Lesley Vos
December 19, 2017

How To Write Great SEO-Friendly Content in 2018

Search engines are becoming smarter and concentrating more on users’ behavioral factors. Meanwhile, marketers are struggling to broaden SEO processes far beyond blind link building with nothing but market-defining keywords. Yes, backlinks and anchors matter; but the catch is, they all reshape all the time for content better optimization and promotion.

That said, the rules of writing efficient SEO-friendly texts have changed. Professional SEO copywriters can’t just put several keywords into an 800+ word text to target the audience. And neither can professional SEO specialists merely put core keywords in meta tags to win Google ranks. But if so, what do we need to write engaging texts that would attract and keep people while hitting search engines?

Let’s get straight to the point:

New Generation of Keywords for SEO-Friendly Content

Doing SEO is easy, isn’t it? Neil Patel keeps me honest:

All we need to do is:

  • Choose right keywords
  • Optimize web pages for them
  • Build backlinks to our pages with key-worded anchors –

Then, viola, Google will find it relevant enough to display our content in search results!


Not quite!

Keywords matter. But if we want to score well on search engines in 2018 – it’s time to consider keywords types other than specifically related to our niche. There’s a new generation of keywords such as LSI and user-generated ones.

1. LSI Keywords

Gone are the days when Google cared about the number of specific keywords in our texts. Now, it pays attention to LSI words we include into articles for search engines to understand its context.

What are LSI keywords? They are synonyms, paraphrases, and closely related words you write in texts for Google to understand your topic.

Let’s say your keyword is “cars.”

What will make search engines understand whether you are writing about a vehicle, the movie, or maybe the rock band? Latent Semantic Indexing keywords are what you need to include into your text. Thus, if you write about Cars the movie, LSI keywords to use here are “film,” “movie,” “Pixar,” “produced,” etc.

To find such keywords for your content, you can use specific tools (LSI Graph, or Linkio, for example) or Google Search itself.

Take your target keyword, check the “searches related to…” section, and make sure to use those words when writing your SEO-friendly texts in 2018.

2. User-Generated Keywords

When doing keyword research, we spy on competitors in some way, to decide which of their keywords we might target or own content. It’s smart. But why not consider keywords that will be exclusive to your brand and will rank it #1 automatically?

For instance, your brand name can be a keyword. So use it in the body of your content so that people and search engines will associate it with your niche. Or, develop your own strategies related to your niche, then brand them so people could find them accordingly. That’s what Brian Dean does. His Skyscraper Technique has already become a keyword that generates organic traffic to his website. And top-ranked websites backlink to it.

More than that, your consumers can give you a hint on keywords to use in content. The lexical items they use to search for answers to questions, may differ from target keywords that specific tools demonstrate. So, when including those words in content titles and the article body, you:

1) Help people find a solution to their problems and

2) Cover keywords your competitors might probably miss.

Where to find those user-generated keywords?

Q&A websites and topical forums are at your service. Before publishing your content, surf to see what words people most often use to describe a problem and include those lexical items in your SEO texts.

Not By Keywords Alone

We’ve all heard of RankBrain – a system Google uses to measure how users interact with the content they find in search results. Based on this interaction, the engine decides how relevant and engaging your content is to determine its rank. You must interact well to rank higher. And according to the latest SEO guides from experts, this system is going to be among the most important ranking factors in 2018.

What does RankBrain consider?

  1. Dwell time (how long users spend on your page)
  2. CTR (how many people click through to something else from where they land)

As a content creator, you can influence them if organizing and formatting your SEO texts accordingly.

But first things first:

On-Page SEO Still Matters

  • Use a short and keyword-rich URL for every page.
  • Consider <h1> key-worded tag for your title.
  • Make sure your title is relevant and answers a “So what?” For that, add one or two modifiers to your title tag for the audience to understand what your text is about. For instance, the modifiers I used in the title of this article are “SEO” and “2018,” which clarifies the context.
  • Use <h2> tags for your subheads, and don’t forget to include your target keyword in at least one of them.
  • Also, include your target keyword in the first 100 words of your text. Don’t forget about the aforementioned LSI words, too.
  • No need to remind you that you need to add internal and outbound links to your article, I suppose.
  • Alt-tags of your images need to be key-worded, as well.

That’s all well and fine but just a top of the iceberg. Keywords and meta tags are far from enough for your SEO-friendly texts to become comprehensive and engaging.

Is there anything else can you do?

Write Long Content (And Structure It Like a Boss!)

You know that 2,000+ word texts rank higher on Google. But you also know that size itself doesn’t matter, right?

Compare these two texts. #1 is here:

And #2. (Both written in November 2017, by the way):

After a fleeting glance at both, which of them would you continue reading?

To convince Google that your content is of high quality and worth ranking on the top of the SERP, you need to boost dwell time by writing in-depth texts that will keep people reading. For that, consider the following:

  • Pay attention to your text opening: use hooks, reference to your audience, and remember about bucket brigades to make the information more readable.
  • We read 25% slower online than from print. So use short sentences, simple words, and short paragraphs to make it easier for users to perceive the information.
  • Avoid copywriting cliches in your texts. Don’t use weak words. Make sure your text is proofread and edited.
  • We are 90% visual beings, so include engaging images to attract readers and increase their time on your web page.
  • Also, embed video into your text posts where appropriate.
  • Optimize your texts with the psychology of decision-making in mind. Information scent and surplus value are a must for your SEO texts in 2018.
  • When appropriate, you are welcome to add interactive content such as quizzes, polls, or topical mini-games to engage readers.
  • Structure texts with content usability in mind: subheadings, bullet points, font size, color-contrast ratio, optimized text fields, alignment. These are small but crucial details influencing dwell time as well as users impressions about your writing.

Now, Make It Happen…

Write for people rather than search engines. Inform rather than advertise. And take a look at your SEO text from a reader’s perspective every time before you hit a “publish” button. Do you like what you see? Would you share it with the world? What is so memorable about it?

Once you find that cherry on top of your content, let it go live. If it’s well-written and optimized, it will become a favorite with your target audience. Just don’t forget – it’s 2018 outside, so don’t write as if you were locked in 2010.

Have Your Say

Do you have anything that you feel your fellow readers should know? Are you planning to change your SEO strategy or does it simply evolve? Please share your thoughts in the comments, below.

You may also want to read: How To Turn Your Good Idea Into a Great Article

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Lesley Vos is a seasoned web writer from Chicago. Specializing in data research, text building, and content architecture, she blogs for PlagiarismCheck.org, contributes to publications on digital marketing, and is writing her first fiction book. Feel free to get in touch with Lesley on Twitter @LesleyVos or on LinkedIn.


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