Do you want to see a real-life SEO writing example to inspire your content marketing?
Take a good look at the above screenshot.
Can you see the benefits of ranking on the first page of Google for a highly competitive keyword?
Here are the hard numbers:
- 608 backlinks
- 167 referring domains
- 675 organic keywords
- 50,4k organic traffic
- $75,7k traffic value
- 7 secondary keywords ranking on the front page
(*Showing results 4 months after publication) *Update: the post still ranks #1 two years after publication.)
These are the insane results of what organic traffic can do for your business. It’s a demonstration of the amazing power of SEO-based content marketing when done right. Imagine the upsurge in leads, profits, and brand awareness.
And, the best part is the benefits are recurring.
On the 24th of July 2019 I wrote this post ‘ClickBank: The Brutally Honest Guide For 2019’ for Smart Blogger. Exactly 37 days later the post hit the front page. It continued to rise steadily until it reached position #2 within 3 months. The second position is as good as it gets on any post about ClickBank because position #1 is occupied by ClickBank itself.
According to an Ahrefs study, only a mere 5.7% of all newly published pages will get to Google Top 10 within a year.
But I achieved the feat in just 37 days.
Wondering how I did it?
In this detailed SEO writing case study, I’ll walk you through the exact steps I took so you know how to do it yourself and get similar results for your business.
But first, maybe you are wondering…
What Is SEO Writing? Or, The SEO Writer Job Description
SEO writing (aka writing for SEO) is planning, crafting, and optimizing online content so it ranks in search engines like Google and delights readers as well.
Now that you know what search engine optimization (SEO) writing is let’s dive in.
Here’s The Cliffs Notes Version Of The Thorough SEO Writing Example
I’ve boiled it down to 7 simple steps:
- CONTENT BRIEF to guide the writing process.
- DEEP RESEARCH to get a good handle on the subject.
- QUALITY WRITING to execute the brief’s requirements.
- COMPREHENSIVENESS to provide super value for readers.
- VISUAL APPEAL so readers stay on the page and don’t bounce off.
- LINK BUILDING to give the post initial traction in the ranking race.
- PROMOTION to spread the word about the post far and wide.
Let’s unpack each one.
7 SEO Writing Tips To Take You To The Front Page Of Google
I’m sure you are with me on this one:
Writing a post that ranks on the first page is now harder than ever. Don’t let a fly-by-night freelance SEO copywriter tell you otherwise. But it’s still doable if you play your cards right. Here are the tips I followed to nail it.
#1. Content Brief
You know what…
The battle for rankings is won or lost before you write a single word. How you approach your post determines if your post will rise in rankings or fall flat.
That’s where the content brief comes in to save the day.The humble content brief is the unsung hero of high-ranking blog posts. Most SEO writing examples omit this crucial tool.Click To Tweet
In case you are wondering, a content brief is an editorial document with instructions for a content writer on how to create a piece of content.
When writing the post, I had a detailed content brief to guide me. It was the most thorough content brief I’ve seen in my life as a freelance writer–by far. See the excerpt below to get an idea.
This is a small part. It went much deeper than that.
The Anatomy Of A Brilliant Brief
Plus, it also included:
- Post type and word count
- Post differentiator.
- Target keyword and secondary keywords.
- Searcher intent.
- Success criteria/metrics.
- Key insight and main takeaways.
- The angle of the piece
- Competing posts.
- Sample posts to mimic style and tone.
- Linking instructions (internal links and external links)
- Additional notes e.g. meta description, keyword density, search volume, etc.
From a content framework to user intent, I had all the details I needed to craft a post that stood a chance of ranking.Trying to write a post that ranks without a solid content brief is like a hiker tackling the thick Amazon rainforest without a compass. It’s a stupid fruitless exercise.Click To Tweet
The content brief showed how serious my client was about getting results from the piece. A good brief springs from a solid digital marketing strategy. Sadly, I’ve seen countless businesses churn out loads of posts without a content strategy let alone a content brief guiding them.
You don’t stumble upon the front page: you must be intentional about it.
A solid well-researched content brief acts as a reliable compass that keeps your writer focused on the true north of your content–in exact alignment with your post’s goals.
With a good brief on hand, I moved on to the next step.
#2. Deep Research
Arduous. Time-consuming. Boring.
And probably the least loved part of writing.
But savvy writers still do it even if it’s not sexy.
