SEO Copywriter Tips: How to Protect Your Writing Samples & Guidelines on What Exactly Are the Responsibilities of an SEO Writer


Written by Yuwanda Black

In this week’s newsletter, I address a few question sent in by a new SEO writer (keep the questions coming y’all!).

In this age of stolen content and copyright infringement, part of his question asked how to protect samples when you send them out. In second part, he’s a little confused as to what exactly are his responsibilities as an SEO writer. He writes (forgive the typos):

I read your recent newletter where one SEO writer told how a client received 100% plagiarized content from a previous writer (Editor Note: See comments section in this link) …HORRIBLE. Well that got me thiking – and I did try to find this information on SEOwritingjobs.com first – How do you protect your writing samples when sending them out for work? Is this even a major concern freelancers should have now?

One more question Yuwanda. The more i get into SEO writing, I’m hearing a lot about meta tags, imbedded links, and anchor text… How much of this is related to the SEO writer’s job?

I may just have to purchase your advanced SEO book for small businesses LOL! Thanks Yuwanda

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copyright-violation-notice Copyright Violation Notice: If you’re reading this entire post (snippets are fine) on any blog other than SeoWritingJobs.com, it is stolen content. Scraping content (eg, using software to illegally copy and paste copyrighted content from websites and blogs) is becoming a common practice which affects every site owner. So if you see this content someplace else, please take a quick moment to send an email to [info]at[SeoWritingJobs.com] (remove brackets, of course) so that we can take the appropriate action. Thank you in advance for your help.

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MY ANSWER TO QUESTION #1: How to Protect Your SEO Copywriting Samples

I’m going to tell you what I do – other freelance writers may have different ways of addressing this problem (and if you’re one of them, please chime in in the comments section so we can all learn).

The first thing my SEO Writing Company does is have clients sign a Writing Samples Confidentiality Agreement. After they’ve done this, I forward samples.

I have one writing samples document I send out to clients. In it are four different articles – ranging on content from tech to real estate. The document is sent as a secure .pdf file (eg, can’t be copied/pasted) and has a watermark on it.

There is also a disclaimer at the very beginning of the document that states:

Note: As the forwarded Writing Samples Confidentiality Agreement that you signed and sent back to us states, the following writing samples are actual articles written for New Media Words’ clients. The content may not be used, reproduced, rewritten or redistributed in any manner. They are provided for the sole purpose of judging New Media Words’ SEO content writing style, range and ability.

SEO Copywriting Tip: Types to Writing Samples to Forward to Prospective Clients

FYI, the samples included in New Media Word’s writing samples document are always older than one year and are written for article marketing campaigns, so they are widely distributed anyway.

Hence, just in case someone does steal/plagiarize the content, it’s not like it’s original content that can’t be found other places on the web.

Also, I forward samples on various different topics so clients can see that we can write on a wide range of topics.

SEO Writers: Should You Forward Original Articles as Samples? When and When Not To

As a matter of course, in my opinion, you shouldn’t forward original writing samples to prospects. Following is why.

While it’s okay to send out original content you write just for your portfolio (if you’re new and didn’t have previous samples to start with), don’t be afraid to use these pieces in article marketing campaigns, on your blog, in your newsletters, etc.

Watch Out for SEO Content Thieves!

About half the time, clients will want you to provide samples in their niche. This is particularly true if it’s something like tech, medicine, law, etc. If you don’t have any and want to create one – then fine. But, use it as your “tech, legal, medical” sample. Don’t create samples from scratch JUST for clients if you already have one IN THAT NICHE.

As I state in the article, How to Spot Online Freelance Writing Jobs Scams on Popular Sites like Craigslist, “Some want free content, so they may request “original” writing samples.” This is how content thieves get a lot of original content for free – they request “samples” from tons of freelance writers, and you either never hear from them again, or they’ll send you a “brush off” email, eg, “Sorry, we can’t use your content because of . . . yadda, yadda, yadda.”

Only, you’re surfing a week from now and find your article all over their site.


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MY ANSWER TO QUESTION #2: What Exactly are the Job Responsibilities of an SEO Writer

This depends – on you, the client, the project, etc.

In short, some clients will ask you to provide anchor text links in the content you write for them; others will want you to write Resource Boxes; yet others will want you to write meta tags; some will want you to distribute content to article directories; etc.

The simple fact of the matter is, you can provide as many or as few services as you want as an SEO article writer. My firm charges for some extras like writing meta tags and resource boxes, but for others, we don’t.

For example, if a client wants us to do anchor text linking. As long as it’s not a lot and they provide the link, we do that for no extra charge. But if they say, for example, find a link on this and include it, then that requires research time, so we’d charge for that.

The bottom line is time – that’s what you’re charging for.

Hope this helps.

