Be a Better Writer Blog

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

5 Tips For SEO Content That Takes A Website To The Next Level

seo content

The world of online marketing is full of opportunities for SEO content writing experts.

Search-engine-optimized content refers to website information created using techniques that increase the odds of it being found by search engines. When a search engine finds content, it indexes it to later present to online users in search results. 

Those inexperienced with creating web content may not realize that writing for an online audience is very different from writing for print media. SEO writing techniques are a critical component of attracting readers to your work, whether you are writing for your own website, or for a client.

Improved SEO content means better web content. This can result in an increase in website traffic, better user engagement and a higher search engine ranking. Use these tips and tricks to elevate your online writing techniques and impress your clients and their site visitors.

Write for the online reader.
While websites differ in content and typical users, all online readers process information differently than offline readers. Most online users have short attention spans, at least temporarily. Your content must grab their attention quickly.  Incorporate the following into your writing.

  • Use short sentences, no longer than 25 to 30 words.
  • Keep paragraph length to five sentences or fewer.
  • Arrange text into easily read information blocks with appropriate headings.
  • Organized sections with bulleted or numbered lists where appropriate.
  • Incorporate images and infographics where suitable.
  • Avoid the passive voice and use active writing.
  • Include call-to-actions, and invite comments and social media shares.
Identify and understand the client's typical user.
A key to effective SEO content writing is understanding your target audience. Who will read your work and why? What question is the reader asking that you can answer? What tone or voice in writing will appeal to them? How can you show them that you understand them, and that this website is the best place for them to find answers? (Hint - use internal links to lead them to more useful content.) If your client hasn't given you some direction, browse their site to find the answers.

Create quality content.
Quality content is original, valuable, sharable, and easy for search engines to locate and index. It results from skilled SEO content writing and a desire to help the reader. Focus on regularly producing the best quality content possible. Review all blog posts, articles, and website pages to ensure they are free from grammar and spelling errors before submitting them. Ask yourself the following:
  1. Is the subject matter easily identifiable by search engines?
  2. Would readers find it valuable enough to share with others via social media?
  3. Will this content appeal to the typical site user?
  4. Does it provide useful information to help readers solve a problem or answer a question?

Don't overuse keyword phrases and call-to-actions. 
Your SEO content writing ability is an important tool in your client's online marketing strategy.  Email and searching remain the top two activities of online users, and the search engines that index and produce search results can direct users to your content if it includes phrases they will likely search for.

Overusing or "stuffing" your content with keyword phrases can result in a lower search engine ranking, reduced traffic and an unhappy client. Instead, focus your SEO content writing on creating content containing specific keyword phrases and useful subject matter that will appeal to a typical reader.

If you are tasked with choosing a keyword phrase, avoid broad generalizations, and try to include a variety of synonyms in the body of work for various phrases in your topic. If possible, include the entire keyword phrase within the headline and first paragraph of the blog post or article.

Create compelling SEO-friendly headlines and sub-headings.
When writing for the web, it can be easy to mistake SEO content writing as writing for the search engines. That is wrong. If you stick to creating excellent content, the search engines will find your work.

You are writing for the reader, who may arrive at  your content via the search engine. Therefore you must create a compelling headline and subheadings that grab the reader's attention immediately, making them want to click on your link in the search results.

Choose your headlines carefully, and don't forget to put yourself in the reader's shoes. Search for your keyword phrase and compare your headline to the top three results. Who has the most compelling headline? Keep revising until you can honestly choose your own. Finally, keep the headline less than 72 characters long so the whole thing can be seen in search results.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Good SEO, Bad SEO: Do You Know The Difference?

seo copywritingSEO, the art and science of making your Web writing attractive to Google and other search engines, has gotten a bad rap lately. There's little doubt that the rules have changed in the last year with the new Google Panda and Penguin algorithms. However, SEO remains a vital tool for making your Web content valuable to online marketers and getting their products visible to Web browsers amid the deluge of other information. You just need to know the difference between good and bad SEO copywriting.

What is Bad SEO?
You probably know it when you see it. Bad SEO is written so that the content is compromised for the sake of using a keyword multiple times. In other words, it's trying to game the search engine system. In bad SEO writing, there may even be intentionally-misspelled words in an attempt to capture Web searchers who aren't sure how to spell the keyword. Most writers cringe just at the thought of such an assignment. We've all been there, taking a writing job that focuses more on keywords than content. I've even been asked to add keywords that have no relation to the topic of the article.

