As a business owner, you’ve likely invested vast amounts of time and effort into discovering how to craft the perfect text for your readers. Finding that balance between entertainment and information is a tricky line to walk, and one that only the best marketers can handle with aplomb. However, in the online marketing era, it often takes a little bit more than just writing killer content for your readers in order to truly succeed.
Why SEO Matters
When it comes to writing online content, especially for marketing purposes, you need to write text that speaks to the search engines. In other words, if Google crawls a blog that you wrote and it can’t figure out what you’re actually talking about, there’s a good chance your post will never be found by your intended readers in the first place.
It sounds funny, but a good online writer needs to literally learn how to speak two languages at once — to do “double duty” with their writing so to speak. They must communicate their message effectively to the intended reader all while ensuring that their content is optimized for search engines to understand. Here are some suggestions for ways to write in ways that speak to your reader and prioritize search engine optimization (SEO) techniques at the same time.
Write with Rich Snippets
Rich snippets are the answers that will often appear towards the top of your search results. For instance, if you search for “how to raise chickens,” you might get rich snippets like “how do you raise chickens?”, “How hard is it to raise chickens?”, or “How much does it cost to raise a chicken?”
Rich snippets directly answer common questions related to the searched topic. They’re pulled from brief yet informative sections of your content and are usually no more than a few hundred characters long. As you write, do your best to contain all of your answers within limited areas of your text in order to provide good fodder for rich snippets. However, don’t make the sections too short. You want enough to show up in a snippet to entice the reader to click through to your site.
Utilize Your Header Tags
Using headers within your text is a great way to communicate the major elements of your writing. If you craft your headlines with the intent to convey an idea or message about the following text (and how it relates to your larger topic as a whole) it will help readers and search engines alike.
Fill Out That Metadata
While your flowing content should be written for readers, you should also strive to provide detailed metadata for search engines to crawl from behind the scenes. Create meta tags that help to describe what the topic is about.
In addition, take the time to craft a carefully thought-out meta description that condenses the essence of your writing into a short synopsis (typically around 160 characters) that can be displayed in search results.
Include Image Tags
A reader will typically have no problem interpreting the meaning of an image that you include. If, for instance, you’re talking about what a dog’s teeth should look like after you brush them, an image of a dog’s pearly whites would make total sense to a reader.
However, Google will likely have no idea if the image relates to your text or not. Make sure to go in behind the scenes and include an image tag for each and every picture that you incorporate into your writing, as this will easily inform a search engine what your image is and why it’s relevant to your topic.
Select Anchor Text Wisely
When you go to include a link in your writing, make sure to choose your anchor text wisely. For instance, a sentence like “it’s difficult to shift from journalism to content marketing” should use the anchor text “shift from journalism to content marketing” as the last four words of the selected phrase are literally in the title of the linked-to source.
Simply hyperlinking the words “difficult to shift” as an alternative wouldn’t be as effective or informative to the search engines, as it doesn’t directly reflect the content being linked to.
Consider Your Keyword Density
If you’re writing about the keyword “trucks” make sure to use it a few times throughout your text. However, do your best to avoid keyword stuffing. Instead of repeating “trucks” over and over again, look for ways to include related things such as “truck bed,” “truck mileage,” or “trucking.”
Always Prioritize Your Readers
As a final exhortation, remember to always prioritize your readers before the search engines. Writing text that focuses on SEO without considering the human readers would be like someone giving a lecture to a translator rather than through them.
Instead, make sure to treat your SEO-techniques as writing that is crafted to help search engines understand your writing specifically so that they can present it in search engine result pages (SERPS) for those readers that will genuinely benefit from your efforts.