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Written by Finn Ruijter, 19 August 2021

SEO texts: write first and then optimize, or the other way around?

As an organization, you cannot escape writing “content. This shows not only readers but also Google that you are an authority in your field. You do that with SEO texts: content written in such a way that you get a nice search engine ranking for it.

But how do you actually write those search engine-friendly texts? Is it best to write freely and optimize your text afterwards, or should you be working with a search term from the beginning?

What are SEO texts?

Search Engine Optimization, SEO for short, is something no business can escape. With SEO copy, you will rank for keywords that your target audience uses. And you do that by incorporating those keywords into your texts. Such an SEO text can take the form of a:

  • Landing page
    A landing page is a page on a website built specifically to rank for a particular search term. So it is the first page a visitor lands on. Frequently, this page does not appear in the menu structure, but ultimately links to the main pages of the site.
  • Pillar page
    A pillar page is also a type of landing page, but of overarching importance: multiple landing pages hang below it. Those landing pages, in turn, provide additional SEO value to the pillar page by linking to it.

    This allows a company to create pillar pages for relevant topics in which it offers solutions. The underlying landing pages address a specific angle around the chosen theme and then link back to the pillar page.

  • Product page
    A product or service normally has its own web page where you present it to the reader. You describe the characteristics and benefits and you make the potential customer an offer.

    As an example, we can take a software company. Each package will have a unique page describing the product. Optimizing the product page for the most relevant search term will bring in more organic traffic.

  • Category page
    If you offer multiple products or services, you can group them into categories. This is similar to what pillar pages do for landing pages (see above).

    If we take the same software house, it could have a category page for individuals and businesses. The subpages below that are then the product pages with the various software packages.

  • Blog post or news item
    Even if all the pages above are already there, you still want to keep your site fresh. Google rewards sites that stay current, and articles give you a great opportunity to incorporate a new search term.

By the way, you should also optimize the “normal” pages of your website as much as possible. This is not always easy or possible – consider an about us pageor the contact page.

Basic rules for SEO texts

In a previous blog post, we gave tips for writing SEO copy. In summary, you need to give Google several signals. Signals by which the search engine understands what a page is about and what it deserves a ranking for.

For example, the search term should be in the page title and in the meta description. The search term should also appear several times in the headline above your text and in the paragraphs themselves.

An SEO tool like Yoast SEO guides you perfectly when writing SEO texts: this WordPress plugin indicates how readable your text is, where the search term may be missing or overused, whether you have included links to resources, and so on.

Write first, optimize second?

As an SEO copywriter for 15 years, I have been striking the balance between readable and findable. Whereas in the early days the focus was primarily on Google, over the years it has shifted to readers. Google is getting better at recognizing what a text is about; stuffing content full of search terms(keyword stuffing) is more likely to backfire.

So first of all, a text must be easy to read: informative and/or entertaining. For content specialists, it is nicer that they are no longer chained hand and foot to certain search terms. That makes retrospective optimization a lot easier than it was years ago.

Still, I personally like having a search term for a text in advance. That gives direction to a text. If you want to optimize your content afterwards, chances are you will have to twist and turn to incorporate search terms.

Write it yourself or outsource it?

SEO copywriting has become increasingly easy. You no longer need to sprinkle search terms lavishly, but should write primarily for the reader. Thanks to tools like Yoast, you are taken by the hand and every text you put online is optimized.

So, in theory, anyone can write an SEO text. But in practice, this is easier said than done. After all, it is often a chore that distracts you from your main tasks. And once you find the time for it, you just don’t make progress. Because how do you articulate exactly what is in your head? And how do you structure the text?

This is why many marketing managers choose to outsource SEO copywriting. An experienced SEO copywriter takes a fresh look at your offerings and quickly finds the right tone. This leaves you time for daily tasks and ensures texts that are readable and findable.

2manydots helps you produce search engine-friendly content. For example, we can take the writing of SEO texts, possibly preceded by a keyword research, off your hands. You instruct me or one of my colleagues, then we deliver SEO texts that score in one batch or periodically.