There is no denying the power of content marketing and its impact on your long term SEO success. But knowing that you need to produce content and actually writing for SEO are two very different things. Not everyone is going to be a fantastic writer right out of the gate (and some never will) but here are four tips that can help anyone who can put pen to paper (or fingers to keyword) write for SEO:
1. Just write! Worry about SEO in a minute.
A major roadblock for a lot of site owners that are trying to write for SEO is that they let the idea of writing for SEO get in the way of the actually writing. Producing great content can be tricky enough on its own—don’t make things harder on yourself than they have to be and just get the content written! I’ve found that when many site owners try too hard to write for SEO they oftentimes end up with generic or boring content that was mainly written for the search spiders but isn’t’ actually all that valuable to their readers. You want to keep SEO in mind when you’re writing, but don’t let yourself get so focused on the SEO component that you don’t actually produce anything!
The Google Panda update went after thin content (among other things) so it’s important that you have a great, informative piece of content to work with before you start worrying about SEO-fying it.
2. What’s the central point? Turn it into your keyword!
When you are done writing your blog post or article, re-read it and pull out the central point of the post—chances are that central point if going to make a great keyword. For instance, the central point of this article is how to write for SEO. It just so happens that “how to write for SEO” has a local search volume of 1,600 a month! I could also target a keyword like “SEO writing,” “writing content for SEO,” or “SEO writing tips.” I’ve found that most of the times great content is already slightly optimized, because it makes sense to repeat certain phrases about your central point. When you go back and read your content see if there is any phrase you’re already using more than once. If you didn’t really repeat yourself or don’t see a common phrase being used right away that’s ok! That’s where the next step comes in.
3. Go back and optimize the content NATURALLY.
Let’s say the only time I used “how to write for SEO” was in the title of the post (which is a great place to incorporate your main keyword by the way). Since I’ve decided that is both the central point of my blog post AND going to be my main keyword, it shouldn’t be that hard to go back into what I’ve already written and work it in naturally to the existing content. How do you know if a keyword is a good fit for your content? It shouldn’t be a struggle to fit it in! If you feel like you are forcing a keyword to make sense with your existing content chances are it isn’t the write one for that blog or article.
Let me reiterate—it’s so important to optimize your content NATURALLY! Don’t stuff your keyword in every single chance you get as this starts to read spammy to both your human readers and the search spiders.
4. Add a link or two as appropriate.
Once you are all done writing and optimizing your content there is one last step to get a little extra SEO value out of your work—adding links. In my opinion, a link should be used to augment the existing content—linking readers to related content on your own site or quoting the original author if you used someone else’s content. Everyone has a different opinion, but I try to limit the number of links in any given blog post or article to 2-3 at the most. I think any more hyperlinked text can start to look a little busy and might pull your reader too far away from your own content as they click from source to source to source.
Be sure to keep your anchor text usage as natural and varied as possible. You want to use a mix of branded, non-branded, long-tail and broad keywords and keep it random. Overuse of exact match anchor text is what landed a lot of sites in hot water with the Google Penguin update.
Remember that content comes in all shapes and sizes. Blog posts, articles, white papers, video transcriptions, eBooks, infographics and more—all of it can be written and optimized for SEO and help build your online brand and SERP presence.
About the Author
Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing, white hat SEO company based in Boston, MA. With 13 years of experience Nick Stamoulis shares his SEO knowledge by writing in the Brick Marketing Blog and publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter, read by over 150,000 opt-in subscribers.
Contact Nick Stamoulis at 781-999-1222 or firstname.lastname@example.org