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SEO: Seasoning, Not Stuffing

Updated on August 30, 2016

SEO is something most good writers, especially the older ones, prefer not to think about. If you were to view it differently however, maybe you could learn to live with it, even see how it helps. I did – once I saw it not as stuffing that needs to be thrust into every good piece of writing but as delicate seasoning, sprinkled on and blended in so that the flavour brought those search engine spiders in.

If you want a detailed how-to for an online page, let me tell you how I do it. (No, I don’t do it for HubPages – writing here is what I call my oxygen break!) Whether it’s an article, a web page, a hub, a lens, whatever, when it’s for the virtual world, you do want your piece of writing to get read. You do need those invisible spiders that crawl the net looking for stuff to pounce on to come to you. So when you season your writing with SEO, what you are effectively doing is setting up the bait.

When you work online as a freelance writer, each client has his own views about SEO. Many of them will want a 2% keyword density – so if your writing is 1000 words, your keyword will have to be mentioned 20 times. That looks like a LOT of stuffing but handled right, you can get away with it. There are others who just want the main keywords as well as the secondary ones to be mentioned in a particular way and I’ve found this is much easier to do. You usually find the older clients asking for the ‘just mention them’ work while the younger ones ask for a higher percentage. There are exceptions to this rule however – and I do have one older client who’s a stickler for not just how many times a keyword is mentioned but where exactly it is placed. And I have a 20-something wonderful Irish designer who I work with regularly who tells me to forget about the keywords except in the headings.

Let’s take a keyword: Baby Boomer Generation. When you are doing a piece of writing, make sure you have it in the title of your writing. It could be ‘Marketing To The Baby Boomer Generation’ or ‘All About The Baby Boomer Generation’ or whatever else you can think of that includes this phrase. You could have a subhead too with something like ‘Take a look at what the baby boomer statistics tell us’. (Go to https://freekeywords.wordtracker.com/ and key in the keyword ‘baby boomer’, then hit ‘Search’ for keyword suggestions.)

Now here’s how I like to do the main article. I write first, then add the SEO or the seasoning. Otherwise I find it cramps my style. Once I’m done, I go to the first paragraph and rewrite so that the paragraph starts with ‘The baby boomer generation’ and ends with it too. Then I sprinkle it into the paragraphs in between, maybe once in every paragraph – or you could use any of the other keywords that figure in Wordtracker. In the last paragraph, I do the same thing I did in the first – the first words will be the keyword phrase and I end with the phrase too.

Most clients are happy with this and I find once you get the hang of it, it rarely upsets the flow of a piece of writing. If your work is original and good, the traffic will come – SEO just brings it in a little quicker. Let’s face it, most of the traffic to any hub or site – 85% - is driven by search engines and at least 80% never go beyond the first page of their search. So if you can make your writing a little more search engine friendly without compromising, why not?

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    • Shalini Kagal profile image
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      Shalini Kagal 5 years ago from India

      Thank you dinkan53 - I'm glad you found it useful.

    • dinkan53 profile image

      dinkan53 5 years ago from India

      great work and thanks for freekeywords.wordtracker.com, which I think a good tool to increase traffic through proper keywords. rating up and useful!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image
      Author

      Shalini Kagal 5 years ago from India

      Thanks for coming by and reading, Millionaire Tips!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 5 years ago from USA

      This is a great way to look at it - as seasoning. It does seem like a lot of stuffing, but I do like seasoning, especially if it doesn't look artificial.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image
      Author

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Thanks for reading watcher by night - finally, it's just great writing that does the trick :)

    • watcher by night profile image

      watcher by night 7 years ago

      Thanks for breaking this down for me, Shalini. I am techno-challenged, so it's nice to find a how-to like this that I can follow along and not have my attention span declare a "worker's strike". I will try this next time I write or re-write a hub!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image
      Author

      Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

      Thanks for stopping by Cindy - and for the kind comment!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Very good information here Shalini. A great help to those just beginning to look into keywords.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image
      Author

      Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

      I'm glad you liked it - hope you found it useful.

    • neysajasper profile image

      neysajasper 8 years ago

      As it is well known that the keywords and linking play a great roll. I am happy with your descriptive parameter for success.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image
      Author

      Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

      Thanks for reading David - praise from you is praise indeed :)

    • IMDavid profile image

      IMDavid 8 years ago

      Shalini,

      I like the seasoning imagery, a nice way of putting it and true.

