Remember that you are the expert now. When you take on that SEO role, the client's copywriter, you are the expert. When you come up with the keywords, or are given keywords by the client, this is the start.
Now that you have the client, and the keywords, you simply need to go back and start all over, at the very beginning.
Take a moment to remind yourself of what the article is about (big picture thinking here). Look at the overall piece and start your design.
The main thing to keep in mind when writing an SEO article is your audience: What will be the points that the reader needs to know, and what will they want to know? Keep these two points in mind as you figure out where to go with the article.
You must always remember that you will need to do research on the topic, and get your facts straight. Even if the topic at hand is something you feel that you know everything about, do not write off the cuff. Research is key!
How to Go About Incorporating Those Keywords
The most important thing to do, the most important thing to keep in mind when writing your piece, is something we talked about previously: The keywords must be organic. The piece has to sound natural, and this is for two reasons. One, your client will not want to pay for copy that does not sound natural. Not only will it not work for their purposes, but typically when the client buys content, it no longer carries your byline; instead, it will seem as if they had written it -- and please note, this is standard practice. Typically, when you write for a client, you are selling away your rights to the work, and that includes your name on the work. They want it to sound "right."
Next, if your copy is not organic, it will not match up correctly with search engine guidelines. The client does not want to be penalized for your mistakes.
So, how can you ensure that your piece reads naturally? How can you get those keywords and phrases to work within the piece? Easy! Write the piece first, not worrying about incorporating the keywords and phrases.
Once you have the piece written, and you know that it conveys both what the audience both needs and wants to know, go back through and incorporate those keywords and phrases.
Often this simply requires you to replace a word or two with the correct keyword, or take out a phrase and replace it. Think of using your thesaurus, looking for synonyms for the keywords and simply replace them.
This is the natural way to do it, so that you are not forcing words where they do not belong as you write. And of course, make sure not to overuse those keywords, either.
Never Force Keywords
As you go back over the piece and try to work in your keywords, remember, again, that it must sound natural, and never forced. Find suitable places for the phrases and words. If they do not fit, you need to rework the piece.
The keywords should always sound natural as you read it back to yourself. If it does not, you need to start over from square one and start to rewrite the piece (or at least the sentences and paragraphs where the keywords need to be found).
You may find that you have to start over with an entirely new angle just to get those keywords to fit. That may sound like a lot of work, but welcome to SEO copywriting! The article must read naturally, and the keywords have to fit just so. Think of it as a puzzle -- but one that you are getting paid to piece together.
If this sounds like too much work, then believe me, SEO copywriting may not be for you. Because if the client is not happy with keyword phrasing or placement, it will come back to you. But this is the same with any type of freelancing you do. You cannot wear your feelings on your sleeve, and you have to be open to criticism, and ready to make as many revisions as necessary to get the job right.
That said, you ARE the expert. If the client has given you awkward keywords, ones that just will not fit, you will have to be creative to get them to fit. Sometimes, being a wordsmith really does come in handy with SEO. Craft the sentence around the keyword or phrase and see that you do it as naturally as possible.
Or, you always have the option of going back to the client and explaining that the keyword is either unnatural or awkward, and just will not fit into the piece naturally. Sometimes they will take your advice and give you a new set of keywords and phrases, while other times they will just ask you to 'make it fit', and if it is the latter case, you will have to get creative.
Just adapt and go with the flow, but always remember to practice White Hat SEO.
As I mentioned before, whenever possible you will want to include one of the keywords or phrases in the headline, the subheads, and the links. This is always a great way to add in any awkward phrase or keyword, as it may be able to stand alone (especially as a subhead).
Remember that adding hypertext links, links that are embedded within the article, are a perfect way to a) incorporate those keywords and phrases while b) generating more traffic to the website, and to other content on the site. This also gives search engines a better chance of finding the content (because it is linked to other sites as well).
When the copy is your own, remember not to use too many hyperlinks. This can just annoy your reader. When it is an article for a client, they should direct you as to how many links to include. Often, they will add the links later, so you may not even have to add links.
