70% of marketers say that search engine optimization (SEO) marketing is more effective than pay-per-click (PPC). This is because the process of SEO in digital marketing relies on written content that brings audiences insights and value. In turn, your content marketing builds brand authority and presence over time. Since Google is matching its users to the content that is most likely to answer their questions, how to start SEO is as simple as understanding what your customers are searching for, then creating content to answer those questions.
But it’s not always 100% clear which SEO fundamentals you should prioritize to make your web page rank higher. After all, Google uses over 200 factors to evaluate and rank a website. The good news is that there are SEO best practices that have been proven to work well. At DemandJump, we’ve found that writing pillar content is the best way to increase your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). It doesn’t have to be difficult, either. In this blog, we’ve put together a guide to writing pillar content for beginners as well as SEO content writing tips that can enhance any strategy.
The most effective way to boost SEO with keywords is with a pillar content strategy. A pillar strategy is a network of articles that share a topic. It starts with a pillar page that serves as the ultimate guide on a topic. Each pillar is about 3,000 words and includes 18 keywords. Sub-pillars are about 2,000 words with 15 keywords that go into a more specific aspect of the pillar topic and link back to your pillar page. Then, supporting blogs give detailed answers to specific questions in 750 words and eight keywords while linking back to a sub-pillar and your pillar page. In total, pillars are made up of 16 pieces of content. Here’s a visual representation of what the PBM linking structure looks like:
Think of the structure like a pyramid; as you go down, each smaller piece of content supports the ones above it. Writing content in pillars has two key benefits.
As a beginner, an entire pillar can seem like a lot to tackle—but you don’t have to do it by yourself. DemandJump makes it easy to pick a pillar topic and generate titles for sub-pillars and supporting blogs. You can also use our content brief tool to create an outline and see high-value keywords to include for each piece.
Now that you have the tools to plot out a successful pillar content strategy, let’s dive into how you can make each piece of content as good as it can be.
Writing good SEO content starts with a quality keyword finder. If you’re just starting out in the world of content writing, you should become familiar with the different options you have for identifying high-value keywords:
15% of the searches entered into Google daily are brand-new, so it’s not just about ranking for existing keywords you know but also identifying the ones you don’t. With DemandJump, you get the full picture.
One of the most fundamental SEO writing tips is to avoid “keyword stuffing.” This is when you add in keywords willy-nilly to try and make your site rank. Google and other popular search engines like Bing, Baidu, and Yahoo have all become wise to this tactic, so it no longer works the way it did back in the early days of SEO.
Instead of trying to include the same keywords over and over again, start by including them once. After they’re in, write for a human reader. If you repeat keywords, that’s fine—and if you don’t, no need to worry! Your rankings will improve as long as your keywords are in there and people are actually reading your content.
A great way to ensure that you include all necessary keywords is to start with an outline. Map out high-value phrases and questions (ones that have a high DemandJump score) as your headings. The rest of your keywords can fit into your body content. Word maps and other visual outlines can also be useful during this step.
Ultimately, it’s important to create a rich list that contains both short and long-tail keywords. Short-tail keywords are one or two-word phrases that are likely to get a lot of traffic. Long-tail keywords are three words or longer, and are usually more indicative of what information, products, or services people are searching. Including only short-tail keywords can lead to a high “bounce rate,” or people visiting your site and leaving quickly, while only having long-tail keywords can prevent your content from getting noticed. Use both in your titles, headers, and body copy to increase SEO ranking over time.
Ready to create content but not sure where to start? We can help. DemandJump's automated data-driven content outlines are certain to get your content to rank. Learn more here.
The key to writing unique content is to go into detail about the specific questions your audience is searching for. You can do this by choosing long-tail keywords to write about. These often come in the form of questions like “What is the best pet for a family?” Getting to this level of specificity will make your content more unique than another business writing about “Best pets.”
It’s also important to tackle the same topic from different angles. Remember, the most important part of writing unique content is matching the different ways that people search for information. For example, you could write about “What is the best pet for a family?” and “What pet should a family adopt?” This will allow you to connect with different readers who are essentially searching the same thing in different ways.
Of course, you shouldn’t just copy and paste your blog and slap a new title on it. Find different statistics to back up your point. Write your introduction in a different style–choosing narrative over fact-based. You can–and should–use different keywords when possible throughout the body of the blog.
DemandJump can also give you an edge when writing unique content. Our insight reports show you what your competitors are writing about and ranking for–and also what they aren’t. Is everyone else writing about “Best pets for babies?” Then you can provide an answer to “What are the best pets for foster kids?”
Writing unique content also comes down to your intuition. What have you read before that has made you stop or become disengaged? Learn from that, and try something different.
In this section, we will show you how to improve your search rankings by updating your URL, implementing a linking strategy, and using images.
36% of SEO experts agree the title of your webpage is the most important element for SEO, with 25% believing headers and body copy are most important. Another important element is the URL of the webpage. The closer the keyword is to the front of the URL, the better the page might rank for that keyword (remember, Google examines over 200 variables!) You don’t need to change your entire website whenever you want to change keyword strategies. Instead, you can update the tail end of the URL to keep the page competitive while preserving the continuity of your established website and its domain authority.
SEO help doesn’t just include writing content but also the process of internal and external linking. This leverages the great content you created to help it rank on search engines.
Make sure you’re backlinking to your content to increase the authority of those pages and keep potential customers on your website exploring your business. This means if you’ve written or done a video on a topic before, find a way to link to that older content in your new pieces. Every backlinked page gets more traffic. In fact, backlinking is an essential part of a successful pillar strategy. Sub-pillars link back to the pillar page, while supporting blogs link to their sub-pillar and the pillar.
This effect is compounded when an outside company links to your content. Your own linking will only capture the attention of people already on your site. But if a third party uses and links to your content, now you have a new source of traffic. This is another reason why it’s essential to write content your audiences will value.
One of the easiest SEO content writing rules isn’t about writing at all— it’s about visuals! Picking a relevant image that matches your content doesn’t just make an impression on the reader. The file name of the image can improve the SEO ranking of the site or webpage, as can the alt text. Alt text is the text that is displayed when the image isn’t available for whatever reason, like if someone has images turned off in a browser. Alt text is also read aloud to visually impaired users by special accessibility tools, so it’s important that it not only includes the keyword you want to rank for, but that it describes the image well.
What is SEO like for beginners? It’s a process of choosing keywords, deciding on content topics, creating the content, and reinforcing it with the keywords in URLs, image file names, and alt text. This process might seem too much to handle alone, but it’s not if you have the right tools to accurately inform your SEO content strategy.
DemandJump uses AI to uncover all the questions consumers are asking, searches they’re conducting, and videos and content they’re consuming along their path to purchase—for any industry or product. If you’d like to automate your SEO content plan and see a punch list of exactly what you should be writing about to gain organic traffic and market share, sign up for DemandJump’s free trial and get a content outline on any topic important to you—on us.
If you have any additional questions, send us a message using the blue message icon in the bottom right of your screen. We’d love to chat with you!