Content Writing for Better SEO and Audience Engagement

Taylor Elizabeth Rose

I am a writer.

Who’s here?

Who’s a writer?

Who needs to write better for work?

Who needs to write better for work?

Do you love to write?

Do you hate writing?

What kind of content are we talking about?

  • Blogs
  • Landing Pages
  • Website Content
  • All of the Above

It’s weird that numbers drive content.

You can’t think about SEO alone.

It makes for terrible content…
The kind that makes people angry.

People know better.

Content writing is a puzzle.

Key Components of the Content Puzzle

Good Writing + Unique Proposition Value + SEO

Goals for Today

  1. Valuable Content
  2. Get Found & Stand Out
  3. Publish-perfection

Great content takes time.

This SEO chart is off the charts. From the time we launched the site to one year later, we skyrocketed both impressions and clicks on Google. But, you can see it took some time to take off.

Never start writing without a plan.

… unless you’re fighting writer’s block.

Start with a specific goal in mind.

If you don’t have a goal, please stop.

Your Goals for Blog Posts

  • Build Thought Leadership Position
  • Grow Email Subscriber List
  • Provide for Value with Tips/Tricks for your Products/Services
  • Rank Better in Search

To find your audience goals, ask:

  • Why should anyone read this?
  • What search intent points here?
  • What do you need to provide to answer that intent?

Audience Goals for Blog Posts

  • DIY Instructions
  • Insider Tips
  • A Solution
  • An Informed/Expert Opinion
  • Resources

Empathize with Your Audience

Do your goals and theirs align?

How can you align them?

Goal alignment drives your search for a keyword cluster.

How would my target audience use search terms to find this content when they’re looking for this specific information?

Put yourself in the mindset of someone who is not you.

Put yourself in the mindset of someone who is not you.

How will you place yourself among your competitors for that topic?

  • What search terms does Google show as relevant?
  • What terms is it saying are “questions people ask” that are relevant to your search intent goals?

Now switch to Google Keyword Planner.

What makes a good keyword?

  • High search volume
  • Low CPC/Competition

Your keyword cluster is the key to mastering search intent.

Finally… the last step of planning is outlining.

Outline Everything

Is there a generic outline template to follow?

Let’s all go back to age 13.

Basic Essay Structure

  1. Introduction
  2. Body
  3. Body
  4. Body
  5. Conclusion

Your 8th grade English teacher taught you the basic structure of a blog post.

The Introduction

  1. Gain Interest: Use “You” & your primary keyword
  2. Empathize: Explain the pain points and values of your readers.
  3. Provide a Solution/Value: How will you address what your reader needs?

Body Sections

  1. Heading: Use keywords, especially Google’s “People also asked” questions.
  2. The Main Point: A fact, statistic or relevant piece of information you think is valuable.
  3. Significance: Why should the reader care?
  4. Value: What they need to get from this information.


  1. Summarize: Summarize what you just wrote in 1-2 sentences.
  2. Highlights: The most crucial points.
  3. Call-to-Action: Tell the reader what to do next.

Do your goals and your audience goals align with your final call to action?

It’s time to write!

Forget [almost] everything you know about good academic writing.

  • A lot of people don’t read, nor do they like to.
  • 43% of adults in the United States read at a basic or below average level.

Write at a 7th grade reading level.

The Rules of Content Writing

  • Keep sentences short.
  • Use a max. of 9th grade vocabulary.
  • Keep paragraphs short.
  • Cut the fluff and get to the point.
  • Speak directly to your audience.
  • Stick to the outline.
  • Don’t force keywords.

Readability ≠ Accessibility

A Few Accessibility Statistics

Provided by the US Census Bureau

  • 19.9 million (8.2%) have difficulty lifting or grasping.
  • 8.1 million (3.3%) have a vision impairment.
  • 7.6 million (3.1%) have a hearing impairment.

5 Rules for Accessible Writing

  1. Start with your structure.
  2. Avoid directional language.
  3. Use descriptive language for links.
  4. Use alt. text properly.
  5. Include closed captioning in videos.

Start with a Structure

Use Headings logically and avoid excessive nesting.

Avoid Directional & Physical Language

Wrong: “Choose from the options below.”
Right: “Choose from these options.”

Use Descriptive Language for Links

Wrong: “Click Here”
Right: “Download the PDF”

Use Alt. Text Properly

Re-read the alt text with the text surrounding the image to make sure it flows together and makes sense without the photo.

Include Closed Captioning in Videos

The hearing impaired will love it and so will the 80% of people who watch videos with no sound.

This statistic was made up arbitrarily.

Including Links While You Write

Will following this link help the reader better understand this topic?

Is the source on the other end of this link reliable and trustworthy?

Always make sure outbound links open in a new tab or window and inbound links open in the same window (with some exceptions).

Wait… what about the SEO?!

Don’t think about it at all while you write.
Focus on communicating.

5 Stages of Editing

  1. Readability and Accessibility
  2. Passive Voice
  3. Empathy
  4. SEO
  5. Final Front-End Edits

Readability and Accessibility

Go back and check everything in the rules of Readability and Accessibility.

Passive Voice

Passive Language

The blog was read by tons of people!

Direct Language

Tons of people read the blog!


Go back to your audience persona and read again.


  • At least one H2 has your primary keyword.
  • Other headings use keywords.
  • At least one alt tag contains your primary keyword.
  • Other alt tags contain additional keywords from your cluster.
  • Your primary keyword and any additional keywords from the cluster (that fit) are in the first paragraph.
  • The Search Engine Meta Title has the primary keyword.
  • The Search Engine Meta Description has your primary keyword.

A Final Front-End Edit

  • Title / Author / Category / Excerpt
  • Images
  • Links
  • Formatting
  • Grammar, spelling, and typos.

Thank you!