SEO Essentials for Writers

SEO is quickly becoming a necessary skill for online copywriters. These tips will help you learn how you can help a website rank well in search engines.

Get in the Know About SEO

The web is filled with plenty of content that is related to search engine optimization (SEO). Searching for phrases such as, “SEO strategies,” “SEO techniques,” “SEO tips,” or similar phrases will yield countless results. Read through the information you find on the internet to learn about SEO. When using the internet for research, pay attention to the dates associated with the information you find. SEO has changed throughout the years, and articles written just a few years ago may be very outdated. The benefit of using the internet to research SEO is that websites that are ranked high in the search engines are skilled at SEO and are therefore likely to provide quality information.

Get Some Knowledge at Community College

Those who work full-time and work on their website in their free time can benefit from night courses on search engine optimization (SEO) offered by community colleges. This is especially useful for individuals who are looking to upgrade their SEO skill and knowledge to get higher-paying writing assignments and jobs. These classes are usually quite informative and feature easy-to-understand course materials. The cost for these classes is usually quite minimal, and if participation helps you obtain favorable search engine rankings, the course will more than pay for itself. Make sure the instructor has experience with the latest trends of search engine marketing.

Follow the Leaders

One way to learn search engine optimization (SEO) techniques is to study other websites that rank well in the search engines. As you review these websites, make note of what you really like about them. This might include the colors, fonts, content, services or products available, or anything else that catches your eye. This is important because what you like about this particular website is likely to be enjoyed by other visitors as well. The search engines are aware of the characteristics that appeal to the masses, and they reward these websites with high rankings. So look and learn.

If at First You Don’t Succeed…

Practice and trial-and-error cannot be underestimated when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). Once you launch and optimize your website, it takes time to evaluate the results of your efforts. If you find that your search engine rankings are lower than expected, it's time to start experimenting with different strategies. Try only changing one variable at a time so that you can determine which variable helps to increase or decrease your rankings. If you make too many changes at once, it might be difficult to determine what has affected your site's rankings. Prove your ability to achieve top listings with super long tail keyword phrases you use in the content on a page, title tag, meta keywords, and meta descriptions, then build some internal links within your site to that page using that phrase.

What Friends Are For

Tap into your friends in the search engine optimization (SEO) industry and learn from them. Ask for a one-hour meeting to learn how they deploy SEO solutions to clients. Seeing the workflow process will help you understand the big picture and what’s necessary for success. Those in the industry are much more likely to share some of the tricks of the trade with friends or family members than with others in the industry. Fantastic free tools for learning and experimentation combined with some insider knowledge and wisdom will give you all you need to optimize content for the web and take your writing career to the next level.

Work the Trade Shows

One way to learn about search engine optimization (SEO) is to set up a consultation with an SEO firm at one of the free trade shows in the industry. Hearing the pitch of an experienced SEO firm can teach you a great deal about the process of optimizing a website. Many trade shows are free and all of them will expose you to dozens of SEO firms that can offer advice right on the show floor. Check out Search Engine Strategies, PubCon, Ad-Tech, and other search engine marketing shows.

It Never Ends

You’ll never be done with your SEO work. You have to accept this when you begin any SEO project in order to avoid frustration, disappointment, or confusion. SEO isn’t something that you can do just once and declare done; rather, SEO is one of the most complex areas of online marketing and must be worked on regularly and treated as a process, constantly testing and revising techniques. If you don’t do this, your SEO work may be effective only in the short term or not at all. Find tracking technology that will allow you to manage the performance of your SEO skills, performance of the website, and success or failure of specific keyword phrases. Check out WordVision.com for an example (forgive the shameless plug!).

No Guarantees

You can never guarantee that top listing positions will result from your SEO efforts. Any such claim by anyone is an instant declaration of SEO ignorance. Placement in “natural language” or free search (the listings on the left-hand side of most search results) can’t be guaranteed because the formulas used to rank sites are secret and constantly changing. Companies may be able to guarantee ranking using pay-per-click ads, but this is a different thing entirely. So, when you get in tune with SEO skills, beware of false promises and specific rankings. Instead, get in tune with best practice knowledge about how to optimize content for the search engines for specific keywords targeted for the campaign, supporting an overall SEO strategy.

Search Out a Seminar

Those looking to improve their search engine optimization (SEO) knowledge should consider attending conferences, seminars and webinars on the subject. Most of these seminars may be too detailed for those with no SEO knowledge, but there are some seminars that are specifically for novices. When choosing a seminar, pay attention to the level of difficulty of the material to be covered. If you know the basics, look for intermediate level courses. Check out Search Engine Strategies, PubCon, Ad-Tech, and other shows in the search engine marketing space.

Be a Joiner

You can learn a lot about SEO by joining online forums or email lists where users exchange search engine optimization information. This is an excellent resource for novice website owners who want to ask questions about strategies for SEO. The responses you receive can be insightful. Also, if you choose an active forum, you will likely receive multiple opinions on any given topic and be privy to debates on different strategies.

Follow a Conference #Hashtag

More and more, people attending SEO conferences, seminars and summits are microblogging throughout on Twitter. If you can’t go in person, find out if attendees are using a particular hashtag and follow it for nuggets of advice, quotes and info. It’s almost as good as being there!

Subscribe to Some Schooling

There are industry magazines for pretty much everything – SEO, too! Take a look at publications like Visibility Magazine to read up current issues, discover the authors and experts on the subject and learn what they have to teach you.

Get Started With Google

Just learning about SEO? Start with the basics and learn about Google’s free services. Google Analytics, Trend Labs and Keyword AdWords Keyword Search all offer a certain amount of insight and info your can use freely.

101 Ways

ideaLaunch’s own Byron White penned 101 Web Content Tips – a great reference with loads of tips that can help any writer looking to better understand SEO. It’s available for $9.99 on Amazon – or free via PDF if you sign up for an ideaLaunch webinar.

Plug in to Plugins

Various publishing software have widgets and plugins you can install that allow you to incorporate SEO techniques in the backend. WordPress is perhaps one of the most used blogging softwares that has a variety of these SEO plugins. The All in One SEO Pack, for example, is a simple and effective way to incorporate meta tags, page titles and search result descriptions of your work.

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