SERPs and SEO: How Much Do Your Writers Need to Know About Search Strategy?
With constant changes afoot that affect the way search rankings are valued and displayed, marketing agencies have to look carefully at the writers they hire to create content for their sites. With a new emphasis on quality and originality over keyword stuffing or spinning, how much SEO knowledge should agencies expect—or want—their writers to have? The answer depends, in part, on what type of content you need produced.
When you’re looking to hire writers to create content, think about the type of writer you need. For a longer white paper or ebook on a specific niche topic, you’ll want expert writers with professional expertise on the subject matter and ample experience writing about it for a web audience. These writers should be valued within your agency for their specialized knowledge base and command of the subject matter, and it’s arguably less important that they keep abreast of the latest SEO strategies. You’re hiring an expert because you want unique, well-researched, quality content. If you need to tag their content with a catchy, 140 character meta description, you may do well to assign that job to a writer who has a keen understanding of what drives SERPs, but may not have what it takes to churn out 5,000 words on industrial kitchen appliances.
Like many endangered species of its kind, the “SEO writer” once dominated its habitat, spinning article copy left and right and working tirelessly to create keyword rich content with little value beyond its ability to place a site at the top of a search page. Now, thanks to the various algorithm shifts at Google, the field of SEO writing is becoming less a game of keyword stuffing and more a legitimate space for skilled writers to create original, engaging content that naturally integrates a variety of phrases and anchor links. When hiring writers to create blog posts or social media updates, look for writers who not only know how to appropriately link anchor text and organically incorporate keywords, but who can tell an interesting story that people will actually want to read and share authentically with their peers. In short, stop looking for “SEO writers” and start looking for, well, “writers”!
Thanks to Google+, authorship is now becoming a major force in improving SERPs. Industry watchers predict that because readers are more interested in clicking on a bylined article that feels like their favorite newspaper or magazine, authored content will begin to take the lead in determining page rankings. This will likely be a boon for agencies willing to grant authorship to content writers, as many anonymous ghostwriters would actually prefer to claim authorship for their work. When hiring a bylined writer to produce content, look for a writer who understands not only how to integrate keywords and links, but also how to present a positive, consistent public presence that will add value and authenticity to the content you assign.
Caitlin C is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.