“Write SEO copy? No thanks! I don’t want to corrupt my writing style for search engines”
Sound familiar? This is a complaint you hear regularly from people who think that SEO copy has to be keyword stuffed, unreadable drivel. Writers, bloggers, journalists don’t want to sacrifice their flair for the written word to accommodate the evil controllers at Google, Bing and the rest; they want to provide the ‘flowers and all’ approach that got them to where they are. And why shouldn’t they feel like that?
The truth is that SEO copywriting has moved on a lot in the last 5 years, hell, even in the last 2. No longer is it about getting a 5 word longtail phrase included in the copy 4 times and repeating your headline keyword again and again and again and again (sorry for the repetition, but I want this post to rank for ‘again’ …). One occurrence of a keyword is plenty, though if you’re writing a genuine, quality piece then it’s more than likely it will occur a few times naturally anyway.
The real key to writing quality SEO copy is to make it engaging and interesting for your readers so they continue to the end and are left wanting more. If they liked it that much then it’s more than likely that they’ll share it with their friends and maybe even link to it themselves. Then they’ll come back tomorrow for the next instalment and, if you’re up to it, do the same again. This kind of ‘SEO copy’ gets links and social shares, it doesn’t just lever in keywords. And which approach do you think will perform better in the search engines, the page with lots of links and social shares or the one sitting dormant filled with keywords?
You & Because
Brian Clark recently wrote about the two, new keywords in town; ‘You’ and ‘Because’. He was writing about blogging in particular, but I think it applies across the board: address the reader, tell them what you want them to do and explain why. If your reasons are good enough then it’s more than likely they’ll do exactly as you ask. Nothing is more compelling than being given a good reason why you should do something.
This isn’t to say you should be throwing keyword research out the window and ignoring it all together, you still want your key phrases to appear in the copy somewhere, but the real success of your writing is in how well it engages the reader and what it makes them do. If you get that right, ranking success will follow closely behind.
Not interested in writing for search engines? Just want to focus on content users will love reading without worrying about Google? You sound like the perfect SEO copywriter…
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