Write Well, SEO Grasshopper
I read a blog the other day that made me realize something. I need to be more specific about what it means to write well. Everyone (including me) talks about it. But, what does it really mean?
There was a time when SEO and "writing well" didn't have much to do with each other. Of course, with the advent of content marketing, those days have pretty much come to an end. Which leads us to the fact that writers need to understand what it means to write well.
I guess that, to most people, writing well means good grammar, sentence structure, etc. And it does. But, in order to get to the next level of good writing, you might want to start looking at those elements as a given and consider what you need to do to make people want to read your content.
It's true-- well-written content is content that people want to read. What makes people want to read your content? They want it to be free from amateurish errors and they want the sentences to flow for a more pleasant reading experience. But beyond that, they want it to tell them something they need to know and they want it to be interesting. In that sense, it's not that much different from speech. If you can fulfill these requirements you'll engage your audience, and that's what leads to results. So, learning how to engage people becomes critical for SEO copywriting.
Have you ever listened to a speech by someone who was really good at it? What did he do to capture you and make you want to listen? I'll bet he told stories and anecdotes. He probably sounded relaxed and conversational. He used words that evoked visual images in your mind. Writing is a rich medium for communication. It can seduce, attract and paint pictures. Think about your favorite book, your favorite authors. Why do you like them?
The balancing act for SEO copywriters is walking the fine line between writing rich, layered, evocative text and giving people the hard information they need to make purchasing decisions. I assure you it can be done. Try these tips for writing better SEO content:
1. Write creatively- Creative writing is the opposite of boring, dry and factual writing. It has nothing to do with jargon. It makes a point in its own way. When you get the chance to use a metaphor to make that point, do so. Think "drowning in a sea of troubles" rather than "he was in a lot of trouble", "the winds of change are blowing", rather than "change is coming".
Similes also enrich your content. A simile is a figure of speech that compares two things usually considered different. Most similes are introduced by like or as. Think "The realization hit me like a bucket of cold water" rather than "I realized that..."
2. Expand your vocabulary- There is usually more than one way to say something. Search engines like related terms, i.e. words that are related, or similar to, your keywords. Perfect! Use more of these terms in your writing. It's good for SEO and it makes your text more descriptive.
In this case, if your keyword is "floral arrangement" think about adding the words "flowers", "vases", "bouquets" and "floral centerpieces". Sprinkle them throughout and attach them to descriptive and related adjectives such as "fragrant", "colorful" and "lush". Your readers will be better able to get a mental picture. And the search engines will get the picture, as well.
Does writing well mean being flowery? Does it mean using the dreaded "big words" that put people off? Not at all. Writing creatively and using varied and descriptive terms is not the same thing as being wordy or pompous. You can pack a lot of great writing into relatively few words. Of course, one could write a book about this topic, so let's just leave it at this-- don't think you can't write well just because you're writing marketing copy. The two are not mutually exclusive.
In fact, considering how much more likely people are to buy from someone who engages them, I'd say they go hand in hand.