Take a deep breath: SEO writing is not as hard as it sounds. It belongs to the field of copywriting, and is an excellent way for freelancers to earn some extra dollars.
Website owners need SEO copywriters (they just don’t know it yet)
Take a look at some of the articles out there in cyberspace, and they’ll make your hair stand on end. Business owners often write their own material, and even if the content is good, 90% of the time they have no idea how to write for the web or search engines.
People untrained in SEO writing will often either stuff their content with keywords, or not know how to use keywords at all. They end up with text that no one can find, and Google may lower their site ranking through over-usage of keywords.
If you have good writing skills (which can by learned by the way), then all you need to do is angle your articles or blogs so that they comply with SEO rules. Simple as that.
What are keywords?
When you are searching for something on the internet, the words or phrase fragments that you type into the search box are keywords. You’ll also notice that Google will usually offer suggestions as you type. These are all commonly used keywords.
How to write for SEO
- Brief the client about what articles or blogs they want on their website.
- Get relevant keywords and keyword phrases (your client should give you these, or you may need to research keywords).
- Aim for a minimum of 500 words.
- Research useful and accurate information and add your own unique angle/spin. Do not plagiarise!
- Add keywords: Weave and sprinkle keywords (especially the title, subheadings and first paragraph) – but don’t overstuff the copy with keywords. Keep it subtle and intelligible. Use keyword synonyms as well.
- Go back over your draft and ensure that your paragraphs are small (3-4 lines max) and that your sentences are shortish and easy to read. Check that you’ve added scannable subheads and created a captivating title for your article (which includes an important keyword or phrase)
Proofread your SEO content
I know this sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many typos and punctuation errors I see on articles EVERY DAY. It’s scary and it will lose you clients fast. If you have software like Grammarly installed, then it will definitely help. (Being a cheapskate, I use the free version of Grammarly.)
Avoid plagiarism through a checker (there are many programs available online).
Advanced SEO writing (read this if you want to take a step further)
“One of the biggest challenges that bloggers and content marketers face is writing content that’s optimized for search engines, yet will also appeal to people.” – Neil Patel
Basically, you need to write for human beings before you write for search engines. This might again sound embarrassingly obvious, but is too often overlooked.
How to write SEO for human beings
- Visualise your target readers face/age/occupation/needs/desires (at least a couple of these points).
- With your keywords and phrases in the back (or front) of your mind, just put your first draft together fast.
- Then go back and sprinkle your keywords into the text, including the title and headings.
- Aim to extend the word count while maintaining high quality (no waffle or padding).
- Add useful external links to give your readers more scope.
And never stop learning. Read high quality blogs on this subject to keep up-to-date with the latest SEO copywriting news.
Disclaimer: I do not endorse any of the affiliated links in the above article – they are merely suggestions from my own experience.