SEO is an ever-evolving discipline, and it’s important to keep up to date with the latest trends.
In this chapter, you’ll learn about some of the most common SEO writing mistakes, and how you can avoid them. You’ll also learn how to improve your writing, and what you can do to make your writing more effective. Finally, I’ll give you some tips on how to make the most of the writing you’ve already done, so that you can ensure that your SEO writing is as effective as it can be.
If you want to learn more about SEO writing in general, check out Search Engine Optimization For Dummies(Wiley).
## Failing to Understand Your Audience
The most important thing to remember when writing for search engines is that you’re writing for people,not search engines. You need to understand who your audience is, what they’re looking for, and why they’re searching for it in the first place. If you don’t understand your audience, you won’t be able to write for them, and you’ll end up writing a lot of stuff that doesn’t make any sense to them, or that they don’t care about at all. For example, if you’re trying to rank for the term dog grooming,you need to write about dogs, dog grooming, and dog grooming equipment. You can’t just write about dog grooming in general. You have to make sure that your content is relevant to the people who are looking for it, and that it’s written in a way that they’ll find it useful. If your content isn’t useful to your target audience, it’s not going to be useful to the search engines, either, so you’re going to end up with a bunch of pages that aren’t going to get any traffic at all, which means you’re wasting your time and money.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a writer is to assume that you know what your audience wants to read. You may have a pretty good idea, but that’s not the same thing as knowing for sure. Don’t be afraid to ask your audience what they want to read, and make sure you listen to what they have to say. If they tell you that they’re not interested in a particular topic, don’t force it down their throats just because you think it’s the right thing to do. You don’t want to alienate your audience. You want them to come back to your site, and to tell their friends about you, so they can come back and read more of your content in the future. So don’t write content that you think your audience will like, just because it’s what you think you should be writing. Instead, write the kind of content that your audience actuallywants.
## Writing for the Search Engines
Please note that while every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this book, neither the author nor the publisher assumes any responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages that may result from the use of information contained herein. Errors and omissions can be reported to the publisher.
## Welcome to Search Engine Land
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of getting your website to appear at the top of the search results page (SERP) when someone types a search query into a search engine, such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. This chapter introduces you to the world of search engines and SEO, and shows you how to get your site to appear on the first page of the SERP. You also find out how to write web pages that are optimized for search and how to use keywords to help your site appear higher in the search engine results.
If you’re not familiar with SEO, you may be tempted to jump right in and start optimizing your site. But before you do that, be sure that you have a clear understanding of what SEO is and how it works, and know what you’re getting into before you dive in headfirst. Otherwise, you could end up doing more harm than good, and end up losing more money than you would have if you’d taken the time to learn about SEO before you started. So before you start writing, take a few minutes to read this chapter and familiarize yourself with the basics of SEO.
If you’re interested in learning about SEO in more detail, I recommend that you check out the book I co-wrote with Mark Traphagen, Search Engine Marketing All-in-One for Dummies, published by Wiley (`www.wileye.com`). This book goes into more detail about SEO than this book does, but it doesn’t assume any prior knowledge of SEO, so it’s a good place to start if you’ve never heard of SEO before. If that’s the case, you can start with Chapter 1 of this book to get a feel for the basics, and then move on to the other chapters in the book as you become more familiar with the topic.
If you already have a website and you want to learn how to improve your search engine rankings, check out my book Search Engine Ranking Factors: The Complete Guide to Optimizing Your Web Pages for Google, Yahoo!, and Bing, which is published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. It goes into much more detail than what you’ll find in this chapter, and it also assumes that you already know a little bit about SEO.