Becoming an SEO content Writer can be a rewarding experience, especially if you are someone who enjoys writing, researching and thinking of new and creative ways to reach an audience.
With the average entry level salary for an SEO content writer in the United States being $52,375 (Glassdoor).
Content writing is a great starter job for someone who is fresh out of college or just looking for a change in their current career path.
Welcome to Bounce Rank, my name is Raj clark and I created this guide to teach you my process for getting your first position as a content writer in the SEO industry.
This same process has helped me land my first six-figure position as an SEO content writer and manager. So without a doubt I believe this process can help you reach your goal of becoming a successful SEO content writer.
Before we explore in detail how to become an SEO writer, let’s first take a look at what one is so you can be absolutely sure if it is a career path that you wish to take, then we will explore how to become one, and the steps you need to take to get there.
Let’s get started!
What is a SEO Content Writer?
An SEO content writer is a writing expert who knows how to create content like articles, blog posts, listicles, how-to guides, and sales pages that are easy to read, keyword-rich, include internal and external links, and headings.
which are considered to be SEO best practices for gaining maximum visibility on search engine result pages.
Additionally they are creative, out-of-the-box thinkers that are able to produce marketing materials that can potentially increase brand awareness and sales.
SEO Content writers also tend to have a basic understanding of Social media marketing (SMM) and how to leverage it to drive traffic to a website.
Overall, SEO Content writers have the basic knowledge of a Search engine optimization (SEO) specialist, with the writing abilities of a copywriter.
Now that we explored what a content writer is, let’s now discuss how to become one:
1. Master SEO Content Writing
Before you decide to get a job as a content writer, or pick up freelance clients, I recommend that the first step that you should take is to master the basics of the SEO writing process.
This will help you become more competent in helping businesses drive traffic to their websites.
Learn the basics of Search engine optimization (SEO)
It is critical for you to have an above average understanding of the science behind search engines, and how they recommend content to users.
Knowing this will ensure that you are able to produce content that contains keywords and phrases that users are actually using to search for content in your industry.
Also it is important to understand basic On-page SEO ranking factors like Title tags, Meta descriptions, and H1 headers, are included in the content to ensure maximum search engine visibility.
Overall, knowing SEO can help you stand out from other content writers, who may just be good writers, but may not have the detailed understanding of SEO as you do.
So I would recommend that you take the time to learn the basics of SEO, to not only help you produce better content, but also stand out better in a competitive job market.
Learn how to research and find the right keywords
As we mentioned earlier it is important to use keywords when writing SEO-friendly content, but what is more important is making sure that you are using the RIGHT keywords.
In order to find good keywords you will need to do Keyword research, which is a process of researching the most relevant keywords and search terms to target in your content.
Most job descriptions will mention this as a requirement, because it is the foundation of any strong content marketing strategy.
So again I would recommend you take the time to learn how to conduct keyword research , in detail so you can be successful.
Learn Social media marketing
Another part of being an SEO content writer is knowing how to use Social media to promote your content and find new content ideas.
Often people go to social media to voice their opinion about particular products or services.
As a content writer, you have to be able to read the comments and opinions people have about your industry and then use this information to create relevant content for your consumers.
This is called social listening, or gaining consumer insights from social media, and having this skill will help you create content that appeals to customer’s pain points and makes them more likely to purchase your client’s products or services.
Learn Coding languages like HTML
Even though content writing doesn’t require much coding, it may be helpful to know a little bit.
For instance learning HTML (HyperText Markup Language) can help you ensure that your content includes the proper Headers, Title tags, Meta descriptions, links and image tags.
But again for an entry-level content writer job this is not at all required.
Learning how to edit and revise content
As I will discuss later in the post, many SEOs are afraid that artificial intelligence writers are going to replace their job.
I personally do not believe that is the case for one simple reason:
AI is not able to edit content and creatively rework it to fit a different context.
Because of that, content writers that are masters in grammar, spelling, and sentence structure are still needed in the SEO industry.
So I recommend adding learning how to edit and revise content as a part of your learning roadmap.
2. How to get experience and practice skills
Now that we discussed some of the things that you need to learn, let’s now discuss some ways that you can go about getting experience before you start looking for a job or freelance.
Get a degree in Marketing, journalism, or creative writing
If you choose to freelance as a writer, then getting a degree or certification is not completely necessary.
There are also jobs that do not require one, but it may be helpful to get a degree if you wish to stand out better in a competitive job market.
It may also help you pick up skills and learn best practices for editing, writing, and proofreading content that will help you create content faster and better.