Yuwanda, SEO Writing Jobs Editor

Related Posts

Plagiarism and Stolen Content: A Growing Web Problem — Is Your Firm Unknowingly Falling Victim and Being Penalized by Google & Other SEs

Copyright Infringement Ebook: What to Do If Someone Steals Your Content and/or If You are Falsely Accused of Stealing Someone’s Content

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SEO Copywriting Tip: How Much of a Page Should Be Unique Content before Google Will Count It as a “Quality Page?”

The Google Panda update debates and discussions rage on. And, I’m quite frankly finding it fascinating. It seems that never before have so many experts chimed in on how to get a website to rank higher in Google. If you regularly read authority sources like Web Pro News and Search Engine Land, you can learn a whole lot about how Google ranks pages. It’s like having an SEO expert on call.

google-panda-update-seo-copywriting-tips-on-how-to-recover

With all of that being said, If you’re an SEO writer and you’re trying to get your site to rank better, or you want to give clients some insight into how to get their sites to rank higher, following is some info you can use and pass along.

Note: NO ONE but Google programmers know exactly how the search engine giant ranks pages. So, everything you read – even from highly qualified SEO experts – is simply a guessing game. But, some guesses are better than others, no?

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3 SEO Copywriting Tips That Can Help Your Website Rank Higher Post-Panda

i) Google on Unique Content: Ever visited a site and been overwhelmed by ads, but found very little content? Now, Google may be “Panda slapping” these types of sites, if you believe what’s said in The Daily SEO Blog post, Fat Pandas and Thin Content (a hilarious title and article). In explaining the 7 different versions of what he believes Google means by “thin” content, the author writes:

Last year, an affiliate marketer posted a very interesting conversation with an AdWords rep. Although this doesn’t technically reveal anything about the organic algorithm, it does tell us something about Google’s capabilities and standards. The rep claims that Google views a quality page as having at least 30% unique content, and it can only have as much space devoted to ads as it does to unique content. (emphasis added) More importantly, it strongly suggests that Google can algorithmically measure both content ratio . . . and ad ratio.

Following are a couple of more SEO copywriting tips I gleaned from my readings this Sunday (as SEO constantly changes, you have to constantly stay plugged into what’s going on, so I read a lot about it).


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ii) Beef Up Your Content: In light of the Panda update, many sites are beefing up their content. No more of those outsourced, $1 for 250-word articles from SEO writers with no usable info. And, no more “article spinning,” eg, taking one article and using software to create (spin) hundreds of different (usually useless) articles. Google wants quality, dammit! And this means longer articles. Proof?

In the post, Google Checkmates Me, But Reveals Internal Secrets, (which was referenced in the post above), successful affiliate marketer Andrew Hansen writes:

. . . up to a certain point a longer article is better. . . . This is important for conversion too. A longer article with more of the information that the prospective buyer wants, the better you’ll usually convert. I think the days of slapping up 300 word articles on your affiliate site and hoping for conversions are pretty well over.

FYI, this seems to be true for regular website/blog content too (ie, non-affiliate sites), as discussed in Question #21, the post where we went over Google’s 23 Questions you should ask yourself when writing SEO content.

iii) Remove duplicate content: If there’s one lesson to come out of the Panda update, it’s this. And, even though it’s technically a “non” SEO copywriting tip, it goes to the heart of content creation – namely use unique content only.

Some firms that were slapped hard by Panda report that they’re now recovering (ie, starting to rank higher again) in search engines because they’ve done this – along with fixing other things.

In the Web Pro News article, Are Some Sites Recovering From The Google Panda Update?, one webmaster explained, saying:

In a nutshell, I’ve worked on removing duplicate content, making use of the canonical tag and better use of 301 redirects, and adding the noindex meta tag to SERP-like pages and tag clouds . . .

Was your website bitch-slapped by the Google Panda update? If you’re an SEO copywriter, have you heard clients complain of their sites losing rank because of this Google algorithm change? Share your story in the comments section below.

P.S.: LIST YOUR SEO WRITING, SOCIAL MEDIA & INTERNET MARKETING JOBS FREE

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Copyright © 2011: All material on this site is copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without my written consent (linking to is fine).

SEO Copywriting Business Advice: What If You Had a Chance to Charge (Much) More — Would You Take It?

In the last post here, we discussed themed (SEO) content. As usual, a reader chimed in with some great insight, which I thought I’d share with you guys, as it’s rich in ideas for how to grow an SEO writing business.

FYI, in my opinion, this is exactly how you should respond to opportunities when you see them. This reader not only recognized that this was a great opportunity for him to grow his freelance writing business (ie, charge more for his services), but he’s already taken measures to implement some of his ideas.

themed-seo-content

Too many of us will read something, see the chance to “grab the brass ring,” so to speak, then do . . . absolutely nothing. If I’d done this back in 2007 when I first started out as an SEO writer, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Just some food for thought this Friday.

