Guess what? SEO is not that bad.
Sure, writers everywhere hate it when a client asks them to write SEO friendly blog posts. But suck it the hell up. SEO is easy.
And while writers can literally dread SEO, there are marketers and ‘SEO guys’ who absolutely LOVE it.
Probably because SEO is a science, and some of us just love a science.
Or probably because SEO can make people rich. For more on that subject, check out what Jacob King has to say on The Hustler’s Guide To Making SEO Money.
But when you first start out as a freelance writer and a client asks you to write SEO friendly blog posts, it’s very easy to feel repelled.
It’s like an automatic reflex.
“SEO? You want moi? A writer? To write SEO?”
I’m quite sure Oscar Wilde never had to write SEO.
Thing is, in 2017, all websites need to optimise their blog posts for SEO if they’re to be successful. As Mr-SEO himself points out, you won’t get onto Google’s first page until you’ve done your homework and ranked for SEO.
Now, you as a writer might not care so much for SEO. You just want to write.
“I’m a poet, darling. I don’t care about SEO. I write - that’s what I do.”
Your client, however, does care about SEO.
They’ve hired you to write for them, and they expect you to implement the keywords they’ve chosen into the article.
The problem for you is how you implement them without making a blog post look weird and impersonal, and without making you hate what you do.
See, SEO doesn’t have to mean that your fab writing style has to adapt or change. It doesn’t mean that you can’t still have fun writing. It just means you need to think a little harder.
This is where a lot of newbies go wrong. If you’re struggling with writing SEO friendly blog posts, let’s take a look at how to optimise blog posts for SEO.
Understand Keyword Density
When I first started out writing SEO posts for a client, I was adding them liberally to the articles.
I literally didn’t care that I was sprinkling them over content like a diabetic sprinkles sugar over his bowl of oatmeal.
For a 500 word article, I once used a single keyword 14 times!
Hey, the client gave me the keyword and I just assumed he wanted me to use it as much as possible.
As it turns out, there is such a thing as keyword density. You can check this post on Wikipedia for a more detailed understanding of keyword density, but all you need to know for now is that if you use a keyword too many times, Google will filter it out as spam.
Which means your article will be banned from Google. Uh-oh.
Your client won’t be very happy about that.
On the flipside, if you use a keyword too little, it won’t rank very well on Google. Up against the heavyweight champions in a particular niche, it will struggle to muscle past them and get onto page one of Google.
As I mentioned, SEO is a science and a lot of SEO guys (and girls) get a bit geeky about it. That’s not a bad thing - they need to get their geek on in order to win. But when it comes to keyword density, there seems to be much debate about what the right amount of keyword density works best for rankings.
Some experts even argue that keyword density doesn’t matter at all.
However, it matters to your clients. I’ve never had a client who hasn’t given me keywords and then reminded me to stay within the “safe zone” of keyword density. For you and I as writers, this means that we should use the main keyword up to 7 times in a 1,000 word article, and any secondary keywords two or three times.
Use Your Common Sense
I once had an Eastern European client who didn’t have the best grasp of English. Whether that was to blame for his grammatically incorrect keywords or not is still up for debate.
But no matter how well your client understands basic grammar, they will eventually send you keywords that look iffy.
“Study politics Estonia.”
I was told to use that as a keyword once. I was a total noob so I used it exactly like that. It didn’t look right in the blog post, and it looked SO obvious that I was squeezing in keywords simply to optimise the page and drive traffic.
“Study politics Estonia and have a great time!”
But as I’ve learned, what matters more than trying to fit a square into a round hole is that you use your common sense and include modifiers that smarten up the grammar and polish off a sentence.
If you get a dodgy looking keyword, use your head and tidy it up.
Change “Study politics Estonia” to “Study politics in Estonia.”
It won’t make a difference to the rankings.
Include A Keyword Here, There And There - But Not Everywhere
As I said earlier, just because a client wants you to write SEO friendly blog posts, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun while suppressing your natural writing voice. You can still be you!
If you take the wrong attitude, your keyword placement will be uninspired and your blog will look robotic.
If you’re all “oh woe is me, I gotta do an SEO post,” you will fail to write a badass article.
Suck it up. SEO is not that bad.
Understanding where to place keywords is something a lot of new freelance SEO writers struggle with. It can lead to a clogged-up article that doesn’t read very well.
Once you understand where to place your keywords, you won’t even need to worry about SEO anymore. It removes one major headache that of figuring out where the heck to place your keywords.
So here is what you do:
1) You place a keyword in the very first sentence
2) You place a keyword in at least one of the sub-headers
3) You place a keyword among the last 20 words
4) You then sprinkle three or four keywords over the remaining body of content
Following this guideline will make your client happy, and it will also improve your own form. For example, it will make it so much easier for you to craft your opening and closing sentence.
Don’t Obsess Over SEO
Lastly, please don’t obsess over SEO.
Writing killer, engaging content must ALWAYS come first.
SEO is secondary. Always has been, always will be.
And in fact, the more you optimise blog posts for SEO, the more you’ll forget all about SEO. It will come naturally. You’ll SEO your posts without even thinking about it!
For now, it’s important that you focus first and foremost on making your posts look as natural as possible.
Make sure the rhythm is all there. Make sure the posts flow properly.
Make sure there is a personal element to them.
SEO is important, but once it starts to distract you from writing an awesome blog post that gives the reader value, you’re in trouble.
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