Take an online course or join an internship
Taking a course or joining an internship can be an important step to becoming an SEO content writer.
It may be better than learning on your own because in a course and or internship you are more likely going to be taught by a seasoned professional.
That way you can pick up best practices and get up to speed on the actual science and intricacies behind Search engine optimization.
Ultimately, by taking a course or participating in an internship, you can gain the knowledge and experience you need to stand out from other content writers.
Create a portfolio and gain experience
While you are gaining the basic knowledge of SEO content writing, it is also important to build a portfolio of your writing work while you are learning.
For one, it is a great way to showcase your skills, and second, it is great for building your expertise so that when you are ready to start applying for jobs you can do so with confidence.
So with that being said, here’s what should be in your portfolio:
Include writing samples
When applying for any writing position, often recruiters will ask for writing samples, to showcase your writing skills and expertise.
When it comes to writing samples, I think is best to include things such as:
- Blog post
- Landing pages
- Case studies
- How-to guides
You do not have to include all of these, but it will be a good idea to have at least one or two, just to show that you have a well rounded skill set.
Also in the writing sample it may be helpful to indicate where the HTML headers are to showcase to the recruiter that you actually understand the technical aspects of writing.
Include a Keyword map
Another great thing to include in your portfolio is some sort of example of keyword research that you’ve done for a real client, if possible.
This can be done in a spreadsheet as a “keyword map” where you include each keyword’s search volume, difficulty, and intent.
The goal is you want to show the recruiter or client that you actually know how to do keyword research and analysis.
Include data charts and testimonials
The last thing I recommend including in your portfolio, if possible, is some sort of data graphs that showcase real results that you achieved for a client, or even if it is yourself.
Essentially the best way to do this is to create a piece of content for a client, or create it for your blog.
Optimize it to a target keyword and then monitor the number of impressions, and clicks the post gets via Google Search console.
Then take a screenshot of the graph and include it in your portfolio or even share it on LinkedIn.
Obviously this is going to take time and effort, but if you can pull real data it does a good job at proving to a potential employer or client that you are the right person for the job.
Another great thing to include is testimonials.
Now again, if you do not have real clients, see if you have friends or family that need some sort of content help, and then have them write you a testimonial about the services you have provided them.
This is not required, but again think of it as another way to show potential clients or employers that you are qualified.
3. Keep practicing or start applying for jobs
If you are completely new to the SEO field I would suggest continuing to practice on your own and then start applying for jobs.
Realistically it takes about two years to become a professional SEO content writer, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot start building your resume now.
So I recommend you at least start freelancing on your own.
With freelancing you can not only make some money. but also learn some important skills like client management and time management.
Which you can include on your resume when you start applying for full-time jobs.
Now if you are someone who already has experience in the SEO field or you are able to rework your previous experience to fit an SEO Content Writer role.
Then by all means go ahead and start applying for jobs.
Here’s my advice for doing it right:
Prepare your resume
When applying to a job, at a bare minimum you should have a resume. Which is a document that summarizes your qualifications and lists out your achievements and skills you gained from each place you worked.
While testimonials and portfolios matter, a resume is your first point of contact with a potential employer and you need to make sure that you are making a good first impression.
Again you may be worried that you haven’t accomplished anything, that’s okay in my how to write an SEO resume guide, I explain in more detail how to showcase your experience if you are a fresher to SEO.
The post is mainly geared towards becoming an SEO specialist, but in general a resume for a content writer is going to be very similar. So visit that post to learn more.
But for now, just know that you need one and it is a must before applying.
Creating a cover letter
Now the next thing is not a requirement but in my opinion including an awesome cover letter can be just what you need to set yourself apart from the other applicants.
A cover letter is a document you include with your resume that introduces yourself, explains why you are applying, and why you’d be a good fit.
Think of it as an icebreaker and a way to highlight your most important skills, and what you can bring to the job.
Let’s be honest, most candidates are lazy and will not take the time to write a cover letter.
So in my experience, taking the time to write one has resulted in higher interview rates.
For more information, visit my how to write an SEO cover letter guide.
The guide is again for an SEO specialist, but in the article I included instructions on how to modify it for an SEO content writer.
Practice Interview skills
Okay so now that you have your job application materials, the next step is to prepare for your interview when you start receiving them.
I hear from candidates all the time that they are worried that they won’t get a job offer because they can’t get through an interview, or they won’t know the right answers.
I know, I’ve been there and I was one of those candidates. So here’s what I recommend for preparing for an interview.
Dress professionally and pay attention to hygiene
First things first, you want to make sure you have a set of business clothes or professional attire you can wear to your interview.
