If you’re trying to figure out SEO writing to drive traffic to your writer website, there’s a lot of online crap to sift through.
Gimmicky promises. Expensive software. Even get-your-account-shut-down advice out there about SEO writing. And you don’t want to step in any of that.
So how do you get more potential clients to find you online?
Almost every week I hear from writers, who tell me things like:
- I don’t have time to blog
- I don’t have a marketing strategy
- I hate selling myself
- I’m hoping people will buy my new book
- I don’t know how to help my publisher market my book
- I have a very specific audience, but I don’t know how to reach those people
Sound familiar? If you want your website to help you generate leads, drive traffic or build an audience, you need to know how the motherlode of search engines works.
As an SEO writing expert and consultant, I’ve helped hundreds of authors and freelancers get results. One recent win even helped boost traffic by 175 percent for one of my clients.
Ready for some no-bull advice about SEO writing? Here’s what you need to know:
Use SEO writing to connect with potential freelance clients
Type in a search term on Google. Then take a look at the results.
Ever wonder how those specific results show up?
Sure, there’s paid and sponsored ads. There’s the viral outliers. And then there’s content Google serves up because of Search Engine Optimization.
- SEO (aka Search Engine Optimization) = The art of getting your content to rank on a Google search, like this…
How does SEO writing work? Here’s a simple way to break it down:
Discover keywords & phrases prospects search for
Keywords and keyphrases in your content make a massive difference in your online writer platform. More consistent leads …without as much time spent marketing.
Heather Lloyd Martin from the SEO Content Institute sums up the purpose of SEO writing:
“For the most part, you are connecting with people, and new people who might not have found you any other way, other than randomly putting in keywords into Google.”
Convince Google your site is a match
Knowing how to match search queries (what your target audience is looking for) is key to getting more traffic to your website.
Whether you’re a freelance writer or a marketing coach, you’ll want to convince Google and other search engines that your website/blog is useful.
These six SEO best practices will help you learn how to get more traffic to your website using SEO writing and keyword research.
1. Match your content prospect search queries
Your target readers have questions – lots of them. You want your online content to answer their questions.
How will you do that? By matching your content to their search queries.
But first, you need to do some pre-marketing research and know how you stand out from the crowd with these questions:
- WHO: Who do you serve?
- WHAT: What services do you offer your target audience?
- HOW: How are you unique?
Let’s work through an example:
- “I coachwriters.” This is way too general.
- “I coach writers on how to write a marketable non-fiction book for a niche-driven audience.” Much better and more specific
Use this basic format to help focus your SEO efforts
I specialize in helping (WHO: fill in the blank) with (WHAT/HOW: fill in the blank) to (DO WHAT: fill in the blank).
2. Use keywords & phrases to profile your ideal client
Let’s just clarify keywords and key phrases for a moment. It’s the words a prospect types into a search engine when they’re looking for something.
SEO writing gives you the ability to send some of that search traffic to your writer site Use Google Keyword Planner or similar SEO tool to get search traffic data). Here’s what monthly search traffic looks like for the key phrase “make money writing.”
Here are some examples of key phrases and search traffic:
- Business coach = Searched 4,400 times per month.
- Memoir books = Searched 1,000 times per month
- How to write a memoir = Searched 2,900 times per month
- How to write a business book = Searched 90 times per month
Sometimes your prospect will type in a key phrase in the form of a question like:
- How can I get my author website on Google?
- How can I market my non-fiction book?
- What are some good marketing tips for authors?
3. Create a list of questions prospects are searching
If you want to leverage SEO writing to drive traffic, start making a list of the type of questions your prospects have about writing, content marketing, or trends in your niche.
It’s a good way to get in the mind of your ideal client and think about how they’re searching for writing services you can provide.
What are your target audience’s pain points What’s keeping them up at night?
Here are two examples of what you can learn from SEO research to reach more prospects:
Example 1: Blogger/Freelance Writer
If you’re a blogger or freelance writer who helps clients monetize their blogs, take time to discover keywords and keyphrases they’re using to brainstorm online content you can create. Here are some keywords and phrases these types of prospects are searching:
- How to blog a book? = 170 monthly searches
- How to monetize a blog? = 1,600 monthly searches
- Transactional queries: Marketing books = 2,900 monthly searches
Transactional queries are terms users type in when they’re ready to buy or learn more about a product or service. The more specific the terms, the more transactional. If you want to sell your book or freelance writing services, pay attention transactional search queries.
Example #2: Writer of a cult recovery memoir
I was helping one of my clients, Renee Linnell, author of the memoir The Burn Zone, figure out how to show up in the top search results on Google.
