What Is an SEO Content Writer? | Role, Benefits and Uses

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Catherine Lovering
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Published: Oct 18, 2023
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Search engine optimization (SEO) is all about getting users to your website. As they rely on Google and other search engines to find you, following Google's best practices for creating quality content needs to be second nature. High-quality content increases your chances of ranking high on search engine result pages (SERPs), and the SEO content writer can help you get there.

The Role of an SEO Content Writer

At its most basic, the job description of an SEO content writer is to compose text for online properties with the goal of pulling traffic from search engines. They know the on-page SEO checklist inside and out and focus on the details essential to improving SERP rank.

SEO requirements involve technical aspects like clear, informative meta descriptions and honing in on relevant keywords. Perhaps the most fundamental part, however, is crafting clear, concise prose to give a reader the best experience possible.

Google's search quality rater guidelines provide essential rules of thumb for creating content the search engine wants to promote with higher result rankings. An SEO content writer strives to meet or exceed these expectations, increasing traffic volume and conversions. 

What Every SEO Writer Needs To Know

A content writer needs to be a wordsmith, but that's far from the only skill requirement. A writer who knows how to write for SEO focuses on several key aspects at the core of creating ranking yet compelling content. Delving deeper into each of these actions provides a better overview of the fundamental skill set of an SEO content writer.

How To Do Keyword Research for National and Local SEO

As content creators set out to write SEO content, they should first determine whether the marketing goal is national or local. National SEO is for sites that have little or no geographic boundary. If you have an e-commerce site that sells items across the U.S. and even ships internationally, you should focus on national SEO. If you're a neighborhood restaurant or even a small chain of eateries within one region, local SEO is more appropriate.

To develop the right SEO strategy, an SEO content writer should know:

  • Short-tail keywords: Terms that cover the subject of the site, usually no more than two or three words
  • Long-tail keywords: Similar to short-tail keywords, they have additional modifiers to capture more specific search intents via longer phrases
  • Search volumes: The number of times a short-tail or long-tail keyword is searched for in a given period, such as over a month
  • Traffic potential: The amount of hits a site could get from capturing a portion of the search volume of a keyword
  • SEO tools: Products that can help an SEO content writer research keywords, volumes, and traffic potential to build content

A content writer should know when to focus on local SEO keyword research compared to national SEO. While doing a website for a criminal lawyer in Delaware, it doesn't make much sense to compete for a national audience for a term like "criminal law attorney." Instead, they might need to look at the search volume for "criminal defense in Wilmington" or "DUI defense lawyers in Delaware."

How To Identify Search Intent

Search intent is why someone puts a search term into a search engine. The same keyword can have a variety of search intents. Someone might type the word "olive oil" to know where to buy olive oil, its health benefits, how to use it, or how to make it, among many others.

The best SEO content nails this search intent. It provides information that speaks to what the reader is looking for. There are four basic types of search intent:

  • Informational: For finding all types of information, from the smoke point of olive oil to who invented the light bulb. While every search query can be "informational," this refers to any search that isn't about finding a specific website or buying a product.
  • Commercial: For learning more about a product or service before buying. This can include comparison searches, such as "cognitive behavioral therapy vs. dialectical behavior therapy," "the best olive oil for green salad," or "free malware software."
  • Transactional: For buying a product or service. The searcher might still have some purchase options in mind, but they are ready to buy. A search query might name a specific product or service, such as "back massager" or "discount coupons for prescriptions."
  • Navigational: For locating a specific website. Typing in "DMV" or "Netflix" will typically bump up the home sites for those organizations or businesses to the top of the search results. 

Of course, these are four very broad categories, and some search intents might fall into more than one. Someone searching for "Netflix" might want to find the streaming service's website (navigational) or sign up for a subscription (transactional). 

Numerous more specific types of search intent might fall under any one of these categories, such as:

  • To translate a phrase (informational)
  • To check a fact (informational)
  • To read recent news (informational)
  • To book a trip (transactional)
  • To convert a currency (informational)

These more specific types of intent behind a search query are useful for SEO content writers to remember, as search engine algorithms can serve up unique results based on these niche requests. Someone looking for "flights to Bali" likely gets a Google flights summary at the top of the results page. A person wanting to convert U.S. dollars to Indonesian Rupiah usually gets that info right from the top of Google results, with no need to visit other pages.

To identify search intent, SEO content writers can:

  • Use an SEO tool to find keyword modifiers
  • Review the SERPs for the primary keyword

Keyword modifiers are words around the target keyword that turn it into a longer phrase more specific to the user's search intent. These longer phrases are called long-tail keywords. You can use keyword research tools to find common modifiers and relative search volume. As an example, the term "pizza" might have modifiers like:

  • pizza recipes
  • pizza near me 

The number of times users search a long-tail keyword can give you an idea of the search intent for the root phrase. If most people looking for "pizza" are searching "pizza near me," the usual search intent is to look for a pizza restaurant, not instructions on how to make it at home.

Looking at the SERPs performs a similar function. With this technique, you're using Google to tell you the search intent. If the top results for "basketball" are the latest NBA news, it's a safe bet that "basketball news" has a greater search volume than "basketball hoops" and that most people are looking for the latest on the professional game.