This will help you feel confident and give off the right impression.
For my interviews I generally dress in a dress shirt, slacks, and nice black shoes.
For ladies a nice dress, blouse, or cardigan is a good choice.
Also if your interview is in person, it is a good idea to make sure that you pay attention to personal hygiene and grooming.
I think this is self-explanatory.
Practice interview questions
Before you have your interview, it is definitely a good idea to prepare by looking at some common SEO job interview questions and answers.
That way you can prepare your responses beforehand and feel more confident during the interview.
So I would look up some common SEO content writing interview questions and use them to help you prepare for your interview.
Prepare post interview questions
Next you want to prepare some questions that you want to ask recruiters after the interview so here are some:
- What are you expecting in the first 30,60, 90 days?
- What is a typical work day like?
- How did the company get started?
- Will there be opportunities to connect with the team?
Those are just some questions to get you started, you do not have to use these questions, but definitely keep them in mind to help you come up with your own.
I recommend having at least three.
Don’t be that person who goes into the interview and the recruiter asks you “What questions do you have for me?” and you come up blank.
As you can imagine that can come off as unprofessional and like you didn’t do your research.
So take the time to prepare some questions and ask them!
SEO Content Writer FAQs
I know that this post definitely didn’t answer all your questions about being an SEO Content Writer. The field can definitely be difficult to navigate at times and that’s why I wanted to create this post.
But before I go, I want to make sure that I address some of the common questions people ask about being an SEO Content Writer. I sourced these questions from forums, Reddit and other places.
Because I want them to be relevant and actually address common misconceptions and questions about the field.
Okay so here they are:
Is AI going to replace content writers in the future?
Based on new advancements in artificial intelligence, AI stands a good chance of completely replacing mundane writing tasks, but may not completely replace writing as a profession.
As there will always be a need for experts, and those who can share detailed insights that are unique and can only be provided by humans.
Also writing requires an understanding of the editorial process as well, and that is something AI can’t easily do.
Often AI written content needs to be restructured or modified to fit a specific need, or to make it fit a particular style. Some users have reported that AI written content is duplicate or nearly identical, versions of articles already on the web.
Again, highlighting that there is still a need for some one who can rework the content to be unique and insightful, and not just a simple restatement of the same information.
How much do SEO writers make?
An entry-level SEO content writer in the United states of America can expect to make anywhere from $20 – $31.25 an hour, which equates to a yearly salary range of $42,000 to $65,000.
The salary you can make depends on factors such as; years of experience, the state the applicant is in, and if they are a full-time, or a part-time employee.
So it is best to research your local market to see what the average salary for a SEO writer is in your area.
What’s the difference between SEO writing and content writing?
SEO content writing is focused on creating articles and posts that can be discovered on search engines through organic searches.
This is typically done by focusing the content around keywords and important search terms that people are searching for, and then optimizing or crafting the content to include these keywords to make the content more visible and easier to find
While regular content writing is just about creating content for content sake. SEO content writing is becoming more popular with businesses because it helps them rank in search engines and gain more quality traffic to their website.
Is SEO content writing easy to learn?
While everyone may not agree that SEO is hard to learn, there are parts of the learning process that can be difficult to understand or seem a bit confusing.
Learning SEO requires time and effort and a lot of trial and error. It is important to not give up, and keep on practicing.
How long should you gain experience before working as an SEO writer?
I recommend that before you apply for a job you gain some experience for at least 6 – 12 months, honestly two years is ideal. I know that may seem like a great deal of time, but it will pay off in the long run as you will actually gain real experience that you can showcase.
Now if you want to apply early, just understand that it may be harder to secure high paying clients or positions as you are brand new, and, thus less likely for a recruiting agency or company to take a risk on you.
So again keep that in mine.
If you follow these tips I outlined in this post you should have a better chance at acing your interviews and landing your first SEO content writing job.
I cannot guarantee that every company you interview with will want to hire you but the more prepared you are and the more likely you are to impress employers.
My best recommendation for you when companies don’t call you back is to just keep going.
It took me roughly 30 interviews and 100 applications to get my first SEO job.
And I’ve talked to other SEOs in the field who have gone through the same process.
So don’t take it personally if you don’t get the job you want.
Just keep going and ultimately you will get that content writing position that you dreamed of.
If you are looking for a resume and cover letter template, give your name and email in the form below, and I will send you a copy of my resume and cover letter that I used to get hired for my first SEO content job.
I also included a keyword map template in there that you can use to show to companies to show them you know and understand how to do keyword research.
So if you are interested, then the form is below.
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