I love writing.
I love it for the the creative aspect, of course. The ability to use words for spreading energy and emotional impact is a powerful gift. Then, there’s sharing information. Learning is a lifelong process, and the knowledge we gain each and every day can change our lives. Is there a better feeling than to inspire someone with insight? And that’s why I love blogging: Because we can reach more people than ever before.
But preparing content for the web is a very different world than what many writers are accustomed to.
Great writing needs to be engaging, filled with story and description. Online, it also needs to be well-researched and properly formatted for reader-friendliness and search engine optimization.
Is SEO necessary? Yes.
I recall teaching workshops on writing for search. Most of the workshop attendees were journalists who were opposed to the idea of writing for search engines. They scoffed at the notion and asked why they should be forced to pander to companies like Google. They didn’t want their creative juices to be limited by specific keywords.
This is a common refrain. Most writers aren’t keen on the idea of writing for search engines, but this is likely because they don’t fully grasp the process or power laid out before them.
For instance, I’ve never met a writer who didn’t want people to read his work. Nor have I met a writer who wanted her hard work to disappear from the spotlight after a few days.
The major reason to do keyword research before blogging is that well-researched and properly optimized pieces will help your content stay relevant in search engines, ultimately helping a larger audience of people find and read it. Any writer would be crazy not to want that, right?
Furthermore, paying attention to keyword research and website optimization doesn’t hinder or confine your creativity. You can still write the way you typically write, you’ll just have an additional element to the final product.
In fact, I’ve noticed that some writers – upon starting to use keyword research and SEO in their writing – enjoy the challenge of optimizing their articles. The process isn’t incredibly difficult; it can be learned with some attention, and ultimately makes a writer more versatile.
The Truth Behind SEO
The process of optimization is almost like a word puzzle, spurring writers to incorporate certain keyword phrases into an article a specific number of times.
Not optimizing Internet-based content for keywords being searched is a waste of time, effort, and money if you’re paying for the work to be done. If an article is published to the web and not optimized, it will likely disappear after the day it’s published. No one wins in that scenario.
Every Word Should be Researched for Your Website
Some people think that only keyword phrases for articles need to be researched, but it goes far beyond that.
In today’s digital world, many content publishers have clean websites. They might be filled with content, but their navigation and menus are lacking, and their ability to retain audiences will falter. In order to create a truly well-optimized website that draws quality traffic, all the words used in category names, PDF titles, and product names need to be researched to find the best phrases to target.
[blockquote who=”” cite=”” align=”left”]”According to data from BrightEdge, organic search drove 51% of website traffic referrals worldwide during June and July 2014. Meanwhile, display, email and referred search ranked second, with 34% of referrals, paid search third (10%), and social media last (5%). … Of course, website traffic referral share varied by industry, and organic dominated the business services space the most, fueling 73% of all site referrals. Organic’s share of traffic referrals huddled around 50% for media and entertainment, technology and internet, and hospitality sites, while retail rounded out the list (42%).”[/blockquote]
Keyword Research Isn’t Just About Optimization
It’s true that keyword research and optimization do go hand in hand, but keyword research isn’t only about optimization.
Keyword research ultimately paints a picture of what your readers search for. Writers proficient in keyword research and optimization target keywords that are under-served – meaning there are audience members seeking information that isn’t adequately supported online. Don’t you want to be an information source that pays attention to the content desires of your audience? Don’t you want to be writing content that will get ranked quickly among Google results because there’s so little content on the keyword topic?[Tweet “Keyword research & optimization go hand in hand, but keywords aren’t only about optimization.”]
Of course you do, because you’re a writer that writes for an audience, not just for yourself.
With the use of keyword research, you won’t have to guess at what your audience members are seeking. Instead, you can see monthly search data on key terms and brainstorm your next piece with that in mind.
For all of you writers who are turning toward keyword research and optimization, here’s a tip: Don’t focus on the optimization process at the start of writing an article. Begin with research to determine a keyword of focus, but don’t optimize until after your first draft. This will help you write in a clear, creative way. You can then go back in subsequent drafts and optimize for your targeted keyword.
Why Is SEO Necessary?
It’s very rewarding to write a great article that gets praise from the online world while also getting ranked favorably in Google. That content will have a longer life span in the search engine than it could in any other capacity.
One recent fad is to forget SEO and “just write good content,” but that’s just simply idealistic and not good business.
If you ever want your article to see the light of day again after the first day it was published, you must optimize it. If you title your blog “OMG More Apples Please!” when it’s a post about apple pie recipes, then nobody looking for the “apple pie recipes” will ever find it in a search engine.
Your OMG apple post might get more clicks on its first day when you promote it via social media, but that’s where it stops. If you title it “10 Best Apple Pie Recipes,” you have a good shot at people finding it tomorrow, next month, and even years from now when they look for “apple pie recipes.” Plus, you can continue to update the content.
With search engine usage being a daily staple for the majority of U.S. adults – whether on desktop or mobile – writing for search won’t slow down anytime soon. It’s time to get on board before the train leaves your site waiting at the station!