A guide to Search Engine Optimisation for Writers
If you’re earning a living from writing, or you’re attempting to, or even just flirting with the idea, the odds are you’ve come across this phrase before. Search Engine Optimisation. The odds are you’ve also read the abbreviation for that phrase: SEO. Whether you’re slinging copy, boosting traffic on your personal blog, or trying to drum up interest in your latest chapbook or novel, taking SEO into consideration nowadays is paramount. Several of you have likely been told that you need to improve your SEO skills for better career opportunities. This article will help you do that, but first, let’s get the obvious question out of the way.
What IS SEO?
-SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is a practice which boosts the ranking of specific web content on Search Engines’ search results. This web content, whether intentionally or unintentionally, is “optimised” to be considered more relevant to user searches by a search engine’s algorithms and guiding parameters. The more optimised web content is, relative to search engines, the more likely search engines are to detect the web content and present it to searching users ahead of other results.
Having answered the obvious question, let’s ask the important one. The meat of the matter.
How to improve the SEO of your content?
-There are multiple aspects to Search Engine Optimisation. Things that contribute to SEO include visuals, web speed, loading time, writing, etc. As per our roles in the industry, as writers, we need to know more about SEO writing than the other aspects. The main strategies for SEO writing can be summarised in three points.
The Three Points of SEO Writing:
1- The first point is Targeted Keywords.
2- The second point is Featured Snippets.
3- The third point is Depth.
The Three Points of SEO Writing in Detail
1- Targeted Keywords
The first point, Targeted Keywords, focuses on including key words in your writing. the words your most impactful target demographic(s) use when searching online. Generally speaking, anyone writing for a particular industry, niche, or service, yourself included, should understand how the market views their products and services, and should understand their consumer profiles. This is crucial for this strategy. Sometimes, for a leg-up, it helps to use websites or software which can identify trending words and phrases. If your job or your writing gigs pay well enough, it may be worth your investment to use digital tools which require a little payment, such as Mangools or SEMrush.
2- Featured Snippets
With regards to the second point, Featured Snippets: On search engines in general, Google in particular, a LOT of search results yield the top spot to a featured snippet. Basically a well-structured block of information from a website, a block of info the search engine’s algorithm calculates as highly relevant. Sometimes these snippets come up as the answer to a question, sometimes just as a result. The important thing is a snippet takes the top spot, above regular search results. If you format your content for search engines to feature some of it in snippets that is a GREAT Search Engine Optimisation strategy. Some things you could do with your content for this strategy include writing thorough and definitive answers to potential questions, formatting some of your content as numbered and bulleted lists, or putting well-indexed tables of content online. This makes it more likely for an algorithm to select your content for a Featured Snippet.
As for the third point, Depth: Its purpose is to prolong the engagement time someone has with your online material. A deep but simple and well-written article, or post, will prolong the engagement time for your online platforms. Provided, of course, that you write something your target demographic actually wants to read. When that happens enough, it will increase your online platforms’ rankings on search engines. Deep content usually has very authoritative and reliable sources.
That’s all folks. Get out there and optimise your content for search engines!