“Make sure this blog post is SEO friendly.”

This is the phrase that pays for businesses using their content to convert customers.

The key is understanding that incorporating SEO concepts for your posts doesn’t mean that you’ll have to stiffen up the story to make it more searchable on the Internet. Search Engine Optimization is about helping your business grow its bottom line by giving your freelance writers a lens with which they can construct your content so that customers can find you first.

Good writing and solid SEO fundamentals go hand-in-hand in the crowded digital hemisphere. 
Readers and customers shouldn’t be aware that a well-written story that gets lots of clicks also checked all the boxes for being SEO competent. When done correctly, SEO is a seamless process.

So, what exactly is SEO writing? It’s about using the right words and keyphrases to land your content in a prime spot on a search page for search engines like Google. The goal is to be on the first page, preferably at the top. The further away you get from the top page, the fewer views your post will likely get. 

Three-quarters of all searches start with a Google query. If you want to know how to change the oil on your car, you’d likely type in “how do I change the oil in my car.” There could be hundreds of instructions online for ways to change your oil. The goal is to be at or near the top with those search words.

Search engines like Google aren’t just looking for words in a story, either. You’ll need a headline that is SEO friendly, include subheads that fall into the same category and metadata that includes the appropriate keywords. Any ancillary information related to the story is just another gateway for it to be searched.

Use Your Primary Keyphrase More Than Once

Constructing your primary keywords or keyphrases seems like it should be natural, but you’ll want to do your research first. For something as simple as “oil change,” it feels like the keywords would be easy to target. 

However, with a bit of research, you’ll learn that there are more than 260,000 hits on the phrase “oil change” in the U.S., making a new story or blog about changing oil challenging to break onto the top page. 

So, try to target questions that will make it easier to break into the category. For instance, “how long does an oil change take” has fewer immediate results, and a well-written piece of content has better luck of reaching the first page of a Google search. 

Your key phrases, in this case, would also include “oil drain plugs,” “time consuming,” “professional mechanic” and “owner’s manual.” 

Google updated its analytics to include improved key phrase searches in 2021, and now key phrases are preferred over keywords. Be sure that your keywords have more than one-word phrases. 

Include Keywords in Your Headlines & Metadata

Headlines and metadata are their own nuanced entities for SEO and targeted writing. A headline should remain no longer than 60 characters (including spaces and apostrophes), or it will be cut off in Google’s search results. Metadata and meta tags are additional information about your content that includes your keyphrase and tells the Google search bots what your content is about. Metadata is limited to 160 characters and can be used to summarize your content.

Your freelance writers will be able to help you construct a meta description that perfectly encapsulates your blog. Let’s say you’re writing about the importance of mammograms for women over 40. You’ve decided that your primary key phrase is “annual mammograms” with secondary keywords: “breast cancer screening” and “breast imaging.”

Your headline will look something like this: 

Why Annual Mammograms are Important for Gen Xers

While your metadata includes: 

“The CDC recommends that women over the age of 40 receive annual mammograms. Talk to your doctor to schedule your first breast cancer screening.”

Don’t Over-Stuff Your Keywords 

So it might feel like you’ll want to use your keywords repeatedly to make sure the Google bots pick up on them in your content. Here’s the catch: that’s called “keyword stuffing,” and it’s a big no-no.

In addition to looking for relevant words, Google also checks that words aren’t used repetitively just so a piece of content will be found. 

Make sure your headlines and copy aren’t clunky with the forced use of SEO words. You should write headings and subheads for a human, not a machine. 

The basic rule for keyword density is 11.75%. Though, as a rule of thumb, for a 1,000-word blog, your keyword phrase shouldn’t appear more than 10 times.

Longer Content is Usually Better

Given the vast black hole that makes up the Internet, the concept of longer content seems counterintuitive. However, it’s not once you understand the premise. 

Customers and readers arriving at your post are looking for particular information about your product. It might be about buying the best SUV or what the housing market will look like when interest rates rise. 

Readers want credible information that is presented by an authority on the subject. That means when you use expert freelance writers, they should be able to offer you depth to your content. 

In general, a 500-word post is better than a 300-word post. And one that runs as long as 2,000 or 3,000 words is even better, especially if it’s filled with facts. Why? You can thank social media. A longer post is more likely to be shared than a shorter post, and sharing helps rank a piece of content. A post shouldn’t be under 300 words.

Find Freelancers Who Understand SEO Concepts

When hiring your freelance writer or blog writer, always include the words and phrases you intend for them to use in a piece. Good freelance writers won’t push back against that request; great writers will demand them. 

When you’re hiring a new writer, ask them: 

  • Can you write a meta description? 
  • Will you use internal links? 
  • Give me an example of an SEO-friendly headline you wrote. 
  • Do you know how to format a post properly? 

Quality writing is still the highest priority here, though.

Watch Your Grammar

In addition to counting your words, search engines also check your grammar. They will ding posts for misspellings, poor punctuation and improper sentence structure. 

Grammatically correct writing is subject to an algorithm, too. There are programs like Grammarly that flag mistakes in your posts. There is a free version and a premium version. The latter goes further into depth on sentence structure.

Don’t Get Too Fancy

It’s tempting to want to use big words and complex sentences for your blog. Don’t do it. 

Write with clarity and use short sentences. Avoid the fluff. Readers want to be informed, but they don’t want to figure out what you mean. 

An excellent way to lose your audience for an important post is to violate this concept. If something isn’t clear, they’ll go somewhere else to find what they are searching for. You don’t want this either because another way that search engines rank your page is on time spent reading it. If readers leave quickly, your content will suffer.

Use Internal Links, External Links & Backlinks

Look for other sites that can add credibility and depth to your post. You’re the expert, but using reputable outside sources makes you more authoritative. 

Readers want quality information that resonates with them. So do search engines. Your ranking improves if you link both internally (to other pieces of content on your own site) and externally (to articles of research that other respected sources have published). Links are another reason the web crawler will come looking for your post.

Seek Professional Help

If this list of information seems overwhelming, it’s why you need to hire professional freelance writers and editors to help with your content writing. It’s more important to pay for an expert than it is to have substandard content or no content at all on your site. 

A well-written post can multiply the amount of traffic your site gets. That translates into more business. That’s why PowerPublish is here for you. Our stable of expert writers are SEO educated, and our editors can help your team create a content plan with keywords and phrases to improve your search ranking.