SEO content writing drains creativity from the writing process, making it difficult to emotionally connect with readers.
Creativity is necessary in SEO content because it ensures you’re not resembling every other article in the search engine results page. Dozie Anyaegbunam, content and social marketing manager at Usergems, says “maintaining creativity while writing SEO content is the only way to overcome the risk of becoming one of the many articles on Google.”
Let’s explore strategies to create unique, yet engaging content for your audience.
1. Understand the Content Topic
You can only write creatively when you gain a solid understanding of the topic.
Research is a key part of the writing process. It makes you aware of the nuances, information gaps, and overall scope of the topic. For instance, a professor of nuclear physics can explain atoms to a 5-year-old in simple terms using illustrations, analogies, and anecdotes.
It’s tempting to search for articles to copy on Google or combine paragraphs from several articles. But this leads to plagiarism.
That’s because writers are competing for traffic, rather than for what really matters: the reader’s trust and loyalty.
You can consult the SERPS to figure out the search intent and sub-topics of your article. But it’s wrong to base your entire article on another blog post.
Lily also recommends “looking at the SERPs to know what to cover, but look away from the SERPs (and to people’s experiences) for the actual writing.”
So, how do you research to understand the topic?
You can watch Youtube videos or listen to podcasts. YouTubers offer unique and easy-to-understand explanations of complex concepts, making it easier to write creatively.
Consult books and industry publications. You’d get more knowledge from reading a book than a hundred articles.
Also, industry publications keep you in sync with new trends and recent developments. These resources will help you create articles that are accurate as well as creative.
2. Focus on Your Primary SEO Tool
Most SEO writing approaches include these steps:
- Check SEO tools
- Peruse Google SERPs for similar articles
- Start writing and include suggested keywords from SEO tools
At best, this approach produces robotic content devoid of any creativity or emotional connection to your readers. Plus, Google has an advanced algorithm to derank such articles.
Instead, you want to start with your best SEO tool: your audience.
Discover their problems, previous solutions they’ve tried, and how they articulate their problems. The language from your customers is what you need to use as keywords.
Google’s recent helpful content algorithm update is making this type of content a priority. Also, readers are more likely to share and engage with helpful content.
This ties in with the tip given by Noellina Rissman, a B2B content marketer:
“I always prioritize the human experience first. The end result is an engaging content piece that addresses reader needs and follows SEO best practices.”
3. Write first. Optimize later.
It’s okay to optimize your articles to rank. But it’s best to do so after writing. If not, your article will be identical to others using the same approach.
Also, using a keyword a certain number of times shifts your focus from helping the reader to ranking at any cost.
So, how should you optimize your articles?
Lily Ugbaja, suggests “writing a user-focused article and optimizing it with a tool, like Clearscope or Content Harmony.” That way, your creativity won’t be stifled.
You also can place keywords in strategic positions that will not disrupt the flow. Ugi Djuric, founder and CGO of Contenthorse, says “use the focus keyword in the:
- First paragraph of the article
- URL of the article
And try (not force) to mention the focus keyword in a couple of subheadings and sentences as well.”
If a keyword disrupts the natural flow of a sentence, don’t use it.
4. Use Unique Visuals
Using visuals is one way to display creativity in your articles. They make articles more appealing to read and share, satisfying both your readers and Google. Most writers use 2-3 images per article, according to Orbit Media.
However, most writers use the same types of visuals. It’s not uncommon to find the same image in two articles with different topics.
Content with unique and customized visuals, like animated graphics, generates more social shares. Dozie from Usergems tries to stay away from stock images and videos. And even if they do use them, they redesign them. Here’s an example:
Experts suggest sticking to hand-drawn images. Or use infographics, graphs, or charts. But steer clear of stock or royalty-free images.
5. Help Your Audience
Your primary purpose for writing is to help your audience. You may help your audience learn with examples, anecdotes, analogies, and contributions from experts.
As Ugi from Contenthorse, points out, “[you should] answer the questions your readers have, and the article will be optimized for SEO and your readers.”
This way, readers will engage with your article, which tells Google that your content is valuable. Take for example, this article about writing introductions by Animalz.
The writer uses an anecdote to explain what a good introduction looks like. The anecdote adds creativity to the article, aids the reader’s comprehension of the idea, and answers the question the reader has.
Creative SEO Content Exists
It’s possible to write creatively and rank on search engines. It’s something you must do for your audience. Otherwise, you’ll only contribute to the noise on search engine result pages.
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