Taming Keywords

Taming KeywordsThe job of a freelance marketing writer is to put words in their place. Some days, the words arrange themselves nicely on the page. Other days, they act like uncivilized little savages and refuse to sit next to one another in a way that makes sense. Keywords can be particularly atrocious, especially when a client provides a long list or—worse yet—no list at all. Taming keywords does not require a whip and a chair, but it does involve a little planning. (And maybe a chair.)

Befriend the Keyword List

Do not let a long keyword list scare you! Its bark is often worse than its bite. Review the list of keywords provided by your client before you begin writing. Use the keywords to help you develop the framework for the piece. Figure out how you will incorporate each keyword into the article. This helps your keywords fit naturally into the text. Jamming keywords into a completed document makes the words jut out unnaturally, potentially tripping up the unsuspecting reader.

Make the keyword list work in your favor. Not only do these keywords boost the article’s page rank, the list of words also give you a peek inside your client’s mind—reducing the risk for rewrites. Visit the client’s website whenever possible to learn how he likes to use keywords.

Has the client asked you to create a list of keywords? No need to panic. Just visit Google’s new keyword planner tool. You simply plug in information about the client’s product, service or website, and Google will supply to you a nice list of relevant keywords. Since it is a Google product, you can be sure it will return excellent page rank results.

Put Keywords in Their Place

Taming keywords is a little like training someone else’s dog: The client gives you a list of tricks he expects the dog to learn before you give her back. Fortunately, words have to obey you without the promise of jerky treats. You can control where words go and what they do.

Your primary keywords should have an hourglass shape. This means you should mention primary keywords most often in the first and last paragraphs, especially in the first and last sentence of the piece. Use your secondary keywords to fill out the body of the document.

Do not let your keywords run rampant all over the page. Using a keyword too much, known as “keyword stuffing,” will annoy and bore your readers. On the other hand, do not allow your keywords to be shy wallflowers—keywords are there to do serious business for your client. The right number of keywords will help your readers understand what your client has to offer without sounding robotic or elusive. Try to use each primary keyword once or twice every 300 words or so, unless the client specifically requests otherwise.

Let keywords steal the headlines. Putting keywords in <H2> adds considerable weight to search engine page ranking. Put your keywords in a bold font to add even more weight.

Tame your keywords for more effective results as a freelance marketing writer. Put those words in their places today.

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


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