By Melissa Uhles
If you are a writer it’s important to know about SEO. So I’ve put together a list of 7 SEO tips for writers and bloggers. I hope you’ll find it helpful and will be able to integrate these ideas the next time you write something that will be published online.
Don’t worry if you are unsure what SEO is, I didn’t know what it meant for a long time, despite seeing and hearing the term a lot.
Search engine optimization or SEO is a set of rules that explain how to get content to rank well with Google and other search engines.
Have you ever Googled your name or website and wondered why certain sites using your name were at the top of the page and other occurrences may have been at the bottom of the fourth page? Perhaps you found the best result was your Facebook or Amazon book sales page and not your website. Those are big companies with tons of aged content which explains why they often come up first.
If you are a blogger, you can use Google Analytics to see how your posts are doing and discover what your “organic reach” is like. Organic reach describes how many people found your post by searching a question in Google.
Apparently a popular search in Google is “How to Make Pancakes.” If your recipe comes up first from your food blog, that’s awesome news and no accident, but would perhaps happen as a result of your awesome SEO strategy.
Another thing to keep in mind when you are writing or blogging, is that the reading comprehension on a screen is greatly reduced when compared to reading on paper. Online readers are also big skimmers. If you write with these facts in mind, it will also help your SEO.
Ready, set, here are my 7 SEO Tips for Writers and Bloggers
Write Good Headlines
Shoot for using no more that seven or eight words at the most. Use words that can easily be re-used within your content. If you use Pinterest to drive traffic, using the term “will benefit you” in your title seems to be optimal. You might also want to try using an odd number in your title.
Integrate Keywords from Your Headline into Your First Paragraph
For this post I knew that I wanted to help writers and bloggers by explaining the basics of SEO. I brainstormed a few ideas for how to fit that into a title using keywords that would be easy to scatter throughout this blog post. You may also have the option to “test” a few titles to see which one performs better.
Use “Long Tail” and “Short Tail” Keywords Throughout Your Piece
A short tail keyword could be one word, like “SEO” in the case of this blog post. The long tail keywords would be a few more words and could be “SEO Tips for Writers”, for example. One note of caution: don’t over-do it on the keywords. If you use a plug-in (we use Yoast) it will tell you how good your SEO is and you can tweak it from there.
Write Short Paragraphs
My son is learning to write paragraphs in school and they favor five sentences still. I told him not to worry, that once he’s writing something online two or three sentences is enough for a paragraph. Sometimes even one sentence for emphasis and to break up the text is a good idea.
Consider Ideal Word Count
This rule has changed over time. Years ago everyone said 300-400 words was ideal and favored by search engines like Google. Today, the consensus seems to be to aim for long form content that is 1000-2000 words long.
To give you an idea of what that length looks like, this post is around 1000 words. You are welcome, Google!
While readers may skim and not read every word, the theory is that Google perceives this long form content as more legitimate and will more likely reward your site with a better ranking.
Include Links to Other Content on Your Site
You may notice that when I mentioned Pinterest earlier, I created a link that leads back to a post my Co-Blogger, Amber wrote about how to create beautiful pins. This keeps people on your site longer and will help with your ranking as well.
Publish Your Writing Consistently
If you have a website or blog, it helps to post on a regular and consistent schedule. For example, we post every Monday here at Pen and Parent. It can be tempting to throw a blog post up whenever the mood strikes, but that will negatively impact your SEO and your readers’ expectations.
Writers and Bloggers have so much to consider when they are writing content for an online audience. SEO is only one of those considerations. Don’t forget to proofread your work. I use Grammarly to help me catch errors I might otherwise miss.
Ultimately, composing something that provides value is the most important thing to keep in mind as you write. Some theorize we should forget about SEO all together and just write quality content. There might be something to that.
Ask yourself once you’ve written something, is this something I would want to spend a few spare minutes reading? If your answer is no, you might want to take another pass at it.
Soldier on writers and bloggers, I’m confident with practice that you’ll nail this SEO stuff and find your site at the top of page one in the very near future.
Do you use SEO, what are your tips? We’d love to hear them in the comments!
Did you know there are online publications that will pay you for quality blog posts? Cashing in on content you’re creating sounds awesome, right? Pen and Parent’s new online writing course will take a deep dive into the writing and submission techniques required to get paid for your blog posts. Click the green link above to get started and soon you will be celebrating your first paid post!
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