Chapter 5: Writing for the Web
Writing for the web requires at least a basic understanding of search engine optimization. The need to rank well on search engines depends on what you’re writing and how readers can find it. Bloggers and many other websites depend heavily on SEO to drive traffic to their posts (though readers might also find posts through social media, email and other ways).
You could write an amazing post about your study abroad experience in Italy that never reaches anyone beyond your immediate family if you don’t write the post with search engine optimization in mind. Just writing compelling content for the reader is no longer enough.
Strong search engine optimization starts in the planning process. Sally Kuzemchak with the blog Real Mom Nutrition recommends considering the topics target readers are interested in: questions they’ve asked, problems they’re facing, or topics in other posts that resonated with those target readers.
She then uses a keyword tool like KWFinder to research keywords and phrases. She looks for words/phrases with strong search volumes and low difficulty to outrank competitors. She also Googles potential keywords and looks under “related searches” and “people to ask” as she refines her post topic and brainstorms questions to answer in the post.
Kuzemchak also researches her competition, looking at who ranks highest for a certain keyword or phrase. She looks at what information they provide and considers how she can do it better.
She then does the following specifically related to writing as she crafts her posts to help search engines rank her content high for terms readers are seeking to find:
- Uses the keyword and related keywords and phrases throughout the post, including in headings and subheadings. (But she also works to keep writing natural and avoid forced and awkward wording caused by “keyword stuffing.”)
- Adds alt-tags to images and include the keyword and related words and phrases in images where it makes sense.
- Puts the keyword in the URL.
- Writes a meta description that includes the keyword and tells the reader up front what the post will deliver.
- Includes the keyword in the title but also makes the title enticing to readers so it can compete.
- Includes links to related posts.