Hope you enjoy the exchange (forgive the typos).
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Writing for SEO: A Writer Takes His Business to the Next Level

Oh no! John’s revealed the secret! 🙂

Seriously, themeing is an incredibly powerful way to write and one reason I’m seriously thinking of raising my prices to $50 for themed web pages (even that may not be enough). I’ve had several clients that are very satisfied with my web page content, and many recognize that it’s helping them rank their pages easier. In fact, one client said that to me on the phone the other day “it seems like I’m having a lot easier time ranking my pages than I used to. It’s like your content is doing something to help my rankings.”

He was explaining how one of his clients . . . was on top of Google for the targeted keyword phrases in less than 2 weeks. He told me he usually charges clients for 3 months of SEO minimum. His dilemma was that he said he would have to wait a couple months to show his client the rankings so it would look like he was doing something for the big fees he charged.

Anyway, thanks Yuwanda! As usual, a great post. I’m grateful that [I learned] themeing early on, cause I learned how to make my work stand out from most others. It’s not just well-written and well-polished, it’s well themed too. Many clients quickly see the value in this. The only drawback of course is that it takes a lot of extra time, so I don’t do this for ordinary articles that clients only want to use for back linking and are not concerned about ranking. But like I said, I think you can get away with charging a lot more. I think my next price increase will be to $50 for themed web pages, and that might even be too low.

Thanks again for all you do!


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MY RESPONSE

I definitely think you should charge more for themed pages, especially given that you have proof that it works. I’d start at $75 or $85 and work my way up if I were you.
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WRITER’S RESPONSE

Thanks for the encouragement Yuwanda, and I think you’re right, these themed pages really are worth more than $50. I just think that a jump straight from $35 to $75 is a little extreme. In the beginning, I really didn’t know how well this themeing worked, which is why I started with $25 back in November, then raised to $35 in January. Now that I’ve seen several clients say they are getting better and faster rankings, I am convinced that it is worth $75, but I want to test it at the $50 price level first.
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MY RESPONSE

. . . maybe you could charge one thing for “regular SEO content” and another rate for “themed SEO content.” This way, you’re not doing a price jump for the same content from $50 to $75, but for “premium” content (a new type of product/service).

I know this is a lot of work; I’d just hate to see you lowball yourself. Also remember, it’s a lot easier to come down on rate than go up. So if you’re not getting takers at the higher rate, you can simply reduce the rate.

Selling Tip: Do a pamphlet that explains how themed seo content differs from regular seo content. Be sure to explian in detail how “time consuming” it is — and the results it produces (use your actual examples). Make this a free giveaway on yoru site.

In my experience, it’s not the price clients object to mostly, it’s the value they perceive they’re NOT going to get for the price. If you can show the value in what you’re doing, then you should have no problem charging $100 or more for themed content.

I personally know of two SEO writers who charge $250 per themed page. You should certainly be able to get $75 to $100.

Just something to think about.
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WRITER’S REPONSE

$250 per themed page? Wow! That’s inspiring! I thought maybe $100, but I didn’t think people charged that much.

Great advice on the pamplet. You’re right, clients are interested more in value than cost. And it’s true that some potential clients don’t recognize at all the value of themed content (or even seem to know what it is). It’s surprising to me that they are even working in SEO without being aware of something this critical, but there are many out there like that.

Actually, my plan when I have time is to build a whole new site that will be a writing service, with the perception that there is a staff of several writers that are experts in certain areas. . . . some clients are clearly hesitant to give me big projects as they believe I’m just a “one man operation.” I do tell them I have the ability to outsource, but you need to be careful with that. So, my solution is to create a new site . . . I really believe this is the way to go for future growth of my business.

So, I will plan on adding a themeing brochure when I launch the new site-hopefully by the end of June.

Thanks again Yuwanda, your advice is priceless!
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MY RESPONSE

My “team” too is outsourcers; albeit, they’ve been with me for a while.

So, don’t say “perception”. How you run your business is your business. As long as you deliver what you promise clients, it’s none of their business how your business is set up. So, remove that somewhat negative connotation from your mind. In fact, start referring to your business as “my firm” or “my company”; not “me” or “I”.

It’s a mind switch that works wonders.

As for many who work in SEO not knowing about it thoroughly; I stopped being surprised by this about a year ago. Most still don’t get the basics like keyword density and keyword stuffing. But, they are smart enuf to know they need help — which is why they hire my firm.

And, I like the new site idea. Good luck with everything, and feel free to ask questions if you have them. I’ll do my best to answer.
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Have a great weekend,
Yuwanda
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WHAT DO YOU THINK? As an SEO copywriter, how much would you charge for a themed page of content? Had you heard about themed SEO content before reading this post? If so, have you gotten results with it? If not, will it change the way you think about/write SEO content. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

P.S.: LIST YOUR SEO WRITING, SOCIAL MEDIA & INTERNET MARKETING JOBS FREE

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Secrets of Getting a #1 Google Ranking: You Could be Just One Plugin Away

SEOPressor is a search engine optimization tool that works with WordPress website to help them rank higher in search engines.

