The purpose of writing and practicing successful SEO articles

I was so excited to read his post! Google icon Matt Cutts was blogging on August 21st and hit the nail on the head (as he often does). The title of the post was, “SEO Tip: Write Helpful Articles Readers Will Love.” This, by itself, says it all. Why is this post exciting? It reinforces what I have been saying for years. Whether you are writing content for a website, article, or any type of SEO copy, you should think of the reader first.

There is a barrage of worthless articles floating around on the internet these days. Stuffed, useless keywords that were obviously written with the sole intention of trying to rank higher. Striving for the highest rankings is not a bad thing, but the purpose of writing SEO articles is threefold and not one: to provide information, to rank highly when used on your site and to increase link popularity. This means that the practice must follow the purpose.

Why am I writing an article?

Let’s start from the beginning. Why write articles to get started? While having SEO content on your site is a good thing, your first concern should be to provide useful information to your readers. Katz agrees with this practice and explains why it is important to provide relevant, useful information.

If the information is not useful, then those who visit your site will not be interested in reading it. Yes, if the page ranks high, it may bring in little traffic. But if your visitors take one look at your article and then click away, what use do you get in the high rankings?

Likewise, if you choose to distribute your article online, it is unlikely that others will choose to publish your article on their sites. If your work does not provide solid information and is poorly written, it will not be considered worthy of association.

Engine Optimization

Once you have decided what information you want to provide, you can shift your focus to SEO. Copywriting for motors requires balance. You never want to sacrifice the reader’s experience for the sake of ranking. Stuffing keywords in text is always a counterproductive method. Practically no one wants to read an article (or website page) that constantly repeats the same exact terms to an extreme.

Katz also addressed this issue in his blog post, noting that he included header sentences in his own article and also used similar terms. Katz noted that we pay more attention to key phrase use (and use variations of those key phrases) rather than keyword density.

The two most important keys

Both of the “meta-problems” that Katz highlighted in his article were related to user experience, not to the practice of copywriting for SEO. First, pay attention to the content you provide. Always pass on useful and tangible knowledge to the reader. Second, study your niche (also know your target audience!) and write specifically with the purpose of helping them.

There is other great info included in Cutts’ post, and I encourage you to read it in addition to the following comments. You can find it here: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/seo-advice-writing-useful-articles-that-readers-will-love.

These are things I (and other SEO professionals) have been preaching about for years. User first, search engines second. When you get priority straight, the rest will fall into line without too much trouble.

© 2006

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