The purpose and practice of writing successful SEO articles

I was so excited to read your post! Google icon Matt Cutts was blogging on August 21st and hit the nail on the head (as he does quite often). The title of the post was “SEO Tips: Writing Helpful Articles Readers Will Love.” That, in itself, says it all. Why is this such an exciting post? Because it reinforces what I have been saying for years. Whether you’re writing content for a website, an article, or any type of SEO copy, you need to think about the reader first.

There are a lot of worthless items floating around the net these days. Useless rambling, full of keywords that was obviously written with the sole intention of trying to rank high. Striving to rank high isn’t a bad thing, but the purpose of writing SEO articles is threefold, not single: to provide information, to rank high when used on your site, and to increase link popularity. That means the practice must follow the purpose.

Why write an article?

Let’s start from the beginning. Why write articles to begin with? While having SEO content on your site is a good thing, your first concern should be providing useful information to your readers. Cutts agrees with this practice and highlights why it is vital to provide relevant and useful information.

If the information is not useful, those who visit your site will have little interest in reading it. Yes, if the page ranks high, it might get a bit of traffic. But if visitors take a look at your article and then click, what good have you got the high rankings?

Similarly, if you choose to distribute your article over the Internet, it is highly unlikely that others will choose to publish your article on their sites. If your work does not provide solid information and is poorly written, it will not be considered link-worthy.

Optimization for engines

Once you have decided what information you want to provide, you can focus on SEO. Copywriting for movers requires balance. You never want to sacrifice the reader experience for the sake of rankings. Stuffing keywords in the text is a method that will almost always backfire. Virtually no one wants to read an article (or web page) that constantly repeats the exact same terms to the point of extremes.

Cutts also addressed this issue in his blog post, stating that he included key phrases within his own article and used similar terms as well. Cutts suggested that we pay more attention to keyword phrase usage (and the usage of variations of those keyword phrases) than keyword density.

The two most important keys

The two “meta-issues” Cutts highlighted in his article were related to user experience, not SEO copywriting practice. First of all, pay attention to the content you offer. Always transmit useful and concrete knowledge to your reader. Second, study your niche (aka your target audience!) and write specifically with the purpose of helping them.

There is other great information included in Cutts’s post, and I encourage you to read it in addition to the comments that follow. You can find it here: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/seo-advice-writing-useful-articles-that-readers-will-love.

These are things that I (and other SEO professionals) have been preaching for years. First the user, second the search engines. When you get the priority right, the rest will fall into line without much trouble.

© 2006

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