You no longer have to guess if you’re optimized a post for the right keyword, have too much/too little density, which tags to put in, etc. SEOPressor does it all for you – putting your on-page search engine optimization efforts on autopilot.

How SEOPressor Differs from Other SEO Tools

SEOPressor is a tool designed exclusively for WordPress websites. It analyzes various aspects of on-page optimization and lets the webmaster know a very true picture of the website.

Tasks SEOPressor Performs for You

In essence, all the behind-the-scenes work is done for you, ie:

Keyword Standing: SEOPressor tells webmasters about the exact standing of their keywords. For instance, it tells webmasters how their keywords are getting ranked and whether they should format them in any way (make bold, italicize or underline) to improve their viability.

Images: SEOPressor also tells about the worth of the images used on the website and the H1, H2 or H3 formats used in titles. In this way, SEOPressor keeps a keen eye on the little things that matter much with WordPress websites.

Offers Suggestions: Unlike other tools, SEOPressor doesn’t just tell webmasters about the search engine optimization problems their site has; it also gives them solid suggestions about how to fix them.

These include suggestions on how keywords and their formatting can be tweaked, how tags should be ideally added to images and so on.

Tracks Website Performance: SEOPressor continuously informs webmasters about how their website is performing at the SEO level. An instant SEO score can be obtained, which helps site owners learn what to do to improve the prospects of their website.

Tests and Rates Individual Posts: SEOPressor can also test and rate each post that is added to the website. This helps webmasters know the true value of any additions that they make to their websites – instantly!

Experienced Developer: SEOPressor has a highly successful and experienced developer behind it. This developer is none other than Daniel Tan, an SEO enthusiast, who is quite active on the Warrior Forum.

He is a keen observer of the way websites work with search engines and has carved a credible name for himself with his previous products such as Backlink Syndication System and Rank Mover, both SEO products.

Secret Algorithm: Perhaps the real uniqueness of SEOPress is in the secret algorithm it uses. This secret algorithm helps correlate SEOPress with the way the developer perceives that Google ranks pages, thus ensuring that your website can rank extremely well in Google.

The users of the product are quite hopeful that SEOPress will be deemed a mandatory plug-in for WordPress.

So . . . order today and start improving your website ranking!

Search Engine Optimization Copywriting: What Is Themed SEO Content, How It’s Different from ‘Ordinary’ Content & Why SEO Writers Need to Know About It

The following is a guest post by John Coutts of WriteSystem.com.

If you’re an SEO copywriter, you are most likely quite familiar with the idea of ordinary SEO content in the form of an article. The information in these types of articles are usually based around a main keyword or keyword phrase, and the article is generally around 400 to 500 words in length.

Where Keywords Should Appear When Writing for SEO

The main keyword is used in the title, once in the first paragraph, and again three or four times throughout the article in order to tell to the search engines what the article is about. This works well. It provides useful information if the article is well written, and it can provide a valuable back link to a web site through a linked piece of text in the body of the article, or in a resource box at the end of the article.

what-is-themed-content-an-overview

The reader receives a benefit (the information), the writer receives a benefit (the writer is paid) and the person who is responsible for having the article written also receives a benefit (the back link to the web site). Everyone wins.

Article marketing has taken this form since its inception. Why, therefore, should you consider changing to themed content? And what is themed content anyway?

Search Engine Optimization Copywriting: What Is Themed SEO Content?

Themed content changes everything. While an ordinary article can be found in the search engines for its main keyword, and may even rank well for it, it is still just one keyword/keyword phrase. You can enhance that situation by including two or three secondary keywords and even a few tertiary keywords, but the article will still typically only rank in the search engines for a mere handful of keywords at best.

Writing for SEO: How Themed Content Is Different from Ordinary SEO Content

Themed content can typically rank for a hundred or more keywords. Yes, you read right.

An article that is properly themed will still have a main keyword, but it will also contain all the words and phrases that Google has already shown to be important – no, vital – to the particular topic of the article. These words and phrases will be synonyms of the main keyword, alternative meanings, closely related terms, and so on. They are the kind of words and phrases that we would expect to find in any well written material on a particular subject.


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Search Engine Optimization Copywriting: A Themed Content Example

For example, suppose the topic of the article is “Fix Credit Problems.” You will find that the top 10 results in Google will all contain a majority of the following words somewhere in the text of the page: bills, borrow, card, check, clear, companies, consumer, credit, debt, denied, erasing, financial, fix, good, help, history, information, interest, issues, late, loans, mortgage, pay, payment, personal, problems, rating, repair, repayment, report, score, services, trouble.

This is no coincidence either. Google expects these words to be found in an article that deals with fixing credit problems, and the articles that include these words are rewarded by being ranked highly in the Google index.

Of course, the number of back links, the level of on-page SEO and other factors will all have a bearing on where any article gets ranked, but if the article has all the essential theme words in place, it is much better placed than ‘ordinary’ articles to rank very well.

