What is SEO writing?
Simple definition… SEO writing is content that’s Search Engine Optimized.
Which basically means having the right format, and density of “keywords” or “keyword phrases” in your writing, so the search engines know how to index your pages.
When we get the SEO right, our web pages show up at the top of search results.
And that’s what we want, right?
Well, yes… and no.
Yes, we do want our content to be Search Engine Optimized, so it has the best chance of showing up at the top of search engines.
But the problem starts when we write content with SEO as the main, or only focus. It might get us to the top of the search engines, but here’s the caveat…
Search engines don’t buy anything! People do.
What good is having your content show up near the top of google, if no humans actually want to read it.
Always remember, people use search engines to look for a particular phrase because they want to know more about it, or because they want to buy what you’re selling.
If your content reads like it was written by a robot, for robots, then you can pat yourself on the back for getting to the top of google. And when you’re done patting yourself on the back, you can spend the rest of your day wondering why your bounce rate is north of 98%
That said… There is a balance between SEO content, and HUMAN optimized content.
And that’s what we’re going to look at right now. How SEO copywriting can destroy your content (and possibly ruin your brands reputation at the same time). And what we can do to avoid this mistake, while still ranking in the search engines…
BIG Mistake #1
Focus on one Exact-match keyphrase, or focus on keyword density, and repeat the keyword over and over (and over) again.
Let’s start with an example.
Imagine I was trying to SEO optimize this article for the keyphrase “SEO content writing” and I wrote something like this…
“SEO content writing is important because SEO content writing helps the search engines know where to index your SEO content.
By using SEO content writing you are writing your content for SEO and better search engine placement for your SEO written content.
SEO content writing also lets you…”
OK, we’ll end it there because I think we all get the point.
There’s 2 things wrong with that content…
The first thing is that it’s “keyword stuffed” and the major search engines have algorithms that frown on overstuffed keyword content.
But the biggest problem is that it’s redundant and boring. So even if an actual human ever finds your article, after reading the first 3 sentences their reaction will almost certainly be…
“YEAH, we get it. Your article is about SEO content writing. Now do you plan to write anything that’s actually useful?”
And that will likely be the last thought running through their mind just before they add another click to your bounce rate.
Here’s the real deal:
Most keyphrase-stuffed content comes from folks that are commodity writers.
They do what their clients tell them (such as, focus on one or two keyphrases per page) without understanding the human element of conversion flow.
As a result, the page doesn’t position in the search engines. And even if, by some miracle of fate, it does get to the first page of google, the content doesn’t convert visitors into readers.
Sadly, many writers think all SEO content is poorly-written content. But that’s not really true.
There is a balance that can be achieved as long as you remember… First, and formost, write your conent for people, not search engines!
Then, at the same time, you can include a little SEO candy for the search engines…
To start with, include your keyword in the title. This gives both the search engines, and humans, an idea of what your content is about.
Then, include your keyword near the beginning of your content. In the first paragraph is good. This also gives search engines, and humans, an idea of what your content is about.
And, at the same time it’s good copy practice to immediately reinforce the main idea of your headline, so people know your headline wasn’t just clickbait.
After that, you should use variations of your keyword (or keyphrase) sprinkled throughout the page.
Instead of just repeating “SEO content writing” over and over – try changing it up by saying “content written for SEO” or “best SEO practices when writing content for your article or blog post”.
Variations still let the search engines know what your content is about, while adding a little variety to keep the interest of your human readers.
OK, this post is starting to get a little long and I need to get back to work. So I’ll end it here with one final note…
It should never read like an awkward struggle to fit your keyword in your copy.
When writing SEO content, your keywords or keyphrases should flow naturally in your writing — if you feel like you’re starting to write boring, robotic gibberish, set your copy down and take a short break, so you can come back with a fresh set of eyes.
There is a balance to be had. And while SEO content writing is important for search engine rankings, remember…Search engines don’t buy anything, people do.
Here’s to writing better content, more often…
All the best,
- Part 2 – The secret to writing persuasive sales copy - April 30, 2020
- The Secret To Writing Persuasive Sales Copy - April 19, 2020
- Here’s Why SEO Writing Can Destroy Your Content (and what you can do to make it better) - March 29, 2020