SEO Is a Writer’s Profession Now

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Ten years ago, if you wanted to achieve success in online business, you had to learn some technical stuff: HTML editing, scripting, FTP, numerous software tools. For SEO, you had to learn all the tags, fine-tune them manually, analyze on-page factors like keyword density.

Now, with WordPress and other excellent free tools, creating and managing websites is trivial, and the main things you need for SEO are good content and quality links. If you are a good writer, you can produce both with great success.

Good content: do what you enjoy and write about it

The best way to succeed here is to choose a niche that appeals to your heart. If you are genuinely interested in your subject, the writing will flow naturally, and you will never run out of new article ideas. And you will need a lot of articles – for your site, blog, emails and for off-site promotion as well.

If you are planning to start your own business, bear this in your mind. Do not fall for the temptation to choose some market or industry only because it looks promising in terms of profit. If you have nothing to say about it, or don’t really like it, then you’ll have problems trying to promote your business.

For example, I did not launch Web Tracking Guide because I thought Internet marketing was an easy field. It’s arguably not, especially for a beginner. It is overcrowded and very demanding. But I truly enjoy what I do, I already have a lot of experience here, and I feel excited to discover new ideas for online business optimization and share them with others.

Acquiring quality links in the social web era

When you have your great content ready, you want someone to come and see it. For that purpose, you need to get inbound links to your website. You need them both for direct traffic and improved search engine rankings.

Probably all of you received emails like this:

Link exchange email

Notice how this Web Marketing Consultant failed to even paste my domain name in email body, leaving the previous one
there. This type of letters usually go straight to trash bin these days.

Today, search engines are getting smarter and distinguish different kinds of links and their relative value. So the low hanging fruit like link exchange or second-tier directories will not help you much in terms of ranking. You need high-quality links from relevant pages. And here, you need your writing skills again. The best link building methods are all about writing.

  • Guest blogging. Write a guest post for one of the popular blogs in your industry. If they accept it, you can negotiate a link back to your website. It will be placed on a highly targeted, permanent page, and have your desired anchor text. It is in the blog owner’s best interest to optimize and promote every post on their blog, so your investment is safe there, unlike some obscure “resources” section with hundreds of loosely related listings. You can see an example of a guest post in front of you right now, providing a top-quality link and excellent publicity for me.
  • Social networking. Promote your site and your new articles on social services like Facebook and Twitter. Add your pages to social bookmarking sites like Digg. Again, you need to write compelling headlines and summaries for each of these, otherwise no-one will pay attention.
  • Article marketing. This is an older technique, but it is still one of the most effective ones. Submit some of your articles to article directories in exchange for backlinks. Again, your writing pays back in high-quality targeted links.

As you can see, writing is the most important skill today in online promotion and SEO. So practice if you are not used to it. You may find it difficult at first, but start small and you will see steady improvements. Start with forum and blog comments, which are shorter and easier to write. Then, submit a few articles to directories, where there is some formal separation between you, the editor and your readers. And when you feel more confident, try guest blogging. In addition to SEO and traffic benefits, you will build some good relationships with fellow blog owners and commenters.

Val Danylchuk
Val Danylchuk is the author of Web Tracking Guide - an easy, step-by-step tutorial on tracking and maximizing your online profits.
Val Danylchuk

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  • Marcus Interactive

    I think you’ve gotten some of it in a very simplistic way. Many, many websites are not just WordPress blogs thrown up, but complex sites incorporating a variety of technologies. As an SEO specialist, I need to know not only HTML, but I need to know my way around any customer relationship management tool used to manage sites, like Joomla or Drupal. While it’s critical that an SEO specialist be a good writer, the technical part is almost as important. As for link trading, it’s dead. The search engines are onto it and the word they consistently use in this regard is RELEVANCE. Irrelevant links detract more from your PageRank than relevant ones add. I get 2-3 emails a day from link building companies in India and they are all garbage. Create an engaging site that offers your visitor good information and a clear idea of who you are, what you do and why you’re relevant to them and you’ll hit the top of the SERP’s.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

      You are right, I posted an exaggerated and simplified argument here. Rest assured that this is only for the purpose of making my point more clearly, and provoking thought and discussion. I realize that SEO is a highly skilled profession, and I did not mean to diminish its importance in any way. Sorry if that was your impression.

      Maybe I’ll have to disagree with you on irrelevant links detracting from your PageRank. If that were the case, black hat SEOs would bomb the competitor’s sites out of Google index left, right and center. It would be all over the forums, and probaby in the news, as well. Yet I didn’t notice such evidence. Thus, I believe irrelevant links are useless but mostly harmless, as long as you don’t link back. If you were talking about link exchange specifically, then I agree with you.

      And yes, creating a quality resource and providing valuable information is the best recipe for success.

  • Moosa Hemani

    Nice post again Val… here i just wanted to clear my point is yes SEO is giving more importance to content but i still feel should how more then just writing skills i believe technical guy with writing skills will work better then just a plain dude with writing skills.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for the compliment! Yes, of course it is best to combine writing and technical skills. I just wanted to point out that writing skills are getting more important than they used to be. I personally find myself spending more time on writing tasks in my SEO activities than on technical tasks.

