SEO isn’t as mysterious as it sounds. Search engine optimization may not be the most exciting content to write, but it is considered by many to be the most useful. Every freelance writer needs to understand these five basic tips for SEO. Arming yourself with SEO knowledge and experience gives you a one-way ticket to the coveted land of steady of freelance work.
Every Business Does It
The first thing that writers need to know about SEO: it’s everywhere. Search engine optimization is quickly becoming the largest avenue of freelance income throughout the world. Businesses are quickly realizing that success without a website is nearly impossible. New websites, web pages, blogs, news feeds, and sales pages are popping up every day. These websites need content. Writers who stay blissfully in the dark about search engine optimization may see their writing jobs plummet as more and more businesses require knowledgeable SEO professionals for their current writing needs.
Borrowed Content is a Death Sentence
Repeat this to yourself when you sit down to write: “I must make up my own content.” It should be the SEO writer’s mantra. Borrowed content is a death sentence for a website. If you plagiarize, borrow, or manipulate existing content, the algorithms will know. Think of the search engine algorithms as a shrewd high school English professor who snoops every sentence. Plagiarized content will send your website to the bottom of the search pool: a bad place to be if you want to succeed on the web.
The Truth About Keyword Research
You can write the best SEO content on the Internet, content that’s filled with poetic turns of phrase, glowing metaphors, and song-worthy strings of sentences, but if your keywords simply aren’t being searched your efforts are worthless. Many businesses provide SEO writers with phrases that sound good; however, these phrases aren’t being searched by a large number of Internet users on a daily basis. A company that sells pianos may want to advertise their “sparkly pink piano with gumdrop pattern,” but how many Internet users are searching for “piano, pink and gumdrop” at the same time? None. Unless your keywords are well-researched, the best content will accomplish nothing.
Keyword Optimization vs. Keyword Stuffing
Here’s a common misconception about search engine optimization content: you don’t have to stuff it with keywords the way your grandmother stuffed a Thanksgiving turkey. Cramming an article or blog post with keywords may seem like a good idea, but search engine algorithms tend to “red flag” articles that are too keyword-heavy. Why? An article that is overflowing with keywords isn’t likely to read well, and it’s even less likely to provide useful content to Internet surfers. A keyword density of three to seven percent is the ideal ratio for SEO. Much more than that and your sentence is going to read like a robot soliloquy.
The Human Side of SEO
Many SEO writers generate massive amounts of content that never actually boosts a website’s rankings in search engine results. Instead of lamenting the corruption of the Google algorithm, take a good look at the content you’re writing. Odds are good you are making a simple mistake: you are writing for the engine and not for the people. Believe it or not, the best SEO content is the real content that is informative, easy to understand, and useful. Search engines do their best to scan millions of pages of content and guess which content is the most useful, but the people who read and share SEO content are the ones who drive the rankings up. If you want your content to turn a second-rate website into a beacon of information, make sure you are writing for the people.
SEO writing may be the wave of the future, so it’s important for writers to stay abreast of the latest tips and techniques. These tips will get you started, but SEO requires ongoing education, study, research, and practice.
Valerie Mellema is the owner of Words You Want and has over 7 years experience in the SEO writing industry. Read about what Words You Want has to offer and learn some great content marketing tips at http://blog.wordsyouwant.com.