What is Good SEO?
Not all SEO efforts are bad. Done well, SEO content isn't spammy; it tells readers (and search engines) what a site is about in a succinct and interesting way. Say SEO consultant Eric Enge on Stone Temple, "trying to figure out how to beat the search engine system is a waste of time." As a writer, I couldn't agree more.

All good SEO writing has a few, key traits.Use them to make your writing more valuable to your online marketing clients.

  • Relevant. Good SEO uses text that describes the purpose of the page and the site.
  • Content-driven. Good SEO focuses less on keywords than on the total content.
  • Web-friendly. Good SEO copywriting includes relevant titles, headings and anchor text. According to Bill Slawski at SEO by the Sea, approximately 17 percent of Web pages lack a title. Don't let your otherwise good efforts fail because you didn't add a title. Keyword-targeted headings not only let search engines know what your content is about, but they make it easy for the reader to scan.
The Bottom Line
SEO, used properly, is a great way to insure that your copywriting gets read, and can introduce your client's products and Web site to millions of potential customers who otherwise wouldn't know his or her company existed. So-called article marketing, the placing of articles around the Web that talk about a client's product, is still a good and effective SEO tool. Just remember to concentrate on the content, not the keyword.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

5 Clever Ideas For Beating Writer's Block

content writer

You're a great content marketing writer because you know exactly what's hot in your field. At least you used to; now, all you can do is shrug your shoulders because you have no idea what to write. You're not really out of ideas - you're just suffering from writer's block, a treatable condition.

It's happened to everyone who ever wrote for a living, but not all cases are the same. In fact, the types of writers block are wide and varied: 

  • Some people run out of ideas, while others have too many at once.
  • Some get stuck at one stage, but others have no idea what the next stage is.
  • Some start to hate their work; others worry their readers will hate it.
Whatever the reason for your block, don't let it go on. Get out of your rut and try one of these five block-busters.

Listen to outside voices.
It's easy to get stuck in your head when trying to write great content. After all, writing is a lonely profession. But there's only so much you can create, so let someone else fill your head with great ideas.

Ask a friend to rattle off a few writing prompts. Read a newspaper or magazine for interesting words or phrases. Watch a TV show or a movie and listen to someone else talk. Writers block can make your words sound like a jumbled mess, but listening to someone else's words just might un-jumble them.

Write aimlessly every day.
Years ago in my creative writing days, I read The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. The one tip I tried was the "morning pages" exercise. Every morning, I wrote three pages of whatever popped into my head in the hopes of generating new story ideas.

I can't say I got any ideas out of it - most of it was illegible, and it read more like therapy than brainstorming - but it got my brain moving for the rest of the day with new ideas and improvements on old ones. If there's one thing a content marketing writer needs, it's ideas, and a freewriting session can help generate them.

Write what you don't know.
No disrespect to my clients, but writing the same things over and over is boring. No matter how much you know about a topic, you exhaust all the possible angles. Content marketing writers can break the monotony by writing about something they know nothing about.

For instance, if you know everything about bridal gowns and nothing about motorcycles, try writing something about motorcycles, such as an FAQ, a definition, or an introduction. This wakes up your brain because you're learning something new, and you might find new ideas that you wouldn't find within your usual areas of expertise.

Look at the little picture
The devil is in the details, but sometimes so is the big idea you're reaching for. As a content marketing writer, you have to come up with killer topics, but maybe you'd have better luck if you focused on the little things instead.

Say you write about consumer products, specifically new product launches, product comparisons, or news from industry giants like P&G or Johnson & Johnson. Get away from the big stuff and think of something small., like the last time you did your laundry. What did it smell like? How did the washer and dryer sound while running. You'll get a few new ideas out of the exercise, and at the very least you'll turn a slice of life into a new and different blog entry.

Do Nothing
Did you ever stop to think that maybe you're writing too much? Have you stopped to think at all? Writing is a mentally intense exercise, and yes, brains can cramp if you don't give them a rest once in a while. So give your mind a rest and do nothing with it.

Remember that stream of consciousness from your freewrites? They also happen when you're doing nothing, so do nothing now. Jog, rest, play an online game, stare at the ceiling; it doesn't matter as long as you;'re not writing. Before you know it, your mind will relax, and like a rested body, it'll be ready to work out again.

