they have a blog. If they do not have one (or they have an outdated one), you can now add them to your cold pitching list.
Make sure to create a tailored proposal. Do not copy and paste. Clients have a way of identifying generic proposals. Take time out to study each prospective customer before pitching your proposal.
Note: You are talking to strangers. They do not know you. If they don’t know you, they will not trust you. So you have to include some proof you are not a scam. Include a link to your online portfolio, and address, your full name, a social media profile handle (preferably LinkedIn), and your phone number.
Bonus step: Earn a degree
Like I said earlier, it is not compulsory to have a degree to become an SEO writer. But it is a bonus on your resumé. If you are looking to take in writing for SEO as a full-time career, you should consider it. Most employers demand for a degree in English, Journalism, Creative Writing, and other relevant fields of study.
Employers are more likely to pick a relevant degree holder with great writing skills than a non-degree holder with great writing skills.
Take online courses that specialize in SEO or digital marketing. Most of these online courses offer a degree at the end of the course term. Invest in it.
It is not possible to become an overnight success, even in a highly demanded career like SEO writing. It may be difficult at first to get your first clients but you have to keep trying. Practice to improve your skills and build yourself up.
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