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The Purpose and Practice of Writing Successful SEO Article

August 30, 2006
Here's Karon's latest and greatest article on...well...writing articles! -

The Purpose and Practice of Writing Successful SEO Articles
by Karon Thackston C 2006

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 does quite frequently).  The
title of the post was "SEO Advice: Writing useful articles that readers will
love."  That, in and of itself, says it all.  Why is this such a thrilling
post?  Because it reinforces what I've been saying for years.  Whether
you're writing content for a website, an article or any type of SEO copy,
you must think of the reader first.

There is such a barrage of worthless articles floating around the 'Net these
days.  Keyword-stuffed, useless ramble that was obviously written with the
sole intent of attempting to rank highly.  Striving for top rankings is not
a bad thing, but the purpose of writing SEO articles is threefold: provide
information, rank highly when used on your site and increase link
popularity.  That means the practice must follow the purpose.

Why Write an Article?

Let's start at the beginning.  Why write articles to begin with?  While
having SEO content on your site is a good thing, your first concern should
be with offering useful information to your readers.  Cutts agrees with this
practice and makes a point of discussing why providing relevant, helpful
information is vital.

If the information isn't helpful, those who visit your site will have little
interest in reading it.  Yes, if the page ranks highly, it might bring in a
bit of traffic.  But if visitors take one look at your article and then
click away, what good have the high rankings done you?

Likewise, if you choose to distribute your article throughout the Internet,
it is highly unlikely that others will elect to run your article on their
sites.  If your work doesn't provide solid information and is poorly
written, it will not be considered link-worthy.

Optimizing for the Engines

Once you've decided what information you want to provide, you can turn your
focus to SEO.  Copywriting for the engines requires balance.  You never want
to sacrifice the reader's experience for the sake of rankings.  Stuffing
keywords into text is a method that will almost always backfire. Practically
no one wants to read an article (or website page) that constantly repeats
the same exact terms to the point of extremes.

Cutts also addressed this issue in his blog post, stating that he included
keyphrases within his own article and also used similar terms.  Cutts made a
point of suggesting that we pay more attention to keyphrase use (and the use
of variations of those keyphrases) than focusing on keyword density.

The Two Most Important Keys

The two "meta-issues" Cutts highlighted in his article were both related to
user experience, not to the practice of SEO copywriting.  First, pay
attention to the content you offer.  Always impart useful, concrete
knowledge to your reader.  Second, study your niche (i.e., know your target
audience!) and write specifically for the purpose of helping them.

There is other great information included in Cutts' post, and I encourage
you to read it plus the comments that follow.

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

Karon Thackston
Marketing Words, Inc.
Copywriting Course