      What you say is exactly what I teach also. Write a good sales page or a good article and then go back and "season" it with keywords.

      I works better and you end up with a better article.

      Thanks,

      David

    • Shalini Kagal profile image
      Author

      Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

      I try not to as well kea! Thanks for reading :)

    • kea profile image

      kea 8 years ago

      Great info! I never even thought about keyword density before this!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image
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      Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

      Thanks Clara for reading and commenting!

    • Clara Ghomes profile image

      Clara Ghomes 8 years ago

      Absolutely Fantastic hub!Not only was your content awesome, but your layout is also great. I learned a lot, thanks.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image
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      Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

      Thanks for stopping by and reading chillingbreeze!

    • chillingbreeze profile image

      chillingbreeze 8 years ago from India

      Very impressive :)

      But keyword density is gone now.. Though I agree that many people are still after 2-5% keyword density. Your ideas just work great to keep these clients happy. Any writer would love your hub :)

      Keep your nice job up!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image
      Author

      Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

      Thank you for stopping by and reading LondonGirl :)

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

      that's a fantastic analogy, and great article, thank you.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image
      Author

      Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

      haha Miranda - I trust not! Thanks for reading!

    • Miranda Rights profile image

      Miranda Rights 8 years ago from In the New Zealand, where the vampire sheeps are...

      I hope you do not seek to subvert the great Google with your underworldy SEO techniques!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image
      Author

      Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

      Thanks Anamika - I agree - ultimately, there's nothing to beat good content!

    • Anamika S profile image

      Anamika S 8 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

      Thanks for this informative Hub! So far I have always written without bothering about keywords at all. I just write on things which fascinates me without bothering much about seo.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image
      Author

      Shalini Kagal 9 years ago from India

      Hi Christoph - thanks for reading!

      You're right - no one really knows how those Google algorithms work - so all we do is guess and keep trying to figure out how well a website or hub is doing. I honestly believe that if one is in for the long haul, there's nothing to beat great content - to hell with the keywords :)

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 9 years ago from St. Louis

      Hi Shalini: I think you have some great advice here! I am just starting learning the ins and outs of keywords, and have found many articles with differing opinions. One thing that struck me, was that nobody really knows how the search engines rate our articles. Last year, Google changed the way they ranked things two different times, all to keep people from figuring out their criteria (otherwise, people can manipulate the system to get inferior writing to the top!) Some say there is no limit to how many times you can use a keyword, and others say that too much is bad. It's confusing. Thanks for trying to straighten it out. I am trying lots of different ways and will try yours too.

      Great hub!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image
      Author

      Shalini Kagal 9 years ago from India

      Thanks Amanda - I had an awful mental block about it too till I stepped right in and realised it wasn't too bad!

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 9 years ago from UK

      Hi Shalini

      That's a lovely analogy! I've just started to try and get my head around this stuff. It's good to write for pleasure, but I suspect that writing for both pleasure and profit might be even more satisfying!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image
      Author

      Shalini Kagal 9 years ago from India

      Who knows - maybe ooohs and aaahs could be SEO-ed too :)

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 9 years ago

      Me three! Foodie I mean! :P

      Thanks Shalini...I have to learn how to season my writing with more than oohs and aahs!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image
      Author

      Shalini Kagal 9 years ago from India

      Thank you Sally - and if you think of it as adding a dash of onion and garlic as well, you'll see how much SEO-bite one can add to a piece of writing!! :)

      And I'm a foodie too!

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Awesome title! I'm a food person (as you know), and there's such a difference between seasoning and stuffing...give the dish a taste of something special, but don't drown it with the flavor.

      Thumbs up, Shalini. This metaphor is really cool.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image
      Author

      Shalini Kagal 9 years ago from India

      Thank you for reading CW :)

    • countrywomen profile image

      countrywomen 9 years ago from Washington, USA

      WOW!! Learnt something new today. You do write well.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image
      Author

      Shalini Kagal 9 years ago from India

      I'm pretty much a newbie too cgull - just learning :)

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 9 years ago from North Carolina

      Love the concept Seo-soning :), I am a novice in this hope to learn soon.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image
      Author

      Shalini Kagal 9 years ago from India

      Thanks Laila...seo-soning perhaps? :)

    • Laila Rajaratnam profile image

      Laila Rajaratnam 9 years ago from India

      Thanks..great info!I am begining to understand seo..the seasoning! :)