Now, let’s us begin with what this post is not:
This post is not a comprehensive guide to SEO (search engine optimisation). It’s a guide on how ordinary writers like us can make our writing search engine friendly.
If you want to indulge in a long and fulfilling relationship with the search engines – one that will stand the test of time after the first few months of fireworks have settled down – then taking the long-game, organic approach is the way to go.
Like all great relationships, this takes a healthy dose of time, effort and patience. But if you’re willing to put in the groundwork I’m positive you won’t be disappointed.
How to make your writing search engine friendly
1. Research keywords
There are different ways to do this. The simplest? Google 'Keyword Planner' (you’ll need a Google account but it’s all free), then simply type in phrases relating to the topic you want to write about.
What you’re looking for are keyword phrases getting a healthy amount of searches per month (this will differ depending on the topic/industry). Like with many relationships, it’s preferably that the competition is either ‘Low’ or at least ‘Medium’.
There are other (paid) options for keyword planning, including SEMrush, Ahrefs and Moz.
2. Use your keywords well
Once you've chosen a keyword phrase, use it in:
- the post’s title
- the first and last paragraphs if possible
- a subheading or two
- the body of the post where it makes sense to
- the title of your post's image
- the URL of the post
Important! Don’t stuff your keywords in everywhere so that your content reads strangely.
3. Link up
Link out to other useful posts within your content. These could be internal links from the site you’re writing for, or external links – just as long as they’re hyper useful and relevant to your content.
In terms of getting links back to your content, there are SEO 'gurus' who will talk about backlink strategies – let them talk.
As an online writer, simply concentrate on writing super useful and digestible content that folks will be compelled to link to. This will be enough to inform the search engines that you’re reliable and trustworthy enough to feature in their elusive results.
4. Be clear
Google needs to be able to scan your content and easily tell what it’s about. Guess what? Readers need to be able to scan your content and easily tell what it’s about.
Use bullet points, headings and embrace the white space. Don’t make it difficult to find important information. Use bullet points, numbers and headings to organise your content where appropriate.
Everyone will thank you for it.
5. Share the love
The main thing to take away from this is that the search engines want the same thing readers want: clear, digestible, useful and relevant content. If you achieve that, and don't just stuff your content full of keywords, you should feel pretty proud of it.
So get out there and shout about it.
Tweet it. Encourage people to like it on Facebook. Share it with bloggers you admire. Comment on other blogs so people might be inclined to follow you back to yours.
In time, with useful and well-written content posted on a regular basis, your writing will become much more search engine friendly.
And then one day you might look up and find that Google has finally made a solid commitment to you.