SEO Writing for Dummies
An important tool in a freelance writer’s arsenal is search engine optimization, also called SEO. In this piece, we’ll answer key questions like, “What is SEO content writing?” and “How can it help a client’s website?” Understanding how to write SEO content is key to your success as a freelance writer, so learn some of these helpful tips and tricks so that you can produce great work.
What Is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” SEO is the process of making sure that your website and its contents are easy to understand, easy to use, and easy to find using a search engine like Google or Bing.
What Is SEO Writing?
SEO writing is a form of writing that helps websites become more visible to major search engines. A highly visible website with good content appears on the first few pages of results when someone searches for that topic.
Why Is SEO Content Writing Important?
The higher a website ranks in Google or Bing, the more people will visit their site. More visitors means more sales or just more readers or fans. SEO content-writing jobs are increasingly in demand, so having an understanding of what exactly the job entails means you will be a more valuable asset to any company that hires you.
What Is an SEO Copywriter?
An SEO copywriter is someone who can look at a set of keywords, figure out what someone searching for those phrases wants to know, and write it clearly and succinctly. A good SEO writer also must be able to use keywords effectively to help the reader find their content in search engines.
What Skills Should a Content Writer Have?
To be a good SEO writer, you must be able to:
- Write content that’s grammatical, clear, and concise
- Focus on what the reader wants to know
- Use SEO keywords in a natural-sounding way
- Research topics you’re not familiar with to find trustworthy information
- Write using the proper tone to engage the reader
- Manage your time well to meet deadlines
How Do You Write SEO Articles?
The trick to how to write SEO articles is to start with good writing, just like any other type of article. Keep these key points in mind:
- Use the keyword phrases to guide what you write: What does someone searching for these phrases want to know?
- Write engaging content that’s grammatical, well-organized, and easy to understand.
- Use headings to make the text more scannable.
- Make sure that keywords sound natural in context.
- Always proofread.
What Are Keyword Phrases?
Keywords are the search phrases people type in when they are looking for information on the Internet.
What Is an Example of a Keyword?
Keywords can take many forms. For example, if a reader wants to learn about guinea pigs, they might use “guinea pigs” as their keyword phrase. If they’re looking to buy flowers for a friend in Houston, it might be “flower shops in Houston.”
Due to the way search engines read pages, SEO writers should use keyword phrases exactly the way they appear in article instructions. If the instructions call for the phrase “guinea pigs,” to be most effective, you should include the phrase as a whole.
For editing purposes, Online Writing Jobs instructions typically ask our writers to signify the use of keywords with parentheses. For example:
There are many different types of pets. (Guinea pigs) are among the most popular because they are easy to care for and can be a great pet for younger children.
What if a Keyword Phrase Doesn’t Sound Natural?
Sometimes, you will get an article that calls for a keyword phrase totally unlike what you would use in everyday speech. That’s because people tend to type into Google whatever comes to their mind first, often in its most simplistic form. For example, someone looking for a divorce lawyer in Springfield will simply type “divorce lawyers Springfield.”
Since articles must sound natural and engaging, this can make writing for SEO a challenge.
However, there’s a plus side, as there are several different ways to handle a confusing keyword phrase like this. The first way is to separate the phrase with punctuation, as it’s been revealed that major search engines like Google don’t take into account most punctuation, with rare exceptions. So a few perfectly acceptable ways to address this issue are as follows:
If you’re comparing (divorce lawyers, Springfield) has many options.
At our law firm, you will find only the most reliable and compassionate (divorce lawyers. Springfield) residents have trusted us for more than 40 years.
This first method is the most classic way to handle keywords and what most writers think of when asked, “What is SEO writing?” But there’s also a newer way to handle odd keywords like these. There are short words and phrases that are often ignored by search engines. Prepositions and articles (e.g., words like “of,” “a,” “in,” and “on”) are often completely ignored. This can turn a bad keyword into one that’s more natural:
Her experience and expertise make her one of the best (divorce lawyers in Springfield).
Those keywords are often called “stop words.” A writer should not use them excessively in title tags, as they take up too much important real estate in your very short title, but within page content, this is perfectly fine.
Regardless of which method you use, your keywords must always fit naturally into the text of the article. Unnatural-sounding keywords with poor grammar will be very recognizable to more evolved search engines over time.
How Many Keywords Should I Use?
In simplistic terms: a lot, but not too many! Use as many keywords as you can while still sounding natural. While you want your keywords to appear in your content, you don’t want them to be stuffed in there awkwardly and too many times. This is called “over-optimizing” and can actually hurt a website’s rankings. A rule of thumb could be that in a piece that’s around 300-400 words, you should aim for 5-7 keyword phrases and never introduce keywords more than ten times.
SEO Article-Writing Tips
- Write for the audience: Your tone may vary according to the article assignment but should always be informative, engaging, and centered on the needs of the reader.
- Use keywords naturally: While reading your article, the average person should have no idea that keywords were involved.
- Let the keywords help you form your outline: Would any of the keywords make sense as major headings or within opening sentences? These may be some of the more natural and easiest places to put your keyword phrases.
- Use a checklist: You might find it helpful to copy and paste the keywords into a separate file where you can mark them as you go and make notes showing how many times you’ve used them.
- Read your article out loud: If you read your article out loud before submitting it, you might find places where the language doesn’t quite sound right.
How to Become an SEO Content Writer
The steps to get paid for SEO content writing are simple:
- Make sure you have a good grasp of writing fundamentals. A college degree or certification is not necessary, though it can be helpful.
- Learn SEO basics like how to use keyword phrases naturally within a piece of text.
- Apply to work for Online Writing Jobs, or find another avenue for your skills. Members of our freelance writing team enjoy flexible hours and the ability to choose the projects they want to complete.
Where to Find Out More
You’ve now gained further knowledge about what SEO writing is and how it can help your clients. If you have a question about SEO writing, feel free to contact us: Online Writing Jobs is a longtime provider of high-quality SEO content. If you currently write with us, feel free to send our staff an email, check out some more in-depth material to help you improve your writing, or look up more information in our Writer Resources.
If you’re not yet a writer with us, take a stab at it! Apply as a writer today!