The following is a guest post from Bird and Co Creative, a full service digital agency, based in Bromsgrove UK. They offer online marketing, web development, and graphic design services.
Think writing for the web is easy? Think again.
Freelancer, in-house copywriter, professional blogger; whatever your official title, more and more writing jobs require us to produce search engine optimized (SEO) copy.
The thing about SEO, is that it is easier to get wrong than right – no matter how long you’ve been playing the game.
With Google placing stricter penalties on black-hat SEO techniques, it’s time we thought again. Those little bad habits we’ve got into overtime have to go. And it’s these mishaps that could be causing your – or your clients’ – websites to slip down the SERPs.
5 SEO Slip-Ups
1. Keyword Research – If you fall at the first hurdle all your SEO efforts will be in vain.
2. Keyword Stuffing – The big no-no of SEO. Less, is most definitely more.
3. Search Engines vs. Human Readers – Remember who’s reading your copy. If it doesn’t make sense, is there any point being at the top of the SERPS?
4. Spammy Linking – It’s not just your writing that can ruin your site, watch where you direct your readers too.
5. Meta-Tags – Like your keyword research, take time over your meta-tags.
If you’re guilty of these mistakes, all is not lost. It is easy to salvage your SEO efforts and avoid the wrath of Google. Here we look at each of these slip-ups in a little more detail, as well as giving you some suggestions of how to avoid them next time round:
5 silly SEO Slip-Ups You May Not Even Realize You’re Making
1. Poor Keyword Research
Thorough keyword research is, and should always be, the basis of writing for the web. If you’re producing optimized copy for a website, blog, or other online source, this should always be your first port of call.
Failing to carry out proper keyword research can really hamper your SEO efforts. How can you effectively produce copy when you don’t know how popular – or unpopular – your chosen key word is? Before writing your optimized text, use the Google keyword tool to carry out accurate research into the best terms to use.
2. Keyword Stuffing
The cardinal sin, as it were, of search engine optimization is keyword stuffing. This is essentially the act of ‘stuffing’ your keywords into the copy, to manipulate the search engine rankings. Copy that has been subjected to this is not only impossible to read, but is a dangerous game.
To avoid falling into this trap, ensure the keyword density of your copy is between 1-5%. There are a number of great – and free – tools available to check your keyword density. If unsure, it is definitely best to keep the use of your chosen term to a minimum. This will make your copy appeal to both the search engines indexing your page, and the humans reading it.
3. Search Engines vs. Human Readers
If you’re guilty of keyword stuffing, you’ll be guilty of this next SEO sin. Many copywriters write for search engines first, without focusing on their human readers. While this may help you win the rankings war, it’s not going to win you any favours with customers.
If they can’t make sense of your onsite copy, they’re not going to stop on the site long. You should always write with your audience and topic idea in mind. Never write solely for SEO purposes. Write because you have something to share, and if you’re keywords fit in naturally – use them. If not, don’t.
4. Spammy Linking
Linking to external, authority sources in your online copy is good practice. It backs up your point, offers extra information, and adds value to your piece. But you should be careful with the links you use, and the frequency with which they appear.
Linking to yourself repeatedly, putting in links to poor quality or penalised websites, and generally being spammy will cause your copy to face the wrath of Google. You want to appear as a trusted, authority site. So make sure that your linking is accurate, relevant, and quality.
5. Meta-Tag Madness
Meta-tags are great in terms of keeping your SEO copy reader-friendly. While there is some debate over how relevant they still are, meta-tags can be an integral part of your strategy, and should always be filled out with care. But get them wrong, and you can be putting yourself at risk.
Some people are guilty of ignoring them altogether. This will hamper your optimization efforts, as the extra keywords and tags are attractive to the search engines. Some people will over-optimize their meta-tags which can result in penalties. As with all aspects of SEO, striking the right balance and finding a middle ground is necessary.
The SEO game is a game with ever-changing rules.
To keep playing, we need to keep changing our tactics.
But the old saying of “content is King” is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind. As a writer, our main aim should be to provide high quality, sharable information. Optimized and well ranking content should be a bonus.
This guest post was provided by Bird and Co Creative, a full service digital agency, based in Bromsgrove UK, offer online marketing, web development, and graphic design services.