By Karon Thackston
Copyright © 2006
If you write articles primarily with the reader in mind, search engine rankings
will follow. Here's why..
I was so excited to read his post!
Google-icon Matt Cutts was blogging on August 21st and hit the nail
on the head (as he does quite
frequently). The title of the post was, "SEO Advice: Writing useful articles
that readers will love." That, in and of itself, says it all. Why is this such
a thrilling post? 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
must think of the reader first.
There is such a barrage of worthless
articles floating around the 'Net these days. Keyword stuffed, useless ramble
that was obviously written with the sole intent of attempting to rank high.
Striving for top rankings is not a bad thing, but the purpose of writing SEO
articles is threefold not onefold: provide information, rank high when used on
your site and increase link popularity. That means the practice must follow the
Why Write an Article?
Let's start at the
beginning. Why write articles to begin with? While having SEO content on your
site is a good thing, your first concern should be with offering useful
information to your readers. Cutts agrees with this practice and makes a point
to discuss why providing relevant, helpful information is vital.
information isn't helpful, those who visit your site will have little interest
in reading it. Yes, if the page ranks highly, it might bring in a bit of
traffic. But if visitors take one look at your article then click away, what
good have the high rankings done you?
Likewise, if you choose to
distribute your article throughout the Internet, it is highly unlikely that
others will elect to run your article on their sites. If your work doesn't
provide solid information and is poorly written, it will not be considered
Optimizing for the Engines
Once you've decided
what information you want to provide, you can turn your focus to SEO.
Copywriting for the engines requires balance. You never want to sacrifice the
reader's experience for the sake of rankings. Stuffing keywords into text is a
method that will almost always backfire. Practically no one wants to read an
article (or website page) that constantly repeats the same exact terms to the
point of extremes.
Cutts also addressed this issue in his blog post,
stating that he included keyphrases within his own article and also used similar
terms. Cutts made a point of suggesting that we pay more attention to keyphrase
use (and the use of variations of those keyphrases) than focusing on keyword
The Two Most Important Keys
The two "meta-issues" Cutts highlighted in his article were both related to
user experience, not to the practice of SEO copywriting. First, pay attention
to the content you offer.
Always impart useful, concrete knowledge to your reader. Second, study your
niche (a.k.a. know your target audience!) and write specifically for the purpose
of helping them.
There is other great information included in Cutts'
post, and I encourage you to read it plus the comments that follow. You can find
are things I (and other SEO pros) have been preaching for years. User first,
search engines second. When you get the priority straight, the rest will
into line without much hassle.
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