SEO for Writers, What Not To Do

Everyone seemed pretty happy about my Social Media for writers series. So, I decided to keep the party going for a little while longer. I wanted to take a look at how we as writers present ourselves to the world. Of course, many of us rely on our blogs.

I wanted to start this series out by talking about SEO. (That stands for search engine optimization if you don’t know.) Here’s the problem though. Someone I love already wrote everything I wanted to say about the subject!

Here is a link to the website By Regina. Read this SEO post first, then come back to me.

Back? Awesome. Now let’s talk about what you don’t want to do when using SEO.

Don’t use misleading titles

Funny story. I wrote a piece about a poetry form called burlesque. I posted it and didn’t think much about it. Then every single time I checked my monthly stats, I was seeing that post. I didn’t realize how insane it was until I realized that it made my most popular posts of 2015 and 2016!

It’s not because it’s a super amazing post, you guys. It’s because the word burlesque is in the title.

I don’t know how many people found that post because they wanted to write a new poetry form and how many people found it because they were looking for something risque. Since I do pay attention to my most popular posts and use them to guide what topics I talk about, it’s not helping me!

I also worry that people found my blog that didn’t want to be here. And the whole point of using SEO is to help people find you who want to be on your site.

Now, I did that by accident. I know some people do that on purpose. How do I know? Because I am an internet dweller and have ended up clicking on a title that I was interested in,only to find a post that I have no interested in. You know what, it pissed me off. I didn’t want to have anything to do with that post anymore.

Don’t forget your image!

A long time ago, I was given the advice to use images with every blog post. I balked. “I’m a writer!” I whined. “I use words and language. What kind of image would I ever use for that?”

Now I use images with every single blog post. Since I’ve started doing that, my stats have gone way up. I like pretty images, they catch my eye more than just a text post. So please, if you think like I used to, that you don’t need an image on your blog post, try it. Use images on everything for one month and see if your numbers don’t go up.

Don’t use a long phrase.

The basic building block of using SEO is repeating a phrase a few times in a post. If you have a simple phrase, it’s going to be a little easier. If your line is supercalafradulisticexpialafreakinglong it’s going to be hard to make that flow smoothly. So come up with a phrase that, if searched, will bring people to your post, but is still pretty simple.

Finally, don’ shoehorn SEO in.

This is why the last ‘don’t’ is important. You are a writer. Your first concern should be creating content that is entertaining to read. If it’s secondary function is to inform, educate or persuade that’s fine. But to be entertaining is number one. There’s nothing entertaining about a clunky SEO phrase repeated a ton. It sticks out and is jarring. Even when you’re using SEO, your shouldn’t remind your reader that they’re reading.

By the way, my SEO phrase for this post was using SEO. Did you notice it before I told you, or are you now going back to count how many times I said it? If you’re doing the second, I did my job right.

If you have any technical questions about writing or blogging, please feel free to ask.

Have you ever tried to write using SEO (see, I did it again.)? Tell us about your experience.


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