How To Create SEO-Friendly Content

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Getting your voice heard on the internet is never easy. It can be like setting up your soapbox on a crowded street, and waving frantically to get passers-by to pay attention. You might be an expert in your chosen topic, with pearls of wisdom to dispense on X particles or Z-list celebrities, but how do you get people to stop long enough to listen?

The answer is finding the right balance between SEO-friendly content and readability.  It’s essential to make sure the Google (and Bing) spiders – and therefore readers – can find your website or blog. Knowing a few tricks can help you climb their rankings, without sacrificing your sparkling writing or specialist knowledge.

Choose Your Keywords

Keywords are the most important aspect of SEO , so think about them before you even start to write. It can be hard slotting keywords in afterwards without sounding clunky and forced.

Brainstorm words and phrases you think people are looking for, and use trusted tools such as GoogleAdWords to help pick the best. Consider how much competition there is for each phrase.  Instead of catch-all terms such as “travel agency” consider more specific terms, such as “Italian luxury travel specialist”, to sell your particular area of expertise.

Place Keywords Carefully

Search engines don’t just analyze which words you use, but where you place them. Getting keywords in the title or first sentence is obviously a good start. Many newspapers change their pun-heavy headlines to more SEO-friendly versions on their websites.

You need to find the right keyword density – “keyword stuffing” can be penalized by search engines, as well as being a turn-off to readers!

Don’t forget “hidden places” to put your keywords, such as meta tags and image captions.

Use Free Tools

Take advantage of free tools, such as Google Analytics which can assess where your site traffic comes from and which aspects need more work.  For bloggers, WordPress has various plug-ins that can help you choose the best post title and keywords, avoid duplicate content and make the most of meta-tags. Mashable has a list of the top 20 WordPress SEO plug-ins.

Become An Expert on Your Topic

Let’s say users are searching for “Edinburgh travel tips” or “easy Christmas recipes”. If you’ve got several articles on the same topic, then search engines will assume you know what you’re talking about. Choosing a targeted area of expertise will help you get on that coveted first page of search results.

Use Links Wisely

It’s not just what you write that counts. Clever use of links will help your site climb the rankings – including ones to other parts of your own website. If another page has relevant information or you’ve written a similar post in the past then add a link. Just don’t overdo it!

Wear the right Coloured Hat

SEO techniques are sometimes referred to as “white hat” or “black hat”. Search engines regard “white hat” techniques as legitimate ways to optimize your website and help users find the information they want. “Black hat” techniques refer to practices such as using hidden text, or having separate versions of websites to deceive search engines. They might work in the short term, but could lead to Google blocking your site – not a good strategy!

Write for Your Audience

“Content is king” may be a cliché, but it’s basically true. SEO techniques can grab readers, but engaging writing keeps them there. Don’t let your text get so loaded down with keywords your main points get lost. Giving away useful information or creating a lively, informative blog is the best way to keep readers coming back to your site.  Think of your audience. Are they interested enough to plough through a long piece of text? Or do they just want the basic facts as quickly  and succinctly as possible?

Make it Readable

And on the same theme, make sure your writing is easy on the eye. Break up chunks of text into subcategories, and use images effectively. Lists can be a good idea – and a way to repeat keywords without readers noticing! Use short sentences and leave plenty of white space.

Christian Arno
Christian Arno is the founder of Lingo24, a global translation company. Launched in 2001, Lingo24 now has over 200 employees spanning three continents and clients... Read Full Bio
Christian Arno
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  • As a new blogger this is a great article. I try to have a SEO friendly title with each post; the tricky part is finding a healthy amount of keywords in the body that sound natural and unforced. The keywords have to be relevant to the post as well, which is why it’s important to consider the topic your writing about. Some topics will have better keywords available than others.

  • Definitely touches on some key points! The best one is “write for your audience”. So many may be experts in their field but don’t know how to speak to their target audience to make them want to read your post past the first few lines or even the title sometimes. 🙂

  • Nice recap of the basics. With the Panda changes, web writers need to look at the guidelines posted and this article is a great little resource tool as well. Thanks!

  • I always follow all these points and get amazing results. Recently I am working on a very new site and without any backlinks this site is getting good traffic.

  • Some great points, when writing content, if you focus on just being genuine and real, and writing in a way that your readers will appreciate and also understand you will get better results.
    Once you have done your content than you can look into optimising it by setting relevant titles and headings.

  • I’ve recently started to write my post as normal, with a working title, then go do some keyword research to find a decent traffic, not too competitive keyword that relates well to the article. With a few tweaks like you mentioned in this post I usually hit the first page for that keyword. It’s as simple as using one phrase rather than another when both mean the same thing. Means I get some extra visitors that wouldn’t otherwise have found my article. Works for me.

  • Good, basic advice and sometimes we need to be reminded! Thanks

  • Good checklist, although the “keyword density” mention forced out an eyebrow reaction.

  • It was good to read all the basics again and the best point that I found was “Use Links Wisely”. Actually I think I was overdoing it and there are nearly 4-5 links in my ever post but I am going to fix it up. Thanks for your post. 🙂

  • Yes content is what brings visitors to your website and one time visitors might become a long term reader.
    Thanks for useful post 🙂

  • But to get indexed into google, yahoo, bing takes at least 30 days because i had got my search engine website Coming Soon Live indexed after 30 days!

    Can anyone tell me why it takes such a long time to get indexed into bigger search engines?

    Waiting 4 your reply…

  • buzzquotient

    Keyword is the focus when we create SEO friendly content. Brainstorming keywords help the content to rank in SERP. Once keyword is selected, its placement is also important. Keyword stuffing should be avoided. Also placing links wisely is important otherwise it gives an impression that website is trying to spam links. And keeping audience in mind is equally important because it helps in writing content which they would love to read again and again.

  • The most important aspect of creative post content is SEO and the simple to follow steps highlight all the necessary steps of this with ease. It is after all not just about keywords, there are other factors that need equal attention. Great post!

  • I have to re-state that so much focus is on writing with SEO in mind that at times the content writer or writers forgot to make the site readable to the actual human vistors. Writing too much SEO jazz and your bounce rate will increase!

    Keep that in mind….best of luck!

  • Hi Christian

    This is a great blog on getting the balance right between keyword input and readable ‘human’ text. Like you say in your first point, it’s so important to get the keywords right. You need keywords which your target audience are typing into the search engine, but you have to select specific words or phrases which will capture your niche. Firstly to focus your efforts on the exact person that you want to find your site. Secondly, if you go for one or two word keywords such as ‘travel agents’, your chances of getting high up in the search is really slim due to high competition.