To creative types, SEO can seem overly technical and a bit robotic (after all, we are dealing with the Googlebot). But search engine optimization is vital for writers with a digital presence because search engines help people navigate the digital landscape. If your work isn’t being shown in search engine results pages (SERPs), no one is reading it. Because SEO needs to be woven into the very fabric of your digital presence, it can’t be confined to the more tech-minded SEOs. Writers and creatives need to know how to optimize their work for their businesses, agencies, or personal digital endeavors to succeed.
SEO cannot be an afterthought.
Imagine that you’ve written the most perfect case study known to humankind. You really nailed down your brand’s voice, the turn of phrase is remarkable, and you’ve displayed a world-class knowledge of semicolons. Now imagine that you revisit this masterpiece case study with the intention of optimizing it for search engines. Chances are, your case study isn’t going to come out looking as great as it did when you first wrote it, but if you don’t optimize it, it won’t be visible to your readers. This catch-22 is why writers need to be knowledgeable of SEO goals and implement those strategies into their work from the beginning.
Keywords are the focus of SEO copywriting.
Conducting thorough keyword research is the first step in developing an SEO-conscious writing style. If you’re starting from scratch, thinking about your business’ goals or services will point you in the right direction. Things like business or product names, industry or niche-specific terms, and services offered are all great candidates for targeted keywords.
It’s also important to target multiple keywords, especially long-tail keywords. If you work for a business that manufactures writing instruments, and you’re writing a blog post about which of these writing instruments is the best for college students, you need to be targeting words other than “pens,” “pencils,” and “school supplies.” You’re much more likely to rank for a term like “fine-tipped marker pens” than “pens.”
While targeting keywords is absolutely necessary to have a webpage rank in a SERP, it’s important to avoid stuffing too many keywords onto a page. This will make your work seem spammy and untrustworthy, and search engines will penalize your site. While there is no “ideal” keyword density, most SEOs recommend 1-3%.
Search engine optimization is widely regarded as something that only metric-minded analysts need to have a handle on, but this is not the case. Search engines exist to help a person with a query find an answer. The demand for search engines is a uniquely human one, and creatives need to embrace SEO strategies to succeed in an increasingly digital world.