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Experienced in Web Content, Blogging, Editing, News. and More 

Content Writing for SEO

May 21, 2016

Many writers today make their bread and butter by creating content for businesses. In the past, keywords ruled the day. Online business clients often would expect writers to churn out multiple spins on the same article, simply chock-full of repetitive keywords. This process lowered the standard of writers and of pay for content freelancers. Fortunately, Google has since decided that junky, unoriginal keyword-stuffed content was bad for them because it is bad for the average internet user looking to be educated or entertained.

Over the last few years, the need for quality content is growing again. In 2016, talented, professional writers can rejoice in the fact that the dreaded “spins” are no longer in vogue. In fact, those types of articles will actually bring down the search engine ranking of a site.

What Google Wants

Google’s desired optimization has a lot of moving parts. Fast-loading pages, backlinks, social media traffic, how long users stay to read; all of these things – and more – go into how well a website will rank. As a writer, the knowledge of what Google wants in content itself is priceless for your business.

Google Bot is searching for quality content from industry experts. There is a pretty loose definition of expert, so don’t be too disheartened if you don’t have a lot of letters behind your name. If you are a freelance writer running a freelance writing site, you may be considered an expert in your field.  If you are ghostwriting for an industry expert and selling the rights to your material, that is also fine. However, if you are not an expert in the area in which you are writing (let’s face it, most of us have played jack-of-all-trades in content writing) for the client’s site, the content needs to be well-researched and completely original.

Having a deep understanding of what qualifies as unique, well-researched, and informative can be a boon when you are looking to market your skills to a business client. Your job is to make them look good and to increase their visibility and traffic. Being able to explain why they need you to do that is as important as being able to write.

Tips for Writing for SEO

Some writers say that the rules are difficult; they just want to write how they write without all the details.

I say, “Well, then, content writing isn’t for you.”

It is really that simple. Content writing is a job. Many writers write other things, but use this kind of work to pay the bills. It is a creative endeavor, but it is also technical as you are writing with a purpose and a means to an end.

Keyword Use: Your main keyword or long tail keyword should appear in your title, within your first 2 sentences, within your last paragraph, and 2 to 3 times in the body. If you are using subheadings (highly suggested), one of the times it appears in the body should be in your subheading. If it needs to be used more often, try using alternate forms of the word (plural, for instance). Strive to keep your main keyword appearing no more than 5 times. Work those words in naturally. If it is awkward or poorly written or keyword-stuffed, Google Bot will know. Don’t toss in keywords that do not fit just to drive traffic. Trying to get the words, “Justin Bieber” or “Kris Jenner” into a blog post about photographing hummingbirds is also keyword stuffing and big brother Google Bot is smarter than you think.

Complexity: I’m a pretty smart cookie and I use big words and sentences with semicolons in my natural habitat. However – except when implicitly desired – keep the text readable and the sentences short when writing blogs or articles for SEO. There may be times where technical work is necessary and needed. Yet, in day to day updates to keep the site alive, it is best to keep it simple.

Originality: When researching a topic, take the time to actually do the due diligence. Your writing will be worth more to your clients. Do not ever read one page on the topic elsewhere and spin it for the client. This does a disservice to both your client and yourself. Once complete, run it through plagiarism checkers. Copyscape is a very popular one – but if you need to stick with completely free – Small SEO Tools is a handy free checker.

I know what you are going to say. You are thinking, “I wouldn’t plagiarize! I know I am not copying! I don’t need to check myself!”

Yes. Yes, you do. You need to check yourself. Accidental plagiarism is absolutely a thing. It happens to all of us and it can ruin your career.

Frequency: (this is really good news for writers) Clients should be updating the site weekly at very least. If they really want to make an impact in raising their ranking, volume is also a huge factor. In order for a news site to get listed in Google News, they have to update multiple times daily.

Always give credit where credit is due on your research!

Good luck!

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