She was posting on social media without a clear idea of her exact message or target market. Even though she had a decent fan base, she wasn’t getting site traffic. So we took a closer look at key words and phrases and found:
- Key phrases: combating cult mind control, how to undo brainwashing
- Transactional queries: cult memoirs, The Burn Zone: A memoir
That search data helped improve SEO writing on her author site. The result: Her organic traffic increased by 50 percent, and the people she was trying to target online could find her.
4. Use long-tail key phrases to connect with prospects
Where is your page or site positioning for your targeted keyphrases?
If you type your main keywords into Google (or even some alternative phrases) is your page in the top 50 results?
When I first did some market research for my own SEO business to help freelance writers and authors, I realized I needed to spend time understanding this audience better:
I discovered the following:
- SEO, by itself, was not a viable keyword. But “authorpreneurs” actually was, mostly because it’s very specific.
- I pushed them together, and voila! I had a long-tail search phrase: “SEO for authorpreneurs.”
- I improved the SEO writing on my site and started rising in the search results for the article SEO for Authorpreneurs.
I started using a very specific keyphrase (and topic) to reach a niche audience which was good, because very soon as you can see in the screenshot below, I started to dominate the listing for the term.
Compile a list of ideas based on SEO data to create content
To up your SEO keyword research game, I recommend using the free SEO tool Ubersuggest, by Neil Patel, to check and see if any of your questions, keywords and keyphrases are getting monthly search traffic. Use the list to help you develop content ideas to help drive more traffic to your write website or help your clients.
Tip: You don’t need to spend hours on keyword research, but don’t skip it either. You’ll start understanding what your reader wants to know and this will inform your content marketing strategy. Keyword research will also give you ideas for delivering great content.
5. Optimize headlines with targeted keywords
During my pre-SEO days, I had a blog post titled, “Are You a Silent Suzy?”
Google doesn’t understand cute, esoteric terms like this. Got anything thing like this on your writer website or blog?
My ideal clients didn’t know what a “Silent Suzy” meant, and neither will yours. If you’re using these kinds of words in your blog post headlines or pages on your website, you’re not going to show up in SEO results.
Here’s another way to put this:
About 90 percent of people don’t click on blog posts unless there is a compelling reason for doing so. The first thing a Google user will think when reading your blog title: “Is this going to be relevant to me?”
Your headline must include a key phrase that’s getting search traffic. Make sense?
Two weeks after my blog post SEO for authorpreneurs went live, I noticed a significant uptick in traffic.
Optimizing headlines is one way to make your site SEO friendly.
Tip: Want to see what your headline will look like in search results? Use this tool by Moz.
6. Optimize title, metatitle, and description
Ok. I’m going to geek out a little more about SEO writing now. But these are basic terms you should get familiar with to improve search results for your writer site or a client. Every web page or blog post you write should be optimized in three ways:
- Title: The title shows up at the top of someone’s browser bar. Instead of something like, “A random memoirist’s musings…” your blog might be called “Felicia Cohen’s Memoir.”
- Metatitle: This shows the name of your webpage.
- SEO description or meta description. It’s the content that follows the title of your page or post in the search results. Keep it to under 175 characters, with keywords/keyphrases at the very beginning. This number keeps changing. Shorter is better.
Here’s what the meta description and title looks like for this blog post
When you optimize the metafields with targeted keywords, it gives your page a boost because the metadescriptions are a helpful relevance signal for search engines. They give contextual relevance about the page.
Case in point…
After taking time to research the product pages for a global company, I optimized their meta descriptions with primary and secondary keywords. Within a few weeks, I noticed a huge uptick in traffic. One specific category had increased by over 175 percent!
Get more clients with SEO writing
If you want to get more clients and increase your value as a freelance writer to charge higher rates, it’s worth it to get familiar with SEO writing. You don’t have to be an expert, but you should know the basics. SEO writing will help you:
- Drive traffic to your writer website. Want targeted inbound leads? SEO writing is one way to make it happen.
- Learn a new skill. SEO requires a different kind of writing mindset especially regarding key phrase and keyword research. Learning this skill will help you drive traffic to your own site, but it’s also a skill many clients want when they hire a freelance writer.
- Promote your book. If you’re an author about to release a book, SEO and keyword research will help build a following on your blog.
SEO writing is a great way to drive traffic to your writer website or help a client. If you want to write online, learning the basics about SEO writing can help boost your freelance career and your income. Now is always the best time to get started.
Need help with SEO writing to generate client leads? Let’s discuss in the comments below.
Dorit Sasson helps writers and businesses grow successfully and attract the right clients with SEO writing and best practices in digital marketing.