SEO: Seasoning, Not Stuffing
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?