How To Create SEO-Friendly Content

Getting your voice heard on the internet is never easy. It can be like setting up your soapbox on a crowded street, and waving frantically to get passers-by to pay attention. You might be an expert in your chosen topic, with pearls of wisdom to dispense on X particles or Z-list celebrities, but how do you get people to stop long enough to listen?

The answer is finding the right balance between SEO-friendly content and readability.  It’s essential to make sure the Google (and Bing) spiders – and therefore readers – can find your website or blog. Knowing a few tricks can help you climb their rankings, without sacrificing your sparkling writing or specialist knowledge.

Choose Your Keywords

Keywords are the most important aspect of SEO , so think about them before you even start to write. It can be hard slotting keywords in afterwards without sounding clunky and forced.

Brainstorm words and phrases you think people are looking for, and use trusted tools such as GoogleAdWords to help pick the best. Consider how much competition there is for each phrase.  Instead of catch-all terms such as “travel agency” consider more specific terms, such as “Italian luxury travel specialist”, to sell your particular area of expertise.

Place Keywords Carefully

Search engines don’t just analyze which words you use, but where you place them. Getting keywords in the title or first sentence is obviously a good start. Many newspapers change their pun-heavy headlines to more SEO-friendly versions on their websites.

You need to find the right keyword density – “keyword stuffing” can be penalized by search engines, as well as being a turn-off to readers!

Don’t forget “hidden places” to put your keywords, such as meta tags and image captions.

Use Free Tools

Take advantage of free tools, such as Google Analytics which can assess where your site traffic comes from and which aspects need more work.  For bloggers, WordPress has various plug-ins that can help you choose the best post title and keywords, avoid duplicate content and make the most of meta-tags. Mashable has a list of the top 20 WordPress SEO plug-ins.

Become An Expert on Your Topic

Let’s say users are searching for “Edinburgh travel tips” or “easy Christmas recipes”. If you’ve got several articles on the same topic, then search engines will assume you know what you’re talking about. Choosing a targeted area of expertise will help you get on that coveted first page of search results.

Use Links Wisely

It’s not just what you write that counts. Clever use of links will help your site climb the rankings – including ones to other parts of your own website. If another page has relevant information or you’ve written a similar post in the past then add a link. Just don’t overdo it!

Wear the right Coloured Hat

SEO techniques are sometimes referred to as “white hat” or “black hat”. Search engines regard “white hat” techniques as legitimate ways to optimize your website and help users find the information they want. “Black hat” techniques refer to practices such as using hidden text, or having separate versions of websites to deceive search engines. They might work in the short term, but could lead to Google blocking your site – not a good strategy!

Write for Your Audience

“Content is king” may be a cliché, but it’s basically true. SEO techniques can grab readers, but engaging writing keeps them there. Don’t let your text get so loaded down with keywords your main points get lost. Giving away useful information or creating a lively, informative blog is the best way to keep readers coming back to your site.  Think of your audience. Are they interested enough to plough through a long piece of text? Or do they just want the basic facts as quickly  and succinctly as possible?

Make it Readable

And on the same theme, make sure your writing is easy on the eye. Break up chunks of text into subcategories, and use images effectively. Lists can be a good idea – and a way to repeat keywords without readers noticing! Use short sentences and leave plenty of white space.



Redefining “SEO Copywriting”


Here at SEOptimise we’ve been thinking a lot about copywriting recently. More than usual, that is! As the person responsible for overseeing copywriting at SEOptimise, I thought I’d share a few thoughts on the frankly quite lamentable state of what has become known as “SEO copywriting”.

Any copywriter worth their salt will doubtless share my opinion that so-called “SEO copywriting” gives the world of copywriting a bad name. Despite using the name “copywriting”, it couldn’t be further from this highly skilled profession. As we all know, this lesser species of copywriting has evolved because once upon a time, it was considered acceptable to throw together a quick article on “the secret to cheap international calls” or whatever, and submit it to a dozen or so article directories for a few quick links. But Google quite rightly recognised that that kind of rubbish was not remotely helpful to its users, and has been banging on about high-quality content with renewed vigour ever since.

In the light of the Panda update we made the conscious decision, as an agency, that the content we produce for our clients during the course of routine link building activities would have to take a big step up from the typical article directory fodder which has unfortunately come to be associated with the SEO world. Moving away from devalued article directories, it becomes necessary to intensify link building efforts in other areas; guest blogging is one area which immediately springs to mind, and one in which we have been met with considerable success for most of, if not all, our clients. But for this strategy to be successful, and to gain good links from high-authority blogs which have a high readership, it’s necessary to produce decent pieces of writing that bloggers will actually want to feature.

It’s just a shame that a lot of professional copywriting services seem to be stuck in the past when it comes to churning out the kind of copy regularly to be seen gracing the spammier article directories. Haven’t they heard of the Panda update? Don’t they realise that this sort of crappy copy doesn’t cut it anymore? In the past, we’ve been through a string of copywriting services and the blog posts we’ve had written have been very much of the article directory ilk – ill-thought-out, boring and, I might add, riddled with typos and fundamental grammatical errors. If you’ve read my previous posts or if youfollow me on Twitter, you may remember that I take a dim view of poor grammar, so you can imagine my reaction to finding it in the work of professional copywriters. I also recently completed a Diploma in Copywriting, and the course material for that wasn’t much better. A woeful state of affairs!

At SEOptimise our rationale is that investing more in copywriting ultimately pays dividends. An interesting, insightful piece of writing that takes an original look at a topic will quite simply do far better for your SEO efforts than the sort of lazily spun “how to” articles churned out by “content generation” companies. Not only will you have far greater success in publishing the work on decent sites, but you’ll also find that it’s far more likely to be shared in the social media networks and you’ll reach a much bigger audience. And more exposure means more links! To use a buzzword that I’m not altogether fond of (I don’t like buzzwords either), it’s pretty much a win-win situation!

So I would argue that it’s time for a rethink of how we – the SEO community – view copywriting. Rather than thinking of it as “SEO copywriting” or “content generation”, our focus needs almost to shift back to a more traditional, journalistic approach to writing, with the emphasis on tackling new subjects, providing readers with meaningful insights and embracing the limitless possibilities of the English language beyond the narrow confines of article directory spam.

And on that note, if you’d like to write full time for SEOptimise, we’re currently expanding our copywriting team:  check out our copywriter job vacancy for more details.

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