9 Common SEO Mistakes that Content Writers Make

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Content is king. At least that’s been the mantra of marketers for several years.

Is this really so? The answer is mixed. Because content is only “king” if it is created right. It must be “picked up” by search engines when consumers conduct generic searches for information related to the topics content writers offer. 

The problem is this: many content writers, especially those who are relatively new to the “business,” do not understand all of the facets of SEO. And they make mistakes that send their pieces out into the content “ocean,” never to be found and read. 

Here are the common mistakes that new content authors tend to make.

 

1. Not Understanding Current SEO Algorithms

These are not published for everyone to see. And they have evolved over time. These evolutions are the result of a couple of things. Google wants to make sure that the content it ranks well is actually providing what searchers want. And technology has developed that makes it easier to comb through content and decide if it is valuable.

What content authors should know is this: Google wants to see high-quality content that provides real value. And its criteria for real value include meeting needs and addressing the pain points of readers along with popularity and relevance of the content topic. While a content author may not know all of the ranking details, these criteria should drive all that he writes.

2. Making Mistakes With Keyword Use

Scrabble game pieces spelling the word "Words"

In times past, the more keywords an author could get into a piece of content, the better. Google is much smarter than that now. It actually punishes content that is stuffed with keywords. And, because searchers are now using search phrases rather than just single words, algorithms have changed to meet those behaviors. With this in mind, authors must do the following:

  • Research the most popular and relevant keyword phrases that searchers are using. There are plenty of tools out there like SEM Rush and Moz Keyword Explorer for this purpose.
  • Pick just a couple that is the most popular. Use them in the title, the meta description and, depending on the length of the piece, intersperse them naturally within the content. 
  • Don’t force a keyword phrase into content if it doesn’t just fall naturally within the context. 

3. Writing Like An Academic

In college, you wrote essays and papers. You had to use very formal and scholarly English. Now you are in the business of writing content for the normal and average readers. They don’t want lofty composition. They want creative, nuts and bolts English that they do not have to work to understand. 

  • Dump the complex sentence structures. Simple sentences do best.
  • Dump the “high-end” vocabulary. Use simple vocabulary that a 7th grader could understand.
  • Write your content as if you were writing a letter to a best friend. This is the style and tone you should use in your content.

If you are struggling to simplify your content, then use some resources to help you edit your content. Many writing services have copywriting experts to do this. Check out Grab My Essay or Studicus for starters. And use a tool like Grammarly or Hemingway Editor that will give you a reading level and suggest how to simplify your writing. 

4. Not Maintaining A Production Schedule

White board showing a Production Calendar

Readers who access your content want to see new stuff on a regular basis. If they don’t, they won’t come back. And traffic will suffer. Setting up a calendar is critical, along with topics to be addressed within that schedule.

Productivity can be an issue here, so use some of the great tools out there to keep you focused, on task, and meeting those deadlines. 

5. Not Knowing Your Audience

Smart marketers have developed personas of their ideal customers, and these should be used when writing content. When writers do not have an intimate understanding of their audiences, they will not produce content that will engage, educate, and even inspire them. When readers land on content that does not honor their preferences, they will bounce. Google does not like this. It means that traffic flow is not good. Good traffic means that visitors come and actually stay a while. 

Guy with glasses reading from a Kindle.

Consider the difference in writing style and tone for millennials as opposed to senior citizens. The vocabulary and tone will be vastly different. Likewise, a piece of content for Red Bull will be totally different from one written for Rolex Watches.

6. Focusing On Product And Services Rather Than Customers And Value

It’s easy to fall into the habit of showcasing products or services, in order to get those conversions/sales you want. But today’s consumer is turned off by hard selling techniques. And Google is not excited about this type of content.

Instead, focus on consumer needs, pain points, and the solutions they want. What solutions does your product or service provide?

One of the best examples of this is Dollar Shave Club. They identified a problem – men using disposable razors and yet running out of them, forgetting to stop at the store to buy them, and then being forced to use an old dirty one. It set up a subscription service that would deliver razors to the door. Problem solved. It’s content, including an amazing initial explainer video, went viral. This is the kind of thing Google loves. 

Jim Jenkins, Content Manager for Trust My Paper, puts it this way: “We are in the business of providing writing products and services to our clients. We don’t ‘sell’ our products. We focus on what the client will get as a result of using our services – better grades in school, for instance. When we can solve their problems, we get their business and their recommendations.” 

7. Not Using Images And Media

One of the things we know about consumers today is that they want what they want quickly and easily. They don’t want to read walls of text. Anytime content can be delivered via photos, videos, and even some of the newer technologies of AR and VR, it will be a winner. There will plenty of shares, and traffic will increase. Google likes lots of traffic. It says that your content is popular and relevant.

Laptop over desk with the word "Back-links" showing in the screen.

Backlinks come from places outside of your site or blog. They come from related niches that have found your content to be valuable. Getting quality backlinks takes time but the more you get the better for your SEO rankings.

Courting reputable related businesses, publishing on their blogs, and getting them to put links to you in their content is important. A word of caution: Do not solicit backlinks from unrelated or questionable sources. You will be punished for this.

9. Not Including Social Proof

Consumers rely on other consumers for recommendations more than ever before. If you are not including comments, photos, and even videos of happy customers, then you are missing out on lots of traffic and, of course, sales. And that traffic translates to higher SEO rankings.

Don’t Panic

If you are new to this “world” of content, there is no reason to panic and think you cannot do it right. You can. And the more experience you have with content creation the better you will become. Take these 8 common mistakes to heart and make a commitment to avoid them.

Author Bio: Erica Sunarjo is a content writer and blogger for several venues, including the writing services Best Essay Education and Wow Grade. As an experienced content creator, she is a contributor to LiveInspiredMagazine. 

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