Tag Archives: seo writing

Content writing advice: Do not cram too many keywords when writing web pages and blog posts

I have observed that many clients want to incorporate as many keywords as possible when they are sending web page or blog post specs.

Even when I tell them that I will focus just on a couple of keywords and not more, they send me LSI keywords.

Using LSI keywords is not an excuse to use more keywords; LSI keywords are alternative keywords for the main keywords. But they think that LSI keywords can also be used to incorporate a greater number of keywords.

Although sometimes it is possible to use lots of keywords in a web page or a blog post contextually, in most of the cases, they end up diluting the main topic.

Want to improve your search engine rankings through strategic use of keywords?

Do not use highly competitive keywords – use longtail keywords comprising at least 3-4 words.

Use keywords such that they help you write about the main chosen topic with greater clarity and focus.

The more divergent keywords you use, the more you dilute the SEO power of your content. This adversely affects your search engine rankings.

 

How to combine organic content writing and PPC campaigns to boost your rankings

Combining pay-per-click advertising and organic content writing

Combining pay-per-click advertising and organic content writing.

Here is a nice Forbes article that describes in detail 13 smart ways you can integrate paid search results with organic content to improve your SEO.

As a content writer I primarily focus on providing organic content to my clients. Most of my clients don’t want to spend a ton of money on Google AdWords and other PPC campaigns because they understand that once they are able to organically improve their search engine rankings through optimized content, they won’t need to pay for every click they get from Google. Though, I do provide Google AdWords copywriting services.

What are organic search engine rankings?

Your content appears naturally in search results. You don’t need to pay for it. You’re not paying for every click. You appear in search results due to the quality and relevance of your content and not because you are paying Google.

But the benefit of using PPC advertising is that – provided you can afford – you can immediately start getting traffic to your relevant landing pages, for the conversion-friendly keywords. The key is, you need to know what you’re doing. Since you are paying for every click, you need to make the maximum number of sales or optimally tweak your conversion prospects.

This can be tricky. You may need to spend a lot of money before you can figure out how to optimize your campaigns and bring your costs down.

Organically improving your search engine rankings on the other hand is a safer bet. Although you may feel that you are randomly publishing content and hoping that your search engine rankings may improve for your desired keywords, if you use the right tools such as Ahrefs or SEMRush to find the right target keywords and topics for you to focus on, you can get tangible results with optimized content writing within a foreseeable future.

Should you use a mix of PPC advertising and organic content writing?

If you can, yes. Through PPC advertising, as I have written above, you can instantly start getting targeted traffic, and with better conversion rate, you can also start generating some good business.

There is a side benefit though, that I noticed a few years ago. When you start advertising on Google for certain keywords, your organic rankings for some keywords begin to improve on their own. This was quite surprising. I don’t even know whether it was a fluke or it really happened.

For example, I created a couple of AdWords campaigns for a range of around 10 keywords and I selected 2 Indian cities to be targeted because I didn’t want to spend lots of money. I was just experimenting.

To my great surprise, the organic rankings of those keywords that I hadn’t bid for, suddenly improved manifold. The links that were appearing on the fourth or the fifth page, began to appear on the first page. Again, I’m not claiming that it was related. Maybe it was coincidental. Maybe the ranking of those links was bound to improve and then they jumped to the first page just as I was advertising using Google AdWords. Who knows?

It may also be because when Google crawls your website for the paid links, it also ends up crawling and indexing the other links it finds, and then ends up ranking them around the paid links.

So, if you have some money, you can try that out. Use a combination of PPC advertising and organic content writing, and for a while, observe what happens.

Other than this, you can use PPC advertising to increase your visibility. Your website gets indexed faster. It becomes easier for people to find your content. This in turn has a positive effect on your organic search engine rankings.

 

Is SEO all about writing optimized content?

Choosing between a content writing service or an SEO company
Choosing between a content writing service or an SEO company

Many SEO experts claim that there are 200+ factors that influence your search engine rankings. Optimized content is one of them. But most of these factors are influenced by the quality of your content.

Often, I advise my clients that if they need to make a choice between hiring an SEO company and hiring a proficient content writer, at least for the time being, make the choice in favor of a content writer. Not because I provide content writing services and if they hire me, they are going to pay me, it is the most obvious choice to make.

