Seven Journalism Tactics For SEO Content Writing
Businesses and website owners are constantly looking for ways to improve their SEO marketing strategies to help boost site traffic and search rankings. An excellent way to improve your SEO content marketing is by combining these seven journalism tactics with SEO.
These strategies used by journalists, when implemented, can meet the needs of Google’s E-A-T guidelines (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness). SEOs can use these tactics to establish themselves as experts in their niche and identify their site as an authoritative and trustworthy source that compels other websites to link to their written content.
1. The inverted pyramid
This technique involves structuring the content from the most essential information to the least important throughout the article. This means focusing on the most important details in the article’s introductory paragraph, then following that with a body of information further down that supports the main topic.
The inverted pyramid style catches the reader’s attention and explains to them what they can gain from reading the whole article. That’s invaluable when combined with SEO techniques. Many commentators believe that Google places most importance on the first 200 words of every piece of content. Therefore, by including all the most pertinent information here, and peppering it with your target keywords, you’ve both grabbed your audience’s attention and Google’s as well.
2. The 5Ws and 1H
Whatever the content is about, whether it consists of 300 or 5,000 words, publishers must always make sure the writing answers the 5Ws and 1H: who, what, when, where, why, and how. This journalism tactic works best when combined with the inverted pyramid structure.
Aim to answer the who, what, when, and where questions within the first paragraph. The why and how questions can be answered throughout the remaining body of the article.
When answering why and how questions, always keep the readers’ interests in mind. And when you’re crafting content for your website, take the time to search Google for additional information and write your own paragraphs as if they’re answering the question snippets you’ll find at the top of search results.
Publishers can also make good use of techniques used in fiction writing, like cliff hangers for example, to help keep people reading. This writing style not only creates a degree of suspense, it also entices readers to read on and find out the additional information the article has to reveal.
3. Engaging headlines
When writing headlines, always aim to use valuable and concrete words that prompt action to gain click-throughs and user engagement, which are two huge ranking factors in SEO. Publishers can apply one or several of the following tips:
- create curiosity
- promise to show readers how to do something
- address a searcher’s problem
- appeal to emotions
- provide a benefit
Headlines should always contain a target keyword and should be between 50 and 60 characters long.
4. Engaging opening paragraph
As increasing amounts of media are available, the average attention span of most readers gets shorter and shorter. Research shows that the average attention span is now only about 8 seconds, and that figure decreases when the reader is online, especially if the website in question is slow to load and scroll and features only boring content.
That means you need to engage your audience’s attention as soon as possible. Make sure you’re telling them something new, drawing on your own expertise, rather than giving them generic information they can get elsewhere. Another technique for creating engaging content is by talking to a specialised audience rather than a generalised one. Try to visualise a single reader – like a close friend or an imaginary person – and write as if you’re talking to them.
5. Simple language for clarity
A piece of content that lacks clarity pushes readers away. It kills engagement and reduces the time they’re willing to spend on-page. The simplest way to offer clarity is to avoid use of jargon.
If using jargon is unavoidable, aim to explain it quickly with one or two sentences, especially if you think your audience will be a mixture of both professionals and new readers who are familiarising themselves with the topic.
On the other hand, if you know your audience is limited to readers who are experts on the topic, jargon can freely rule the page, knowing that it’s necessary to offer clarity to that specific audience.
6. Hybrid paragraphs that control pace
Studies show that online readers dislike both one-sentence paragraphs and big blocks of text. Both writing styles can be off-putting to readers, with one-sentence paragraphs making them feel the text is monotonous while longer paragraphs give the impression that they have to struggle through a laborious text.
The best solution for this issue is to use a hybrid model. Try to create content that breaks up longer paragraphs into shorter ones, which will also control the reading pace. Using one-sentence paragraphs will speed up the pace, while a longer paragraph will slow it, which is a great technique to make the readers think deeply and analyse that section a bit closer.
With hybrid paragraphs, SEOs can generate longer on-page time and more engagement, which can contribute to higher rankings.
Any piece of content can lose its credibility if sources aren’t properly attributed. You simply must credit everything, especially if it is written by someone else, because readers will want to know where the information came from so they can cite it or look more closely into the topic if they wish.
Always link to an article you’ve used as a source if you want strong on-page SEO. Linking to external sources – provided they’re relevant and reputable – can also help SEOs because it tells search engines that the writer is further clarifying or adding value to the topic.
Both journalists and SEOs have the same goal: to engage better with their readers. The tactics mentioned above can significantly increase engagement with readers as well as boosting your SEO content marketing.
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