For web marketers search engine optimization is a concrete tool to use in order to get good website rankings. For journalists and authentic authors it merely means a degrading compromise to the written word. But in reality it is not a matter of choosing one before the other but rather to realize the co-dependency of the two.
SEO consists of a number of rules one should apply to a text/page to give the best possible prospect of ranking high in the search engines. That is a matter of exposure. Quality writing however is ultimately what will create proper value to your website, in let’s say returning visitors. Something that is highly valued by search engines as well.
This is the second articles in the series of Writing good SEO & Quality Content. Here we will suggest how you can apply SEO to your text the right way.
“SEO copy is not about compromise but rather a tool to enable best possible exposure”
A common misconception in implementing SEO to web articles is to add popular keywords that many people currently are using in search engines, no matter the topic.
For example adding key phrase WHO WON THE VP DEBATE” or keyword NUCULAR (top 2 most popular search terms at the moment ~ Google Trends) in an article about how to write good search engine optimized content.
Journalist Charlie Brooker at The Guardian recently wrote a column about this perceived journalistic sell-out to the search engines titling it; Online POKER marketing could spell the NAKED end of VIAGRA journalism as we LOHAN know it.
And though Brooker makes a solid point from a journalist’s point of view, he has misunderstood the concept of writing search engine optimized content. Understanding his frustration, inserting generally popular search terms in any given texts is enough to make any serious writer hit the roof. However, as we established in the introduction, SEO copy is not about compromise but rather a tool to enable best possible exposure. Proper SEO should hence be written accordingly:
Find relevant keywords for your article topic
Any popular keyword or phrase won’t do. You see, it is not about getting as much traffic as possible but instead getting as much well-targeted visitors as possible. People who might be interested in what you are writing about.
If someone who does not have the slightest clue about affiliate marketing would search on Lindsay Lohan in Google and end up here, he/she would be most likely to make 360 turn and head back to the SERP.
Now if you find popular keywords or phrases that are related to the article topic such as “Write SEO” or “Search engine optimization” for this article, summon them in a list. Having these keywords in your article, the title, sub-headers and body will greatly increase you chances of ranking better in search engines such as Google. That way you will not have unrelated words and sentences popping up in your articles, disturbing your reader and reducing your article’s credibility.
The freedom of speech
Creative freedom and the autonomy of expressing yourself are great parts of writing. And frankly when using SEO you will be walking the line. Since you have to insert certain words in titles and body text that is originally not your own a certain degree of compromise is unavoidable. The title of an article will not entirely be your own creation, nor will certain sentences in the texts.
On the bright side, when writing search engine optimized content it’s all about making it look natural for the search engines. A keyword’s density should not be too high making the article seem obviously optimized.
The Keyword list
A proper keyword list should contain all relevant keyword according to popularity (number of searches on the keyword) in all its variations. Typos, long-tail (nowadays people tend to spell out longer sentences or phrases when searching the web) and semi-relevant keywords.
Divide the most popular and the less searched into primary and secondary keywords, and then add them to your article accordingly:
- Article title: Use one of the primary keywords
- Introduction: Add secondary keywords
- Body:Here you can insert long-tail keywords and typos to cover the spectra of keywords
Depending how long your article is you can decide how many keywords to insert. If you are using sub-header or other bolded headings make sure to add a keyword, since often search engine robots primarily look at titles and bolded text before scanning the rest of the text.
The importance of Meta data
In every webpage that is created proper meta data should be attached. This is done manually by inserting proper meat data into the HEAD section in every page code. Much like you would implement SEO directly into the article, you should here focus on getting primary and secondary keywords in the meta data, consisting of a meta title, description and keywords.
This information is then picked up by the search engine and displayed in the search result page describing your article.
If you happen to be a blogger, using WordPress, you can easily download an All-in-One Seo pack that will install the ability to add meta data in for every blog post or page.
Online writing Vs. Offline writing
Search engine optimized content should thus not be about a comprimise of quality content but rather a supplement to the article, helping it to get more readers. Facts is that if your article is not ranked in Google for example, preferably on result page 1, it will take a lot of say returning website visitors, referred traffic by bookmarking site or direct traffic for your article to get much attention.
Now, if your website already has a high pagerank / DA / TF, its authority will give your article more power and juice to rank high and you won’t have to search engine optimize your article as much. Writing for the we however, is different from offline editing and SEO is just one of many differences that you have to come to temrs with.