SEO content editing tips

Learn the skills an pro SEO content editor needs

SEO content editing involves  adding keywords and improving clarity, authority, and insight. Editing content for SEO can help to boost search engine performance, increase visibility, and visitors Here are some SEO content editing tips from the experts at 42group.

At 42group, our content editors are responsible for refining and enhancing written content. It might be content we’ve written, words from other writers, or existing content on websites or in reports. 

Whatever the content we edit, it’s our job to make it stronger – ensuring the message is clear, consistent, and compelling. (We also eliminate spelling errors, grammar gremlins, and anything else that could obscure its meaning or upset pedants.)

SEO content editing is an involved and important job. We’re going to start with the basics of what content editing for SEO is and how you can optimise all types of content to increase SERPs.

The basics of SEO content editing

Content editing for SEO involves reviewing a piece of writing for clarity, coherence, consistency, and accuracy. 

It’s a more time-consuming (and expensive) process than proofreading. As well as checking for accuracy, content editing for SEO involves improving the overall structure and flow of the content to increase its visibility in search engines. 

An experienced content editor (like those sitting near me as I write this article) examines the language and grammar used and ensures that the tone of voice is appropriate for the audience. They’ll also edit with keywords in mind, incorporating them throughout the content in the most intelligent and effective ways. They’ll ensure the structure is appropriate and that keywords appear in H1s, H2s, and H3s. A good SEO content editor will support you by suggesting compelling page titles and meta tags. 

It’s a total service to supercharge your SEO!

Content editing for SEO is a crucial part of the digital marketing process. Content editing can refine and polish written material to enhance its quality and effectiveness and boost its search engine impact.

Why SEO editing is critical to digital marketing

The Google algorithm is constantly changing – and improving – to deliver search results that are accurate, relevant, and valuable to readers. Is yours?

SEO content editors perform two crucial functions for your website:

  1. They will ensure any new content is optimised, relevant, and demonstrates authority – critical to boosting your search engine ranking.
  2. They can review, refine, and optimise existing content – ensuring any website achieves its search potential.

Digital marketing experts understand the importance of keeping content fresh, relevant and optimised. We’re glad they do, as it keeps us in business!

We don’t just rewrite every page but work through a content audit process to identify content that can be optimised and improved. This helps us to identify those pages that could benefit from a rewrite, grading them according to the priority and potential impact.

Alongside the content editing process, we also recommend updating and improving page titles and tags. Our process will be the basis of a future blog post, so keep checking our Answers page.

How does the content editing process work?

Each editor has their approach to SEO content editing. Some work through each piece line-by-line and fix errors, incorporate keywords, improve the flow of content, and engage the audience. Others approach each task individually (identifying errors the first time and incorporating keywords the second, for example.)

Here’s how we would approach the process:

  • Read the article all the way through: Don’t edit; just read and understand what the writer wants to say (and to whom they want to say it).
  • Check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors: You can use tools like Grammarly to help, but always ensure there’s a human in the loop that makes the final decision.
  • Review keywords: Analyse how effectively the article incorporates keywords into the H1 (title), H2s, and throughout the article. Look at where keywords are used and how often. (Keyword loading is a bad idea). SEO writing assistants like SEMRush can prove helpful here, but they are expensive.
  • Work through line-by-line: You know if the article is good or not and how much work needs to be done to incorporate keywords, so get to work! Here’s some advice on how to integrate keywords into your content
  • Re-read the piece and assess your impact: This second reading is critical to assess the piece as a whole. We’re old and love to print out and read each piece with a cup of coffee.
  • Upload and review: Sometimes, what works on a plain page doesn’t work online. You may need to edit again when it’s online to improve the flow and SEO.
  • Add a review date: All content can be improved and updated, so we always add a review date for each piece of content. This ensures it’s accurate, effective, and optimised for current SEO best practices.

During the content editing process, a content editor examines the structure and organisation of the piece. They will analyse the logical flow of ideas, ensuring that each paragraph and section transitions smoothly into the next. It’s about helping your audience find the answer they want.

So, you want to be an SEO content editor? 

Now that we’ve established the importance of content editing let’s discuss the essential skills that all good SEO content editors have. (Some of the average ones have them, too.)

Understanding of SEO

Most people understand SEO, but do you stay current with the latest industry trends? Do you scour Google’s updates to understand what these could mean for the content you’re creating? Do you work closely with a group of SEO experts who can provide in-depth insights into what’s working and what isn’t in the real world?

The best SEO writers and editors deeply understand the technical aspects of SEO. At 42group, we’re a Google Partner, which provides insight into how the world’s leading search provider works. We also balance this with real-life feedback from our clients, analysing the impact of the content we produce and identifying ways to improve it.

