Search engine optimization or SEO is an $80 billion industry. Anyone with a website relies on SEO to drive traffic to their websites, from multimillion-dollar industries to bloggers and freelancers like you and me. But what is it, and how do you use it?
What Is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” What’s more, SEO ensures search engines like Google or Bing can easily find your website and that its contents are easy to understand and use.
What is SEO Writing?
When you leverage specific keywords and keyword phrases within your web content, that’s called SEO Writing. It takes a bit of practice to learn the right amount of keywords, and if you include too many, Google will penalize you for keyword stuffing. Yes, it’s a thing.
Why Is It Important?
SEO Writing helps websites gain visibility, so major search engines crawl their pages and content. Besides, the higher a website ranks in SERPs or search engine results pages, the more people will visit their site. Everyone is vying to make it to the first page.
So, how do you know what keywords to use?
There are many resources and methods of doing this. First, you take the main topic you will write about and maybe others that support it. Then, you can try a few sites that have free SEO tools, like Moz, Serpstat, Uber Suggest by Neil Patel, and even Ahrefs.
Here’s an example:
Moz has a free keyword explorer. So, let’s say my keyword is product marketing. When I enter it into Moz’s tool, it returns:
From here, you can look at all the suggestions and analyze referred articles for more keywords. It’s a good start, and Moz lets you do up to 10 searches for free.
Once you have a working list of keywords, you want the one with the highest monthly volume to be your PKW or Primary Key Word. You can then select a few others to use as secondary or other keyword options.
What is Keyword Stuffing?
A critical element of content marketing, specifically writing, is carrying out keyword research. When writing a blog, article, or guide, you can use this research to target a specific primary keyword and secondary keywords. When you infuse your content with too many instances of your keyword, that is called keyword stuffing.
Due to the penalties that search engines impose, they probably won’t accept articles that have been keyword stuffed if you’re writing for online businesses.
Why is keyword stuffing bad?
Keyword stuffing is when the amount of keywords in an article is excessive through the webpage containing a blog or article.
Search engines now condemn this and offenders often get penalized or have their content removed from search results.
How to Use Keywords in SEO Writing
Everyone has a method they use in their writing, even writing that has nothing to do with SEO. Some writers outline all the essential points they want to cover. For each article or blog, you should have a Primary Keyword (PKW) and a handful of Secondary Keywords.
You should include the Primary Keyword in these areas:
- In your Introduction (the first 100 words of the post)
- In at least one header (any header)– I usually do this in the first header and conclusion header
- In the conclusion of your post
It would help to leverage the other keywords in your article or blog. These will help boost the SEO of the article and center the article around the topic.
Where can you use them?
- As anchor texts (the text you link with),
- Sprinkle them in where needed while keeping the flow of the article or blog nature!
Each article or blog should include 2-3 secondary keywords.
Breakdown of SEO Content Writing
First, you need to come up with a title that works. Every writer has tools they love; here are a few of mine that help to improve your writing and boost SEO.
CoSchedule’s Headline Studio
This tool is free to use, but you must sign up, putting you on their email list. Still, it’s a great tool. It not only analyzes your title for quality, but it also checks its SEO quality as well.
How’d I do?
It also has a Chrome extension to help you with titles everywhere you go, such as Google Docs for one great example.
If you’re starting, Grammarly is an excellent tool for writing.
The Premium version provides much deeper checking, but it has a free version that does an excellent job to begin with.
It checks grammar, spelling, and plagiarism. However, please don’t rely on its plagiarism checker as the best because it misses a lot.
Grammarly also works within Google Docs if you use it to write your content.
An excellent thing about Grammarly is it keeps everything you write in its library and you can download them as individual Microsoft Word Documents.
Copyscape is a paid service that checks writing for plagiarism.
Even if you’re writing out of your head, it’s good to check because sometimes it’s how you’ve written that mimics someone else’s work even when it’s unintentional.
It’s also very cheap (minimum of $5.00 and each check is a minimum of $0.03 and a maximum of $0.35 per search.
Copyscape is considered the holy grail of plagiarism checkers. Even if you don’t check, your client might.
An SEO Content Writing Sample
A few years ago, I worked for a service where all I did was SEO Content Writing. Let’s take a look at one of my old ones to see how it looks. Here’s a sample to break it down as simply and clearly as possible.
Intro – Primary Keyword used, 100 words maximum, a question as a hook
First Header also uses the Keyword
This article was only 500 words and most likely a Guest Post. It used four external links throughout the article. However, usually, we would include a single link in the intro, and here there are two.
Due to the word count, this client likely had a unique target link. Since it was written some time ago, I believe the intro was the only place the anchor text provided would work naturally in the text.
Leverage SEO Content Writing Methods
Leveraging SEO content writing methods, not only helps in your content, if you gain expertise there are many SEO content writing jobs available. Beyond the service I worked for there are many opportunities for writers looking to learn and earn a living as an SEO Content Writer.
I hope you found this article helpful, check back to find out more about freelance writing and the tools used to make your writing stand out. If you’re a business looking for content, get in touch.