If you want a recipe for success in your marketing writing, avoid what I call “SEO Keyword Soup”, which is the jumbling together of all your desired keywords to make a paragraph. One sure way to ruin the soup is to list 6 or more keywords/phrases and then try to cram them into your writing. This recently happened when we asked a writer to incorporate a slew of keywords into a homepage. What came out was the equivalent of that boss you used to have who used all the corporate buzzwords he came across. For example: “Forward thinking multichannel synergy is our critical path. We can leverage the coopetition to incentivize the millenials instead of herding cats. Let’s circle back to this to close the loop. (mmmmkay?)” A lot gets said, but it’s not exactly clear what is being said, and it sounds more-than-a-little artificial.
Here are a few tips to help you as you write your helpful, useful digital content for humans. A lot of this should be review from your high-school days, but it bears repeating.
1. Don’t start with a list of SEO keywords
Ok, you can start with a list of keywords, but don’t build your article around them. Start instead with a list of concepts (there is a mental distinction) that you want to convey to your audience and then write in the details of each. Keywords are just words and if you focus too much on making sure that you use them in your writing, your results will show it.
2. Read your writing out loud
If it sounds repetitive, guess what – it is! If it doesn’t make sense when you read it again, it won’t make sense to your readers. Give them the courtesy of clarity.
3. Give your writing a couple of drafts
Drafts? That implies that your writing won’t be perfect on the first try. Try it out. You might be surprised how imperfect your document’s flow is.
4. Ask someone you trust to review what you’ve written
Once you are satisfied that your writing makes some sort of sense, ask someone else to read through it and give feedback. They may find that you’ve used the wrong “There” or “you’re”. They may even have some helpful suggestions on how to more clearly express your ideas. Accept their feedback. Their time is as precious as yours.
Good SEO means optimizing your content to satisfy the searches of your target audience. Google, Bing, Yahoo and all of the other Search Engines are trying to satisfy their audience’s questions, which hopefully includes some of your audience’s questions. Most importantly remember that your customers are (for now) humans, and humans want to be communicated with, in the language they prefer.