Producing fresh content on a regular basis is one of the fundamental building blocks of any good SEO strategy, so it should come as no surprise that many people are looking for better and more efficient ways to get it done.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Content Writing for SEO
Because there are so many different niches and styles of writing there is no one set list of tips we can give you that are sure to be the most effective. What we can do is give you some information that we have culled from the vast reaches of cyberspace that we feel is going to help you if you are looking for an easy-to-apply list of do’s and don’ts for content writing with SEO in mind.
What You Should Do
- Have a plan before you start writing – One of the best things you can do to consistently create high-quality content for your brand’s SEO efforts is to have a plan before you even start writing. This can be as simple as a title / topic for your content and a bullet list of ideas you would like to discuss. Or you could create an outline that breaks your ideas down into more detail. How in-depth you go depends entirely on you and your writing style, but having a plan allows for you to stay on topic which is very important.
- Write first, and worry about keywords later – You might be thinking that keywords are incredibly important to SEO, so why aren’t they first on the list? The answer is that while keywords are important, a natural-sounding style and flow for written content is just as important, if not more so, and worrying about keywords while writing can really gum up the works. You should be able to write your content with a natural voice and with logical flow, and then go back after your first draft and add in your keyword(s) as often as you feel is appropriate.
- Remember to format your content before publishing – Formatting, believe it or not, is actually pretty important to the success of written content for SEO. Headings (H1 especially) containing your keywords can be beneficial from a Google perspective, but the extra niceties such as sub-headings, bold/italic/underlined text, lists, and the like are all very much appreciated by human readers because these things make your content easier to consume. Less work for readers definitely means more views for you!
What You Should Not Do
Video: Content Creation Tip: Don’t Steal Content
- Follow outdated advice – There is a lot of content writing advice out there… Think about it, SEO has been around for a while now, and as a result so has content writing. Because content writing has also been a very hot topic in the past few years, and considering Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, there is a lot of advice out there that claims to be able to help you beat the updates, recover from them, or just plain ignore them entirely. Advice that is more than a year old should be taken with a grain of salt and compared to more recent information for increased likelihood of accuracy.
- Create low-quality content – And by low-quality content we mean content that has been spun, keyword-stuffed, duplicated/spammed all over the web, and the like. These kinds of content are not only difficult (if not downright impossible_ to read, but they have been targeted by the major search engines for a while now and will not be doing your brand any favors when it comes time to tally the numbers and see who is going to take the coveted #1 spot in the SERPs.
- Focus on machines over human readers – Not only are there still writers out there who do this, but there is also plenty of advice that indicates that we should be catering to the search engines instead of our readers. This is one of the biggest “Don’t do this!” items in the world of content writing for SEO, so we felt that we had to include it here. You simply cannot afford to think this way. Instead, you should be focusing on the exact opposite strategy, which is to write more for human readers than for machines. If the people who consume your content like that they see, chances are the machines will too, and you’ll be all set!
If you could add one item to either of these lists, what would it be and why?
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