Writing Incredible SEO Articles:THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE (2018)

Articles are the lifeblood of most websites because they drive traffic to your site from social media and Google.

But there is a problem.

Most people do not know how to write articles that people go wild for.

However, in this step-by-step guidebook, I’m going to teach you my PROVEN process of how to write SEO articles that people love!

Ready? Let’s do this…

incredible-articles

Research

How To Conduct Research That Lays The Foundation For An Incredible Article (In Half The Time)

The first part of writing a great SEO articles is the research. Get this wrong, and the article will fail straight away. But there is an issue. Your research can take far too long, and in some cases, it takes longer than writing the article itself. There is a solution, and in this chapter, I will give you the 3 fastest ways to conduct research for an article that will save you huge amounts of time.

research-chapter

Get Pocket

Get pocket

How to write SEO content for a website? Get Pocket is a way to save anything you find on the internet.

It is the equivalent of creating your own private database. As if this wasn’t enough, it will serve up content that you might like as well.
I love articles about SEO, writing, and marketing.

As such, when I go to Pocket, I can either see the articles I have saved or look at the ones they recommend.
Get pocket recommend

These are really useful functions because I get to find content that is suggested to me but also content I have saved on the web for later.

Yet there is another incredible part of Pocket that is worth its weight in gold for all writers.

The Explore function.
Explore button

This new tool is in Beta development, but I am already using it in my work.

So, for example, I am writing this article and using the exact process I am outlining here as I write (that sounded a lot better in my head than when I typed it).

I went to Pocket and typed in ‘Headline Writing’.
Headline writing

And voila.

It is like a filter for Google (or a user-based satisfaction tool); because Pocket brings back results based on the number of people that ‘save an article’ you are usually getting great content.
Getting great content

Get Pocket changes the way you do research for any subject.

Use Blinkist To Utilize The Zulu Principle

Blinkist tool

Blinkist is a great tool to turn you into a subject expert overnight and I utilize this to use what is called the Zulu Principle.

The Zulu Principle is a book written on investment by a male named Jim Slater. He noticed that when his wife read an article on the subject of the Zulu people she was remarkably more informed on the subject than he was.

He believed that if his wife read every book on the subject, coupled with a short visit to Africa, she would be one of the leading authorities on the subject.

While Jim Slater used this process for investments, you can use it for content research.

Log into Blinkist (it is a premium service) and type your subject matter into the search bar:
Blinkist search bar

As you can see it brings back a range of books you can read.

Each book takes no more than 15 minutes to read and they are shortened versions (or blinks) of full books.

As such, you can be super informed in a wide variety of areas in a few hours.

Use Google To Supercharge Your Subject Knowledge For Free

For those of you who are thinking ‘yeah but Get Pocket and Blinkist cost money’, there is a free way to get the same results.

Google it.
Subject for writing

The search engine is designed to bring back the best results and now we have featured snippets and ‘people also ask’ boxes.

The way I use this is to scroll down the first 2 pages of Google and look for all the long-form articles around a subject.

I make a note of the pages and the key points of each article.

(Later on in the article you will learn how to write an amazing article with this information)

After reading all the best articles on Google you will have a great level of knowledge on the subject and are ready for the next step.

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Outlining

The Secret To Writing Amazing Content In Half The Time (A Great Outline)

I write a lot of content. The secret to writing great content is planning. And the best way to plan is to create subheadings in advance. So, how do you find your subject headers? I have two hacks.

outlining-chapter

If you head over to my Grammarly stats, you can see an average amount.
Creative writing

For example, this post had the subheadings created first.

Now here is the thing, do not be too rigid. You need to allow some flexibility for the creative process to flow, but by having the subheadings down you can write the articles far faster.

The online training course platform called Udemy is a great way to find subjects for your subtopics that your audience will love.
Udemy

Choose a course around your topic and then head over to the curriculums to check out the course and see what it contains.
Subject search

Once inside you will see a range of subtopics you can use such as ‘how to find your voice’.

Udemy is a great source of inspiration (and it is free to browse).

Big Websites

Ok, so this is a little more advanced but still works really well.

You start by Googling some of the biggest websites on your topic.

For example, “Best blogs for wisdom” or “Top Yoga Blogs”.

Once you have them, make a spreadsheet and then head over to a tool such as Ahrefs.

Using their site explorer tool you can start to work your way through the content.

In this example, I have chosen a ‘wisdom site’ called Tiny Buddha.
Keyword research subject

Once in the tool, I look at the Top pages tab to find out what the best-performing pages on the site are.

Once I have this data I look for the ‘keyword number.’
Keyword number

I click the keywords, and I start to uncover some powerful phrases that people are searching for.
Powerful phrases

I just scroll down the list and find ideas and repeat this with any relevant content on the site that is related to my article.

You will end up with a list packed full of subject topic ideas, which will help you as you get going.

