What do you think when I said ‘SEO article’? Do you think about high traffic? Low quality article? Boring reads?
To drive more traffic into website and increase SEO rank for the website, people usually publish articles that contain some keywords that had been researched with tools named Keyword Planner. The keywords that are related to the website and have a great number of monthly search from people around the world will be chosen to be composed as a SEO article. No wonder people usually find so many articles in from Google Search with similar topics, badly written, and not enjoyable to read.
We, as a writer, can make it less annoying.
Some rules in SEO that mostly applied in soft-selling article writing
1. “Take note of the keyword density.”
Keyword density in article writing is a term that refers to the percentage of keywords contained in an article. For SEO building, some people set a rule about the right keyword density of an article. Some people say it should be 2%, some say 3%.
Do you believe that the right usage of keyword density percentage in an article will increase reader experience?
2. “Please write down the keyword as it is..”
Usually, SEO people tell writers that writing the keyword phrase as it is will increase the traffic of those articles, and that means the readers love your articles; they click into the link from Google Search, read the article, and the message will be delivered.
But, do you think so? Do you agree that the higher the traffic, the bigger the chance to deliver the message?
3. “Backlinks. Give more and more backlinks to our website!”
Backlinks in an article means inserting some URL links into your articles. You can put it into some words, phrases or maybe sentence. By inserting links into your articles, the readers can click into that link and go to the website page.
Are you sure that giving more backlinks will drive more quality traffic that we want into the website?
Many people believe this sequence. But it’s not as simple as we’ve believed.
As a writer who writes soft-selling articles with SEO tricks, those are common things that we must know. It is necessary to write some articles that are related to SEO works so we can drive more traffic into the website.
A good writer usually writes a good article, with an attractive title, good topic, smart problem description for opening, to-the-point tips, brilliant phrases, and magnificent closing. A good writer will create a good reading experience. But, it’s hard to find SEO articles that also create a good reading experience for readers. Why?
1. They’re common
5 Ways to Learn Design, 3 Top Ways to Learn Design, 4 Quick Ways to Learn Design.
You’ll find these kinds of title in almost every design blogs. But, if you think clearly, can you learn design with only 3-5 ways? Can you learn a skill quickly, while designers have to learn it for 4-5 years in formal design education? So many people re-write the same article from only 1 source. The better one uses more than one source. But they don’t use another point of view or another problem.
No wonder you get bored with that kind of articles.
2. Bad phrases everywhere
Keyword phrases are not good when placed in a sentence. It’s hard to create a sentence that will match with that kind of words. If we force the insertion of the phrases into a sentence, it will feel odd. The quality of article will decrease and readers will doubt the blog’s credibility. Of course the writer’s credibility will be doubted too.
3. Too much non-related backlinks
More and more backlinks to the website. If you’ve been forced to put more backlinks while you have to write something that not related with the link, it only make the readers close the tab or hate you because all you care is how you can sell and getting revenue. You don’t care about reader’s experience and their problems. And that will be a problem. Trust me.
So, What Should We Do?
I’ve been working in Sribu as a content writer for more than 1 year. I follow so many instructions while writing for them. First, they implied strategy to create many soft-selling articles with SEO tricks (they call it SEO articles). My friends in Marketing Teams told me to put 3% keyword phrases for 1 SEO articles. As time goes by, they told me and Fajar to be editors of 3 freelance writers that will write 3 SEO articles per day for Sribu’s Blog. And the result?
Google Analysis from one of Sribu’s SEO article
I’ve asked my friend, Bintoro, who usually play around with Google Analytics in office to teach me how to get the statistic of blog’s visitor. And I got the screenshot above.
For you who never play around with Google Analytics, no worry. I’ll explain a bit about some terms in the screenshot above.
- Page is the URL of your article
- Pageviews are the visitors who visit your page
- Unique Pageviews are the visitors who interact with your page
- Average Time on Page is the average time that visitor spent to read your article
- Entrances is how many people who get into your page from another page
- Bounce Rate is the percentage of people who go out from your page without any interaction
- Exit is the percentage of how often visitor go out from your page
- Page Value is the average value of your page (if you receive some transactions from your page)
Actually, the result from Google Analytics is not that bad and I think the writers are doing a good job, until we’ve received some bad comments in Sribu’s Blog.
The image above is a screenshot of Sribu’s Blog reader’s profile in Disqus. The three of them talked about how bad the articles written by one of our freelance writer. How unnatural, how shallow is the writer’s knowledge about the topic s/he wrote. Actually, we’ve got more than these 3 comments.