Google goes one step further. It has a set of “authority” results for any given keyword or keyword phrase. If an article has a majority of the necessary essential theme words that Google recognizes, then the article will be included in the authority set. If not, it gets dumped in the supplemental pages.

You Try It: Themed SEO Content Exercise

Try this… Do a search on Google for the phrase, “fix credit problems” without the quotation marks. You should see about 103,000,000 results mentioned (at the time of writing) just under the search bar. That’s a lot! But are there really that many search results? OK, let’s see, shall we?

If you adjust the search settings of your browser so that Google returns 100 results at a time instead of the usual 10, you can do this much faster. When you get to page 8 you should find this at the bottom of the page:

“In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 768 already displayed.”

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copyright-violation-notice Copyright Violation Notice: If you’re reading this entire post (snippets are fine) on any blog other than SeoWritingJobs.com, it is stolen content. Scraping content (eg, using software to illegally copy and paste copyrighted content from websites and blogs) is becoming a common practice which affects every site owner. So if you see this content someplace else, please take a quick moment to send an email to [info]at[SeoWritingJobs.com] (remove brackets, of course) so that we can take the appropriate action. Thank you in advance for your help.
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Organic Search Engine Optimization Copywriting: Beat Out 768 Sites Instead of 103,000,000!

In other words, Google only shows us 768 results for the phrase, “fix credit problems,” because those are the only results that Google actually values. This is Google’s authority set of results for this keyword phrase. Your article only has to beat these 768 top results to get ranked at number one. Forget about a competition level of 103,000,000, or whatever! All you have to do is concentrate on the really important 768 authority set (in this example).

Does that sound easier? Of course it does!

This is why themed content is different from ordinary content. When an article contains the theme words that Google has already shown to be important, then it will be included in the authority set, and each authority set is only anywhere from around 400 results to 1,000 results.

Google may state that the results for a keyword are in the millions, but now we know the reality is quite different. The better themed the article is, the higher it will rank. When you add good back links to the article, it will rank very high in the Google results. This is why properly themed content is vastly superior to ordinary content. But there’s more…

Properly themed content has such a rich mix of relevant words and phrases that it gets ranked for dozens – even hundreds – of different words and phrases over time, all of them highly important to the basic topic, or theme, of the article. The ordinary article will rank for just one keyword, or a handful at best.

What Is Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) & Why It’s Important to Search Engine Rankings

In 2003 Google purchased a technology pioneered by a company called Applied Semantics. It has become known to us today as a technology called Latent Semantic Indexing, or LSI. The technology achieves semantic text processing, which is a bit like how the human mind works. The press release that Google distributed following its acquisition of the technology in 2003 reads in part:

“Applied Semantics’ products are based on its patented CIRCA technology, which understands, organizes, and extracts knowledge from websites and information repositories in a way that mimics human thought and enables more effective information retrieval.”

In other words, LSI, or theming, works like the human mind. It makes associations in a similar way. It’s really a case of a robotic system copying the human mind so that humans can be served a result they feel more comfortable with, because it mimics the way they think.

Themed search engine content gives people something they are more comfortable with, and it gives the SEs exactly what they want too. There are only winners with no losers all round.

An analysis of the top pages in Google for any given keyword will show that the results at the top use more theme words than the results found towards the end of the authority set. If you take the trouble to analyze the results that are not found in the authority set, the ones that Google says it has omitted, you will find they are invariably poorly themed, if indeed they are themed at all.

This is what makes the difference between themed content and ordinary content, and it can work to make a considerable difference in your article writing efforts too. Forget about keyword density, secondary keywords and where to place them all for the best effect. Think theming instead.

The recent Panda update by Google, also known as the Farmer update, has surely shown anyone who knows anything about web content that Google only wants the highest quality content in its index. And there is no higher quality web content than properly themed content, in Google’s opinion.

Test any authority set for any keyword yourself, and you will see that the very best themed content is right up there at the top. The number and quality of back links, SEO, Page Rank and other factors may skew the results to some degree, but not nearly as much as you might think.

Quality, themed searh engine content rules!

Now it’s your turn to write amazing articles…

About the Author: John Coutts is a Themed SEO Content Provider. He can be found online WriteSystem.com.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Had you heard about themed SEO content before reading this article? If so, have you gotten results with it? If not, will it change the way you think about/write SEO content. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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SEO Copywriting Tips: 23 Questions Google Says SEO Copywriters Should Keep in Mind When Creating Content

As we stated in the post, Why the Recent Google Panda Update Means More Work for SEO Content Writers, “The recent Google Panda update has sent webmasters, bloggers and online retailers into a tizzy. Many are scrambling to invest in SEO content now because their sites have lost rank and one of the main things Google tells site owners to invest in if they want to rank well is quality content.”

As this Google algorithm search change caused quite an uproar, the company has come out with a 23 question “test,” if you will, of what content should be on websites. The WebProNews.com article, Google Panda Update: New Advice Directly From Google, explains:

The company [Google] is careful to note that it’s not disclosing actual ranking signals used in its algorithms, but these [23] questions will help you “step into Google’s mindset.” These questions are things that Google says it asks itself as it writes algorithms.

