How to Write Content for Google: 7 SEO Principles for Beginners

Even though we’ve conquered a zillion science classes in school and know how many scoops of each size are in a gallon, dietitians can feel really intimidated by SEO.

Don’t worry: SEO is something that you get to learn a little bit at a time and build from there. When we were first studying nutrition, we didn’t start with the Krebs cycle, did we? You can learn how to write content for Google, AND your ideal clients.

If you’re new around here – welcome! I’m Holly Larson, Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Copywriter. I write copy that helps my clients’ businesses to grow!

In this article, I’ll be sharing a few beginner SEO principles you can use (that aren’t scary or technical, pinky promise). 

What is SEO?

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. All this means is that we’re making tweaks to our content and our strategy in hopes that Google will choose to display it to our ideal clients. 

(I like to joke that the best place to hide a dead body is on the second page of the Google search results; no one looks there. Our goal for your high-quality content is to show up right away in the search results so that your ideal clients find it.)

Google wants its users to have a good experience. That means that everyone can get their questions answered without having to go on a wild-goose chase through crappy articles.

Good news: as a dietitian, it is also your goal to provide high-quality, evidence-based content to the wild west of the internet. So, we aren’t trying to trick Google, you’re just learning to play by Google’s rules.

Learning SEO principles, bit by bit, helps to get more eyes on your website, without having to pay for ads. 

Here are a few different techniques for “playing nice” with Google. 

One: Write a great title

Your title is hella important. Folks decide if they’re going to open up your blog post based on what the title says. It is always better to be clear than clever or cute; folks might not know what you mean if your title is too, ahem, creative. 

If your title is misleading or is “clickbait,” Google will know. 

What happens when folks open up an article and don’t find what they’re looking for? They leave that website quickly. Google tracks it all; if folks tend to come to your website and quickly leave, that is known as a high bounce rate and is a red flag for Google that your content isn’t great quality.

Key takeaway: write clear and engaging titles that accurately reflect what is inside the article. Sharethrough Headline Analyzer is a fun free tool that you can use as you are working on different versions of your title. Aim for a score of 70 or more. 

Two: Use good formatting

In a blog article online, we don’t want to smush as much text together as if we’re writing a textbook. 

Most of us are skimmers. Without whitespace around your words, it is all too easy for our eyes to just glide over everything and not read any of it. 

Instead, use proper formatting so that it is easy for folks to read and skim your blogs, even if they’re distracted and even if they’re on their phones. 

For example:

  • Use subheadings at the beginning of each section of information (“Use good formatting” above is a subheading).
  • Occasionally use bolding and italics to draw emphasis on a word or phrase.
  • Keep paragraphs short; 1-3 sentences max.
  • Don’t use cursive fonts that are hard to read.

Key takeaway: good formatting is the difference between your content getting read and understood or skipped. 

Three: Add links to other articles on your site

When you’re writing new blog posts, look for opportunities to naturally mention other articles that you’ve written and add a link to them. Not only does this help provide more high-value information to your readers, but it also helps to keep them on your website for longer. 

Before you publish your new blog post, check the settings; you want to make sure that any links that folks are clicking on open in a new window. 

Once again, Google knows all! Another metric that Google tracks is how much time people spend on your site, on average, as well as how many pages they click on. (Remember that bounce rate we talked about earlier? When folks tend to visit more than one page instead of just the one and then leave, Google believes that your site is of higher quality). 

It can be hard to remember to go back and update previous articles, but that’s important too. 

Key takeaway: make it easy for folks to stay on your website by linking to related content. And, be sure to add links to high-quality citations as you write. 

Four: Write high-quality content

While this article is more focused on strategies that keep Google happy, at the end of the day, we became dietitians so that we can help real-live human beings have a better quality of life. 

It is important to begin learning SEO strategies, but don’t forget that all of this is for the purpose of helping people. 

With that in mind, writing evidence-based, properly-referenced content is the goal. 

Write complete blogs on a topic so that folks don’t have to go to two other websites to get the full answer. 

One of the common questions I get from new members of The RD Blog Club is, “How long should the article be?” Often, they’re worried about writing blogs that are too long. 

The truth is, there isn’t a hard and fast rule for a number of words. What’s important is that the question is thoroughly answered. And, even long articles (2,000-4,000 words) are easily read (or at least skimmed) with good formatting. 

Key takeaway: there is no substitute for good content. 

Five: Have a strong CTA

As dietitians, we tend to be far more comfortable with teaching than asking our clients to buy (eeks, selling, right?). 

But the truth is that we are in business and deserve fair compensation. We don’t need to volunteer!

At the end of each blog post, we want to ask our readers to do one (and only one) thing. Have one single clear, calm, and confident call to action. 

Maybe you’re asking them to download your freebie so that they can join your email list. Or maybe you invite them to book a discovery call with you. No matter what it is, use your educational blog posts to help grow your business. 

Having folks click on links and take action on your blog post is one more signal that you’re publishing trustworthy content. Google notices!

Key takeaway: if someone has gotten all the way to the end of your blog post, they’re interested!! Tell ‘em what step to take next. 

Six: Track progress

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but SEO strategy is not sexy. You’re probably not going to go viral with a blog post. 

However, good content is the gift that keeps on giving for your website. 

There are different metrics that you can track and measure. If you haven’t done so already, you’ll want to install Google Analytics and Google Search Console on your website. These are free tools, but you need to have them keeping tabs on things so that you can figure out what is working to grow your business. 

Beyond that, you may choose to track new opt-ins on your list, new discovery calls, or new clients. 

Slow and steady!

Key takeaway: we can manage what we can measure. Keep tabs on the metrics that are important for your business. 

Seven: Keep learning

Learning SEO strategy is a long game. Google keeps changing its algorithm, so we have to learn and adapt as well. We don’t learn everything overnight nor are we ever done learning, but as we learn how to engage with Google’s best practices, our voice is amplified in the Wild West of our online world.

The more we share evidence-based practices, the more we are fighting back against all of the Joe-Schmos online sharing their fake news. 

Key takeaways: we are never done learning about nutrition…the same goes for SEO! When you learn bit by bit, you will feel much more confident.

That’s a wrap 

Learning how to write content for Google is the gift that keeps on giving; optimized articles can attract new readers (and future clients) to your website for years to come. 

If you would like to support growing your business through the power of SEO-optimized content, I can help! 

Please set up a call so that you and I can chat.  I’ll ask you questions about you, your business, and your goals for this year. Then, we can make a plan for growth based on your priorities and your budget. I can’t wait to partner with you to grow your business through the power of high-quality, SEO-optimized content.

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Hi! I’m Holly Larson – registered dietitian and nutrition copywriter and copywriting mentor.

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