How To Do Competitor and Content Gap Analysis

Choosing topics to include in your SEO content can involve looking at what others are publishing and following suit. The idea behind SEO is to increase organic traffic, or the hits your pages get from people who found you in SERPs. 

An SEO content writer wants to maximize that SERP ranking, which often means doing better than others trying to earn those coveted top spots. They use two main techniques to achieve this:

  • Competitor analysis: The process of analyzing which competitors are outranking you for relevant keywords and figuring out why.
  • Content gap analysis: The process of identifying the target keywords your competitors are publishing about and developing content around those subjects.

With these, an SEO content writer can answer two aspects of one central question: What are our competitors doing right? 

A keyword research tool lets you analyze your content and request a competitor analysis. Then you can view who's outranking you and where their authority might come from. For example, the competitor might have higher quality backlinks or more authoritative sites linking to them than your site. 

To perform a keyword gap analysis, use an SEO tool to identify your competitor's top keywords for traffic. If they're finding success with keywords you don't currently target, consider adding those words to your content strategy. It's best to exercise caution here, however. Any target keywords should still align with your brand, product offerings, and overall marketing strategy. 

How To Incorporate Keywords Into Page Headings

Page headings are essential for web page organization and readability. They are also fundamental to increasing the accessibility of a web page so your content offers equal access to all users. Headers send important signals to search engines about what a page is about and the relevance of your content to search results. It makes sense, therefore, that headings should incorporate keywords (check out some of the headings in this article for good examples).

In addition, an SEO content writer should know how to balance the effective use of keywords and keyword stuffing. An old practice was using the target keyword as much as possible on a page to increase search ranking. Search engines have long become wise to this tactic, and now Google penalizes sites that overuse a keyword in their content.

To write SEO content, you should include the keyword in page headings where it makes sense. If you're ever on the fence about whether or not to include the keyword, put yourself in your reader's shoes. Ask if your heading makes sense, reflects the information in the section, and whether using the keyword in multiple headings is helpful or has become repetitive. 

How To Write E-E-A-T Content

The Google quality rater guidelines have long valued E-A-T in content: expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. In late 2022, Google added a second E: experience. These four terms encompass what Google looks for in quality content.

An SEO content writer should routinely demonstrate E-E-A-T, but there's a significant role for the website to play as well. Try to keep these tips for strong E-E-A-T in mind at all times:

  • Experience: Ask if the content demonstrates the kind of experience the reader is looking for. If the piece is about the impact of medical treatment on mental health, the perspective of someone going through that treatment might hold more relevance than that of a medical researcher.
  • Expertise: Ask if the content shows the writer and the website values or holds expertise. The writer might have a relevant credential or include an expert's perspective in the content. A mental health professional who works with people undergoing medical treatment might give you that expert perspective.
  • Authoritativeness: Ask if the piece is part of the content architecture showing the website has information on all relevant aspects of the topic. Consider linking out to pieces on the same site that cover related issues. The piece on mental health and medical treatment might link to resource pages or an article on self-care while managing chronic illness.
  • Trustworthiness: Ask if the piece demonstrates trustworthiness by citing sources. The website should also show it's a legitimate source by offering contact information, regular content updates, and an easy-to-use interface. Writing for SEO also means writing error-free, so it's essential to check and remove typos, spelling errors, or out-of-date language.

You can achieve the "T" in E-E-A-T if you pay close attention to the E-E-A. Together, the writer and website creator work to earn all elements of reliable content. 

How To Write Anchor Texts

Linking out to other pages on a website can help demonstrate authoritativeness. Linking to outside websites can illustrate the use of trustworthy resources. It also makes it easy for readers to confirm information in your content. 

Anchor text gives essential context to those internal and external links. It tells the reader what to expect when they click the link. Anchor text is also key to meeting SEO standards as it lets Google know the subject matter of the linked page. Good anchor text is also part of a positive user experience, bringing everything full circle.

To maximize its effectiveness for search engine optimization, anchor text should be:

  • Concise
  • Descriptive
  • Relevant

Google's link best practices note anchor text shouldn't be too generic. Avoid phrases like "click here." Ideally, anchor text should be a short phrase providing context and letting readers know what to expect when they click. 

Context is key even outside of the hyperlink in the sentence. The words that come before and after the anchor text also contribute to its SEO value, so always strive for meaningful phrases.

One last SEO article writing tip regarding anchor text: Don't cram too many hyperlinks close together, as readers can lose track of your main point.

How To Write Meta Descriptions and Titles

Think ahead to how your page appears in search results. Grabbing the top spot on a search engine result page might be ideal, but increasing the click-through rate — where users take the next step and actually select your page from the list — will need to have a compelling snippet. That's where your meta descriptions and titles come in.

The snippet is Google's summary of the content of your page. The search engine can grab portions of your page content to develop this snippet or use your meta description. The meta description is your opportunity to offer Google users the summary you want them to see. 

You can use the meta description to identify the specific and unique information you provide on this page compared to other articles on your site and those of your competitors. 

