How to Craft an SEO Strategy and Work With an SEO Content Writer

How to Craft an SEO Strategy and Work With an SEO Content Writer

If you're a business owner, you're probably already aware of the importance of increasing organic traffic to your website. SEO-driven content marketing is one of the best ways to do that and should be an integral part of your digital marketing and content strategy. 

But writing SEO content by yourself can be difficult and time-consuming. That’s where hiring an SEO content writer becomes a valuable investment. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the basics of good SEO strategy and offer tips on how to find and work with an SEO content writer.

What Is SEO Content?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. It's a marketing discipline that aims to improve a site’s rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). Website content (like blog posts, landing pages, and product pages) is tailored to meet the expectations of the algorithms that gauge which websites have the best information for searchers and therefore deserve to rank highest.

The process focuses on creating content related to specific keywords and key phrases that are most relevant to your target audience and offerings. 

For example, suppose you're a mattress company. You'll want to target keywords related to what your business sells — like “mattresses on sale,” “mattress companies that deliver,” or “best firm mattresses” — and what pain points you address for potential customers — like "best mattress for a bad back" or "best mattress for side sleepers."

What Does an SEO Content Strategy Consist of?

SEO content marketing is crucial to your website. It drives organic traffic by helping users discover your brand and establishes your business as an authority within your industry. That's why companies need to develop a good SEO content strategy.

The specifics may vary, but most approaches to SEO marketing consist of the same moving parts. A successful SEO strategy starts with customized keyword research and great writers— industry experts who create content on those specific topics.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is a vital piece of your SEO strategy that ultimately results in selecting various keywords, phrases, and concepts that you want your company or brand to rank for on Google SERPs.

Typically, the selected keywords will be a mix of products and services, customer pain points and FAQs, problems that your product or service solves, competitor keywords, and other potential searches relevant to your niche or industry.

When selecting the best-fit keywords, there are three core components to balance — relevance, difficulty, and search volume. There are a variety of tools out there (both free and premium) to support thorough and relevant keyword research for your content planning. 

We use Ahrefs, an SEO tool that allows you to plug in a high-level concept to view related (more relevant and often less competitive) keywords. You can even conduct competitive analyses to see what types of keywords similar businesses are ranking for. Ahrefs also shows each keyword's monthly search volume and difficulty, so users produce a keyword strategy that will feasibly lead to results. SEMrush is another tool with similar functionalities.

Sticking with our mattress brand example above, an effective keyword strategy might look as follows:

  • Two high-volume keywords that are in related topic areas that serve customers’ interests or pain points without trying to sell them anything. For example, “how to improve sleep quality” and “evening routine for adults.” These articles aim to create brand awareness and establish your brand as an expert in your industry without pushing any sales or conversion.
  • Two high-volume, low-difficulty keywords that are broader topics like “how to fix a sinking mattress” that serve top-of-funnel searches and introduce searchers to your brand. You want to speak to their specific pain points and give expert advice or information specific to your products and services. Again, at this point in the funnel, the conversion goal should not be product purchases but instead further serve the searcher.
  • Two mid-funnel keywords that are more product- or service-focused like “best mattress for back pain” or “best mattress in a box.” These articles introduce your products or services. They establish your brand as a trusted adviser in your industry and a solution to the problems they’re researching.
  • Two lower-funnel and volume, longtail keywords that are hyper-specific to your product or service and have a higher likelihood of conversion. An example of this is “memory foam orthopedic mattress.”  

Once you've finalized your keyword selections, you can plug them into your content plan and begin working toward the actual content pieces for each keyword.

Writing Good Content

A strong set of keywords will only get you so far. The key to ranking high in search engines is to create high-quality content. You need to furnish valuable information that is relevant to your brand better than your competitors. This is the process of building trust and authority, which facilitates conversion.

Each piece should aim to provide value and answer the search query, with writing tailored to the reader, not just for the sake of ranking. Good writers can use keywords in a manner that sounds authentic, not forced.

