SEO Know-How: Taming the Keywords

The creative process is comparable to a river, filled with ideas and rushing around bends. Restrictions like time and style are like boulders for some writers – huge, bulky obstacles that interrupt the flow of concepts and sentences; copywriting for SEO is one of the biggest trip-ups for scribes that have difficulty coloring inside the proverbial lines. The need to use certain words that may or may not fit can turn an effervescent piece flat in the space of a few lines, but with the right approach, your writing can stay light and refreshing to the reader’s palate.

Chicken, Egg or Keyword?

There’s always a spirited argument amongst the creative set in SEO work over whether the writing or the keywords should be tackled first. The answer is keywords. When a piece is framed around its structure first, the hard part is out of the way and your normal word crafting can be poured inside like water. Trying to shove words or phrases into a pre-written piece can leave them sticking out like jagged edges to the casual reader, making your article seem hastily written or amateurish. Make a keyword placement plan before you get into the writing and you’ll find that the finished product will sound more cohesive as a whole.

Solid Framework, Solid Results

Though it can be tempting to simply let ideas hit paper to see what sticks, the best articles for SEO come from a formulaic approach to drafting. Clients that intend to post your articles on the web are usually looking for short, scannable paragraphs with headers, similar to the structure of this post. Come up with enough points on your subject to have one for each hundred words required, and place your keyword within one or several of these points, depending on the keyword density requested.

Goldilocks Was Right

Too many mentions of the keyword and you’ll sound like a 14-year-old girl talking about her latest crush. Too few, and your reader many never find your carefully crafted article. If no density guidance is given, plan for around once or twice every 300 words or so – any more than that and you’ll be going overboard. Bear in mind, however, that the needs of the client trump all. If your client wants 25% density in your article, give them exactly that. The customer is always right, even if Google’s algorithm disagrees.

Delany M is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.

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