If you are a gourmet food vendor that sells olive oil, your SEO content writer might develop a blog post about cooking with olive oil. The meta description might say, "Learn how to cook with olive oil, including smoke point, types of olive oil, recipes, and storage tips." 

For your olive oil product pages, the meta description might include information like, "Gourmet olive oils for sale online, $5.99 to $99.99. Free delivery." Your meta title works with the meta description to highlight the critical information you want users to see when you appear in search results. 

How To Optimize Content for Conversions

The ultimate goal for most website owners, especially those engaged in e-commerce, is to have as many users as possible take action once they arrive on their sites. This is called conversion, and good SEO content writers know the various techniques to increase it.

Conversion strategies for content depend on the type of page you write and the action you want the user to take. Examples include:

  • Putting a text-based call to action in the body of the content: While many online users have "banner blindness," where they don't see the ads on the margins and above the content, it's hard to miss a hyperlink or hint to contact the company embedded in an article they're already reading.
  • Updating high conversion pages: A site analysis can help you identify which pages have a high conversion rate. You want to maintain this success or even improve on it. Focus on these pages with regular updates to ensure the information is up-to-date and relevant to your audience.
  • Embedding chatbots into webpages: A chatbot is particularly effective in a service-oriented website, such as for a legal professional, when people need assistance on the spot. It's also ideal for product pages on e-commerce sites if you want to provide live support to potential buyers. An SEO content writer can refer to the chatbot in the body of the SEO text.

This breadth of information shows how SEO content writers are a source of skill and knowledge in content marketing. The next step for website owners is to know more about their role in writing content for SEO and increasing organic search.

What Are SEO Writers Used For?

SEO blog writing is one example of why you might work with an SEO writer. There are also product pages, landing pages, and other site content you create with your team. Writers can also help create the high-level marketing products many high-priced subscription services depend on, such as ebooks, informational reports, case studies, and survey analyses.  

The types of content SEO writers develop are pretty much unlimited. Even visual content, such as infographics, often requires a writer's input. Most marketing videos wouldn't get made without scripts. SEO writers are also invaluable for turning one type of content into another, such as a blog post into a video script or a research report into a summary infographic.  

Best of all, a writer is an informed voice on your team who can offer input on all types of content.  You'll be working with a professional who knows the essential elements of digital marketing, like SEO keywords and search intent.

Benefits of Content Writers With SEO Knowledge

It's always great to have skilled writers on a team, but for online marketing, they must know how to write SEO content specifically. SEO writing is a niche that even the most talented wordsmiths might have to take extra time to learn. The most convincing product pitch will only bring you sales if Google, and therefore your target customer, can find it.  

Once you find a content writer who can elevate your brand voice, you'll reap the rewards since SEO content writing improves performance. According to 2023 research from HubSpot, short articles or posts rank with videos as the top two content types used by business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers. Here's what you can expect to gain by working with SEO copywriters.

Produce High-Quality Content

A content writer focuses on offering quality to readers by developing well-researched, clearly articulated, easy-to-understand information. They can speak in your brand voice, representing your company with content that provides value to readers. A writer can make your brand stand out among your competitors while giving Google the technical specifications it looks for. 

Improve Search Engine Rankings and Traffic

By following SEO best practices and writing E-E-A-T content, a skilled writer can meet or exceed Google's high standards for search result rankings. They can improve click-through rates with informative and captivating meta descriptions, getting people off the SERP and onto your website.

Reach the Target Audience

With a content strategy focused on meeting search intent, a writer can help you reach your chosen audience. Knowing how to optimize for local or national SEO can help get your message to those you most want to hear. With the right research, a content writer can help you tailor your marketing pitch to those most likely to benefit from your product or service.

Boost Authority and Credibility

Well-written, thoroughly researched, and optimized content helps enhance your website's online reputation. Google should value your site, and individual users will return to consume more of your content once they discover it's trustworthy. That leads to more eyes on your site and more people taking action to buy your product or learn more about your service.

Nurture Lead Generation

When our other marketing initiatives, such as social media content, drive traffic to your site, on-site content keeps leads engaged and interested. A content writer can help with products to bring a potential customer even further down the marketing funnel with valuable materials like product descriptions or ebooks.

Optimize Conversion Rates

A content writer can keep your success rate high by identifying high-converting pages and keeping them up-to-date with relevant information. They can also employ conversion strategies, such as text-based calls to action, on low-performing sites that encourage readers to learn more or contact the company. 

SEO writers play essential roles in your online marketing strategy. They not only compose the paragraphs your customers read but also help with research into the relevant keywords according to the business's target audience. They do this while adhering to Google's best practices for quality content. 

Simplify SEO Content Creation with Compose.ly's Managed Service

The next step is to find an SEO content writer. Compose.ly's managed service offers a team approach to SEO content creation, with strategy, keyword research, and vetted writers to help you achieve your digital marketing goals. We offer an entire team of professionals, so you can rest assured every step of production is held to the highest standards. Talk to us today about how Compose.ly enables you to elevate your brand's online content.  

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