With that said, there are several things content pieces can, and should, have to increase the likelihood of ranking. SEO-driven content should contain keyword-rich phrases without sounding keyword stuffed. Article headlines, meta descriptions, and structure should be clear, interesting, and purposeful, telling readers (and Google!) what to expect, and furthering SEO value.

In addition to writing great articles, a good writer understands the importance of on-page SEO and can leverage title tags and URL structure to improve your SEO marketing strategy.

Of course, there is more to it than that, but that’s for another article! 

Why You Need an SEO Content Writer

SEO content writing is hard, especially if you don't consider yourself a great writer. While anyone can write, not everyone can write informative, interesting, high-quality content that appeals to prospective customers without sounding too sales-y. Oh, and it needs to rank.

As a busy business owner, you likely have limited time for writing and learning to write well. That's where an SEO content writer comes in.

SEO writers can create many types of SEO-friendly content, including blog posts, social media posts, product or services pages, landing pages, and whitepapers. They’re also adept at understanding brand voice and using that to build brand awareness and authority in the industry.

SEO writers are skilled at writing web content that uses keywords properly and can employ SEO best practices that increase rankings while making complex topics easy to understand for the general public. 

How to Find a Great SEO Content Writer

Deciding that you're not the best person to create your own content is easy. Finding a writer who is? Not so much. So, how do you find a great SEO content writer? 

Freelance Writer Agencies

Well, a great place to start is freelance-writer platforms. They work with skilled freelance writers who can craft SEO articles for various topics. 

Some of these agencies vet the writers before matching them with clients. They may also require test articles before writers can join the site. Others require exams and a proven track record of SEO content writing for freelance writers to be featured. 

A different (and often more affordable) category of agencies and websites, like Upwork, operate more like job application sites. Writers apply to a job posting you share, and you must vet applicants yourself. On average, these sites tend to have lower-quality writers, and it can take more effort to find the best fit.

Our partner agency, The Writer Finder, blends the two styles. The team culls a proprietary database of experienced writers and narrows it down to a handful of qualified and available candidates based on the desired topic area and price range.

Then they curate a list of the best 3-5 writer options and send the list to the client. The process repeats until the client finds the best writer for their project.   

Conducting Your Own Search

Doing your own search is time intensive compared to using an agency since you’ll need to craft a job posting, submit it to sites like Indeed and LinkedIn, keep track of applicants, and review all of the submissions.

While this offers greater control of the search process, it can also be a huge time suck. And if you had lots of time to spare, you probably wouldn’t need a writer. While it's certainly possible to find a writer on your own, in some cases, working with an agency will be a better bet.

What To Look For

Regardless of how you search, knowing what to look for in a good SEO content writer is essential. The best way to evaluate a writer is to conduct a test piece or review sample articles. You should also examine their skills and experience level with your subject matter and SEO content writing in general.

In addition to their years of experience writing SEO content, here are some things to look for in a writer's sample article:

  • Proper spelling and grammar, proofreading skills
  • Use of headers and outlines
  • Internal and external links as appropriate
  • SEO knowledge, including the use of long-tail keywords and good keyword density
  • Use of relevant keywords throughout the article
  • No keyword stuffing 
  • Level of expertise in the subject matter
  • Voice and writing style

4 Tips for Working With an SEO Content Writer

Once you've found an SEO content writer, you still need to put in some time and attention to ensure a good working relationship. Here are four tips to make the process smooth and efficient.

1. Establish Expectations

It is important to establish expectations right from the start. Is the role full-time, part-time, or freelance? What is the pay rate, and are there any other compensation expectations?

Indicate what types of content you need and whether you expect any tasks besides writing, such as researching, publishing the content on your WordPress site or other CMS, or creating infographics or other visuals for content pieces.

Establish who the writer will be working with and reporting to. Share contact information and communication preferences and platforms. This is especially important when working with freelance or remote writers, a common arrangement for SEO content writers.

