SEO writing is different than marketing copy writing. When we on-board new clients they seem to be surprised at what’s involved in writing effectively on the Web. It’s not uncommon for us to see that they’ve simply lifted marketing brochure copy and plunked it on their website. Even if it has been professionally written, printed copy is “consumed” differently. Previously we’ve talked about the two online audiences — the human and the Search Engine bot. For this post, we’ll provide SEO writing tips for the purpose of engaging the human component.
1. Find a Topic That Has Juice For You
There’s a quote by Robert Frost that beautifully sums this up: “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” The point here is that the reader senses if the author is disinterested or passionate about the topic. It just comes through. While SEO writing is a staple of content marketing, don’t add to the clutter and noise on the Web with lackluster content. If you can’t find a topic that really interests you, then choose another topic. Not only will the finished product be better, it’ll take you less time to write it. Even if it doesn’t seem to save you time, the time spent will at least be more enjoyable. Find some thought leaders in your industry and troll their blog posts and website for ideas. This will also make it easier for you to reference others by giving them some link love.
2. Choose a Keyword
Now that you’ve chosen the subject matter of your blog article or web page, you need to choose a keyword. Google’s Adword Tool will help you zero in a searchable phrase. This tool will give you suggestions and the corresponding search traffic, both globally and locally (misnamed as it refers to U.S. traffic). A minor tweak to your keyword can make all the difference.
Think of your keyword as a baited hook. You can throw your fishing line into a lake with a few hundred fish or a lake with thousands of fish. SEO writing is strategic in that you’re creating content on subjects that will attract searchers (read: potential customers) to your site and engage them once they’ve arrived.
3. Just Write
Note your keyword at the top of the page and just write. Don’t try to use it 55 times. Literally, just write about your topic. Sometimes creating an outline can help you organize your thoughts. Now is the time to focus on your content and let your writing voice emerge. You’ll most likely find yourself integrating ideas from articles you used in research. Add your thoughts — either contrary or in support — so your reader can see the value you add. Write until you’re finished.
4. The Crafting Stage
Editing should happen only after you’re finished with creating the content. Don’t mix the two. You’ll find yourself endlessly creating a sentence and then hitting the backspace button. Not only is it inefficient, your brain is actually locked in a battle. Creativity uses the right side of your brain; editing uses the left. Trying to employ both at the same time is equivalent to driving with one foot on the brake and one on the accelerator. Not a smooth ride.
In this stage you’ll edit for grammar and readability. If you have the luxury of time and additional resources, have someone else read your content. What is clear to you may not be clear to others.
5. SEO Writing Optimization Stage
Now that you’ve edited your content, it’s time for optimization. Since you wrote the keyword on the top of the page before you began, it probably found itself naturally throughout the copy. If not, then you have another round of editing. This time it’s simply to weave the keyword naturally into the copy. SEO writing for the human should appear seamless. A general rule of thumb is to have your keyword appear about once every 100 words. Any more and the human sees it as unnecessarily repetitive. It’s also a red flag to search engine bots that you’re trying to keyword stuff.
In this stage you’ll also have your keyword located in the url, title tag and meta description. If this sounds like Greek to you, we’ve created an easy-to-use SEO template.
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