Because it’s tough, most wannabe writers skip it altogether or just skim the surface. Ask any successful veteran copywriter and they’ll tell you rigorous meticulous leave-no-stone-unturned research is the secret sauce of powerful copy that converts.Ask any successful veteran copywriter and they’ll tell you rigorous meticulous leave-no-stone-unturned research is the secret sauce of powerful copy that converts.Click To Tweet
Deep research separates amateur writers from the pros.
Why Solid Research Matters In SEO Writing
Painstaking research is a crucial part of effective writing because:
- It establishes facts and uncovers fiction.
- It fuels good writing and leads to faster drafting.
- It primes the creativity pump.
- It adds depth to one’s writing.
- It provides examples and supporting material.
So, what kind of research did I do?
- I read all the posts on the front page and then some.
Purpose: To see what competing posts covered and the stuff they missed that I could include in my guide to make it a better resource.
- I dug into the Clickbank knowledgebase and FAQ section.
Purpose: To get to know what most people were struggling with (and address those issues) and also get reliable answers from the horse’s mouth instead of following secondary sources which mislead you sometimes.
- I signed up and spent hours exploring the platform.
Purpose: To experience firsthand how it’s like to use the platform so I could advise readers accordingly instead of pontificating baselessly.
- I dived into YouTube videos for tips from top Clickbank earners.
Purpose: To pick the best tips from successful experts with invaluable knowledge about how to make money on Clickbank.
Sounds like hard work, doesn’t it?
Well, it is honey! And there’s no substitute or hack for it. You just have to pitch up and do the work or forget about writing a post worthy of ranking on the front page of Google.
What was the result of all this testing and investigation?
When it was time to write the post, I was a moving, living, breathing Clickbank encyclopedia. I knew the affiliate network intimately. Deep research is an underrated aspect of quality content that helps your target audience and woos search algorithms.
#3. Quality Writing
Important to realize, a first-class brief without a quality writer to use it is worthless.
For SEO-friendly content that appears in organic search results, you need a top-notch writer in your corner.
In this case, yours truly, ahem. 😀
Most businesses don’t get results in their content marketing efforts simply because they hire cheap, untrained, and lousy writers who have no clue what they are doing. Ask potential content creators to go through an aptitude test so you hire better writers.
SEO content writing in 2020 isn’t about keyword stuffing as many beginner writers think. It’s about pleasing people first, and then tweaking for search engines.
How do I know the post was interesting, useful, and engaging?
First, the Smart Blogger crowd enjoyed it.
Second, 167 unique domains linked to it.
Third, I got hired on the spot two days after writing it.
What’s the point of all this?
With nearly 4 million blog posts published every day and each piece fighting to break through the content saturation ceiling, an A-grade SEO content writer is a must if you want to stand a chance in the fierce ranking race.
Good content isn’t enough anymore. You must raise the bar much higher and produce awesome content that’s:
Unique. Useful. Unparalleled.
Or, in a word. Epic.
Anything less and you might as well kiss high rankings goodbye.
Let’s get into the intricacies of the post itself.
With a word count of 2654, the guide is exhaustive compared to competing posts. It covers everything readers need to know about trading on ClickBank.
It includes detailed insights on how to register on the platform, how to search for the best products, how to avoid common mistakes and more.
It solves all the common questions and challenges people have about the popular affiliate marketing platform. Case in point, it discusses all payment methods ClickBank accepts.
These are minor but critical details people want to know so they decide if the platform is right for them.
Many studies reveal top-ranked content is:
In most cases, long-form content that’s 2000+ words long does the trick.
Not only was the guide in-depth, but it also satisfied user intent. People found exactly what they were looking for in the content. This is shown by the 31 comments it has received so far and the hundreds of people who linked to it.Content that ranks solves a problem and answers a nagging question comprehensively.Click To Tweet
Detailed content works because it:
- Uses long-tail keyword phrases naturally.
- Makes readers stay longer on your web page.
- Boosts chances of appearing on featured snippets.
Above all, this type of content helps you rank for dozens of related search queries.
As you can see, two years after publication, the post ranks for 868 keywords because it’s extensive.
Next, let’s examine the post’s visual elements.
#5. Visual Appeal
Another standout feature of the post is its visual appeal.
Have you ever tried to read an unending wall of text online? I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say it’s tiring and uninspiring. Most people dump such posts instantly which increases your bounce rate.