SEO Copywriting: Google’s Content Writing Guidelines — Does the Copy You Create for Clients (and for Yourself) Pass the Search Giant’s 23-Question Test?

Here, we delve into these questions one by one, giving you a bit more insight to help you create better content for your clients (and for yourself) that will drive more traffic to your site – and drive it back up in rankings (if you lost rank when Google made its latest algorithm search change).

1. Would you trust the information presented in this article?

Remember, one of the main reasons for the Google Panda update is that searchers were complaining about articles from places like content farms – eHow, Helium, AssociatedContent, etc. — that ranked ahead of other, more trustworthy content.

For example, would you trust information about Level 4 brain cancer from a freelance writer on eHow with no credentials in the field?

2. Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?

The reason trust is important on the web is because many sites try to “game the system,” creating content just to rank well.

And, the vast majority of it is not sourced (ie, backed up by research) and/or written by a credentialed professional, eg, a journalist or an expert on the topic.

3. Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?

In this sense, Google is not referring to the duplicate content penalty (which is really not a penalty).

As discussed in Question 2, content created to “game the system,” will often be the same regurgitated content, just written using different keywords so that a site can rank well for different keyword phrases. Many niche sites cover a topic in depth, so the same subjects will be covered over and over again.

HOWEVER, they will be covered from different perspectives for various reasons (eg, a recent industry change, agreement/disagreement with another source, etc.).

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4. Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?

Some sites inspire trust; others don’t. Sometimes there’s just something that sits in the pit of your stomach that makes you not trust a site. Content creation is a part of this. Is the info presented professionally, is it in depth or general, is it keyword stuffed, etc.?

This piggybacks on the next question, which is . . .

5. Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?

If a site is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, it makes it hard to trust the actual facts of the content.

While a misspelled word here and there happens perhaps more in web writing than print (because content tends to be presented in real time on the web), if an article is not professionally presented, eg, spell checked, fact checked, etc., it lowers the quality of the content.

Apparently, Google is paying attention to this now in ranking sites.
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Editor Note: Learn How to Write SEO Copy That Sells
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6. Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?

Niche it, niche it, niche it – as in, when a site is created by someone who has a genuine interest in a topic, this will be reflected in the content. It won’t be driven by keyword research, which goes back to sites created just to game the system (eg, made for AdSense (MFA) sites)).

What are Made for AdSense Sites?

Some scraper sites are created to make money by using advertising programs. In such cases, they are called “Made for AdSense” sites, or MFA. This derogatory term refers to websites that have no redeeming value except to lure visitors to the website for the sole purpose of clicking on advertisements. [Source: Wikipedia.com]

7. Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?

Many MFA sites use content created by $1 per 300-word SEO article writers that is just recycled information that can be found in a 30-second web search. In the old days, many of these sites would rank high – if they had the right keywords.

Apparently, no longer.

Google wants content that provides actual value to web searchers.

As an aside, can we get an “Amen!” to this!

8. Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?

See #7. And, ask yourself, how your content compares to what’s already out there. Practically no topic under the sun is new. If you’re going to write on a subject – even when 10,000 others have already done so — be sure to provide actual value by giving readers a different point of view, new/different insight, new/different research, etc.

This is what we surmise Google means by “substantial value.” In short, just remember not to recycle what’s already out there.


Sponsored Link

9. How much quality control is done on content?

Has the piece been researched, fact checked, spell checked, grammar checked, etc.?

One other non-obvious thing here – if the topic has been discussed on your blog/website before, does it contradict what was said before? If it does, an explanation should be given as to why.

It’s ok to change stance/position on a topic, but an explanation should be given to the end user (web surfer) as to why so they aren’t confused. This is another reason intra-site linking is one factor Google considers when ranking sites.

You see, when you write genuinely (eg, NOT based solely on keywords or to rank high in search engines), you’re bound to cover a topic from various angles. Hence, the need/opportunity to link out to other articles you’ve previously written.

10. Does the article describe both sides of a story?

Sites that have content created to sell something will often only tell one side of the story. While selling something (eg, affiliate products) is not a problem, remember, Google wants sites that provide “value” to the web surfers.

Full disclosure (telling both sides of the story) is part of presenting value.

As an aside, if you promote affiliate products on your website/blog, one of the best ways to do it is to write unbiased reviews. Tell the good and the bad about the product/service. Learn more about affiliate marketing in the “Affiliate Internet Marketing for Beginner’s Newsletter.”

11. Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?

When you create value-based content, readers will share it with others as a matter of course. They’ll tweet it, share it with their friends on Facebook, discuss it in groups on LinkedIn, etc. All of this creates backlinks.

What are Backlinks?

Backlinks are simply when another site links back to your site. They drive traffic and position your site as an authority site. For a fuller explanation on why and how, read more about backlinks and the benefits of article marketing. [Source: Article Marketing Tutorial: How to Write a Resource Box That Increases Traffic & Generates Sales (Part III of III)]

12. Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?