The power of the process 

Content editing demands a process. As an agency, we’ve developed some effective and efficient processes that ensure we deliver a comprehensive and complete edit for our SEO clients. 

Every piece of content gets logged, analysed, optimised, and returned to each client in a format they can use. This enables us to work on large-scale rewriting projects involving hundreds (or even thousands) of pages. 

The best SEO content editors love working on a page of writing as much as they do managing a process. This is a key skill in SEO optimisation and not one you shouldn’t overlook.

Mastery of language and grammar

It’s pretty obvious, but a solid grasp of language and grammar is crucial for content editors. They must understand – and be able to apply- best practices in spelling, grammar, and punctuation to create high-quality content. 

This includes understanding the proper use of verb tenses, subject-verb agreement, and sentence structure. Content editors also need to be able to manage the appropriate placement of commas, semicolons, and other punctuation marks. The judicious use of punctuation can improve readability, but removing excessive punctuation can work wonders in other cases.

A mastery of language isn’t essential. Why? Because SEO is about simplicity, clarity, and consistency. You don’t need to be a walking dictionary – many of the best editors aren’t – but you need to know how to use language to convey a point without diluting or impacting meaning. The key is to make concepts simple but not overly simplistic. 

It sounds easy, but it really isn’t. 

Confidence with different writing styles

SEO content editors should be familiar confident at editing various styles of writing. The ability to adapt editing techniques is vital. Whether you’re working with formal or informal writing, academic or creative, understanding different styles enables experienced content editors to do the best job.

For instance, editing an academic research paper into accessible, SEO-optimised content requires a different approach compared to editing a blog post. The academic paper will need to be edited and analysed, with the editor shortening and simplifying it to pull out the key messages.  On the other hand, editing a blog post may involve making the writing more conversational, engaging, and suitable for online readers – while maintaining a professional tone of voice that protects the brand. 

Editors walk a fine line, and it’s not always easy.

Attention to detail

It sounds stupid to say it, but attention to detail is an essential trait of a successful content editor. Of course, they must have a keen eye for spotting inconsistencies, inaccuracies, and other errors that may go unnoticed by mere mortals. They also need to ensure the highest standards are adhered to all working day, which demands near superhuman skills of concentration.

Basically, content editing for SEO isn’t a job for the easily distracted.

Will accept feedback (and not take it personally)

Content editors are often in the firing line as they’re responsible for making changes to other people’s work – and sometimes, these changes don’t go down well. E SEO editors that work with specialist content (like scientific papers, research, etc.) will be editing text that needs to be reviewed by a subject matter expert, and that can lead to criticism.

The best SEO content editors will accept feedback and not take it personally. At 42group, most of us are current or former journalists who have worked with editors who spare little thought for your feelings. It’s not always pleasant, but by working together with specialists, SEO experts, and (of course) our clients, we can make a positive impact on all content.

Write for real people: Techniques for effective SEO content editing

Now that we’ve explored the skills required, let’s delve into some techniques for successful content editing. The first – and more critical – lesson is to write for real people. 

Too much SEO content is written for algorithms and not an audience of real people.

Whenever you start working on editing a document, think about what the reader wants from it. Understanding the search intent is clearly the most important thing. Explore the questions they’ll be asking, and ensure your content provides clear answers. Does your content flow logically? Is it simple enough to understand but comprehensive enough to add value?

Ultimately, you should aim for your content to be the definitive content online. Sure, it’s a lofty ambition, but it’s achievable – if you do the work.

Balancing creativity and conformity in SEO editing

While content editing involves refining and polishing, it’s important to strike a balance between creativity and conformity. Content editors should respect the original writer’s style and voice while also ensuring that the content meets the necessary standards. By maintaining this delicate equilibrium, editors can enhance the writing without stifling the writer’s creativity.

Incorporate keywords like a pro

We’re not going to go over old ground, but here’s our guide on incorporating SEO keywords into your content like a pro. The basic principle is to use keywords where they add value. Simply listing your key phrase hundreds of times isn’t going to help improve your rankings, and in fact, it could affect them.

Instead, focus on offering your readers value – and then ensure Google has all the signals it needs to assess the relevance of your page and how it relates to the original search query.

Basically, check out our guide above to see how to incorporate SEO keywords like the professional editors at 42group.

Need an expert SEO copy editor or proofreader?

Content editing is a vital aspect of the digital marketing process. Even the best writers – and most successful websites – can do more to improve and optimise their content, and we can help.

At 42group, we use our essential skills, effective techniques, and advanced SEO strategies to create content that soars in search engines.

Sound good? Then get in touch today.

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