Brian Clark at Copyblogger recently put up a post about how to write for Google. In his post, Brian quotes the Google guidelines, including the well known: “Always focus on the users and not on search engines when developing your optimization strategy”.
Brian also promises to offer more on this exact topic within the next year. I will look forward to see what he has to say about it. But in the meantime, being an impatient sort, here are my thoughts:
- Make sure the person who is writing for you is, or becomes, an expert in the topic area you are covering. Without it, link-worthy, keyword rich content will not be appearing on your site any time soon.
- Build a strong list of potential sub-topics within your topic area to write about before you write a word
- Build a keyword map of your topic area. Figure out what the high volume keywords are.
- Match up high volume keywords with the potential sub-topics for your articles, and decide on a set of articles to be written.
- Let your writer know the topic for each individual article that they are working on. Don't bury them with a long list of keywords to use, or SEO guidelines. Just give them the topic of the article, the main keyword you want them to use in the title, and let them write.
- When reviewing the article, minimize and SEO input until they are done.
- Once they are done, you can put a minimal amount of SEO gloss on top. This might be a simple tweak of the use of one keyword or another. Do not rewrite the article unless it really is not well written, or it's inaccurate.
That's really all there is to it. There really are two major themes here:
1. Make sure you have something to add to the conversation (i.e. the overall body of material on the Internet about the topic). This is why you need to have an expert on the topic writing for you. Without this, it will be difficult to get the high quality links you need to succeed.
2. Make sure you minimize the SEO imprint on the articles themselves. Sure, the up front research to decide the article topics is important. But if you want the writer to write good (linkable) stuff, you can't load them down with all types of SEO rules. In addition, this basic approach gives you the best chance of connecting on important long tail terms that you might otherwise miss if you didn't let them do their thing.