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Writing for SEO

You'll see lots of advice about "SEO" or Search Engine Optimizing, or "using keywords." Much of that advice can actually hurt your Google rankings, especially "keyword stuffing," or deliberately over-using the terms you think will bring your page to the top ranks in a search. Google and other search engines are constantly changing the way they calculate search rankings, and they're getting smarter about figuring out ways of rewarding quality sites. That means that the best way of making sure your pages and posts have top search engine rankings and appear in the first few results when someone does a search is to write well.

Really. Good writing trumps all the deliberate use of SEO keyword techniques.

But what, you ask, is good writing? I'm glad you asked, Grasshopper.

To begin with, good writing means being as clear as you can about what exactly you're writing about.

Use a very clear and specific title for your page or post. Remember that a lot of readers will only see your title in their RSS feed, and the title has to be clear enough that they click to read the post. You want to be accurate, descriptive—and brief.

Don't use the same subject phrase over and over—that's called keyword stuffing, and it's not only repetitive and boring, it's down right obnoxious. Overusing a keyword or phrase can suggest to a search engine that you're a spam site, and your ranking will suffer accordingly.

Do use the most appropriate descriptive and specific language. Being specific means that your reader doesn't have to guess what you mean or what you're talking about. SPecificity makes your work easy to find.

Remember that just because you call cats kitties, doesn't mean that your readers will; so think about synonyms, and likely search phrases. What will help a reader find your post? You might choose to use cats, kitties and felines—and you might also deliberately choose to avoid using pussies, since you don't want to attract porn spam.

Google offers some tools to help you write good posts. One of them is the Google keyword tool. This helps you figure out what your readers might search for, in terms of using the best terms for our post or page. There are also some helpful .pdf guides from Google. The Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide is exactly what it looks like; a basic how to in terms of writing that makes your content easy to find.