Now, when I say writing optimized content is one of the biggest influencing factors for your search engine rankings, I assume that I’m talking about, and your understanding, high-quality, relevant content.

Content is the foundation of the structure of rankings you are going to build upon. This foundation can be solid. This foundation can be weak. But foundation it is. If the foundation is weak, you are either not going to be able to build your structure of rankings, or your structure is going to collapse sooner or later.

SEO experts are important. I’m not saying they are not important. They give your content writing the right direction.

In fact, if you can hire a good SEO expert and a content writer, this can be a win-win situation.

A year before Covid-19 hit, I was working with a UK-based market research company. They had hired a good SEO company to strategize content writing. I could have done that for them, but they preferred to work with an expensive SEO your company. Which was a good decision.

One thing I liked about the SEO company is that they knew exactly what titles I needed to write content for, how tough or weak competition our individual titles faced, and how long must the pages be in terms of the number of words. They had access to some great SEO tools that I don’t have. This saved us a lot of time.

For example, when I am in a flow, I don’t mind writing 1000 words even if the client has asked me to write 600 words (I don’t charge extra for those 400 words). But the people from that SEO company insisted that if they had asked for 600 words, I stuck to 600 words. The logic was, writing those extra 400 words was a waste of time, and they didn’t have much time. To beat the competition, they needed just about more than 550 words. Made sense.

By the end of the day, I won’t hesitate to say that for better SEO, all you need is high quality content that is well written and written in a manner that is easily understood by search engine algorithms.

An SEO company can help you get back links – you need back links to boost your rankings.

An SEO company can audit your website structure to make sure that the content organization is search engine friendly and all the elements needed to make your search rankings better are present.

An SEO company also monitors your current rankings and raises the red flags in case some of the rankings are going down.

So, in that sense, an SEO company provides you the needed vigilance. As a business serious about improving and maintaining its search engine rankings, you need such vigilance. The rest is taken care of by regularly publishing high quality content.

How do I write search engine friendly content for my clients?

How to write SEO-friendly content

How to write SEO-friendly content.

Sometimes it becomes difficult to come up with interesting content to write about on a regular basis on my blog. I was answering to a Quora question and I thought, answers to some of my Quora questions can also be used to write blog posts.

I was providing an answer the following question: How do I write content that is SEO friendly?

Steps to writing SEO-friendly content:

  1. Include the main keywords in the title.
  2. Include the keywords in the meta description.
  3. Mention the keywords within the first 100 words of your write up.
  4. Focus on writing answers to specific queries.
  5. Write for search intent.
  6. Write shorter sentences.
  7. Use headings and subheadings.
  8. Focus on longtail keywords.
  9. Link to other blog posts and web pages from your current blog post or web page.
  10. Write short paragraphs.
  11. Summarize using bulleted points.

To be frank, I have written on the topic multiple times on my blog, but I can always add new things. I’m constantly learning new ways to write search engine friendly content. In this post I’m going to expand what I wrote on Quora.

Should you go overboard with writing SEO-friendly content?

The problem with writing SEO-friendly content is that sometimes people go overboard and ignore the bigger picture. Your content succeeds not because it gets you higher search engine rankings, it succeeds because it provides relevant information that can be quickly understood.

For many website owners and bloggers it’s SEO that’s most important. This does you more harm than good.

Even if right now you have better search engine rankings because you think you have cracked the search engine algorithm, if you’re not satisfying your visitors, the rankings go down.

This is because your rankings depend a lot on your bounce rate. If people find your link, come to your website, and then leave immediately because they don’t find the information they are looking for, Google and other search engines know that.

So, even in the beginning if you can improve your rankings because of “strategically” using your keywords, ultimately, it all boils down to how people interact with your content.

What exactly is SEO-friendly content writing?

I don’t believe that SEO-friendly content writing means content writing that improves your search engine rankings. Your search engine rankings depend on 200+ factors.

So, solely focusing on writing SEO-friendly content doesn’t help you much.

What is SEO-friendly content writing?

It is writing in a manner that it makes it easier for search engine crawlers to crawl your main content. Once the main content is crawled, the search engine algorithms should be able to make sense of your content. They should be able to make out what you are communicating. This, is SEO-friendly content writing.