For long text-heavy posts, it’s important to give readers eye-candy to break up the text and make reading pleasurable.
This boosts user experience and dwell time.
And, when readers linger on your page, Google takes that as a vote cast for your content’s utility and enjoyability.
The post has 11 screenshots, that’s an image for every 241 words.
Take this short section for instance.
These images give readers’ eyes a break while still shedding light on the subject.
Note also these simple on-page SEO techniques:
- 11 H2 subheads, further broken into H3.
- Lots of bullet points.
- Short sentences and paragraphs.
- Simple direct conversational language.
All this made the post easy to read and digest despite its massive size. Look at the readability stats below.
When readers enjoy a piece of content, they stay longer on the page thus giving search engines a signal that the post is valuable.
But having a valuable all-embracing resource isn’t enough. You must tell the whole world about it.
#6. Link Building
As you know, backlinks are one of the top ranking factors.
Without them your prospects of ranking are low.
Therefore, I manually built 5 high quality backlinks within one month using my guest posting super powers. Once the post got to the front page I stopped.
I linked to:
- Medium to high domain sites
- Relevant sites
- Great content
The average Ahrefs DR of the target sites was 48.8.
- Site #1 (Business) DR 85
- Site #2 (Marketing) DR 50
- Site #3 (Marketing) DR 20
- Site #4 (Blogging) DR 54
- Site #5 (Marketing) DR 35
These links helped the post gain initial traction.
Once the post gained momentum and rose to the top, people began linking to it organically. Backlinks ballooned into the hundreds.
Besides manual links, I also publicized the post on social media aka promotion.
SEO practitioners argue all day about the connection between social shares and rankings.Do social shares directly affect a post’s ranking?Click To Tweet
Well, the jury is still out on that one. But one thing is clear: shares indirectly contribute to higher rankings.
The reason is simple.
Having more shares means more eyeballs on your content. And the more people see your content, the more chances they’ll have to link to it.
My main promotion tool was Viral Content Bee, a platform comprising a community of micro social media influencers who promote each other’s content on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Mix, and Flipboard.
Here are the shares stats from the backend of the platform.
I pulled out Facebook, Pinterest, and Buffer shares numbers from Shares Count
Let’s tally all the numbers:
- Twitter 81
- LinkedIn 6
- Tumblr 15
- Mix 1
- Facebook 53
- Pinterest 24
- Buffer 12
- Total 192
These figures are not earth-shattering but they’re pretty decent. According to the Buzzsumo Content Trends Report 2018, based on a sample of 100 million posts, 50% of all posts got just 4 shares or fewer across all the main social networks.
I’m sure this social buzz drove a bit of traffic to the post. Most importantly, it spread the word about the content and it’s likely several people linked to it as a result.
Let’s wrap things up by taking a quick look at the latest principles and techniques for creating the best SEO content.
9 SEO Content Writing Best Practices For Higher Rankings
For your SEO blog post/article or landing page to rule Google search results, follow these best practices.
- Write for people first, and tweak for search engines later.
- Do thorough keyword research to make sure you are targeting the right keyword that has a decent search volume.
- Include your exact keyword on the title tag so search engines (and users) know straightaway what your page is about.
- Write a persuasive meta description that includes your main keyword or its variation to boost click-through rates.
- Use keywords naturally to avoid keyword stuffing-leave a keyword instead of forcing things and risking a Google penalty.
- Make sure you craft a super-duper headline that entices users to click.
- Optimize your internal and external links.
- Promote your content through link outreach and sharing it on social media channels.
- Structure your content well for people and search engines to understand it better.
SEO Writing Success Story: Your Post Is Next
In conclusion, ranking on page 1 of Google is no child’s play, but it’s worth the effort.
The client’s goal was to be on page 1 within 9 months.
I did it in 3 months.
Why did we get results so quickly? A key factor is that Smart Blogger is a big authority DR 79 (DA 58 on Moz) site and so it’s easier for them to rank than low DR sites. Still, the case study shows the power of a carefully planned and expertly written piece of content.
I hope this SEO writing example/template motivated you.
Use the tips to craft your own winning post that dominates SERPs.
Meet you on the front page.
P.S. Want a high-ranking results-getting pillar post like the one you’ve just read about? Check out my SEO content writing services page now to get started. I can’t wait to partner with you! 😀