Content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) are by no means mutually exclusive. In fact, they’re both at their best when working together in tandem, something we’ve explored as recently as last Friday. Good written content beefs up your SEO game, creating online assets that are appealing to human readers and thus acceptable to Google. Conversely, minding some SEO best practices helps you give your written content focus and clarity.
So what are some practical ways to master both of these disciplines? Specifically, how do writers and bloggers strike a balance between creativity and readability on the one hand, and search engine concerns on the other?
Writing for Humans—and for Search Engines
It’s not as hard as you might think. In fact, if you’re writing good, natural content that offers value to human readers—perhaps sprinkling in a keyword or two, without going overboard—then you’re probably 90 percent of the way there.
And for the other 10 percent, keep in mind these seven quick tips and guidelines.
Write a snappy title. We say this all the time, but if you don’t have a compelling, kickass title then you might as well not write the content at all. That’s how important it is. Good SEO requires you to grab a reader’s attention, and that means thinking up a catchy headline. Also try to include one SEO keyword in your title, but not at the expense of clarity or readability.
Write about an interesting and valuable topic. It’s actually really hard to optimize content that is inherently uninteresting. Make sure you’re leveraging current news stories, providing useful tips, addressing pain points expressed by your readers, or taking some other creative approach. If you wouldn’t read your content, then go back to the drawing board.
Format for readability. Ensure that it’s easy to skim your content—and that means including some white space, keeping paragraphs short, using bulleted lists when you can, and breaking up your content with sub-headings.
Rethink keywords. Overdoing it with keywords can cause your content to crumble under the weight of overoptimization. Usually, you want a keyword density of less than 1 percent, which may mean just a keyword or two in your content. Another way to think about it is to come up with topics, not keywords, and use your topics to naturally, organically guide your writing.
Include links. Link to a couple of other pieces of content on your website or blog, as they are relevant, and if possible include a link to an external, authoritative site.
Write a call to action at the bottom of your copy. You should be doing this anyway!
Don’t forget to include a meta description! And make it a good one.
Remember: If you’re writing good, clear, descriptive, and value-adding prose—the kind of stuff people might actually like to read—then you’re probably doing alright on the SEO front. Hopefully these tips will help you feel even more secure in your SEO writing skills.
Request help with an SEO writing project by calling Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444, or by visiting us at www.grammarchic.net.