SEO Content Creation: It Ain’t Literature, That’s for Sure

(By the way, when I use the acronym “SEO” with content, you should probably read it like this: “Search Engine Optimized Content.”)

During our SEO workshops one of the reliable moments of moaning and groaning comes when I mention blogging. I think people combine the collective disgust at the culture of narcissism (hey everyone, listen to me) with post-traumatic flashbacks to high school and college, and those memories of realizing that the due date for that long put-off 2,000 word essay was now only one sleepless, caffeinated, exhausting night away.

First let’s make sure we do a reality check. Using a blog for SEO content writing is certainly not the same as writing literature. My 16-year-old son, Nick, is a brilliant writer. His heroes are Kerouac, Kafka, Steinbeck, Milton, and the like. But when it comes to blogging, his creative juices suddenly dry up. I’ve tried to interest him in blogging for my business, and his eyes glaze over. To him, blogging is simply not “writing.”

In order to succeed in the world of blogging, you first need to deal with it as a world separate and apart from traditional writing. One of the reasons for this is the ephemeral nature of the medium. I think deep down Milton knew he was writing for future generations. A blog, like journalism, is rooted in the here and now. In fact, from a business perspective, that’s the whole point. The immediacy of blogs is the very thing that makes them desirable.

We’ve documented our blog posts being indexed and showing up in search results, sometimes for pretty highly trafficked terms, in as short as 5 minutes. I kid you not. That tells us that Google has a high sense of urgency about getting blog results in front of searchers. Therefore…

Writing Blog Content for SEO: Urgency is Priority 1

I’m not talking about the sense of urgency you need to have about writing for the blog (although that is pretty important as well). I’m referring to the nature of what you write about. The way Google treats blogs, namely as Internet content that must be indexed quickly, helps inform our blog writing. If you’re writing about some great feature of your best selling widget, and it’s a feature that’s been around for a number of years, you’ve chosen the wrong subject.

What if you have nothing urgent to write about? Create something. If your site is e-commerce, it could be a price reduction or new inventory. If your site is informational, it could be the latest developments, however minor, in the area that your blog covers. If it’s a company information site, it could be developments at your company.

Plan your content for SEO with this urgency in view, and with the idea that you will be integrating marketing with your blog content creation.

Leave Perfectionism for Your Novel

During a recent training one of my students asked me for a list of the stupid things that bloggers do to defeat their blog. I fished around for a moment, and it wasn’t until later that I thought of one of the key mistakes: being a perfectionist.  Many SEO content writers are hindered by a desire to find the perfect subject, the perfect voice, the perfect timing, and the perfect prose.  In this case the perfect becomes the enemy of the good: they are so busy thinking about perfect that they end up frozen. Creating a good blog post never happens.

I believe that often the perfectionism has another component as well: as long as we insist on doing things exactly right, it gives us an unassailable excuse to do nothing.

“Whew!” This unconscious mindset exclaims, “Not enough time to write a ‘proper’ blog post (as the English might say), better put it off a bit longer. Certainly I’ll have enough time to do it ‘right’ next week.”

Urgency requires a “good enough” approach to this whole exercise.

After all, this week’s blog post will be lining digital birdcages next week. (And if you don’t understand that analogy, read a newspaper once in a while, will ya?)

… More insightful thoughts should be imagined here …

Not sure if writing a blog is for you? Decide if you’re ready to make the commitment with this post on blogging.

At the Search Engine Academy, teaching you how to make your business blog useful to your website is part of what we do. Check out our SEO Course Catalog for more information on our workshops and how you can attend.