|Searching the Internet|
Anyone who’s spent any time writing content for the web or even researching this market, has run across the acronym SEO. This stands for Search Engine Optimization. It's basically where, in the list of millions, your content will show up when searched by a reader (search engine). This is determined by a closely guarded, mathematical equation called an algorithm.
When you use different search engines—Google, Yahoo, etc., you'll notice each will give slightly different results from any given search, because they each have a proprietary calculation. But there are things we can do as writers to move our content up in the rankings. To accomplish this we have to have a basic understanding of how SEO algorithms work.
Early on, these algorithms were less complex and depended heavily on keyword usage. (Not sure what I mean by keyword, be sure to visit my post from last week, Writing for the Internet Part One—Keywords.) Website writers would just use pages of keywords to raise their ranking. The search engines caught on and the equations got more complex. These algorithms will continue to evolve, with the goal being to give the searcher the most valuable sites first in the rankings.
Even with the evolution of algorithms, one thing hasn’t changed. They are still mathematical equations and as such, Search Engine Algorithms take words literally—and that can be good or bad.
This means that they don't always understand double meanings or the clever usage of words. For example, a recipe for vegetarian chili cleverly titled, Too Hot to Handle Chili will rank far lower than one titled, Homemade Vegetarian Chili. This is because an algorithm uses the literal meaning of words and the first title doesn’t even have the word “vegetarian” in it. Often times a clever title will result in fewer clicks.
This doesn't mean we can't be clever—only that we have to be deliberate in where we're clever. Take that chili recipe, give it a title that can be searched literally, like Hot and Spicy Vegetarian Chili, but in the description use the clever tag line as too hot to handle.
Sometimes a clever title can work. This blog—The Write Conversation—is a clever play on words that works. The reason being I want this site to be searchable for the keyword write as well as be clever about educating writers as an ongoing conversation.
|Playing with words|
As a writer, I love to play with words. Part of that play is coming up with creative titles. Instead of seeing SEO as a hindrance to that, I look at it as an added level of difficulty in a game I enjoy more than any other.
So now it’s time for you to play. Here are a couple of topics, lets see how creative you can get with titles—with the added difficulty of SEO thrown in.
First Choice: You’ve been hired to write for a dog groomer. This is a small business looking for new customers. Their business name is The Pooch Palace.
Second Choice: You’ve been hired to write for a florist. They’re an established business looking to raise their search engine rank. The name of this business is Lovely Blooms.
Give me your title, keywords and focus of your article. Don’t shy away from this challenge, if you’re serious about earning money writing for the Internet you’re going to need to write for different clients.
Don’t forget to join the conversation!