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5 Essential SEO Article Writing Rules For Free Traffic
Make Your Articles More Compelling to Readers and Search Engines
Google recently made some major changes to the way they index sites in the SERPs (search engine results page.) What this may mean to you as a searcher is higher quality results. What it may mean to you as a site owner or writer is an overhaul in how you produce and market content.
Before panicking, however, it is important to understand Google's intention with these changes. More than anything, the world's largest search engine aims to stamp out garbage mills which offer no true value to the Web at large. It does not aim to "snuff out the little guy." True, there have already been several issues reported with the changes, but as far as we know they are a work in progress and sites with good intentions will come out on top.
To make sure you are one of them, here are 5 essential SEO rules you should follow in your article writing.
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Rule #1: Remember the Humans
For as long as the Internet has been around, the main focus has been on the human experience.Almost every shift and innovation online has been for the sake of people. Easier email controls, interactive websites, social media and Web 2.0 are all excellent examples that attest to this. This is something you need to remember whenever you write any article.
You will find thousands of helpful resources to tell you how to creatively stuff keywords and get recognized by the search engines, but what you really should be concerned about above all else is getting recognized by the people. Whatever your target audience is, there is no better way to reach them than by grabbing their interest. As you write, make sure your words are interesting, useful and make sense.
To prove this point, think about a time you were searching for a product review or answer to a question and came across a site which was obviously full of rewritten, unedited and regurgitated information. How quickly did you click off that page?
Rule #2: Quality AND Quantity
Most often articles which are not intended to be web content are written to build backlinks. We all know the strategy: write dozens or even hundreds of articles based around keywords and get them submitted to as many article directories as possible. Perhaps have other Digg or Stumble them to increase link potency, and rinse and repeat.
With Google's crackdown on content mills, however, this strategy may become obsolete. If not, it will certainly need to evolve. The better strategy has always been to write with quantity and quality in mind. If you are short on resources and have to focus on one or the other, quality should ALWAYS win!
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Ruler #3: Descriptive Headers and Subheaders
One of the oldest SEO rules in article writing is to make sure your main keyword is in the title (header) as well as any subtitles (subheaders.) This is still very applicable, but you also need to consider the other purpose of these in an article - to grab your reader.
Many readers will skim articles and decide within ten seconds or less whether or not it is pertinent to what they were searching for and whether or not they want to read it. I was never more aware of this than after I became a full time freelance writer and had to learn how to research everything under the sun quickly. From my own personal experience, I can tell you it takes about 3 seconds for me to decide whether I think a site is a good resource or all fluff.
Compelling headers and subheaders are essential to tell us "skimmers" what the article covers and why we should read it. Therefore, something like "Weight Loss" is probably going to be skipped in favor of "6 Weight Loss Facts For Teenage Boys." With a title like this, you can use each fact as a subheader and be sure that subheader line directly states what the reader is about to learn.
Rule #4: Write in Order of Importance
The reason for this SEO rule is twofold: you will give the reader exactly what they want right away and the search engines will love you. Once you know exactly what keywords to cover, you can decide what topics can be covered in the article and rate each one by level of importance. The more pertinent a topic is to the main keyword, the easier it will be to use that keyword within it and the more your reader will appreciate what you have to say.
Not only this, but remember us skimmers. Even if you manage to convince a reader to read the full article, he or she may only have the time or attention span to read the first half or so. By making sure you've covered the most important elements right away, you increase the chances that he or she will bookmark, recommend or otherwise remember your content above the hundreds of other search results.
As a side note, if your main intention of the article is to get visitor to your site or an affiliate site, make sure that there is a mention of the site or even a link to it in within the first two paragraphs. If you've made sure these two paragraphs are info-packed and useful, then a reader might just click before finishing to find out what else you have to say.
Rule #5: Use More Than One Set of Keywords
Keyword stuffing. Spam. There is a huge debate about where the lines are in these topics, but one thing is very clear: you want to avoid them! The best way to do this but still appeal to search engines is to vary your focus by using LSI (latent Semantic Indexing) keywords.
Basically, LSI keywords are keyword phrases that the search engines believe are associated with your main keyword. So if your main keyword is "wedding software", the search engines will most likely believe words like "wedding planning software" and "wedding invitation software" are also relevant. Try throwing these into the mix instead of overusing the main keyword.
To find the LSI words for any given keyword, use a keyword research tool which offers suggestion in order of relevance. The free Google Keyword Tool does this, but so do many other free and paid programs.