If you’ve been a frequent visitor to this site, you may have come across more than few articles on search engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO. If you want to make money writing content, you want to ensure that your content does not get lost at sea in the vast digital ocean.
The funny thing is that many SEO tips aren’t really geared towards writers; they’re more for those responsible for posting the content. However, doing your part as a writer is the key. Following a few “best practices” helps you to find that happy medium between a) articles that people want to read, and b) articles that search engines rank highly.
The only way you can keep clients happy is by crafting well written articles like this one. You have to be providing content that reads well and provides value for those reading it.
There’s nothing worse than reading an article that’s been created by “article spinning” software, or by finding an article that’s trying too much to sell you some product or service. Selling may be the objective, but for inbound marketing (the bulk of SEO writing), this approach is as sleazy as a used-car salesman.
The longer you make your articles, the better. Aiming for 1,000+ words per article ranks highly on search engines and satisfies your reader. It can be cumbersome to keep flipping through page after page to find the content you were originally looking for; search engines agree, too.
Not only do you get to cover topics in a wider sense, but you also create more instances for keywords (and their variants) that guides readers to your content. It’s win-win.
Time to get funky with the ENTER key. I don’t know about you, but when I see a wall of text, I die a little on the inside. Keeping your thoughts organized in neat 2 -4 sentence blocks keeps eyes on the page. For instance, writing another sentence after this one would be silly.
The more that your content is shared, the more it is shared. That’s not a catch-22, however. As a writer, you should include ways for your readers to share your content on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Screenshot-ready versions on image-only sites like Instagram can further spread your content and expand your reach.
Headings and Subheadings
I hate to break it to you, but most of your audience isn’t going to read every word that you’ve written. Organizing your content into headings and subheadings is your key to making content visually-scannable, and helping search engine algorithms determine if your page is relevant to a search query. Be liberal with relevant headings and make sure your content has plenty of H2 and H3 subheadings. If you need a reference, just copy what I’ve done on this page!
Similar to making your content sharable, you should include links and backlinks to not only relevant content on your website, but also to other influencers in your niche/target audience. Links strengthen your arguments via “social proof.” They also subconsciously communicate a sense of authority, as you are part of your industry’s inner workings. That being said, click here to find out more about freelance writing.
Oof, this one’s a doozy. Keywords are the lifeblood of SEO and it is up to you as the writer to sprinkle your content with just the right amount of keywords. That number isn’t set in stone. As a rule of thumb, your keywords shouldn’t STAND OUT, but be well-integrated into a coherent piece of content.
Keyword frequency doesn’t just stop at the number of repetitions, either. It’s more about how keywords work together to form a wider picture of what specifically your content is about. As an example, including “famous golfers,” “Tiger Woods,” and “handicap” would present a clearer picture to search engines form more generic articles. If you want to dive further down the keyword rabbit hole, may I suggest reading about Latent Semantic Indexing, or LSI.
See you in Wonderland, Alice.
Don’t Wear the Black Hat
Somewhere in the search engine hotbed headquarters of Silicon Valley, engineers are feverishly scrambling to devise methods to ward off writers and web admins that take advantage of black hat techniques. Black hat techniques are a big no-no and the quickest way to get not only your entire webpage cast into the fiery infernos of website Hell, but also your website becomes handicapped for ETERNITY (or at least until you rectify your methodology). Google even updates their search algorithms 100+ times a day; trust me, they know what you’re up to…
Call it karma or whatnot, but the point is that if you use black-hat techniques, your content will eventually be rendered useless and worse. The companies that run search engines frown upon those that use black hat techniques because they’re gaming the system.
Consequently, many formerly high-ranking websites lose their position by taking advantage of loopholes in the algorithms of the search engines. Furthermore, these websites get penalized in the future, making their manipulation less fruitful when they are being oppressed
Black hat techniques are always evolving, with entrepreneurs eager looking to cut a few corners in their online marketing strategies and gain a competitive advantage. Some are worse than others, but the ways that unscrupulous entrepreneurs are being mitigated from the system is always developing.
Crime doesn’t take a day off. A few of the most commonly-abused techniques include:
- Duplicate content
- Paid Links
- Article Spinning
- Invisible Text
- Selling Links
- Comment Spam
And so forth. If it feels sleazy, it probably is.
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Okay, that about wraps this article on ways to boost your content up the search engine’s rankings. Start adhering to the proven methods and you will notice how your content begins to climb the rankings on the strength of doing things the right way. And put that black hat in the closet; no one looks good in a Fedora except old Italian men drinking espresso.
(Side note: Please accept my dearest apologies if you have arrived on this page to read about golf because you’re in for quite a disappointment. FORE!)