How to write for Search engine optimization SEO

Posted on October 16, 2015

Of all SEO methods, publishing good written copy is a keystone tradecraft employed by Internet marketers.  In general, styles of writing vary and are often purpose-driven.  This holds true for website and blog writing.  When writing for SEO, a writer must be deliberate.  Search engines look for- and pick up on- key characteristics within the language and copy.


The following are basic tips for website and blog writers who’d like to write for SEO

  • Use original written content only!  Cut-and-pasting content/text from another website, brochure or advertisement will negatively affect your website’s ranking.
  • Keep written copy above 250 words per article or post.  Unless the material is for research purposes, a long-form story or academic in nature, stay below 800 words.
  • Use complete sentences throughout the written copy.  Google search engine servers ‘read’ the copy and ascertain its clarity and academic grade-level.  Be sure the copy sounds ‘natural’ when read.  Google prefers eighth or ninth grade writing-level for good SEO.
  • Use proper punctuation and good grammar.  Typos and poor sentence structure will kill your SEO.  Never publish your first draft.  Write your first draft.  Come back to it the next day.  And, you’ll see how all the errors will stick out like a sore thumb.
  • Limit the use of phrases and incomplete sentences to only outlines, definitions and bulleted items.
  • Select ONE primary keyword (or ‘keyword term’) per page or article; and a handful of secondary keywords.
  • Include your primary keyword in the first and last paragraphs of your copy.
  • Keyword saturation should be evenly distributed throughout copy and range between 1.7-2.8% (near 2% is recommended).  A higher saturation rate may be considered ‘Contrived’ and  flagged by a search engine as ‘Keyword Spamming’ or ‘Keyword Stuffing’; this negatively affects a website’s ranking.  Keyword synonyms will be counted as part of the keyword saturation rate.
  • Include your keyword in the title, description and keyword metatags in the article or post.
  • Bold your keyword or keyword phrase at least once on the page.
  • Include your keyword in the ‘pretty’ URL for the page.
  • Regularly publish new content on your website.  Search engines track how incessant original content is published on a website.  The frequency may be measured against similar websites within the same industry.
  • Many regional and local businesses want Google to know they service clients in specific neighborhoods, cities, or regions.  Listing a long list of cities or towns on every page is NOT recommended; it could negatively affect your ranking.    Alternatively, practice the following… At the end of your written copy just include a brief one or two sentence statement that your company services customers in a specific metro area and give a cross-section of no more than five (5) neighborhoods/towns/cities.  Then, change up these five local areas from page to page.   Example: My Internet Scout provides marketing services to businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, California.  Many of our customers are located in the cities of San Jose, Campbell, Mountain View, Los Gatos and Morgan Hill.

Recommended resources on writing for Search Engine Optimization…

Yahoo’s Style Guide for Online Writing



Written by Peter La Fond

Having lived most of his life in Northern California, Peter consults for organizations of all sizes on Internet marketing engagement, strategy and execution. He regularly speaks on website design techniques and WordPress. Peter is a graduate from California State University, Sacramento, and practices the ancient art of eating sushi with nose-hair-curling wasabi.

About My Internet Scout

Based in Wilmington, North Carolina, My Internet Scout, LLC is an Internet Marketing firm for small- and medium- size businesses. We specialize in WordPress website design, marketing and related services that include e-commerce, event registration, maintenance, content creation and search engine optimization (SEO). We service a variety of clients across the United States.

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