Finding writers is easy. You know it, we know it. But the burning question is, how do you find writers who can deliver content to you that will improve your search ranking, drive more traffic, and get you more business?
As you look for an SEO writer, you’ll want someone with a good understanding of two things: Google’s SEO algorithm and on-page optimizations, and writing value-driven, engaging content.
But recruiting the best SEO writer can be a challenge. For one, search engines dislike SEO content. Search engines (and users) want relevant, quality search results. But all too often, writers treat Google’s on-page optimization criteria as a checklist and indulge in bad SEO practices like keyword stuffing and camouflaging keywords with the background of the page.
Google’s Panda and Fred updates penalize websites that push content with little to no value to people online and that prioritize revenue above user experience. These have significantly curbed second-rate content from appearing in results. This means that SEO writers have their work cut out for them.
However, great SEO writers are out there; you just have to know what to look for. Here’s how to recruit the best SEO writer for your website.
1. They Know How To Optimize
Knowing how to write is one thing, but knowing how to write for Google is another. Determining a writer’s understanding of how to optimize a page to meet Google’s SEO criteria is as straightforward as requesting a sample of previous work. With a writing piece, you can assess the writer’s usage of keywords, header and alt tags, internal linking, and title optimization.
Good writers seamlessly incorporate primary, secondary, and LSI terms to meet keyword density requirements, without keyword stuffing. When you review their previous work, look for a 2% density for core keywords and a 0.5% density for secondary keywords. Writers should know how often to use keywords in the header tags and should prioritize terms in the first 100 words.
The title is one of the most important elements in content writing, so make sure to check how the writer optimizes it. Google favours titles that are between 50 and 60 characters, contain core keywords at the beginning of the title, incorporate branding, and takes readability and emotional impressions into account.
Header tags tell search engines what your website or a specific content piece is about. Good SEO writers know when to use keywords in the header tag hierarchy to communicate the content’s purpose to Google. For example, using core keywords related to the title in H1 tags, and reserving secondary or LSI keywords in H2 subheadings.
Using Image alt tags enables your content to “talk” to Google. They provide search engines with context to determine an image’s purpose, ensuring that search engine crawlers accurately index the image. Most importantly, alt tags are a key aspect of web accessibility for visually impaired users who use screen readers to browse online.
A piece of good SEO writing comes laded with internal links that refer to other pages of the same site. Internal linking helps build your website’s domain authority by letting search engines know that it features thorough content regarding your industry. Writers must understand how to use appropriate anchor texts, which are short terms that tell readers exactly where the link will take them.
2. They Know How To Do Research
It’s not enough for writers to know how to use keywords, but they also need to be able to determine relevant primary, secondary, and LSI keywords. Good SEO writers are masters of coming up with a good keyword strategy based on trending keywords and what the competition is ranking for.
Just as Google’s optimization algorithm has evolved, so have the tools available for keyword research. The Google keyword planner, for example, is a free tool that estimates search volume and traffic so writers can easily narrow their keyword selection. There are many other tools out there to facilitate this process, and a good SEO writer will use them extensively.
More often than not, SEO writers create content for a range of industries, products, and services. But by taking the time to perform keyword research, they can write engaging content that is relevant for your target audience.
3. They Know How To Write
Spelling, grammar, punctuation, and structure are perhaps one of the biggest pitfalls in SEO writing. Many times, companies approach SEO writing with the mindset of quantity over quality. They may pay bottom-dollar for content to boost their domain rankings, but this could have an adverse effect. Readers won’t buy from businesses that are publishing content riddled with errors. It negatively affects your brand perception, and you don’t want that to be a side effect of your SEO efforts.
Clear, crisp content is the ultimate goal that all writers should strive for, regardless of whether they’re writing for SEO or not. Writers should drive value in a concise, understandable manner, so viewers not only finish reading but also share it with others. If the writing meanders or lacks value, the only boost you’ll get is in your bounce rate.
Companies use content to convert visitors into readers and readers into customers. If your content focuses on anyone except your target audience, they’ll never convert. A writer must be a master storyteller or someone who can encourage readers through the funnel by delivering meaningful, useful, and compelling content.
One of the most effective ways writers can provide value is through long-form content ranging from 2,000 to 3,000 words. Readers and Google favour long-form content because it contains a greater extent of information that users are searching for, which is more likely to improve your rankings. So do check to see if your SEO writer has experience in writing long-form content.
4. They Have Proof To Back Their Skills
When it comes down to it, a good SEO writer can prove their skills by showing you instances where they ranked for specific keywords and drove conversions. They must be able to demonstrate that their writing was so relevant and engaging that people that the site’s dwell time increased.
Dwell time is how long a visitor spends on your website after clicking the search result before returning to the results page. It’s an important metric that gives concrete evidence for a piece of content’s engagement.
You may also determine a writer’s efficacy by assessing how well they were able to drive traffic from search results to the site through engaging headlines and relevant meta descriptions. Together, these two components drive clicks: Headlines grab searchers’ attention, and meta descriptions let them know whether the link contains relevant information to their search. Ensuring both are optimized, concise, and engaging is vital to convincing users to visit your site, so make sure they can do both.
5. They Focus On Users
If Google’s algorithm determines that your site’s content doesn’t provide users with a worthwhile experience, it could penalize you. Avoid this by making sure your writer puts users at the center of the content. There are plenty of tools available to help writers stay focused on the user throughout the content.
Quora and Answer The Public are two sites that provide insights into what people are talking about for various topics and themes. These help writers understand user intent, which helps create engaging and relevant content, which pays off as increased credibility and traffic to your site.
Finding the best SEO writer is key to your online marketing strategy. It’s not an area where you want to cut corners or settle for someone who churns out countless $5 blogs for volume. Great SEO writers are an investment that will pay off in the form of higher ROI, rankings, and content quality. Your customers will appreciate reading something worthwhile to them, which ultimately means more money in your pocket.