How I did it: 3770 monthly visits for one blog post

Learn how to write SEO content based on my own success. One of the most overlooked ingredients is time.

A clock on a plain pink background with the caption how to write (and wait) for SEO traffic

In today's newsletter, you'll learn how to write SEO content based on one of my own successful blog posts for a sustainable clothing brand. One of the most overlooked ingredients is time.

  • But first–a quick reminder. This is the last weekly newsletter for free subscribers. If you'd like to continue receiving weekly posts, sign up for the paid subscription. The next free public post will be published in January, 2022, and continue on a monthly schedule.
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  • And an update. I recently added a "store" section to my website, where you can easily shop for my services using Stripe check out. This is an attempt to "productize my services."
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Here are the details of my latest high-traffic post.

How to write a successful piece of SEO content

Back in July of 2020, I researched keywords, planned, and wrote a brand-aligned blog post for a company that sells surprise boxes of thrifted items: Goodfair.

6 Ways to Wear an Oversized T-Shirt
Oversized t-shirts are large, comfy and loose. Learn how to look shapely and put together in your favorite oversized tee with six different styles like the French tuck, bra tuck, classic tucked in t-shirt, knotted tee and more.

The post is now ranked #1 for the keyword "how to style oversized t shirt." It is also ranking for a total of 2090 organic keywords. Thanks to moving up to the number 1 SERPs position recently, it jumped 62% in traffic to receive 3770 monthly visits in organic traffic.

In the graph, you can see how the blog post didn't start picking up significant traffic until almost a year after it was published in May of 2021.

This is why two main principles guide my SEO content creation:

  • Patience is a virtue. Ranking takes time.
  • Write evergreen content. Content with temporary appeal (seasonal content, press releases, etc.) isn't the best use of your blog. Use it in your newsletters, social media, and ads instead.  

Steps to writing the piece:

  1. I identified a keyword opportunity through keyword research: French tuck.  
  2. The keyword opportunity was a bit off the wall, so I paired it with a second keyword opportunity: Oversized t-shirt.
  3. I added a long-tail keyword in the title which is brand-aligned: How to style an oversized t-shirt
  4. I got client approval (this is sometimes the hardest step). Clients are not always eager to follow my SEO advice, because SEO writing does not follow straightforward marketing principles: (a) It's about the reader, not the brand. In other words, it's used for top-of-funnel soft selling to generate brand awareness and hopefully capture leads with your email sign-up form or click-throughs with your links. (b) It requires long-term foresight, rather than temporary sales, promotions, or brand updates. (c) It takes loads of patience to wait for the organic traffic to come in. When the starts coming in, with about a year's delay, clients can finally see the importance of SEO and believe it.  
  5. I planted the keywords. Given the budget constraint (a word count of just 500 words), I had to use my keywords wisely. I composed the title, URL, headings, to be optimized for search. I included the long-tail keyword verbatim as the title. Quick tip: Blog post titles can just be keywords, folks. Finally, I added the two main opportunity keywords into the URL slug.  
  6. I wrote the post to satisfy search intent. Readers typing in "how to" keywords need instructions, so I wrote clear, reader-friendly instructions on t-shirt styling. I also created a relevant meta-description to get people to click on the article.
  7. I published the piece.
  8. I waited over a year. As you saw in the graphs... that's how long it took for the SEO traffic to come in.
  9. And, finally, success!

The key difference between SEO content and other forms of marketing is the delayed gratification. Social media and ads can generate intense interest, but only for a very short period of time. That's why they need to be constantly updated and replenished.  

SEO content has some immediate value, because you can share it in your different channels, but that's not its main value. Its organic traffic potential may not come to fruition for several months to a year. It's still good to publish consistently, but you can get by with weekly or even monthly posts, as long as they're high quality.  

When the traffic comes, it comes in waves. A single post can produce ongoing traffic for years. It carves out "SEO real estate" from the sum of all internet searches and generates self-perpetuating traffic to your site.

This is why I love SEO! I use it for my own marketing, too.

I recently had a potential client directly in my niche (climate tech) book a meeting with me because they searched for writers in the space. We're now discussing an ongoing engagement for content development. It's likely he'll choose my full service blog management package.

I honestly don't even follow an SEO content strategy on my own site yet, but optimizing for relevant keywords ALWAYS helps. It's on my to-do list to turn my own website into a case-study for 2022.

Thanks for reading :)

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This newsletter is written by Erica Eller, SEO writer and strategist for climate-tech, ESG, and sustainable businesses.