Do I keep SEO in mind when writing content for my clients?

I definitely do.

Valuable content is necessary, but how I present that valuable content can have an impact on search engine rankings. Here are a few things I do when writing SEO content for my clients:

Include the main keyword in the title

There is a difference between the title and the headline. The title here means the string of text that appears in in the title bar of your browser window when you visit a website. This is the title:

Example of the website title containing keywords

Example of the website title containing keywords

By main keyword I don’t mean a single word. Target for a phrase of around 3-4 words. Nobody searches for a single word. People either ask a question or search for a phrase that contains a few words.

Many content marketing experts may tell you that it doesn’t really matter if you use your main keyword in your title, but it does. Whether the Google algorithm takes the keyword in the title into consideration are not, is another matter.

There is a logical reason why you must have your main keyword in your title.

Research has revealed that when a part of the search query that a user has just used appears as a hyperlink in the search results, the user is more likely to click the link.

This sends more people to your website or that particular link.

And if your link is relevant, this signals to Google that the rankings of this particular link should be raised.

Include the keywords in the meta description

I know, sometimes meta description text may not be a part of content writing, but many times my clients ask me to write the meta description too.

When you include your primary and secondary keywords in the meta description, Google highlights them.

Example of the meta description containing keywords

Example of the meta description containing keywords.

Again, this prompts more people to click your link and this in turn improves your bounce rate, which in turn, improves your SEO.

Mention the keywords within the first 100 words

I have arrived at this logic by trial and error.

When the search engine crawler comes to your website it may not get a chance to crawl your entire piece of content. Hence, if it does not encounter your main keywords, it may not associate the keywords with the body text.

Therefore, it is important that you mention your primary and secondary keywords within the first 100 words of your web page or blog post text.

Create a context though. Don’t just randomly use the words

Focus on writing answers to specific queries

Google loves the question-answer format. People ask questions and Google find the answers.

For example, you may have come to this post if you searched for “How do I write search engine friendly content?”

I’m not saying that you should always write in the format of question-answer, but this sort of content fares better than the usual content.

Write for search intent

If you want to know what is search intent, you may like to read my blog post on the same topic: Why search intent is most important when writing content for your website.

Search intent is a very big factor when Google is evaluating your content. It is the intention with which a search engine user uses a query when searching for something.

You can easily write content targeting specific search intents described in the above link. The more you write content targeting specific search intents, the more SEO-friendly your content is.

Write shorter sentences

Shorter sentences are easier to read. They are also easier for search engine algorithms to process, analyze and evaluate.

Using shorter sentences does not mean that you are a novice writer. In fact, it shows that you are a confident writer. You have got nothing to prove to anyone.

Well, that’s a different issue, but one of the biggest benefits of writing shorter sentences is that you express a single thought in a single sentence, which makes it easier even for your readers to read. It doesn’t tax the brain.

Use headings and subheadings

Screenshot of headings and subheadings

Screenshot of headings and subheadings.

Headings and subheadings amplify your primary and secondary keywords. They also make it easier to organize your content under various sections. Headings and subheadings also make your writing scannable.

Since you use your primary and secondary keywords in your headings and subheadings, the Google algorithm thinks that they must be important to your message.

Focus on longtail keywords

Shorter keywords are quite competitive. For example, if I try to optimize my writing for “content writer” or “content marketing services” it may be difficult for me to rank for these keywords because they are highly competitive, and many bigger companies are already ranking quite high for them.

So, what do I do?

I aim for something like “indisputable benefits of content marketing”. This makes it easier to rank my content.

You will be surprised to know that most of your traffic comes from longtail keywords.

Longtail keywords exist in the form of longer such queries. They are phrases that contain 3-4 words.

Link to other blog posts and web pages from your current blog post or web page

Contextually, though.

Suppose, I want to elaborate on the indisputable benefits of content marketing. If I have already published a blog post on it, I will be creating duplicate content needlessly if I explain the same thing again. Hence, I just say, in case you want to read about the indisputable benefits of content marketing.

This does not just make it easier to refer to your existing content, it also allows the search engine crawlers to come across your old links in case they haven’t yet been crawled.

Write short paragraphs

The logic is the same as writing short sentences. It is easier to read shorter paragraphs. Both for humans and the search engine algorithms.

