Monday, May 22, 2017

SEO Writing

Ah, yes, what is SEO writing? Is it keyword stuffed nonsense that is solely created to attract search engine traffic, or is it masterfully crafted content that incorporates thoughtful keyword selections and surrounds those keywords with excellent relevant content. My vote is for the latter. SEO content writing is essentially the icing on the cake of a solidly built foundation that incorporates clean and well-structured code, and simple and easy to crawl taxonomy and site structure. It takes a lot of planning and a bit of skill to pull it off properly.

What Good SEO Writing Is Not

Let’s quickly go over what SEO writing is not, and hopefully this will clear up any misconceptions that you have.

  1. Keyword stuffed garbage – Some people seem to think that all you have to do is get the right keyword phrase, and only that one keyword phrase, into an article as many times as possible in order for it to rank. This is absolutely wrong. The Algorithm is pretty smart. As long as you get the right keyword phrases in a couple of places, and surround it with relevant content, Google will figure it out.
  2. A Recipe for Automatic Ranking – No matter how good your keyword selection is, and how well you’ve incorporated these selections into your content, an article is not going to rank on these merits alone. You have to have a solid (authoritative in your niche) domain, and/or you have to get links to your article. This is done a myriad of ways, but backlinking methods are beyond the scope of this article.

So What Makes for Good SEO Writing?

  1.  Great keyword selection – Good SEO content requires a solid amount of planning with good keyword selection and grouping. I go more into how to write seo articles in the article linked to there, but it’s a process of finding semantically related keywords, and grouping them according to similarity. You want to target the phrase you think will be the most visitors or the best, most qualified visitors if you are selling something.
  2. Including your keyword in the title (and URL) – Once you’ve planned out your content strategy, you will have 1 main keyword for each article and several secondary longtail keyword phrases. Your main keyword should be incorporated into the title, but the title doesn’t have to consist only of the keyword phrase. In the case of this article here, you can probably tell I’m targeting the phrase “What is SEO writing?.” This makes for a good title in and of itself, but there are other phrase like “SEO Content” that would make for a pretty lame title. Your URLs should also match your titles. If you use WordPress this is accomplished by using the “Post Name” version of the URLs. More on that at the WordPress website here.
  3. Thoughtful keyword placement – As a general rule, you want to have your keyword not only in the title, but somewhere in the intro, conclusion, and up to a few times within the content. You don’t have to repeat the phrase over and over, and having multiple similar phrase will establish the content piece as being about the keyword you’re targeting. Don’t follow the old rules of having the keyword in your content at 3 or 4 percent, because this will probably look ridiculous especially if you are targeting a 3 or more word phrase. It would look pretty stupid if I just wrote “What is SEO content writing” throughout this article, wouldn’t it? It looks kinda stupid right there, but that’s okay, it had to happen.
  4. Written for people first, the machine second – Despite its apparent omniscience, The Google Algorithm is just a machine, albeit a clever one. You do have to feed it the right information (keywords) in order for it to know how to classify your content. Never remember though, that Google isn’t your audience or your customer. You’re always writing for your audience or customers first, so be helpful, and interesting while incorporating your keyword phrase. This is a difficult skill to master, but if you’re good, like me, you can do it almost effortlessly. If you can’t get the hang of it you can always hire an SEO content writer. Me, for example.

Hopefully I’ve answered that deep burning question: what is SEO writing? If you have any further questions, you can always leave a comment below.

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A lot of people who have an online business try to figure out how to write SEO articles, even though some say SEO is dead.  The secret to writing for SEO is not to keyword stuff the crap out of your writing, but rather to write for your audience while sprinkling in your keyword phrase.  You want to maintain a fairly low percentage of the occurrence of your keyword, include around 5 related keywords, and you need to know the right placement for these keywords.

There is no defined percentage for how frequently you can use your keywords in proper SEO content writing.  The conventional wisdom is usually something like less than 4%.  I think 4 or even 3% is rather high.  Imagine in a 400 word article where you see the same phrase repeated 16 times.  For most keyword phrases, this is going to look really unnatural, and whether or not you’re writing for SEO you should avoid such a high percentage of phrase usage.  Generally I keep it to 1 percent and less, and for some keywords like “how to write SEO articles,” 1% might even seem a bit excessive.

You also want to include around 5 different variations of your phrase when writing SEO copy.  This helps you target the long tails that others might not think of when they’re writing SEO articles.  You can find these long tails by entering your phrase into the Google Keyword tool.  You will also want to enter (in the keyword tool) shorter versions of your keyword phrase, and some variations that you can think of off the top of your head.  This will help you get a wider range of keywords to use.  Stick with phrases of 3 or more words, and at least 100 searches.  This tactic is really effective for getting long tail traffic.  I’m using it in this article – I’ve lost track of how many “how to write for seo” variations I’ve used at this point.  Each phrase doesn’t contain the same words, but they all revolve around the basic concept of writing for SEO.

Finally, when you’re learning how to write SEO articles, it’s important to understand your main keyword’s position within the article.  This is some really old school knowledge, but it’s generally important to have your main phrase in the first and last paragraph of your article, and at least once sometime in the middle.  It’s even better if you can naturally squeeze it in the first and last sentence.  While many things in SEO fluctuate, this one seems to be holding strong.

One final note about SEO writing:  you always want to write for people first and the search engines second.  The above tips will help you learn not only how to write SEO articles, but how to write them effectively and naturally and in a way that engages your reader, but includes proper SEO aspects.

 

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