The Purpose and Practice of Writing Successful SEO Articles

I was so excited to read her post! Google icon Matt Cutts was blogging on August 21 and hit the nail on the head (as he does quite frequently). The title of the article was “SEO Tips: Writing Useful Articles Readers Will Love”. That in itself says it all. Why is this such an exciting position? Because it reinforces what I’ve 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 is such a deluge of worthless articles floating around the Net these days. Keyword stuffed, pointless stroll that was obviously written with the sole intention of trying to rank high. Striving for top rankings isn’t a bad thing, but the purpose of writing SEO articles is threefold, not unique: to provide information, to get high rankings when used on your site and increase link popularity. This means that the practice must follow the goal.

Why write an article?

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

If the information is not useful, those who visit your site will have little interest in reading it. Yes, if the page ranks well, it can generate some traffic. But if visitors glance at your article and then click, what good are the high rankings to you?

Likewise, if you choose to distribute your article on the Internet, it is highly unlikely that others will choose to distribute your article on their sites. If your work doesn’t provide solid information and is poorly written, it won’t be considered link-worthy.

Optimization for Engines

Once you’ve decided what information you want to provide, you can focus on SEO. Writing for engines requires balance. You never want to sacrifice reader experience for rankings. Inserting keywords into text is a method that will almost always backfire. Hardly anyone wants to read an article (or website page) that constantly repeats the exact same terms to extremes.

Cutts also addressed this issue in his blog post, stating that he included key phrases in his own post and also used similar terms. Cutts was keen to suggest that we pay more attention to the use of keyphrases (and the use of variations of those keyphrases) than focusing on keyword density.

The two most important keys

The two “meta-problems” highlighted by Cutts in his article were both related to user experience, not the practice of SEO copywriting. First, pay attention to the content you offer. Always convey useful and concrete knowledge to your reader. Second, research your niche (i.e. know your target audience!) and write specifically to help them.

There is other interesting information included in Cutts’ post, and I encourage you to read it and the comments that follow. You can find it here:

These are things I (and other SEO professionals) have been preaching for years. User first, search engines second. When you get priority, the rest will line up without much hassle.

© 2006

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