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

Photo Written by André Gussekloo

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

But how do you actually write these 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 start?

What are SEO texts?

Search Engine Optimization, SEO for short, is something that no business can escape. With SEO texts you start ranking 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. In other words, it is the first page a visitor lands on. Regularly, this page does not appear in the menu structure, but it does eventually link to the most important pages of the site.
  • Pillar page
    A pillar page is also a kind of landing page, but of overarching importance: there are several landing pages under it. These landing pages give additional SEO value to the pillar page by linking to it.

    In this way, a company can create pillar pages for relevant themes 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 a service normally has its own web page on which 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. For each package, it will have a unique page describing the product. By optimizing the product page for the most relevant search term, more organic traffic will come in.
  • 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).

    Taking 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 different software packages.
  • Blog post or news article
    Even if all the above pages are already up, you still want to keep your site fresh. Google rewards sites that stay current and articles offer 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 - just think about 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, it comes down to giving Google several signals. Signals that allow the search engine to understand 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. Also in the header above your text and in the paragraphs themselves, the search term should appear a few times. 

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 sources, and so on.

Write first, optimize later?

As an SEO copywriter, I have been seeking the balance between readable and findable for 15 years. Whereas in the early days the focus was mainly on Google, over the years the focus has shifted to the reader. Google is getting better at recognizing what a text is about; stuffing content with keywords(keyword stuffing) tends to be counterproductive.

So first and foremost, a text must be easy to read: informative and/or entertaining. For content specialists, it is nicer that they are no longer chained to certain search terms. That makes optimizing afterwards much easier than years ago. 

However, I personally like to have a search term for a text in advance. It gives direction to a text. If you want to optimize your content afterwards, you may have to twist and turn to incorporate search terms. 

Write yourself or outsource?

Writing SEO texts has become easier and easier. You don't have to sprinkle search terms so lavishly anymore, but should mainly write 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 it is easier said than done. It is often a chore that distracts you from your main tasks. And once you find the time for it, you don't make any progress. How do you put into words exactly what's in your head? And how do you structure the text? 

That's why many marketing managers choose to outsource the writing of SEO copy. An experienced SEO copywriter looks at your offer with fresh eyes and quickly finds the right tone. This leaves you time for daily tasks and you are assured of texts that are readable and findable.

2manydots helps you produce search engine friendly content. 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, after which we deliver SEO texts that score in one batch or periodically.

André Gussekloo Content marketeer
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