Before the links: SEO and Content Writing

by Mike Nolls

Your search engine optimization strategies need to be implemented from the very start of your website. The creation of your website’s content and how it networks within the site is the entire foundation for your SEO efforts late on. This network of URL’s from both page and post, will describe the most relevant keyword phrases and sets for your search engine rankings. Building relevant and powerful keyword structures requires planning and taking the time to do your research.

Before you write any of that great unique content, you’ll need to open up Google keyword tools or your favorite niche finding software. Nothing is more important for the success of your website and/or blog, than keyword research.

Keyword Research Goals:

A) To find low-medium competition “primary” keyword or phrase >25,000+ exact local monthly searches (micro niche can be much smaller >1,000)

B) Then find at least 20+ related keyword phrases >1,000 exact local monthly searches

C) You can target any competition level for part 2, of course lower is ideal but you may want to tap into higher CPC segments that may be impacted

primary keyword
Now this may seem pretty straightforward, but depending on what format of monetization you are looking for, the chances of finding success at number 1 could be very difficult. Often times they have very low cost-per-click for AdSense, or do not have any affiliate offers that you could tap into. Maybe the keyword says low-medium competition, but there is an exact match domain and brand name that are controlling the SERPs. Don’t just trust Google’s competition meter, make sure to look at the backlinks, quality, and authority of your competition, be reasonable. Start small if you’re new to the game.

Blog Structure: On-page SEO Strategies

1. Domain name = (A) keyword, EMD is often best for niche sites, brandable domains can also be great for medium to authority sized sites

2. Home page meta keywords, description, titles, etc are targeted for (A) keyword above

3. Content on home page is written for (A) keyword (especially if static front page)

4. Categories should outline all of (B) keywords and keyword phrases with matching/relevant meta tags

5. Write a post/page for each of (B) keywords, using the keyword inside the URL i.e.

6. All meta data needs to be relevant to (A) keyword and (B) keyword(s) on each post and page

By building your link structure in this manner you will help Google to better connect the relevancy and strength of your content with various keywords that you should be able to rank well with. This will also improve the rate in which Google will “trust” your site in a certain niche. Quality syndication of content, meta data, URL structures, and keyword targeting toward researched SERPs is a wonderful recipe for success in building organic traffic.

Content Writing for your Optimized Site:

Now that you’ve got your site completely dialed in, Google, Yahoo, and any other bot that runs through your sitemap is going to recognize the wealth of diverse, yet relevant, content about your niche. This will help you by picking up long-tail keywords that will produce small amounts of traffic early on in your website’s life.

Content writing is pretty simple, make sure it’s unique and on topic with your site. Use bold for keywords and phrases and make sure your writing is natural. Do not spam keywords, Google is really cracking down on this. Use some sort of “interlinking” plugin or tool that will deep link your keywords to other pages on your site.

Stray away from writing too many “shallow pages”. These are posts or pages with very low content and usefulness for the reader. Google wants to see well over 300 words per page, ideally I recommend writing 550+ at all times.

Lastly keep your content well rounded and diverse. Yes, you do want to stay on topic and inside your keyword targets. But, you do not want to be writing the same “iPad 2 Review” in 20 different ways. Google does not want webmasters that write many variations of exactly the same subjects, this is basically duplicate content.

Hopefully this post has helped some of you beginners out there get a better sense on how to correctly plan your blog or website’s creation to do well in the SERPs. Your chances for success are a lot greater with quality keyword research, it takes patience but there are plenty of great keywords out there still!

About The Author

SEO Avid Blogger and Consultant, Mike Nolls, has been helping small to mid-sized companies reach the front pages of SERPs since 2001. Now, with, he’s bringing a lot of free information on SEO and blogging for the new guys. Honest tips and tricks from someone who’s been there before.

19 Response to Before the links: SEO and Content Writing

  1. Lynda on May 26, 2011


    I love your breakdown of google keywords. I have read several articles regarding it and was lost until now. Thank you, keywords are so important :)

  2. dlysen on May 28, 2011

    It’s good to have this information when your about to start a SEO friendly website. I never knew this when I was planning to create my blog. Its not to late to learn and apply this on another blog. It’s is also good to share this advice to my clients and friends.

