Table of Contents
Writing to rank in search engine
Seven secret hacks to help you succeed
“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
Forget everything you were ever taught about writing. Unlearn all that you learned on a creative writing course. Block everything your teacher taught you in an English language degree. None of that stuff will help you – it will only hinder you.
Back then, you were taught to use long, winding, big fat paragraphs. They might work in a novel or a dissertation. But they’re not going to cut it with clients or Internet readers. And all that flowery, poetic language you used that charmed the pants off your teacher and made a girl or boy fall in love with you? Get rid of it. You don’t need it here.
Stop Writing Long Paragraphs
Learn to start writing shorter paragraphs. That means 4 sentences in a paragraph maximum. Don’t be scared. This is normal. Your content will start to flow better and look better. Internet users don’t want to be greeted by walls and walls of text. They want short, snappy, broken-up text that looks like it’s easy to read.
Sub-headings guide the reader’s eye from one part of the text to the other. They help to break the text and make it look readable, and they also allow the reader know exactly what’s in the article.
Most Internet users skim through an article first before reading the entire thing. They check the sub-headings to make sure the article has got what they want/need. Your sub-headings must be both catchy and informative, and at least one of them should contain your main keyword. Not everyone who reads an article on the Internet reads every word. Most people don’t. Instead, they just scan the sub-headings. As a writer, that might hurt your ego. Don’t let it do that. You’re only here to do your job and make money.
Keep Your Sentences Short
Just like you should keep your paragraphs short, you should also keep your sentences short. Internet users aren’t here to read a novel. They have an attention span worse than a goldfish. Can you believe that? An attention span worse than a gold fish! You don’t have much time to impress them and keep them on the page. And you’ll be impressing nobody if you employ long, unreadable sentences.
Keep things short and concise. If something feels too long, it is too long. If a sentence can easily be broken up into two sentences, go right ahead and break it up into two sentences. If you’re a bit unsure about all this, and if it offends your literary background, take a look at some SEO examples on the Internet. See how other people are writing their articles. Notice how short and punchy their sentences are.
Get Rid of Fluff
Sometimes, a beginner SEO writer is guilty of padding their article out so they can reach the magical 500-word mark. As such, they start adding fluff to an article which adds no value, but which probably looks good to the writer.
Ergo, they start writing flowery language that demonstrates how eloquent they are. A client will call you out on this straight away. First of all, they don’t want you to add fluff just so that you get to 500 words. Secondly, they don’t want you to show off your writing skills by using big words.
This is not about you and your skills – this is 100% about the reader. If your article has fluff, get rid of it and swap it for something that adds value. An article must contain nothing but value. If there is anything in there that makes you smile, but which is likely to turn a reader (and your client) off, delete it.
Another problem that beginner SEO writers wrestle with is clarity. If you can’t sum up what an article is all about in the first two sentences, you lose. A client will forgive you this if you’re a newbie, but this is something you need to learn quickly. Get straight to the point ASAP. You and the reader are both in a hurry. If you take them around in circles, they’ll soon get impatient and leave the page.
Be direct and obvious about what your intentions are with an article and what you want from them. Don’t try to be clever. You’ll come across as too vague. The reader won’t have a clue what you’re trying to tell them, and they’ll give up. They certainly won’t hang around because you’re such a good writer. They don’t care that you’re a good writer! They only care about what’s in it for them.
Address the Reader
Another easy mistake you can make as a beginner writer is failing to address and therefore engage your reader.
If the article is about them – which it is – why wouldn’t you address them directly? “Hey you! Ever wanted to know the easy way to losing weight?” See?
“Many people want to know how to lose weight, but have so far come undone.”
Both sentences work, and they can both be used. But the first one is more active and engages your reader better. Let them know you’re talking to them. Be friendly, be personable, and tell them you’re going to solve their problems.
Outline their Problem
Speaking of problems, you must remember at all times that a reader is on your page because they’ve got a problem that they’re hoping you’re going to solve for them.
So what do you do? You address the problem as soon as possible (ideally in the opening line, and preferably with a question), before outlining how the article is going to solve it.
“Looking for an objective review of the 2017 Ford Mustang? We’ve got you covered, from fired-up engines to finance deals.”
We’ve addressed the customer’s problem early on – they’re looking for a review of the Ford Mustang – and we’ve outlined how we’re going to solve said problem.