A Writer’s Guide to SEO

SEO: It’s a living thing

Search engine optimization (SEO) is evolving. If you want Google to look favourably on your website, you need to put some time and effort into making your content work as hard as it can – no shortcuts, no cheating.

With the emphasis on promoting sites that engage with users and deliver quality content with authority and consistency, SEO is definitely not about employing sneaky redirects, cloaking, hidden text or irrelevant keywords to get a quick fix. Google is determined to weed out sharp practice in the rankings game, so check its Webmaster Guidelines for advice and guidance on how best to use content and design to optimize your ranking – ignore them at your peril!

Climbing the ranks

The Google search engine results page includes organic search results plus paid advertisements. But it’s worth remembering that advertising with Google will have no effect on your site’s ranking in the organic search results. For this reason, no-one can guarantee you a free #1 ranking on the first page of Google; the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through the ‘Add URL’ page or by submitting a sitemap, which can all be done for free.

Long-tail keywords are growing in popularity: these 3-to-5-word phrases are designed to pull traffic through targeted content due to the consumer trend for really specific searches such as ‘how to plan a vintage tea party’. The more focused your optimization, the more likely you are to channel this business, but don’t lose sight of the fact that content still needs to be well-written, engaging and of the highest quality.

Link building is important, too, but make sure that any links complement and enhance your content. Backlinks – or inbound links – from authoritative sites on specialist topics are valuable, so treat them as valued referrals from a trusted source. 

Quality content counts

If you know your audience, you can connect with them through blogs, posts and reports – if you can speak their language on subjects that engage them, you’re already half way there. Quality traffic is usually the direct result of unique, engaging content strategies, so target content that builds relationships, trust and credibility. To be in with a chance of engaging and retaining customer attention, content needs to deliver:

  • Informed answers to real questions
  • Content that educates and entertains
  • Stories that get passed on, quoted, linked to, and shared 

Mobile web surfing – on tablets and smartphones – is on the increase, too, so consider optimizing your online content for mobile viewing. Keep paragraphs short, stay on topic and keep it interesting.

Spread the word

Once you’ve created your content, you’ll want as many people as possible to read about it. Employing social network savvy is sure to improve your SEO results – and Google+ could prove to be an important ally. By linking articles, blogs and press releases to your Google+ profile and creating a link on your profile page, author rank will be triggered. When Google+ posts are crawled and indexed, all of your content will be branded to you.

Bring it home

Achieving better rankings by building credibility and authority in your market space is no pipe dream. If you’re committed to generating well-written, relevant and engaging copy that delivers value-rich content to your customers, you’ll soon build a brand that’s worth shouting about. Stick to a schedule that’s achievable and aim to produce the highest-quality content you can. If you keep delivering, consistently and reliably, you’ll get the customers you deserve. But if it all sounds too much like hard work, get in touch and I’ll help you work it out.

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