Discuss deadlines, how to avoid missing them, and what to do if that happens. Set clear guidelines around PTO request processes and procedures. 

Train your writers on your content management system, tools, and editorial calendar. Provide them with the necessary training and agree upon who will be responsible for purchasing various tools and resources needed to get the job done well.

Clear expectations are vital to the success of any working relationship, and a signed contract protects both parties’ interests.

2. Create SOPs

With expectations set, the next order of business is to establish standard operating procedures (SOPs) that lay out step-by-step processes for handling routine tasks. SOPs stipulate a clear, repeatable structure for getting the job done and ultimately set the writer up for success.

To streamline content production and ensure consistency, your brand or business should have a style guide that defines the desired brand voice, including the tone, linguistic hallmarks, and personality of the brand. You can also list any words or topics to avoid and mention any competitor websites you don't want the writer to link to. Ultimately, this guide should be a useful tool the writer can reference for clarity on your brand voice, writing style, and audience approach. 

Decide what type of tool or program you want the writers to use to create content. Many business owners use Google GSuite products (like Google Docs and Google Drive) or Microsoft Word. Both of these tools make it easy to add edits, comments, and suggestions and track changes throughout the content creation process.

3. Manage and Support the Writer

Creating SOPs lays the foundation for creating a successful working relationship with a writer, but it doesn’t end there. You need to manage and support the writer throughout the project. That means setting aside time to review the writer’s work and offering feedback to keep the content in sync with your brand voice. Depending on the writer’s style, content topics, and your preferences, this may mean planning for several rounds of revisions. 

In addition, you’ll need to create plans to work around a writer’s schedule if they need to take time off. That way, you can keep publishing cadence consistent — a key metric when search engines evaluate content rankings. If a writer needs to take an unexpected pause, you’ll also need to find a backup writer or someone who can fill in to keep the content project on track.

You may also need to provide ongoing educational support as your products and services evolve. In some cases, you may need to have lawyers or company executives review the content before publishing to ensure it matches your quality standards. Finding a writer who is an expert in your field can help to reduce the time and effort involved in managing and supporting the writer through the content creation process.

4. Use an Editorial Calendar

One of the main reasons business owners aren’t successful in producing their own content is that it's easy to let content production fall through the cracks. Focusing on other writing is difficult when you're pulled in many different directions. Other, more urgent matters demand your attention, and you simply don't have time to coordinate your content schedule. Fix this by using an editorial calendar. 

Project management tools like Trello, Monday, and Asana make it easy to manage the entire process from drafting to publication. You can set due dates for each task during the process to stay on track and meet deadlines. This keeps all parties informed and accountable. 

Over time, you can see where you need to adjust your process to ensure you and your writer are getting the time and resources required, such as factoring in more lead time to stay on schedule. As you continue to produce content, you'll start to notice trends and can adjust your scheduling to better fit your organization, manage expectations, and empower your writer for success.

Create Great SEO Content and Drive Organic Traffic

You understand how critical content is to a successful business. Great content can increase conversion rates, reduce bounce rates, and keep potential customers on your site longer. Optimized content drives more traffic to your website so you can realize your marketing and sales goals.

While compelling content is key, you also know it’s time-consuming. Hiring an SEO content writer is a great way to outsource the work while also making a valuable investment in your business. A professional writer can craft the content you need to amplify brand awareness and authority while you focus on other aspects of your business.

With a number of freelance writer agencies and tools out there, you can hire an SEO content writer to reach your content goals. You can work directly with the writer to create content and support them with style guides, content plans, and an editorial calendar to guide the process.

If you’re looking for more support during the content creation process, connect with us to learn more about Growth Machine and how our services can help you create great content and boost search engine rankings. 

Our SEO content agency works with dozens of top-notch SEO content writers to craft articles in diverse industries ranging from SaaS and e-commerce to health and beauty. We do the writer search for you, vet the writers, and manage them during the process so you can focus on other goals.


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