These days, content writers have to write for two audiences: the people who read it and the search engines that index it. As SEO took off, however, new writers were trained to create content for one, but in the process forgot how to write for the other.
These writers added the right keywords in the right places and linked to relevant sites. The search engines responded to this, but the readers didn’t because the end result was uninteresting, irrelevant or so bad, it was unreadable. The point I want to make with this is that you cannot have good SEO writing without good writing, so follow these steps to write content that attracts people and search engines.
Pick a Meaningful Topic
What do potential readers care about? Are they looking for Maxwell Systems web based software or a cocktail dress for New Year’s Eve? Scan the web to find out what people want to know and write content around it.
Present valuable information in an easy-to-follow format, like a how-to guide or a product list. Also, choose a title that is unique, but matches the queries people use to find information. “How to Lose 20 pounds in 20 Days,” for instance, addresses a popular topic but promises a specific result. The title should also follow the next important step.
Choose and Place Popular Keywords
You knew this one would come up – SEO marketing started with keywords and still relies heavily on it. However, content can fail if the writer relies too heavily on them. Instead of focusing on keyword quantity, concentrate on quality.
Choose 1-2 of the most searched terms for your topic and place them in your blog. Don’t add them over and over, though – you’ll diminish the quality and turn off the search engines. Instead, place keywords where they fit naturally in the text, as well as in high-value places like the title, URL and subheadings.
Link to Other Content
Content marketers spend a lot of time trying to build links to their websites. If you have written a great blog with high-value keywords, you are already attracting readers. Add links to other content so they see more of your site.
If you are a retailer, link to one of your product pages – to make it less “sales-like”, use a generic keyword instead of the product name. Link to an earlier post on a similar topic or an entry from a guest blogger. These links will introduce new readers to the rest of your website and keep them on your site a little longer.
Edit and Proofread
Search engines don’t always pay attention to poor grammar and typos, but readers almost always do. You will lose credibility if words are missing from sentences or you confuse “you’re” with “your.” Protect your reputation – and readership – by proofing before posting.
Read your post and check for awkward phrasing. If something is confusing, rewrite it to improve the clarity. Check the spelling of proper names, and run a spell check on other words. You can use first-person, second-person or third-person narrative, but keep it consistent throughout. Finally, use proper punctuation for better readability.
Some writers know how to appeal to readers, while others know how to improve search engine rankings. If you want to stand out, however, your writing has to do both.
How do you write for search engines and people at the same time? Leave your tips in the comments below!
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