SEO Content Writing from Scratch
A newcomer’s perspective on copy caught in the SEO web
If you’re new to the industry or idea of SEO, the minefield of terms and techniques can be treacherous to navigate. Content writing in particular can seem like a futile endeavour to those who don’t quite understand how it works, so here are a few of my first impressions as a relative newcomer myself.
When I was interviewed for my first content writing job, I was informed of a matter that I soon found to be true; ‘Writing creatively, and writing for SEO are completely different things.’ As newbies, content writers quickly find themselves walking a tightrope in their work – and if they fall, so do their clients search rankings. Good quality content has to please both eager web searchers looking for the best product, and watchful search engines. My first impression is that it’s an art in itself.
Like the vast majority of web users, the first time I came into contact with successful SEO I didn’t even realise it. It was only when I began searching for jobs in the industry that I really became aware of writing for SEO – because good content looks like normal, natural copy. Effective SEO (when optimising a well designed website) facilitates every step of the consumer experience without many even knowing what it is – it raises a website’s profile rather than being highly visible in itself. This can be a difficult thing to achieve for new writers used to giving space to their own abounding creativity.
But this doesn’t mean that subtle content shouldn’t have something to say. Excellent content must be engaging rather than simply keyword rich waffle. Nobody trawls through endless product reviews for fun – readers need concise, detailed articles that are stimulating. One useful technique that I’ve found when writing content is to review it and imagine that it’s not written for SEO. What does it have to offer readers? Is it useful to them? Does it gain anything? These questions can help new writers keep their work fresh while still optimising as desired.
A final tip from this beginner is this; don’t begin writing until you have an angle, and don’t abandon the natural creativity you had when you entered the industry. Make sure you have a solid idea of the article’s creative direction, else you’ll invariably create something that doesn’t know where it’s going – and after all, SEO is all about telling web users where to go.