Writing for SEO: 10 Best Practices for your Brokerage
One of the best practices of SEO writing is crafting great content that is geared toward your users. What better way to delight your readers than by giving them the answers to their pressing questions about insurance with minimal effort. But what factors should you consider when writing SEO?
These days, an SEO strategy should include a plethora of skills and the effective deployment of them. Your strategy alone is critical for your brokerage to attract prospects to your website and keep them reading relevant words that will ultimately lead them to buy.
Below we cover 10 best practices for writing SEO that converts.
Strike a Balance
When we say write great content, what does this mean? It’s the SEO writer’s job to strike a balance between creating top-notch engaging content and converting users to customers. This is partly done by using targeted keywords to create relevant content that will direct users to the next step in the buying process.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s start with what should happen before the writing process itself.
Below we’ll briefly discuss the following four SEO topics: keyword placement, data-driven content, Q&A content, and UX writing. These topics are part of the key to unlocking a successful SEO strategy for your business.
After you conduct your keyword research and you have a list of relevant words, you must figure out how to add your keywords into your writing process. It’s not enough to sprinkle a few keywords here and there. And it’s not ok to keyword spam the reader.
There are key spots to place your keywords, including the introductory paragraph (or first 250 words of your content). Other important spots to insert your keywords are page titles, meta descriptions, subheadings, images, link anchor text, and dispersed in the copy.
No Stuffing Allowed
Remember not to keyword stuff, meaning don’t be overzealous with your keywords. As we mentioned before, web pages that are stuffed with keywords will get you in trouble. You don’t want Google to penalize your website.
The keyword stuffing strategy doesn’t work anymore and works against you if you employ it. Have a balance when adding keywords and make sure your copy reads well and has a natural flow. Would you read your content?
Write in a conversational tone and naturally add your keywords. The best way to test out if your content is conversational is to read it aloud. Do the words seem forced, or do they flow from one sentence to another?
It’s never a good idea to guess if your SEO is doing well or not. The best way to find out for sure is to collect and analyze data – this is called a data-driven SEO approach. But what’s involved in this strategy? The beauty of focusing on data is that for a brokerage contemplating using SEO — there are multiple tools at their disposal. Everything from Google Analytics to keyword search tools can help you accomplish your SEO goals.
But first, it’s important to understand your target audience and write engaging content to build trust with your audience. The first two steps of doing research and writing for your audience (while adding in selected keywords from your research) are just the beginning of your SEO journey.
Once you’ve chosen your data toolset, ask yourself “What data do I want to look at?” Once you’ve analyzed your data over time, you’ll see what content works and what content needs to be improved or eliminated.
You can look at data points such as the call-to-action (CTA), click-through rate (CTR), conversions/leads, bounce rates and other metrics to analyze your site’s SEO key performance.
You may shy away from the work that goes into keyword analysis, dig right into the keyword ball game – or hire an expert. Wherever your keyword path takes you, choosing the right keywords is critical to get seen by your audience.
If you’re swimming in the same pool as your competitors who use high volume keywords and are ranking on page 1, you’ll likely get lost on the bottom of the pool where it’s murky.
So, if you’re a smaller brokerage, you may want to choose high volume, low competitive keywords so that your web pages can still rank successfully and not be crowded out by the bigger players.
It may seem sneaky to know what your competitors are up to in the SEO arena. But it’s like watching a fighter’s match in the ring. You’re not stealing his moves – you just want to know where he is likely to punch their opponent to win the fight. So, knowing what your competitors are up to, i.e., what search terms they are ranking for, is a must!
Popular analysis tools, such as SEMrush, gather data quickly and effectively for high-volume search terms. Luckily, there are a myriad of free and paid tools you can invest in.
Q&A Style Content
Google searchers want answers to their questions. As a brokerage, you can set up your long-form content in a Q&A format to help your potential and existing customers find the information they’re looking for.
What questions are your target audience asking? The better you know your typical user, the easier it is to craft concise answers to their problems. It also helps to have a separate FAQ section on your page, as many readers will have the same or similar questions in mind.
To target Q&A’s that resonate with your target audience, use Google as a research tool. Type in questions related to your service offering and see what comes up. Are other people asking the same questions? What is missing? What value-add can you give to your customers.
UX Writing must involve the user, not just the search engine
While it’s important to follow Google’s latest algorithm updates, this is only part of the puzzle. It’s essential to have a good balance between picking keywords, Google’s rules and understanding your user.
Three things to consider:
- Keyword density is no longer important like in the past.
- The intent of the user is very important. Does your copy work for the user’s needs? Ask yourself: What is the user’s intent when they land on your product page or landing page? Look at user behaviour, because that is just as important as the other metrics. Align your content with the user’s intent (aka search intent).
- Write for people, not robots. Create enough quality content to cover every problem your target audience has without spamming them.
Publish Long Form Content
Long-form content ranks better on Google. A key finding in the research suggests that long-form articles (posts with 3000+ words) get 3x more traffic, 4x more shares, and 3.5x more backlinks than articles of average length (901-1200 words). (Source: SEMrush)
The competition for the coveted first page on Google is intense, regardless of the niche you operate in.
So, know that the time you put in at the computer writing will help your rankings and will also improve the user experience of your customers.
The Long Game
It’s important to manage your expectations when it comes to SEO and your website’s performance. We tell clients not to expect their SEO to land a home run in the first inning.
Proper organic search engine optimization takes time and great effort. It doesn’t have a quick turnaround time. With a proper SEO strategy, including analysis, testing, and review you’ll be glad you waited to reap the rewards.