How to Write an Article for SEO

Most small businesses have a limited budget for advertising, and that includes website design and search engine optimization. If you can’t afford to hire a professional, your only option is to learn to do it yourself. That’s why so many business owners are the CEO, accountant, service provider, cashier, and delivery driver all rolled into one. If you decide to do your own search engine optimization, you’ll need to learn how to write an article for SEO. That’s what this article is all about.

Pick the Right Keyword Phrase First

Did I pick a good keyword phrase for this article? Maybe, maybe not. It should be really easy to rank for, but there aren’t many people searching for it—less than 10 per month. While I don’t recommend that you go out of your way to pick keywords with no traffic, one of my best keywords ever had almost no traffic, so I don’t completely discount these keywords. It turns out that you’ll often get traffic from similar keywords too, so it all works out.

You do want to give yourself the best possible chance, though, so you need to learn how to pick keyword phrases that are more likely to be easy to rank and bring in some traffic. If you’re selling something, you also want to look for buying keywords. If someone is looking for a sale price or a review of your product, they may be getting ready to place an order, and that’s the best time to catch them.

Use Keyword Project Manager for Keyword Research

Right now, my favorite keyword research tool is Keyword Project Manager. Keyword Project Manager is the keyword research tool recommended by The Keyword Academy, which I have been a member of for years.

I’m not going to walk you through how to use Keyword Project Manager, but I will tell you why I like it so much. It looks up the PageRank of the top four sites ranking in Google for the keywords you check and color codes them so you can see at a glance whether the keyword will be easy to rank for or not. 0 (easy) is green and 6 and above are red. In the middle are some oranges and chartreuse.

See how those keywords are all red? It’s the green ones you want to go after, preferably those that get at least 100 searches per month. If you check enough keywords, you’ll find them, but here’s a hint: Try filtering your keywords so that you see only those with at least 4 or 5 words and check those first. It takes a long time to analyze all of the keywords if you have a lot of them, and you are much more likely to find good keywords among the longtails. Analyze those first and you’ll save yourself some time.

Writing Your SEO Article

Now that you’ve picked a keyword, you’re ready to write. Make sure the keyword is in the title, URL, meta title, content, and meta description. Need help remembering that? If you’re using WordPress, install the free WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin to help you out.

As you can see, the plugin makes it easy to get all of the SEO stuff right when you’re writing your article. Don’t stress about using your keyword a certain number of times; Google is talking about cracking down on over-optimization. Just use it at least once or twice in the content and you’re good.

As far as the content goes, you might be wondering how long it needs to be. The answer is that it needs to be long enough to give the searcher what they’re looking for. You’re looking for information on how to write an SEO article, and I’m giving it to you. Now look at that last sentence. See how I almost used the keyword phrase but not quite? Once you’ve used your keyword once or twice, if the phrase comes up again, try to change it up a little. This makes it more likely that your article will rank for more than just your primary keyword.

The Quality of Your SEO Article

It should go without saying that the quality needs to be excellent, but a lot of people like to cut corners. Don’t do that. Write an outstanding article. If you can’t write an outstanding article, hire someone who can.

According to SEO by the Sea, Google has recently purchased patents from Xerox that will help it score document quality. The algorithms are getting more and more sophisticated, and the only way to ensure that you won’t be hit in the next update is to give the search engines what they’re looking for: good, quality content that answers the question the searcher is asking.

So how did I do? Did I tell you what you needed to know? Is there anything I missed that you need to know when writing an SEO article? Please feel free to add to the conversation in the comments.

Update: This article originally recommended Niche Refinery for keyword research. The Keyword Academy used to own Niche Refinery, but sold it to someone else, who changed the name to Keyword Project Manager. It’s still the same tool.

SEO for Small Business: It’s as Easy as 1-2-3

Whoa… wait a minute. I make money selling writing and SEO services and here I am telling you that SEO is easy. What on earth am I thinking?

I’ll tell you what I’m thinking. I’m thinking you’re either too busy running your business to worry about trying to save a few bucks by doing the SEO for your small business website yourself or you’re too broke to pay me. Either way, I want to help you. So, to help break through your fear of trying to optimize your website yourself, I’m going to prove to you that it’s not as hard as you think. In fact, the basics of SEO are quite simple.

3 Steps to Getting the SEO Right on Your Small Business Website

Step 1: Pick a keyword. What’s a keyword? It’s the phrase people use to search for what you’re selling. Are you selling teacup puppies? Then your keyword is “teacup puppies” or something similar. Yes, some keywords are easier to rank for than others, but you don’t need to know how to figure that out to do a decent job of SEO. You just need to know this: The longer the keyword phrase is, the easier it will be to rank. So, “yorkie teacup puppies for sale” will be easier to rank than “yorkie teacup puppies,” which in turn will be easier to rank than “teacup puppies.”

Step 2: Write your content. This is the hard part. A lot of people don’t like to write. So, for many people, it’s not the SEO that gets them; it’s the writing. But search engines work with words, not sounds or videos (at least for now), so that’s what we have to work with. Here are the most important things to know about writing for search engines:

  • Use your keyword in the title. This is the #1 most important thing you can do for good SEO. Google assumes that the title tells readers what the content is about, and a good title should do just that. It should also entice the reader to click through and read the content. The title is the first thing your prospects see, and if it’s not a good one, it will be the only thing they see.
  • Include the keyword and variations of the keyword in your content. Don’t repeat the focus keyword over and over again. Change it up. Use synonyms and variations. Change the order of the words if it sounds good to do so. Think about different words and phrases people might use to refer to your product and work them into your product description.
  • Use a lot of words. The longer your content is, the more likely you are to throw in a keyword variation you never even thought of that might just send you some traffic. You might end up outranking your competitor for “purple cotton candy mix” just because you thought to list all of the colors you have available and he didn’t. Try to include every possible detail you can in your descriptions. Not only is it good for SEO, but potential customers will click away if they’re not absolutely certain that your product is exactly what they’re looking for. Give them all the details they need to decide that it is.
  • Write for your ideal customer. This is just as important as SEO, if not more so. If you are so focused on keywords that your content sounds like it was written by a robot, it might get some traffic, but your visitors will be turned off and they’ll leave without buying anything. Write content that sounds like it was written by a real person who understands your customers’ needs, or your conversion rate will be dreadful.

Step 3: Promote your website. Did you notice that I didn’t say, “Get links?” Here’s the difference: If you go out and try to get links anywhere you can, you are going to run into some shady practices that will get your site penalized. This is the area of SEO where many people are tempted to take shortcuts. Google hates shortcuts and keeps getting better at figuring out when you’re cheating. So don’t cheat.

Build a following on Facebook and Twitter and promote your business there. Write guest posts for blogs that your customers like and read. Find out what forums your ideal customers like to hang out at and go there. Put you website URL in your signature if it’s allowed, but don’t try to hawk your business constantly like a desperate Amway distributor. Just focus on helping people and making friends. Given a choice, people prefer to do business with people they like.