Those comments hit me so hard. But, thanks for whoever wrote the comments I can realize that they’re not satisfied and couldn’t find what they’re looking for from Sribu’s Blog.
So I told my CEO, Ryan Gondokusumo, that we needed to change the plan. One or two days after the report, he met with Ronald, Sribu’s first customerand asked me to join the meeting. Ronald gave us idea to make some series of articles that’s not focused in selling. The articles that share some thought, tips and story about business from heart to heart. Ronald has done it by himself. He wrote some articles that really helpful for his readers and he received so many comments. He was so happy.
At the same day, Ryan and me decided to stop all of the SEO article writings as soon as possible, and focused to create a new big theme that we want to share with our visitors. Inspired with Groove’s Blog’s theme, Journey to $500k A Month, we chose a big theme for Sribu’s Blog, Journey to Serve 10.000 Clients.
We started it in November 2014. Surprisingly, we had so many comments from readers. They’re happy to read the articles and found it very useful. The average time visit in every article that we’ve wrote together have a significant difference compared to the SEO articles before.
Analytics from one of Sribu’s SEO articles
Analytics from one of our articles (Ryan & me have written)
Look at the differences. The unique pageviews have no significant difference with the pageviews. This means that the visitors interact with the page (scrolling, dragging, and clicking). Oh! And the average time on page is increasing too!! It means so much for me because I know that the visitors really read the article 🙂
Talk about analyzing, I also use SumoMe in Sribu’s Blog. I love the content analysis and heat map feature that they provide.
Those two features from SumoMe are my favorite! With tools from Google Analytics and SumoMe, I can review every single article in Sribu’s Blog. It really helps me to develop the contents in Sribu’s Blog.
After running this strategy for 7 months, I’ve got a good news from Bintoro that the articles successfully brings more than 10 new paid clients. Yay! But sadly, we don’t know the performance of the strategy at first until the fifth month because we haven’t set Kissmetric on Sribu’s Blog 🙁
But it’s OK. Now, we all know that the strategy works and we should develop it.
First, write for reader, not for Google.
As a good writer, you must write something that visitors need to know. Tell them the core problem, and offer them the brilliant solutions. Therefore, you should enrich yourself with the deep knowledge of the topic. Let yourself surrounded with the audience too; what kind of people that interested with that topic, why they are interested with that topic, what did the audience usually do, when the audience needs to know more, and many more things related between the topic and the audiences.
Do that. It’ll attract them to believe you, read more your article and believe in what are you recommend. This article from Moz will tell you more about why Google rewards better content over more content.
Second, convert the visitor to be a reader.
The visitor is someone who visits. Not reads. So, as a good writer you need to welcome them with a good content. Make them willing to sacrifice their time for your article. Give them gimmicks in the right place. Enrich your article with additional information from trusted research, good blogs, and some important news.
I know it’s important to do selling activities, but it’s more important to build credentials.
Third, use keyword phrases for main topics.
Keyword phrases that SEO people give isn’t useless. It gives us ideas where we should start. We’ve got hint about the problem that the audiences need to solve. So, we can use the keyword as a main topic. You can make it into 2-4 detailed topics to be written as articles. Make sure you’ve researched it deeply before you start to write.
Your article may not popular as soon as it’s published. But, the audiences will love you more and it’ll spread from one to another. Viral and useful. You can also read/watch this sharing from Rand Fishkin, for deeper understanding about SEO and keyword density!
Fourth, put some credible backlinks.
In content marketing world, you are what you read, what you suggest, and what you write. So make sure that every backlinks that you’ve inserted in the articles would be some great additional sources of information that they need. It’ll differentiate your articles from other common articles.
You can also tell the owner of blog or mention their social media while you’re spreading your article that you’ve mentioned them. Test you luck, maybe they would happy to re-share your article to their audiences 🙂
Fifth, get more insights and be active.
Don’t stop listening. Listen more, and you’ll get more. You can join some forums, and maybe go to meet ups to get more insights. Don’t forget to check some comments on your articles. It really helps you to stay in touch with your audiences. They usually give some questions in the comments. Perhaps you can answer their questions in next articles 😉
Let’s challange ourselves to make good quality soft-selling articles. Good luck!
P.S. I’ve written this in my Medium account here. If you find it useful, you can follow my Medium account too 🙂