Jamie is a freelance SEO content writer. She writes for a large publisher in 6 verticals, and does freelance work on the side.
Writing an SEO Article
This article will cover what you need to know about writing the introduction, body, and conclusion of an SEO article.
There are some guidelines and "best practices" when it comes to SEO content. These are the sort of things that an SEO publisher is going to expect from their writer. If you want to get hired as a freelancer, following these tips are essential. Remember, publishers don't want to spend a lot of time training you – they want to see that you can already write with these guidelines in mind.
Using Keywords Correctly
When writing SEO (search engine optimized) content, it's vital that you know what your keywords are. These are the words that explain or summarize the topic. This is how Google knows to include your article in specific search results.
For example, if your keyword phrase is "best Taylor Swift albums," then your goal is to write an article that Google will list whenever someone searches for "best Taylor Swift albums." But how does Google know what kind of search your article belongs to?
Well, it's complicated and there's a lot to it. But from a writing perspective, the most important thing is obvious – use those keywords! Use them more than once, but not enough to annoy the reader. The article still needs to be well-written – don't shove keywords in where they don't belong, but do include them.
How To Include Keywords
The best practice in SEO is to make sure keywords are included in a few important places. These are:
- The headline - be sure to use your keywords exactly as written. If you change the order or phrasing, Google may not sort your article into the correct "pile."
- At least once in the first few sentences of the first paragraph. If you can, try to include it twice.
- Anywhere else where it can fit, as long as it doesn't affect the quality of the article. Don't force them so that the article becomes unnatural or stilted. But read through when you're done writing, making a point to replace vague words like "this" or "that one" with your specific keywords as appropriate.
Google is pretty intuitive nowadays, so you can change your keywords slightly to make them flow better in the article. Google can tell that you're still on topic even if the word is made plural in a few places, for example. Google can also tell that "best Taylor Swift albums" and "best albums by Taylor Swift" mean the same thing.
Just don't change the keywords for the heading. That's the first thing Google uses to determine what your article is about, so you need to make sure the topic is stated clearly at the very beginning.
An Example: Using Your Keywords
If I was writing an article about "best Taylor Swift albums," my content might look something like this.
Headline: The 10 Best Taylor Swift Albums Of All Time
Read More From Owlcation
One of the best-selling music artists of all time, Taylor Swift is back yet again. With her new re-release of Fearless (Taylor's Version), Swift has a whopping 34 assorted albums to her name! With all those choices, it might be hard to decide: What are the best Taylor Swift albums?
I've ranked the 10 absolute best Taylor Swift albums of all time, along with a brief review of each one......
Notice how easily I used the keyword three times, and haven't even left the introduction yet? I like to always add the keyword somewhere at the end of the first paragraph, introducing the topic. Then I immediately follow it up with my answer or solution regarding the topic, stating it again.
(If it wasn't obvious, you don't actually bold the keywords in your own writing. I simply did it to illustrate my point.)
Identify Your Audience
It's important that you know who you are writing for. If your content is for an automotive blog read by mechanics, you might be able to use terms or words that aren't easily understood by laypeople.
But in general, SEO content is written to be informative and engaging for the average reader. Avoid using complicated words or challenging phrasing. Keep it simple and easy to read.
It's very important to always be aware of the information you need to convey. Sometimes, the point of your article can be lost when too much flowery language gets in the way. Say what you need to say, and move on.
Sentence and Paragraph Length
While we're on the topic of keeping it simple, that applies to sentences as well. Try to keep sentences to 20 words or less. If you have more than two commas, it's too long – break it up into more than one sentence.
Most SEO content is written to answer a question or provide information. Readers often skim, looking for something specific. Long, winding sentences can make it difficult for your reader to follow.
Similarly, paragraphs should also be short. Many people now browse the internet on their phones, and giant chunks of text look absolutely appalling this way. It's impossible for the reader to find what they want. If they get frustrated, they'll just go to another site – and that's what you want to avoid.
The perfect paragraph is around 3 sentences long. Between 2-5 sentences is acceptable, since you can't always stick to 3 sentences every time. If your paragraph is more than 5 sentences, I can pretty much guarantee that it's actually two paragraphs anyway. Find a natural break, and split it up.
When writing SEO content, it's important to be fairly cut and dry. Keep sentences short and easy to read. Paragraphs should also be short, around 3 sentences long.
Know what keywords you're writing for, and be sure to use them. Include them at least twice in the opening paragraphs, and in the headline. But don't forget – the most important thing is a well-written article that your reader finds useful.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.