My process as an SEO content writer

In truth, this post is to remind me what the hell I’m meant to be doing. It’s also to help those who might hire me. If that isn’t you, go and do something else. 

Putting the ‘writing’ into SEO content writing

Forget about SEO for just one moment and let’s talk about words. I’m not bad with words, I enjoy writing them. They’re fun to be around – much more fun than any human, even the ones I think are interesting and/or bangable. And, unlike the people in my life, they’re easily manipulated. I put them in whatever order I want and sometimes good stuff happens.

I’m making the point that writing well is the greatest gift you can give to your website and online environs. SEO-optimised text – with zero writing ability is keyword cramming. And that reads like shit.

Going keyword bonkers is shooting yourself in the SEO foot

Don’t be this mug:

“We are artisan bread makers in Hull. We bake our artisan bread on-site in our bakery in Hull. We are passionate about artisan bread and are the leading artisan bread supplier in Hull”

I think you’ll agree, that was terrible.

Here are my three degrees of SEO content writing:

  1. Get seen: be visible to those who want what you offer
  2. Attract clients: hook in prospects with excellent writing
  3. Build trust: show what you know and people will buy

Who’s all this writing for?

I’m a B2B content writer. In plain English, I write content for other business peoples. I could have just said that – saved some time, but why do that when I can over-explain things? I blame mother. She gives me pointless details about mundane events, like meeting deaf Anne at Tesco:

“You remember deaf Anne – she lived at the bottom of grannies garden”

Deaf Anne sounds like a hedgehog.

“Had two sons. Married a welder”

Nope, I still have no idea.

“She was a part-time pirate. Liked to rim her neighbour, Les”

Anyway, let’s get back to the point, like the types of SEO I get into when I create copy.

Putting the ‘SEO’ into SEO content writing

I’ll try to make this quicker than a teenagers first time.

Content SEO

Content has its own category because it’s IMPORTANT. And yet, keywords are all people talk about. The only keywords I really get giddy for are the long-tail sort (LTK) because they get to the heart of what you’re really all about. 

For example, why be an ‘accountant’ when you could be an ‘accountant helping big earners with tax avoidance schemes’. Seriously though, why be an accountant? 

I think I’ve made it pretty clear, writing shit-hot words is SEO content writing, that also includes:

  • Understanding why you create content 
  • Knowing your audience like your own private parts
  • Being savvy about your prospects search behaviours

Technical SEO 

I don’t fiddle with the arse-end of websites, and I don’t write code (I google code). In terms of content writing, the technical aspects of SEO that I dabble in are:

  • Permalink structures (the links for each post/page)
  • Meta titles and descriptions (the snippet that shows in the search results)

On-page SEO

SEO is about making what you’re selling, easy to find but also, easy to consume. Text-dumping on a page without formatting is a shoddy way to behave. When I write something nice for you I’ll also be doing this:

  • Creating a hook-worthy title
  • Add subheadings 
  • Include anchor text for internal links
  • Pop in some outbound links (to back up any claims made)
  • Add keywords
  • Include a CTA

Adding the LOLs to the copy

Just like sex, humour sells. We like to laugh and we remember the ad campaigns that make us snigger.

I write content for businesses that want humour to convey a message. It’s a subjective area but so is branding. We’re not trying to please everyone, that would be insane. A client will give me a starting point (favourite comedian or funny brand) as inspiration. That way I get the right kind of funny for the project.

Here’s how I work

Having to deal with rubbish clients grinds my gears but it means I’ve refined my process to avoid the dickheads. I now get the prospects I want, and who want me.

What I need from you

A sense of humour and a lot of information. I’m going to ask you questions, lots of questions, and some might be tricky to answer but answer them you must for I won’t be able to produce top-notch ‘hilarious’ content without those answers.

Research

I online stalk your business. I research your industry, the chosen topic, and your target market. I check out your potential clients’ search behaviours, and research long-tail keywords that are relevant to the copy.

Writing

I’ll either be writing as you, or me (if you want me as a guest blogger) and based on all the info I gather, you’ll get original wordage for your brandage.

First draft

As much as it pains me to say it, I understand you’ll want to check my work. That’s cool, you’re within your rights to make sure I’ve included everything you need – the message must be ‘on-brand’ after all. You get to pop all your suggestions under each section of my copy.

But there needs to be an understanding…

TRUST your content writer

Some folks like to act as editor-in-chief when they get a first draft. If you’ve hired me to write words, chances are you’re not very good at the job yourself. Some clients get crazy, they edit/rewrite/remove huge chunks of the copy I’ve so lovingly created.

The original content needs to remain the same. It’s important that I edit my own work when I make changes, or it’s my turn to play the editor to your writer, and honey, that’s not how this works.

And when it comes to your suggestions, there will be times when I disagree. I’ll always give you a decent reason, it’s up to you to accept my ability to know how to write content over yours. OK, some of your rewrite might work – in truth you’re much more likely to hamper the copy with unnecessary words and clichés. In reality, it will take me more time to sort out your version of the text over mine.

Proofreading

This is the right time for suggested edits and grammatical fixes. But not by you (or me) – someone qualified. Humans are shit at spotting their own mistakes. Doesn’t matter a damn if they write for a living because writers are humans too (yes, even me). Having fresh eyes on the text is something I won’t do without, and it will make your new copy infinitely better.

Completed project

Hello to shiny new content. Pretty isn’t it. Having a focused brief and rigorous planning stage means there will never need to be endless rewrites. You get one chance to moan about the work, so make it count.

You’ll probably moan less if you hire someone you like, and whose ability you trust and value.

If that someone is me, hit the button.

       
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