  • Michael Real

    I definitely agree. It has been that way since but often disregarded by SEO professional since they thought it is too much time consuming t write articles just to gain a link. But today, it is totally different since a link on the article itself gives much link juice than any other link anywhere on the page.

    • Val Danylchuk

      Yes, the context link in the article text has great value for SEO. And writing is becoming worth the effort, as search engines learn to distinguish natural links from the easier, brute-force methods.

      In addition to that, an exposure and authority you can get with quality writing published in targeted places will give you a lot of traffic and loyal readers regardless of search engines.

  • Mark Pilatowski

    I agree with Marcus Interactive. Most businesses are not trusting their web presence to WordPress. There are far too many security issues associated with WordPress as a CMS. Because of that there are still plenty of sites out there being designed and developed without a thought towards SEO. And don’t get me started on the frankenstein sites some huge brands are using at this point. I work with very large enterprise sites and many have so many legacy issues that need to be dealt with which requires a variety of one-off SEO solutions to avoid total disaster. I think the OP is correct when it comes to publishing and some small businesses but I don’t see many Fortune 500 businesses trusting their web presence to an off the shelf solution in the near future.

    • Val Danylchuk

      Hi Mark, Thanks for your comment!

      I do not advocate using WordPress for every site. I mentioned it because it is an easy way for newcomers to get started. When they test their business idea and have some success, they may consider other options.

      And my primary point was not about the platform, anyway. I just wanted to point out that good writing is becoming even more essential for online success, and writing skills now gain weight not only in content production, but in SEO, as well.

      See also my reply to Marcus Interactive and other commenters.

      • Mark Pilatowski

        I agree and I believe that even the big brands are beginning to understand the importance of content as it relates to SEO specifically and marketing in general.

  • Echo Internet Marketing


    We really enjoy your posts. Can you write an article about the best way to request links, whether by email, phone, etc? We’ve all seen the badly written emails. But what is the proper subject line, content to have in the email whether you are asking to guest blog or a direct request that will get the best response and not end up sent to spam. And what do you say to make sure you get the link on the right page with the targeted keyword anchor text you want? Thanks and keep up the great writing!

    • Val Danylchuk

      Thank you for your kind words!

      I may consider writing such an article some time, but it’s not my core competence and there are others who already wrote about that very well.

      In general, get familiar with the target site first. Read their policies and guidelines. Find out how other webmasters got their links there, and what they look like. Read the About and Contacts pages carefully, to know the proper way to send your request. And then, just be polite and useful.

      Regarding guest blogging in particular, I recommend two articles:
      “Guest Blogging: The Ultimate Guide” by Glen Allsopp and
      “How I Repeatedly Get Featured on Many Top Blogs” by Onibalusi Bamidele.
      These will give you a good start. Just google them.

  • Anonymous

    @Marcus Interactive, @ Mark Pilatowski
    I’m on board with what you’re saying. Many people these days are considering themselves experts because they know how to work WordPress and the like, and have negated the responsibility of learning the full areas of the trade (HTML, CMS, etc.). This is especially true for small and even county-run businesses with whom I often work. There may be a great business model in place, and there is often a vision for growing, but most people don’t realize that WordPress is not going to serve them as well as a site built with a foundational SEO element ingrained in it. And like Marcus said, link-building emails circulate all too often, and I rarely read them anymore. Sure, you might get a couple links, but the SEO, and website in general, should all be part of a larger marketing package that doesn’t rely on pimping link usage.

    • Val Danylchuk

      Thanks for your comment,

      My primary point was the increasing importance of good writing, both for content production and for SEO. WordPress was just a side mention. If you know better platforms, more power to you.

      And please do not confuse the link exchange emails (which I specifically argued against) with all link building. Off-page factors like anchor text and the number and quality of inbound links are extremely important in SEO. You seem to be focused more on on-page factors, probably because that is the strength of your product or services. That’s perfectly fine, but do not discharge link building as some simple-minded “pimping”.

      See also my replies to other commenters that you mentioned.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks Val,
        Maybe my tone came out more pointed than I had anticipated. I agree with you, and Marcus and Mark, in that those poorly done requests for link building don’t serve any purpose. The “pimping” reference was to those feeble attempts. And I called out WordPress because, having worked with a lot of small businesses, many people still don’t the benefits a well-done site can yield from an SEO standpoint.

        Part of my strategy has always included article marketing, and more recently social media, but I really like your idea for guest blogging. I think that’s an often underutilized strategy, and it’s good to see that method mentioned.

        I look forward to your next post.

  • Akasro Services(Link Building)

    I am still seen success in taking high PR links as best SEO method.

    • Val Danylchuk

      Sure, getting high PR links is highly beneficial. The question is how you acquire them.

      If you are buying do-follow links with cash, you are breaking Google’s guidelines and risk to be excluded from their index. And if you are looking for safer ways to get them, writing good content is one of your best options.

      Of course there are other methods of building quality links, this article is not a complete guide to link building.

