Writing for SEO is a unique experience. Unlike the formality of essays or the casual flow of magazine articles, SEO writing is fragmented and robotic. It requires an entirely different skillset to navigate the rules of search engines.
Even the most talented writers in the world can struggle to translate their prose into SEO compliancy. The good news is that with a few minor tweaks, all forms of writing can be repurposed for SEO. Today we’re teaching you how.
Why Write with SEO in Mind
Though it can be an initial hurdle, mastering this distinctive style is worth the effort. This is because meeting SEO standards is critical to your website performance.
Unlike writing for a specific audience, say with a newspaper or a social post, you’re effectively writing for search engines. It’s these complex systems that determine how visible your content is through basic searches, vastly impacting how many people see it.
With your audience at stake, it’s important to get SEO right.
Select your Keywords
We’ll start with one of the most important elements; keywords. Keywords are chosen terms that help search engines to identify what your content is about. These can be as simple as a single word or a particular phrase that will occur multiple times. They need to be simple enough for someone to organically search google, but specific enough that they won’t appear in every single article and website online.
In terms of best practice, keywork usage depends on the length of your content. For an article of 300 words you’ll want the keywords to appear 3-5 times, while a piece of 800 words should include 5-8 mentions. These keywords should also be included in the title of your content and within the first one or two headers.
It’s important to note that your keywords don’t need to be an exact match in every instance. In fact, SEO wants you to slightly change the phrase so as to avoid repetition. For example, if your keywords were “writing for SEO.” Than “SEO writing” will also apply.
Change How You Write
There’s criteria that define strong SEO writing. This includes variation of sentences, the verb tense, and the length of your sections.
In general practice you are looking to have short sentences, containing fewer than twenty-one words. A few longer phrases are allowed, but you should look for opportunities to change commas into full stops. It helps to limit yourself to one thought per sentence.
SEO also wants variation in sentence length. Mix it up. Throw a short phrase after a particularly long one. You may not realise this, but it’s more interesting to read than a repetitive flow.
Search engines also want you to vary your word choice. You can’t start every sentence with the same word without causing red flags.
Another principle of SEO writing involves verb tense. Try to write in the present tense as much as possible. This is inherently difficult when writing about events in the past, such as recapping a sports match for an online blog. There’s some leniency on this rule, but Google tends to prefer pieces with less than 10% of content in the past tense.
Lastly, SEO writing requires the breakup of text chunks. You’ll want to divide paragraphs with headers, aiming for less than 200 words per section.
Another critical element of web performance is hyperlinks. We’re talking about both external links to other sites, and internal links to additional web pages of your own. A mixture of both is important to build credibility of your site, particularly for newer site builds. Google and other search engines want to know that your site is well connected. The belief is that a well-connected website is more legitimate than those that don’t. Think of news organisations which often link to past stories for further context It’s equally important that your links are functional; that they work as intended and drive to credible destinations.
Use an SEO Tool
A strong recommend is to use an SEO checking tool. Whether installing a plugin for your site or running text through a checker, such tools will make your life a lot easier. That’s because these tools can help flag any potential SEO issues ahead of publishing. A few examples of these tools are Yoast, Semrush, Google Analytics, and AIOSEO.
These tools check for two criteria; SEO compliancy and readability. In other words, you’re your content meet the standards of SEO we’ve outlined, and is it easy to read. Both are important to rank highly in search engines.
Nail It From the Start
The rules of SEO writing can seem obscure, but with a little help, you’ll be well on your way. It’s worth the time investment to learn. In the end it’s far easier to write with SEO principles in mind from the start than to modify existing text.
We hope this helps, but if you still have questions, your friends at Adgen are only a click away. As SEO experts, we’re here to help.