Hyperlinks should take your reader to other relevant or interesting articles or websites (oftentimes, if these are for your own blog, you will simply link them to other pieces of information on your own site).
As a freelance SEO copywriter, knowledge of Web Page Optimization really isn't required. However, I thought it would be good to include this information here, because it does give you a better understanding of how keywords are applied, and the different ways in which they work within SEO. This will show you how it is all applied to help increase a page's ranking (SERP).
What Is Web Page Optimization, Anyway?
An HTML web page has a header. And within that header, there are a number of meta tags. These meta tags include the "Title" tag and the "Meta Description' tag -- both of which are very important when it comes to optimizing the page for search engines.
When you optimize a page for a search engine, you are doing pretty much what you have learned about optimizing your copy: You are making it easier, and more desirable, to find articles within searches, no matter the search engine. In this case, though, you are helping to optimize the entire page, not just the article.
Again, this may or may not be something you will need to do for a client, but if you are working on your own blog or website, this can come in pretty handy.
When someone searches, the search engine sends out "spiders" (yes, they are really called spiders) to read all of the meta data within a web page, like those meta tags.
Spiders will be attracted to any sites where the search keywords are prominent, right away. Like, say, in their headers. These search engine spiders and web browsers will read a web page's HTML code from top to bottom. They first read the meta data and then move on to the page's content.
Simply put, whatever comes first on the page gets read first.
This means that it is very important for any web page to be optimized. When constructing your page, or working on the clients, be sure that the keywords are used in the Meta tags and Title tags. (If you are lost right now, don't worry! I will give you some examples in a moment, but just keep reading.)
You should also have your most important keywords placed near the beginning.
The Title tag is the one that shows up in the search. It is actually the most important tag on the page, because it tells the search engine exactly what your page (or the client's page) is all about. Do you sell shoes? Do you write freelance copy? Train dogs? Whatever you do, you need to say it in the Title tag.
This article, written by Kristine Schachinger, shows you, pretty simply, how to write those tags and shows you where they will be placed.
She also provides some great examples of what they look like in a search. You have seen them, but probably did not know what you were seeing.
If you are considering setting up your own blog, or website, a great user-friendly tool is WordPress. This site really is the best for beginners, but is excellent for those who are more experienced, too.
WordPress is free, and it will walk you through setting up your blog. After you have it all set up, remember the tips you learned in this lesson, and get yourself out there! Don't forget your Title tags!
And for those who are familiar with WordPress, there is even a plugin that will help you generate your Title tags. Easy peasy!
The Inverted Pyramid (often referred to as the "reverse" pyramid) is basically the metaphor that writers use to illustrate the way information should be structured in text -- be it a sales or marketing piece, a press release, or even blogs and editorial columns.
The reverse pyramid is not something that typically pertains to works of fiction.
The structure of the inverted pyramid is quite simple, really. All you have to do is think of an upside down triangle. The bottom is quite large, so now that it is the top, it is going to hold all of the meat of the story -- the who, the what, the where, the when.
This way, if the reader was to stop reading after that first bit, they would still take away all they need to know. Or, look at it this way: Put so much interesting information at the top that they want to keep reading all the way to the bottom.
As your pyramid tapers off, your information tapers off, too, it is of diminishing importance; and that's fine, because you will want to place links in these portions, links that may or may not take your reader away from the main page of the article.
So as you write your reverse, or inverted, pyramid story, think of putting the most important information first -- things that will hold the reader's attention, and the less important facts near the bottom.
This is a great article, that boils it all down for you. The author, Ben Hunt, notes the reason for this style's wide usage:
As Hunt goes on to say, you want to "front load" your article, making it interesting right from the get-go. After all, this is not a novel, in which you would have hundreds of pages to hook your reader and make your point. Since your article is a page, at most, think of this as a condensed version. Hook them right away, and keep them reading.
Another good point is that, with an SEO article, the headline is really everything. You need to catch the reader's eye, so think of this as the most important part of that pyramid. Sometimes your client will provide the headline, and sometimes he or she will ask you to come up with a catchy title that a) includes a keyword and b) makes sense with the article.