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Title

How To Write A Headline That People Are Desperate To Read

You know what subject your article is about, you have the subtopics/headers, but you need a great title. However, there is an issue. Coming up with a great headline takes time - time you probably don’t have. In fact, some people suggest that you create over 25 headline variations and pick the best one. However, there is a hack.

title-chapter

Google Images

There are thousands of great headlines written and published every week/month and you can access them for free.

They are written by the best writers, chosen by the finest editors and based on years of data.

What are they?

Magazine covers.
Catchy headline

If you think about magazines, they have a cover on them, and a variety of headlines designed to get you to buy the entire magazine.

And you can go and check them out for free.

This is how I do this.

Step 1: Google the top 100 magazines.
Amazing title

You will see that you are greeted (on a desktop) with a range of slides.

All you do is click a magazine and then click images.
SEO title

Once you have the images, start scrolling through and looking at the cover headlines until you find a great one.

Here is an example from Men’s Health magazine:
Proven title

We can take the ‘100 Greatest Things In Health’.

And create: ‘The 100 Greatest Things In SEO/In Writing/In Cinema’.

You get the idea.

Thousands of proven headlines you can adapt for your own use.

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Intro

How To Write An Intro That Gets The Reader Hooked

Just because you managed to gain the click on your article, it does not mean you have a reader. That click-through is in essence the reader saying, ‘Ok, you have my attention, now show me what you can do’. And so your introduction is going to be key to the success of your article. Fortunately, there are 3 different methods that I use, and I will walk you through each one.

intro-chapter

The Micro-Commitment Method

Brian Dean is known to most as one of the world’s best SEO experts. He founded the SEO training company and blog of the same name.

However, most do not know that he used to be a full-time copywriter.

So, when it comes to the creation of great content, Brian is an amazing source of information.

Yet he has an incredible way of writing introductions:

He gains a micro-commitment first.

Micro-commitment

Behavioral scientists have discovered that as human beings we need to be consistent and this was documented by experts in the book called ‘The Small Big: Small Changes That Spark Big Influence.’

Inside the book, the scientists talk about how consistency and commitment plays a huge part in social influence.

To demonstrate this, an experiment was run.

On a crowded beach, they had a researcher pose as a swimmer and take a towel and a radio to the beach. The aim was to see how many people would leap into action when the radio was stolen (by a researcher posing as a thief).

On some of the tests, he simply placed his radio and towel on the beach and went for a swim.

On others, he asked a sunbather if they could watch his things while he went for a swim. Most agreed with a verbal ‘yes I will’.

The results?

Option1
Of the times he never asked anyone to watch his things, only 4 out of 20 people who did not make a verbal commitment jumped up to chase the thief.

Option2
Compare this to an amazing 19 out of 20 people who jumped up that were asked to watch the items.

A small verbal agreement matters.

So how does Brian use this type of micro agreement?

He gets the reader to mentally ask themselves a question.
Intro writing

In his 17 Insanely Actionable Link Building Activities article Brian states:

“You’d probably be pumped to read about them.”

Mentally you answer ‘yes I would’.

In essence, you have now committed yourself to agreeing to read this post.

In another example:
Catchy intro

Brian asks, “I think you’ll agree with me when I say…”

And yes, you do agree with him.
Micro agreement

He doesn’t use micro commitments in every post he also uses micro agreements.

In this SEO copywriting example he tells people that if they combine SEO with copywriting they will be unstoppable, and mentally they answer ‘yes I will’.

If you agree with the basic premise that the article is offering you are more likely to read on.

To sum up, the Brian Dean method of introductions is getting the reader to mentally agree to reading the rest of the post, they mentally acknowledge the problem and solution.

Now wouldn’t you like to know the other power introduction methods?

(See what I did there?).

The Gary Halbert Method

I am writing this article sat in my office.

I am based at a university so we have zero traffic noise, and even better we are in an old converted farmhouse in a conservation area.

The only noise I can hear is the Robin Redbreasts tweeting outside.

What I did there was use a technique by one of the world’s best-known copywriters, the late Gary Halbert.

In Gary’s well-known book ‘The Boron Letters’ he encourages people (his son really but I won’t spoil the book) to increase reader intimacy by saying where they are when they write.

You could include the date, the location, and many other details.

The aim is to get you picturing the writer. Once you do this then you are now well and truly into the article and are hooked.

The Empathy method

The last opening method is also called ‘The Empathy method’, but the well-known blogger and editor Jon Morrow is the genius behind the technique.

The idea is simple – the introduction should show and encourage empathy for the reader and or the writer.

You are verbally acknowledging the issues faced by either the reader’s situation or the writer.

Let’s take a look:
Empathy Method

In this amazing post (over 70,000 shares on social media), Jon lays his situation out for all to see. He can’t move most of his body, and yet he still has an amazing life.

Kind of makes you want to read on, doesn’t it?

Let’s look at other posts on his site:
SERP intro

As you can see, this type of introduction can be short or long.