Here, we surmise that Google is trying to cut down on the power of content farms / content mills.

While sites with multiple authors are not a bad thing — sites deemed content mills have thousands of authors (aka content creators) – remember search engines want value-based content created by webmasters who are vested in (ie, passionate about) their niche.

If your site is about freelance writing, it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to post content about it one day, then an article about tomato sauce the next day (unless you’re discussing how freelance writers can break into recipe writing).

13. Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?

See #’s 1, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

In-depth content takes time to create. It has to be researched, fact checked, spell checked, cross checked, etc. You can’t “hastily produce” quality content.

14. For a health-related query, would you trust information from this site?

We think this is as a result of content like the article mentioned in Question #1, which you can gain more insight from in the article, Demand Media CEO: Google Not Talking About Us.

Possible New Google Guidelines for Certain Content?

As an aside, could special requirements for certain content (eg, medical, legal) to rank well be far behind? For example, will sites have to certify that the content produced is by a licensed doctor, lawyer? If not, will a disclaimer have to be included (eg, “This content was not created by a licensed professional. Please do further research or consult a qualified professional in order to learn more.).

Hmmmm . . . just something to think about.

15. Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?

Certain sites are automatically trusted as authorities, eg, Komen.org for breast cancer; Realtor.com for real estate; SuzeOrman.com for financial advice.

This is because they are undisputed sources for dispensing content that can be trusted because it has been sourced, proofed, fact checked and created by credentialed professionals.

Your site can become one of these, but it takes time. Keep in mind when you write every post that you’re buliding a brand; one you want people to come to recognize as a trusted source of information.

16. Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?

Content created just to rank well may sometimes have a compelling headline to draw you in, but it doesn’t deliver on the promise of the headline. This can range from completely shallow content, to being totally off-topic altogether.

Don’t do this. While you may be able to draw visitors in that first time, they won’t be back. And, a good web business (any business) thrives on repeat visitors / repeat customers). So, deliver/over deliver on your topic; repeat visitors (and sales) will follow.

17. Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?

See #’s 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15 and 16.

18. Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?

This underscores the point of being an authority site (see #10), as opposed to one created just for AdSense (see #6).

19. Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?

Again, see #6.

20. Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?

Here, what we deduce Google is after getting at is . . . is the article professional enough, trusted enough, fact-checked enough that it could appear in a trusted printed publication.

While there’s a lot of bad writing on the web, many blog and website owners consistently create in-depth, well-written content that could be a piece taken from The New York Times or Time magazine. It’s one of the reasons that blogging has matured, attaining “mainstream press/journalist” acceptance.

21. Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?

While length is not the sole indicator of quality content, it is one – one that Google is paying attention to. In fact, some blogs/websites require short posts by the very nature of their subject matter (eg, a blog that posts stock updates) . . .

BUT in general, it is hard to give “helpful specific” insight in 50 or 100 words. This is why some internet marketing experts state that blog posts should be at least 400 words, with 500 or more becoming more the norm for many.

Gain more insight on this in 3 Things to Consider When Deciding How Long Your Blog Posts Should Be.

22. Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?

This obviously has to do with the quality of the content produced, which we’ve discussed ad nauseam here, but also the design – eg, have special graphics been created for a particular post, have web writing guidelines been observed, have multi-media features been included (eg, video, podcasts, etc.).

The bottom line is – has care, thought and “attention to detail” been given to the post. This requires time – something MFA and sites created JUST to rank well often lack.

23. Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

If a user is searching for info on wedding dresses, yet when they click through your site is about gaming, they might be a bit peeved and report the site to Google as a spam site. Other reasons web surfers report sites range from phishing scams to hate material to porn to content theft to online scams.

Any and all of these can get a site banned from search engines.

Google Algorithm Search: What Do You Think of These “SEO Content Writing Guidelines?”

These 23 questions can be thought of as Google’s SEO content writing guidelines. Now that you know what it (and quite possibly other search engines) look for in content, take a look and see if yours measures up.

Are there more guidelines you can think of that should be added to this list? Do you think these guidelines are too restrictive or not strict enough? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

NOTE: Get SEO Writing Job Leads. Subscribe to the newsletter get weekly listings (there’s a hot one in today’s newsletter; the client is VERY anxious). How to Subscribe: See the sign-up box on the right-hand side of every page of InkwellEditorial.com, this site’s parent site. Once you subscribe, you will immediately be emailed the most recent post, as well as all previous posts where a subscription is required.

P.S.: LIST YOUR SEO WRITING, SOCIAL MEDIA & INTERNET MARKETING JOBS FREE

We List SEO writing jobs, social media jobs and internet marketing jobs for free. Simply send your job ad to info[at]SeoWritingJobs.com. We will list it here, and in our weekly (Wednesday) newsletter.

