How do I write SEO text?

Found on Quora; my answer to: *How Do I Write SEO text?*

Answer by Jason Darrell:

I’d just like to add to this conversation, because some of the information contained herein is misleading or misguided. Unintentionally so, but nevertheless, could cause problems if you ‘ignore’ keywords altogether.

First and foremast, a brand new post on Moz – Topic Targeting: An Illustrated Guide for Advanced On-page SEO – suggests that keyword placement and their relationships with other key phrases on the page carry weight.

This is especially true in the semantic landscape, which we’ve been following, preaching and pre-empting for some years.


I’d also like to temper the “keyword density is irrelevant” comment

What the commentators mean when they say that ‘keywords don’t matter’ is that there is no mythical optimum keyword density to aim for.

Don’t think that you can include the keyword over and over again because density no longer matters. You can over-cook the amount of times you use a keyword, which will lead to an awful UX and may even see your page (and site) penalised.

The relationship your main keyword has with supporting keywords is what’s critical to Google. The search indexers should be able to relate ‘entities’ to concepts it has confirmed from various databases about said people/products/places/services on its Knowledge Graph.

The article on Moz (linked above) shows keyword placement optimisation. If it helps, think about your main keyword and its supporting phrases like a pyramid.

Choose the main keyword then, as the guys have already suggested in these comments, use Google Keyword Planner or ‘related articles’ at the bottom of SERPs to discover on-topic (longer-tail) keywords.

Spearhead your paragraph with a keyword from the top layers, then support those main keywords with distanced concepts. This will also help you link out naturally with a variety of different anchor texts that will appear natural.

And that really is what Google is looking for: content that flows naturally with related topics/keywords and links that support your page’s main theme. The Moz article goes on to describe this, too. But…

Your copy CAN transcend the need for the main keyword, but your copy has to be awesome

…if your content is truly awesome, you can teach an algorithm to extract the main concept of your article without actually including the main keyword.

This takes skill, patience, editing and a knowledge of the topic about which you’re writing.

Here’s a SlideShare I did for a client that demonstrates what I mean: Entity Disambiguation – the Semantic XRay.

In fact, it’s a bit crap on SlideShare; here’s the original in my OneDrive folder: Semantic X-Ray.pptx – feel free to download it for reference.

The presentation takes you step-by-step through my process of taking a client’s copy and re-writing it so that it’s better optimised for relevant search terms.

Slide 19 shows that, although I didn’t include the main keyword in the rewrite of the original content, AlchemyLanguage data extraction tool rated the main keyword as 0.94 relevant to the content (where 1.0 is optimum).

Organic = Natural – it’s not rocket science

But above all else, the key thing to remember is that you’re writing for a reader, not the search engine.

Write naturally, as if you were talking to your client, not preaching to an audience you’ve never met.

Then go back in and edit. Use NLP* to ensure that your copy is crystal clear. Use data extraction tools to test if your copy is telling the search engine and reader what you set out to tell the world.

Stay on that track and you won’t go far wrong.

For further reading about semantic copywriting, here are a couple of resources:

Screen shot: Moz, from the Illustrated On-Page Topic Targeting Guide, linked above.

p.s. – you don’t have to use schema, as is suggested in the Moz article. We use RDFa Lite mark up and replicate pretty much everything you can achieve with schema.


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