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What to do and what to avoid when writing for SEO? Dos and don'ts for writing optimized content

First, let's start with what to avoid. What are the negative things—the not-to-do items?

The most important thing to avoid is writing for search engines. You should always write for people first and engines second. 

Avoid overusing texts in bold/italics. Use them for the most important elements in the document, not for emphasizing just the keywords. Also, as a general rule, avoid underlining words, they are generally best suited just for hyperlinks, not as an emphasis method.

Don't add too many keywords—this is called keyword stuffing, and it refers to adding keywords in a lot of places, repeating them, saying the same things more than once, and recalling the same keyword. 

Avoid using very complex and unintelligible words. Avoid too-short content (less than 100 words), and one that is too long (more than 10 pages for a single article). If you have that many things to say, make it a series, or break your large article into multiple topic-focused articles, and have a final article that links to them all.

You should look at what your competitors do and study the market but don't copy what they do.

Avoid writing articles with the same title—this is called duplicate content and can lead to ranking issues. It's not that huge of a problem, but if you want results, try to avoid duplicate content. Create something new—don't use very general titles and topics. Bring something new to the table.

Avoid misleading titles or clickbait. "You'll never believe what are the things people do to write SEO-worthy content! This will totally change your perspective!" Don't overoptimize things. We'll give you some tips below on what to do (positively), but don't overdo it.

What are some positive actions to take?

You should start with the beginning. In this case, the beginning is your goals. What do you want to achieve with your article?

Spend some time analyzing an article before you write. Imagine your audience, think about some possible questions, and craft some initial ideas. Think how you'd like to read about the topic—text, images with texts, video with text, slideshow?

Establish your primary keyword. There are premium tools like Ahrefs or Semrush or free tools (Google's Keyword Planner - included in Google Ads) that can help with this task. Find a keyword that matches these three criteria: specific to your brand (it should be on-topic), is searched for (watch for search volume), and you estimate you have the SEO capabilities to get rankings if you write an article on the topic. This keyword should be used in the most important parts of the article, the title of the article being the most important place where it should be.

You should find secondary keywords—additional keywords for which to rank. Consider using a tool such as Keywords Everywhere (an extension that helps you find keyword ideas). 

Create a structure for your article. If you look at Wikipedia articles on the topic, you might have some ideas on how to structure your article. It might also help to see what people are writing on Reddit

Focus on satisfying the search intent. This task applies to most of the stages of creating the article. Think about what people want to see when searching for your article, what content, what type of media (text, images, video), how long an article should be, etc. Consider answering the most important questions visitors might have. For this, a tool like Answer the Public could help.

In the article, you should also use related keywords. Try to create something unique, something that is not already present. Your articles should offer the visitor something valuable. They should give them insight, make them do something, elicit emotions, etc. When writing the article, cover the most important topics and ensure that most of the visitors' dilemmas are answered.

For structuring your article, use headings such as H2, H3. Make the content scannable. Use headings, images, short paragraphs, and bulleted lists to make the text easy to scan. Within your article, you should also add internal links to other articles/pages of the website as long as they are on topic.

Articles should follow the basic technicalities, such as having images with proper filenames, using ALT texts for images, having optimized URLs, good meta titles and meta descriptions, using Schema Markup, making sure the articles look good on devices of any resolution, and having a fast website. We won't go into details, but make sure you cover all of these, also.

Do check spelling, there are automated tools such as Grammarly or LanguageTool that help with this.

Give your article to others for proofreading.

Know Your Audience.

Of course, you should know your audience. Study the market, visit forums and blogs, browse Reddit, and talk to people. Consider building a user persona for the website customers. This could help you understand your audience better.

Write in a persuasive tone. You should be able to convince your audience that you are knowledgeable about the topic and also write nicely. When selling something, it's fine to focus on technicalities, but also mention benefits and emotions. For example, when talking about a smartphone, it's fine to mention it has 1 TB of data as internal storage, but you could mention it has enough space to allow for any future update and to hold 10,000 photos or 200 hours of videos. You can take this one step further and say that because it can do updates you'll always feel safe that you have the latest version of the OS (operating system), that you'll never lose a memory of anyone, and that you'll not need to change the phone every two years due to a lack of space. 

Look at the data. Analyze your article's performance and take action. For example, make an effort to make the best-performing articles shine even more. Try to see why poorly performing articles don't bring results and fix things.

After a while, update your article to reflect current trends. You should do this at least for the best-performing articles, but consider doing this for all the articles.

You should add content regularly to a website.


By following these guidelines, you can create optimized content that resonates with readers and performs well in search engines.

Is your content optimized? Ask Slicedbread for Search Visibility Optimization services and we are happy to help.


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