But it is designed to get you hooked into the post, either by the writer saying ‘hey I get what you are going through’ or the reader ‘feeling empathy for the writer’s situation’.

So there you have it – 3 very different but equally powerful types of ways to open your article.

Your aim is literally to get them to read the content, and as such if your opening sucks they will press the back button faster than Usain Bolt runs the 100.

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Body Text

How To Create Content That Gets Read To The Bottom

You put in the hard work to get the click with a great headline, and they read your opening and they are onboard. You have won! Sorry to break the bad news, but the hard work is really just beginning. Read on to find out why...

body-chapter

Now you need to create a great article, one that is read all the way down.

And guess what the number-one trick is for this?

Putting no more than 3 or 4 lines in a paragraph.

Why?

Because we do not read things online in the same way we read a book or a newspaper.

In 2008 a study was undertaken to see how we read online and here is what was discovered:

Web users have time to only read about 20% of the content on the page when they visit.

20% of the content

 

If you think about this, it makes sense.

We are all busy people and we go to Google to find a solution to our problems, so we click on the top search results and we are looking within that article for a solution.

Google search

That is why the subheaders we choose are so important (and planned beforehand); we need each subheader to offer a clear benefit.

If the subheader offers a benefit/ solution to our problem we are more likely to read this section with better detail.

Subheader writing

But it goes deeper than this.

The average reading speed is about 200 words per minute, so we need a way to speed this up if we are going to increase the amount of information we can deliver to the reader.

Enter the world of single line sentences and short paragraphs.

But here is the science part.

We read in an F Shape.
F shape

The above article is written by master blogger Neil Patel but you can clearly see that he uses a mixture of short lines, single-line paragraphs and breaks up his posts with images.

As it turns out this is super smart because our eyes scan articles in an F shape.

This means that our eyes do not like to go across the width of a page; it is harder work and this increases the time it takes to read an article.

But it also turns out that there are other types of scanning that our eyes use when reading:

The Layer Cake: Where we scan headers and subheaders but do not read the actual text (which shows you need to create great subheaders).

Spotted Pattern: Basically, looking all over the content as if looking for a particular word or answer.

Marking Pattern: This is common with mobile reading; your eyes are fixed on the middle of the screen and you scroll down.

Bypassing: This is a great one, and it is common. You bypass the beginning of a line because they repeatedly start the same way; in essence you read from the middle of the sentence.

And finally:

Commitment Pattern: This is the type of reader we all want, the reader who reads it all and devours every line.

So here are some extra SEO content writing tips to help your readers to love and devour your content.

1. Use shorter sentences
We know that shorter sentences take less effort to read and this is a good thing because time matters.

2. Use benefit-focused headings/subheadings
A benefit-focused headline will encourage the scan readers to stop in their tracks.

3. Break up the article with images
Images help to break an article up and make it easier to digest information.

4. Start lines with different words
If you use the same words at the beginning of each sentence your reader will start to miss them out and jump to the middle of a line and miss key information.

5. Try and place your most important points earlier in the sentence
Get the important information out in every sentence as early as possible. Every line needs to have value, and show that value to the reader.

6. Make the article reader focused
Try and speak to the reader in the article by using words like ‘You’ a lot.

7. Write long-form articles
Aim for at least 2400 words; Google loves longer articles and longer articles tend to gain more social media shares and links.

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Conclusion

How To Write A Conclusion That Gets The Reader To Take Action

And we now come to the final part of the writing. Crafting the conclusion. Fortunately, this is a lot easier than the rest. The aim of the conclusion is simple. Get the reader to take action. Read on.

conclusion-chapter

Of course, this action might differ, but here are some examples.

Sign up for your newsletter
Share the article
Comment
Action regarding what the article is about
Read another article
Buy from you

However, the key is simple – if you want results give them one single task.

Once you pick the task, you need to get them to take the action you desire.

How?

By turning into the best coach in the world, and for this reason I call this;

The Coach Conclusion

Imagine the situation – it is halftime and you are down by 3 goals to 1. If you don’t get your team to recover it will all be over.

You have one chance, one speech to motivate them.

You are the coach and your readers are the team.

This conclusion is the halftime of the game.

So, how do you do this?

You give them a challenge that goes like this:

So now you have a choice. You can go back to writing content they way you always have.

Or you can download this article as a PDF by clicking the button below and use it to create the most amazing article you have ever written.

An article that inspires those that read it.

An article that makes a difference.”

Do you see how much more powerful this is than just saying, ‘Thanks for reading, if you enjoyed it please comment below’?

Use your article conclusions as the weapons to get the reader to do something else you want/need them to do.

A conclusion is a doorway to another place, not an ending.

And so we have reached the end of this article.

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Now It’s Your Turn

Now you have the tools, techniques, and strategy to write an article that is not just read but is devoured. Writing takes effort, dedication and above all else planning. And now what are you going to do? I can tell you that 99% of people reading this post will do nothing. They will agree with the content but take no action at all, they will write as they always have. You really can be different!

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