In fact, there are many renowned content publishers who use just a single sentence in a paragraph, but you can easily use a couple of sentences.

Another benefit of writing shorter paragraphs is that they are easier to read on mobile phones.

Summarize using bulleted lists

Just as headings and subheadings make your content scannable, so do the bulleted lists. People tend to read the bulleted lists more than plain sentences and paragraphs.

In bulleted lists, you don’t even need to write complete sentences. You can sum up your points in monosyllables. In bulleted lists, the information is more important than how you write it.

These are the main points that I wanted to cover. If you take care of them, it can make it easier for you to write SEO-friendly content.

Don’t obsess over SEO as long as you’re delivering meaningful content

I was just reviewing a web hosting package for someone I know and came across an add-on package that tells you whether you are publishing SEO-friendly content or not.

Do these “SEO packages” really help? What about the SEO add-ons? I recently removed an SEO plug-in from my WordPress setup.

SEO is of two types:

  1. Structural SEO
  2. Content-based SEO

Although there are also on-site and off-site SEO tactics, but in the context of my current blog post, I’m just going to stick to the two above-mentioned SEO types.

What is structural SEO?

This makes sure that the basic structure of your website or web pages/blog posts is SEO-friendly.

To make sense of your web page or your blog post, the search engines like Google take into consideration the keywords within your title. This is debatable, but most of the SEO experts agree that a title containing your keywords is particularly important.

Your title is also important because it appears in search engine listings as a hyperlink.

Screenshot of title and description

Screenshot of title and description.

Multiple studies have revealed that if your title contains the words that have just been used in the search query, the greater number of people click your link.

The same goes with the description. Your keywords or parts of your keywords should appear in your description because then these keywords are highlighted by Google.

Hence, every web page for every blog post must have a clearly defined title and a description.

There is also a “keywords” meta tag but it is no longer relevant.

Another important aspect of structural SEO is, how easy it is for the search engine crawlers to access your main content.

If the crawler has to go through lots of source code (JavaScript, CSS, HTML, add-ons and plug-ins) before accessing your actual content, this negatively affects your search engine rankings. It is because sometimes the crawler leaves your website or a particular web page or blog post without even evaluating your main content because most of its time goes into crossing the jungle of your source code.

How fast your web page or blog post loads also has a direct impact on your overall search engine rankings. Make sure that your web pages and blog posts load fast, preferably within three seconds.

So, these are the components of structural SEO:

  • The title containing the main keyword or the search query.
  • Various combinations of the keyword or the search query in the description.
  • Easy access to the main content for the search engine crawlers.
  • Faster loading blog posts and web pages.

Most of the content management systems these days allow you to preset these structural SEO components. For example, in WordPress you can use Yoast SEO to make sure that whenever you publish a new web page or blog post, you separately enter the title and the description.

Structural SEO is not something that you need to do repeatedly.

What is content-based SEO?

It is mostly writing content that is most suitable to the query being used by your user.

Suppose a user looks for “Which is the best content writing service in India?”

To satisfy this query, you can either list 10-15 content writing services and then choose the best among them, or you can explain why your content writing service is the best in India.

In both the cases, you should remain true to the topic. You must talk about the best content writing service in India. When the user visits this link, he or she should get the answer he or she is looking for.

This doesn’t mean that the answer must be perfect. Maybe the search engine user doesn’t want to find information about your content writing service or why your content writing service is the best. He or she may be just looking for a comparative analysis of multiple content writing services.

Whatever you write, just make sure that you are providing an answer to the question being asked.

The next thing to keep in mind is, mention the main query or the keyword within the first 100 words. There is a logical reason.

The search engine crawler doesn’t always go through your entire text. It may simply go through the first few paragraphs, or even less. Hence it is important that the crawler comes across your main keyword or the main search query string as early as possible.

Other than this, there is no need to obsess about SEO. Focus on the quality, and to an extent the quantity of your content. Publish regularly. Right on relevant topics. It doesn’t matter whether you write 400 words or 4000 words.

What matters is the substance. Don’t necessarily extend the length of your web pages or blog posts simply because research has proven that most of the web pages and blog posts that get featured on the first search result page contain more than 1300 words. It differs from industry to industry.