  3. Anna on May 29, 2011

    Hi, Mike
    Although I’m not new to SEO, your article was rather interested in terms of collecting together the most important and necessary things to be considered. For beginners your tips will be great.

  4. Edgar@private equity software on May 29, 2011

    I usually use the strategy that you’ve explained on most of my new blogs and it’s proven to work after getting some quality backlinks (the number depends on competition). I know that it takes time and effort to get on the 1st SERP for a particular keyword, but it’s worth it after you begin seeing all that free organic targeted traffic. Thanks for the easy explanation

  5. lawmacs on May 29, 2011

    Another well written article i am intrique with all the information been around on the internet this is one of the most detailed one i have read thanks for sharing it is well worth the read.

  6. on May 31, 2011

    Excellent tips here for optimizing your site. There is a lot of real practical information here, and I loved the overview of keywords. There are a lot of SEO-related buzzwords and jargon flying around recently and I think a lot of people are confused about the whole thing!


  7. Alex Papa on June 1, 2011

    Mike, Thank you so much for your post before the links : seo and content writing. Indeed before you write any of that great unique content, you’ll need to open up Google keyword tools or your favorite niche finding software. Nothing is more important for the success of your website and/or blog, than keyword research.

  8. copywriting on June 1, 2011

    I always get offers about doing SEO for certain websites when they are finished. I tell my clients that I should have been told to interfere at an earlier stage. But, this is not a problem at all. We’ve learnt to be like fire fighters who always interfere to clean up the mess. ;)

  9. Jonathan Sparco on June 2, 2011

    It’s blogs like these that make you want to ask why you should purchase those online SEO tutorials. You are not even sure if their stuff is worth their price.

  10. serrajuniper@party planning guide on June 3, 2011

    Thanks Mike, I like the way you did the breakdown of the steps to be dialed in Google or Yahoo. Now following it wouldn’t be much of a trouble. And I agree with Jonathan…

  11. Fabrizio@BlogMarketingTips on June 5, 2011

    This is very informative, keyword research is essential for creating sought after articles and posts, thanks for the breakdown.

  12. Theresa Torres on June 7, 2011

    Hi Mike,
    I just love it when I come across blogposts that offer practical advice. I’m a newbie when it comes to SEO and I’m constantly surfing the web looking for helpful tips and absorbing all I can about SEO techniques. It’s a bit confusing for a beginner and I like your post for being detailed and easy to understand. I can’t wait to try out these strategies and hopefully won’t be overwhelmed by all the details.
    Thanks for sharing!

  13. George@Hifu on June 7, 2011

    Google has tightened its rules so its going to be more vigilant now stripping more sites of its PR for practicing poor quality contents and shady link building practices . It is very important to utilize the keywords correctly and a proper research always helps in this case. I completely agree with how we must properly research on the keywords and how we should use it in the contents without the intention to spam.

  14. Neo Design on June 7, 2011

    Hello Friends,

    We at Neo Design concept looking for quality content writer that writes content for us & linking for our website.

    Neo Design

  15. Mike Nolls on June 8, 2011

    I am glad so many people enjoyed the article and it’s really about starting your SEO efforts from the beginning. It helps give you a huge head start and your keywords/rankings aimed in the right direction from the get go.

  16. Zarko on June 8, 2011

    Mike, the article was great, so it’s no surprise people liked it. So, whenever you have the time feel free to publish another article here :)

  17. Jesica Wills on June 9, 2011

    Hello Mike. I am writing content but I don’t know about this topic. Thanks for sharing the wonderful information. It is great for me to see this post. Thanks.

  18. Antonia@Conversational hypnosis on June 15, 2011

    Solid information for beginners, i guess most of them think that doing a good job means building links, and they ignore the other important parts, forgetting that SEO also has to be done on-page.

  19. Adrian@Sheds on June 24, 2011

    The content that you are putting in your blog is very important. I mean, by looking at that alone, anyone could judge if that site is a good or a bad one. So, everyone must remember this one, that you should always put a good quality articles or whatever in your blog.

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