How to Write for SEO

Web content writing is set apart from all other writing genres by the influence of search engines. If you’ve been at this Internet marketing game for more than a day or so, you’re probably already familiar with search engine optimization (SEO) and why it’s important–but just in case here’s a quick SEO review.

SEO writing is all about the keywords

Whenever you are writing for SEO you need to make keyword research a priority. In order to attract readers you have to know what words they are using when searching for the information you provide.

One of the best tools for conducting keyword research is Google AdWords Keyword Tool. You can use this free tool to generate a list of keywords and keyphrases based on Google’s vast accumulation of search data.

Knowing which keywords to choose

With over a 130 million sites on the web, webmasters, like you, suffer intense competition for desirable keywords. To have a chance at ranking on the first page of search results you have to choose your keywords carefully.

Fortunately, Google’s Keyword Tool provides a gauge of how competitive each keyword is. Use this insight to find keywords that have high search volumes paired with low competition ratings. Generally, the more specific the keyword (so-called “long-tail” keywords) the less competitive it is (e.g. “freelance copywriter in Knoxville, Tennessee” compared to “copywriter”).

Using keywords in SEO writing

When writing web content remember you are ultimately writing for human beings. Yes, search engines need keywords to determine what your content is about, but humans need clarity and smooth reading. For this reason you’ll want to include keywords in your writing only as often as they make sense–and no more.

To keep things natural-sounding limit yourself to three keywords or fewer per item of content (webpage, blog post, article, etc). Strategically place these keywords in your headline, subheadings, and sprinkled throughout your text (I cannot over-stress this point: only use SEO keywords where they make sense and flow nicely with surrounding text).

Also, search engines can identify multiple forms of the same word so try varying your verbiage. For example, one might use “how to write for SEO” and “SEO writing” in an article about writing for SEO.

Finally, when appropriate, highlight your SEO keywords in bold. This will draw both readers’ and search engines’ attention and can emphasize important points.

The secret sauce of writing for SEO

On a final note, SEO writing on its own will not get your website ranked by the search engines. For that you need to attract the attention of other websites.

Search engines treat hyperlinks between websites like votes. The more links (or votes) you have, the higher you are likely to rank. Therefore, my number one SEO writing tip (the secret sauce, so to speak) is this: create link-worthy content. Make your content something people care about, can relate to, are interested in, and will share with others.

If you still don’t feel comfortable writing SEO content consider hiring a professional SEO copywriter. I would be happy to offer you a free content evaluation and consultation. You can contact me via

Guest author Alexa Steele is The Website Wordsmith. She focuses on producing high quality web writing that informs and persuades.

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