  • Anonymous

    But most people do not realize that WordPress does not serve as a site built with a basic SEO rooted in it. As Marcus said, e-mails that often circulate links.

    Motorcycle Parts

  • smith greal

    one of the easiest ways for SEO copywriters to land lucrative assignments. When many freelance writers start to look for SEO writing jobs, they start by responding to ads on sites like Craigslist and GetaFreelancer. This is normal, as there are tons of jobs there. But, most of them are very low-paying and the competition is intensely fierce.

    • Val Danylchuk

      Yes, I believe the current situation promises a lot of lucrative opportunities for SEO copywriters. And the payment should increase, as the customers begin to realize that all articles are not created equal. Two articles posted at the same blog can receive 10x difference in response, based on article quality.

  • Yuwanda Black

    Excellent piece — esp love the title.

    As an SEO writer, the line that stood out to me in this post was, “writing is the most important skill today in online promotion and SEO”.

    Exactly for this reason, I think the value of SEO writers is rising. Since I started doing this type of writing in 2007, I’ve seen what SEO copywriters can charge for their services slowly go up.

    I think this is because many businesses are just starting to realize that content is not only king, it’s queen, first, cousin, grandmother/father, spriritual adviser … in short, it rocks! And to get quality content, you have to pay a decent rate for it, like any other investment.

    I’ve also seen many SEO writers slowly drop writing for clients, and invest that time and energy into their own projects (eg, blogs, ebooks, affiliate marketing, etc). And that’s why, to me, knowing SEO is one of the most important skills a freelancer can acquire these days.

    It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, web designer, affiliate marketer, etc.; knowing SEO will help you sell more.

    Again, excellent piece. Simple, to the point, relevant and true.

    • Val Danylchuk

      Thank you for the compliments! It is always a pleasure to find a reader who shares your thoughts, and an opinion from a professional writer means even more for me.

      I agree that SEO writing will probably continue to grow, as I wrote in another reply here.

  • Mike Glover | SEO Services

    Val – Great article! Go figure from an SEO copywriter…LOL!

    I think it’s important to mention (as some have above) that other technical aspects of SEO still apply. For instance, it does no good to wrtie GRADE A copy if you don;t know how and where to promote it. Great copy is only the first step in a solid SEO program. I do agree though, that copy writing is becoming much more impotant and should continue that rise as the SE’s get smarter and more accurate!

    Thanks for sharing !

    • Val Danylchuk

      Thanks for your encouraging words, Mike!

      Yes, of course any writing doesn’t promote itself. It always needs some push to get rolling. But then the result depends heavily on the quality of writing.

  • Austin L. Church

    Val, Thanks for the thoughtful and thorough post. I’m a poet who wanted to eat, so I got into marketing. Writing SEO content was a good fit from the beginning. When I told my prospective clients that a site without polished content was like a car without an engine, I sometimes felt like I was patting myself on the back and creating work for myself, even if what I was saying was true. Though there’s nothing wrong with being a good salesman, it’s good to hear someone else singing the same song. I’ll be sure to bookmark this page and share it when those conversations arise.

    • Val Danylchuk

      Hi Austin,

      I think many people will agree with you today about the role of the polished content. And if this article helps you to win more clients, that would be just great!

  • Tom Aikins

    Google keeps telling everyone that content is the most important part of online marketing so maybe this is right. The ways to build backlinks in this article are very basic. You can get a lot more sophisticated with it if you want.

    • Val Danylchuk

      You’re right, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of ways to build backlinks. I only mentioned a few which are free, relatively easy and thus popular among beginners.

  • @kermedia

    I wonder why most people STILL don’t seem to realize how important it is to have good content. Write and create for the audience, not the search engines, make sure you have the back end technical stuff as a very solid foundation and you will do just fine.

    • Val Danylchuk

      It is very true that good content is essential. However, it is only half of the problem. You need a good promotion strategy as well. Even the best content doesn’t guarantee success by itself. “Build it and they will come” just doesn’t work.

  • Dmitri

    Thanks for the interesting article. I got a question related to uniqueness of content.

    Is it ok to post the same article that you submitted as a guest blogger to your own website, or is generally expected by the guest blog that the content is unique and not published elsewhere?

    • Val Danylchuk

      It is generally expected that a guest article is unique and not published elsewhere. It is also often stated explicitly in guest posting guidelines of a particular blog you’re writing for.

    • Ambalaldarji3

      No dear, guest blogging always approve fresh and unique content. they are not accepting duplicate content that you have shared somewhere else.

  • Randy Addison

    I am actually a writer before but when the computers reign against pen and paper, I started to study SEO and wrote on other websites about anything! Article marketing is also one useful way to do SEO. It’s an old technique but still effective.

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  • Eveli

    black hat SEOs would bomb the competitor’s sites out of Google index left, right and center

  • Markhooson

    As a former journalist turned SEO/copywriter, this was really gratifying to read.

    WordPress is very liberating for writers who have little coding knowledge, and serves as a great learning exercise

  • Anonymous

    Yep… good readable content wins the day yet again.