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SEO Secrets: What You Need to Know About Writing Search-Engine Friendly Content

In today’s day and age, most business owners are called upon to do some writing every once in a while. It may be blogging or article writing, it could be creating the content for your website, or it may be updating social media. Meanwhile, you’ve probably heard a lot about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and what it takes to get your site on the first page of Google. Many business owners think of SEO as something that is way too complicated to worry about it—but the truth is that the writing you do is a major factor for SEO. Your blog posts, articles, web content, and social media postings all matter for SEO purposes… and since it’s stuff you’re doing anyway, why not learn how to do it in a way that the search engines love?

Today, we’re going to take a look at important concepts to keep in mind when you’re writing—and don’t worry, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to make sense of any of this.

1) Start by identifying your audience. You wouldn’t launch a new product or service without carefully considering your audience, and you shouldn’t start writing without identifying your audience, either. Obviously this starts with defining your target market in general. (A financial planner here in Orlando, for instance, may target high net work homeowners in Central Florida.) But also consider the audience of the particular piece of content you’re working on. If it’s sales copy for your website, you’ll want to write differently than you do while updating your blog or posting on Facebook.

2) Identify your top keywords. In addition to understanding the audience you are writing for, you also need to figure out what they’re searching for. In other words, what are your potential customers typing into Google when they’re looking for your services? Returning to our example of an Orlando based financial planner, possible keywords could include "Orlando retirement planning", "Orlando investment advisor", "financial planning Orlando", etc. If you’d like to learn more about how to identify these keywords, please get in touch with me! This is a vital step to writing good SEO content, because otherwise you’re taking a shot in the dark, and you may end up writing content focused on keywords that nobody is actually searching for!

3) Use keywords as appropriate. Now that you have identified the keywords that you are targeting, the next step is working them into the content that you are writing. Search engines give extra weight to prominent content, such as the title of a page or blog entry, headlines and sub-headlines, and even bold or italic text. Using your keywords in these locations can be very effective. That said, it is very important that you use your keywords naturally. Don’t cram keywords into content when they don’t fit, and don’t go out of your way to use your keywords or keyphrases over and over. 15 years ago, SEO experts would trick search engines simply by "stuffing" a web page with the same keyword over and over. At that time, the search engines would rank these pages highly—but nowadays, they are much smarter than that. Use your keywords, particularly in titles and headlines, but make sure you don’t overdo it. This brings us to our next point…

4) Write for your human audience. This is where many business owners and SEO experts go wrong. Yes, it is important to optimize your writing for the search engines. But never forget that search engines are your secondary audience… potential customers are your primary audience! Let me tell you, nothing turns off a customer more quickly than a website that is full of barely legible content that is clearly designed for a search engine. All of the content you create should be readable, engaging, and relevant to customers. You can then tweak it for maximum appeal to the search engines… but this always comes second!

5) Create an editorial calendar or schedule to stay on course. One of the most important components of good SEO writing is consistency. Search engines regularly "index" your website for their search results, often multiple times per month. One of the things that they are looking for is fresh content. For that reason, it’s important to find a rhythm of consistent writing—a blog is perfect for this. But you’re busy… I understand, because I’m in the same boat! As a business owner, it can be hard to find the time to write consistently. That’s why I recommend creating a calendar or a schedule that you can follow in order to stay on track. For best results, share the calendar with a friend, family member, or employee and ask them to hold you to it!

6) Stay true to your brand. Finally, it’s important that you run everything you write through the filter of your personal brand. We’ve talked in great detail about this elsewhere—but for today’s purposes simply remember that everything you write should reflect your personality, your points of differentiation, and your expert status. It’s easy to lose focus on your brand when you’re thinking about SEO and generating sales, so make it a point of emphasis to double-check everything you write for brand consistency.

SEO is a complicated subject—and many business owners don’t want to invest their precious time and energy into figuring it out. And that’s okay, I don’t blame you! It’s a fast-moving industry, and unfortunately is full of unsavory characters that will promise all sorts of results… but never deliver.

The good news is that it doesn’t take much in the way of time and effort to learn the basics of writing content that the search engines love. The steps we’ve covered today will get you started in the right direction—and if you apply them regularly, you’ll start to see results. As a CelebrityExpert™, you BELONG on the first page of Google, and these tips will help you get there. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’d like to learn more!

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