Writers block isn't fatal, but it can kill your productivity, so act quickly. Try one of these tips and get your content - and your sterling reputation as a content writer - back on track.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Does Your Website Content Writing Have A Purpose?

website content writing

As a content marketing writer or website owner, the last thing that you want people to believe about the message you send is that it’s meaningless. Web content may be somewhat less formal than a business letter or proposal, but it is still business writing. Moreover, it is business writing that should convince people that you are worth doing business with.

5 Steps To Turning Your Zerys Articles Into a Winning Portfolio

zerys writer

If you've been writing for Zerys on a consistent basis for any length of time, then you've submitted dozens of articles on a variety of topics.  Thanks to the Zerys system, all of the articles you've written are archived within "Manage My Jobs" in the section titled "Approved By Client." 

Do You Have Industry Experience? Write About It!


Write about what you know.

5 Tips For Crafting The Perfect Email Newsletter


Sending email newsletters is a great way to stay connected with your prospects, nurture leads and leverage your marketing efforts. However, some people are bored with newsletters that are generic and of the fits-all-sizes type. What do prospects want to hear and what’s in it for them? Certainly not your latest company news that has nothing to do with the product or service your prospects are looking for. Nor your long-winded lecture that sounds like an academic research paper.

How To Create Mobile Content With Big Impact


Creating effective mobile content is very different from website copywriting because when mobile users read content on-the-go, they’re far less likely to comprehend or remember what they read. 

In a study conducted by R. I. Singh, et. al. at the University of Alberta and described in the article Mobile Content is Twice as Difficult, researchers tested subjects using cloze-tests to compare comprehension of material viewed on small screens versus standard computer screens. Results showed that comprehension of content viewed on a mobile screen is only about half of that comprehended when the same content is viewed on a computer screen. 

Mobile content is more difficult to comprehend perhaps due to screen size; however, your on-the-go audience is likely dealing with more than just a small screen. They’re probably dealing with noise if they’re in public, bright lights if they’re outside after dark, slow bandwidth, and sometimes unreliable reception on their smartphones. 

Mobile users are surrounded by constant distractions and interruptions, are often rushed, and are unwilling to scroll through paragraphs of content. They scan content and quickly move on. Here are some how-to guidelines for writing to the on-the-go audience:

Create a Template in Your Word Processor

How To Write Web Copy That Connects With Readers


Effective web copywriting takes some planning to convey the right message in the right way. Readers coming to a web page will immediately view the content and will then have to make the decision whether or not to stay and read it.

5 Ways That Your Website Copy Can Go Terribly Wrong


Being considered a great copywriter is always good for the ego.  When you are considered an expert, you now have to meet expectations like never before.  As long as you follow certain steps, you are sure to please any client, creating more value to yourself for online marketers.  

Of course, there are also ways to ensure that your work is ineffective.  Here are just a few of the ways that your website copy can go terribly wrong:

No experience.  Of course, anything can be researched.  But sometimes you're going to get in over your head and try to tackle subject matter that clearly isn't your expertise.  It usually shows.  Starting out by writing what you have expertise in can teach you the ins and outs of website copy on your terms.  You can focus on marketing techniques without worrying about if your content even makes sense.  This will save you a lot of time and many revisions.

Unclear and irrelevant.   You are always writing for a specific audience.  If the message isn't targeted to them it is lost.  So, deliver a message that is easy for them to apply to their own lives.  Make it relevant to their needs.

Too wordy.  Big, chunky text is intimidating.  If you see yourself going off on tangents, or being too wordy, you're probably going to lose your reader, too.  When people see long articles, they automatically feel they do not have the time to read it regardless of how relevant it may be.  Keep to the point and do not overdo the explanations.

What is the point?  All too often, web copy is not formatted to catch attention or organized for easy viewing.  Readers want to mentally categorize your points, so bold each point so they can skim through.  This is beneficial for people to go back and understand what the content is really saying.  You can do anything short of a firework show to attract the reader to main points in the article.

No chance for feedback.  Okay, it's more about the client relationship, but the need to accept direction and criticism is one thing that separates the amateurs from the pros when it comes to web copywriting.  And it ultimately makes you a better writer.

If you want to know where your strengths and weaknesses lie, take in what others say.  You may not always agree, but in the end if they felt that way, then chances are many others do as well.  You have to be humble and accept criticism in order to be a great content writer for your clients.

You have to do what it takes to create awesome website content for your clients.  If you have researched and taken the time to do a good job, you will be successful.  You can be a great teacher to your clients in this regard.  They will continue to look to you as the expert.

All Posts

Subscribe to This Blog by Email

SEO Copywriting
on Twitter