P.P.S.: Ditch Your Job and Start a Successful Career as an SEO Copywriter? Get SEO Copywriting Training Today.
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Copyright © 2011: All material on this site is copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the editor’s written consent (linking to is fine).

SEO Copywriting: 2 Questions a New SEO Writer Asked (and I Answered) That May Help You

Editor Note: The ebook writing and publishing tournament starts on Monday. If you want to finally get an ebook written this year, this workshop will allow you to scratch that goal off your list. Right now, I have 7 ebooks on Amazon. While it’s a long way away from the 50 I will have by year’s end, I’m getting there.

And, that’s what the tournament is all about – providing the encouragement, along with a strict schedule – to help you reach your self-publishing dreams.

Now, to this week’s newsletter.

2 QUESTIONS FROM A NEW SEO WRITER

A few days ago, I received an email from a new SEO writer. He asked two questions many newbies have. And, even though I’ve answered one of them before, I’m addressing it again this week because information gets buried in the blog.

Also, my rationale is, if one person is wondering about something, then others probably have wondered the same thing at one time or another as well.

So, here goes . . .

Hi Yuwanda.

It’s been almost two weeks since I purchased your Ebook on SEO article writing and I really enjoyed it. Not only was it down to earth, it was funny and so easy to read. So easy that I had to read it twice! I just couldn’t believe it. I had been hearing about SEO writing for awhile but thought it sounded complicated- too high-tech for me. And I’m not a techie at all.

Now Yuwanda I’m new to article writing…freelance writing in general so I have 2 questions about SEO writing for you.

With SEO article writing, is there a standard format SEO marketers look for? And when given a list of keywords by the client, do you write articles for each one OR research them to find best ones for the article? (emphasis added)

I liked the SEO article example you provided [in the SEO writing ebook] on mortgages and had a writing sample similar to that. I thought if that’s all you have to do then I can handle that. Of course along with providing good content. Anyhow, just like “SEO Mary” I had to finish up some loose ends BUT like the SelfMadeChick Christine, I’m diving in this week without the website. I know, I know, however, money is a serious issue now. I f you worked with the criminally insane for almost 11yrs. you can probably understand why I want/ need to jump on this SEO article writing bandwagon immediately LOL!

Ok! You’re a busy woman and I need to get back to marketing for work. I appreciate you taking the time out to read this email and I will definitely keep you informed of my progress. Thank you Yuwanda and take care.

P.S. I just read about your goal to write 50 ebooks this year: Good luck- you can do it!

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MY ANSWER

Hi S-,

Glad you enjoyed the ebook. I don’t remember it being funny, but then I tend to “write like I talk” and my friends think I’m pretty funny, so it’s possible.

Following are the answers to your questions.
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Question Regarding Standard Format of SEO Articles

With SEO article writing, is there a standard format SEO marketers look for? No, not at all. As long as keywords are integrated, clients tend NOT to have a standard format, so don’t worry about that.

Question Regarding Keyword Research for SEO Articles

To refresh, he asked, “When given a list of keywords by the client, do you write articles for each one OR research them to find best ones for the article?”

First, my SEO writing company, New Media Words, charges extra for keyword research ($15 per article). When clients give us the keywords (about 75% of them do), we an article on a main keyword phrase. Other keywords can be integrated into the article as secondary keyword phrase, but each SEO article ALWAYS has a main keyword phrase, and that’s the one we concentrate on.

Some clients won’t understand this when they give you a list, so you may have to explain it to them. Read this post to gain a better understanding: http://bit.ly/yT4K9.

Hope this helps. And, good luck diving right in! Sometimes, you just gotta do “what you gotta do” to get where you wanna be.

FYI, thanks for the vote of confidence in me reaching my ebook writing goals for the year; it’s challenging, but one I’m definitely enjoying.

###

NOTE: SEO Writing Job Lead. Subscribe to the newsletter get this week’s listing. How to Subscribe: See the sign-up box on the right-hand side of every page of InkwellEditorial.com, this site’s parent site. Once you subscribe, you will immediately be emailed this post which includes the job lead, as well as all previous posts on the site where a subscription is required.

P.S.: LIST YOUR SEO WRITING, SOCIAL MEDIA & INTERNET MARKETING JOBS FREE

We List SEO writing jobs, social media jobs and internet marketing jobs for free. Simply send your job ad to info[at]SeoWritingJobs.com. We will list it here, and in our weekly (Wednesday) newsletter.

P.P.S.: Ditch Your Job and Start a Successful Career as an SEO Copywriter? Get SEO Copywriting Training Today.
seo-copywriting-training

Find this post informative? Follow Us on Twitter.

Submit a Guest Post: This site and its parent site, InkwellEditorial.com, now accept guest posts. Get the guest post submission guidelines.

Want to avoid freelance writing dry spells and make some extra money as an affiliate marketer? Learn how to earn $50-$150/day online pretty seamlessly in the best-selling ebook, How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites.

Copyright © 2011: All material on this site is copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without my written consent (linking to is fine).