More Writing Skills

The ABCDs of SEO

The concept of search engine optimization is simple. Learn the ABCDs of SEO.

by Bob Kerstetter

The Simplicity of SEO

SEO abbreviates Search Engine Optimization. The concept of SEO is simple. You optimize the content of your website for high ranking by search engines. High rankings bring readers to your website.

Here are the basic ABCDs of SEO for website content:

  1. Do good essay writing from English 101. In summary, (1) tell them what you're gonna tell them, (2) tell them, and (3) tell them what you told them.

  2. Keep your writing to 350 to 700 words. 349 may be too short. 701 can lose readers in wordiness. 525 is halfway between. These are just guidelines. 1200 words or more can also work great.

  3. Make sure your meta description matches your content. Don't try to cheat the system.

  4. Participate in social media. Link your profiles to your website. Join conversations. Do it civilly.

If you do all D of these things, some people will link to your articles. When search engines find good content and honest links they raise your ranking.

The Importance of Good Writing to SEO

Good writing drives successful SEO.

Professionals create good content by writing to the interests and needs of their readers.

Because reader-focused writing requires researching, thinking, organizing and outlining—the dreaded o-word—good writing innately includes the words and phrases people use to search for content.

The Folly of Writing with SEO Phrases

SEO consultants sometimes advocate using so-called SEO phrases in your website content. While the advice contains some validity, it does not work unless your content is original, plus useful to your readers.

Writing from an SEO phrase lists leads to stilted content aimed at optimizing and selling, rather than providing helpful information . Besides being dishonest in spirit, SEO-phrase writing tends to create shallow articles devoid of usefulness.

Instead of peppering your readers with SEO phrases, research and write original content aimed at their interests and needs. Write to inform, educate, entertain, persuade or motivate—the primary reasons for writing.

Search engines notice content packed with SEO-phrases and negatively rate them. The engines look for well-written original content. They reward your original writing with higher rankings.

The Foundation of Reader-Focused Content

To write great websites, you must know your audience and your content. Reader-focused writing begins with deep and wide original research.

Research your topic using multiple sources. The Internet can serve as a starting point, but only a starting point. You often find good resources at .edu and .gov websites, plus those of large corporations, as examples. Politically ideological websites help you learn what people are thinking, but be skeptical about the accuracy of their content. Vet everything from multiple sources and different points of view. Always verify the content of crowd-sourced online encyclopedias, as they often contain heavily-footnoted inaccuracies or biases or both.

Beyond the Internet, use public, higher education, government and private libraries. Seek help from research librarians. Visit public and private museums. Talk with curators. Go to government offices and ask questions about how things work. Some of your best resources are interviews with subject matter experts. Interview people with differing points of view and varying ideologies. Verify all content. Treat all people—as in everyone—fairly and with respect. Do this for basic human decency and to keep them as sources of information.

Thorough research innately puts you in touch with your readers. It helps you write to their interests and needs. Remember those interests and needs when you write. Write for someone you know. Keep that person in mind while researching, organizing, writing and revising.

The Value of Social Media Engagement

Once your website contains reader-focused content, start participating in social media. It provides a excellent means for creating community while improving search engine optimization. The concept is simple.

Join a social media website compatible with your subject matter. Also join Facebook, Twitter and other popular general social media sites. Make sure your social media profiles link to your website. Make friends.

Read your news feeds. Respond to posts with likes, loves, cries, wows, woes or whatever. Be honest, not manipulative. Occasionally reply to posts and comments. Post original content of your own and reply to comments. Clarify content when requested.

Make you replies and original posts brief, thoughtful and respectful. Proofread before posting. Carry on community-building conversations with people you dislike, not just those you like. Eliminate snarky content before posting. Snarky attitudes may be funny, but help nothing. Empathize with people you distain. Love the unloveable. Usually let others have the last word.

Because of your participation, some people will look at your profile and visit your website. Some will share links to your webpages. These types of honest links add content value for search engine optimization. And you got there with integrity.

SEO Summary

For good SEO, write about 500 reader-focused words from deep and wide original research, use a summary sentence for your meta description, join social media conversations in a civilized manner. Doing these things helps improve your SEO.

See also

What is Writing?

What is Ghostwriting?

What is Editing?

Love Us On Facebook!

Writing Resources

This list updates regularly.


Advertising supports our research and writing projects.

free trial
click link below

Unlimited Reading.
Unlimited Listening.
Almost Any Device.

On Writing Well

On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction

Stephen King on Writing

Help with Grammar

The Only Grammar Book You'll Ever Need: A One-Stop Source for Every Writing Assignment

Automate Your Life
a little

Echo Above

Dot Below

Watch with Show

Keep it Clean

This is a standalone automated vacuum cleaner. It does not work with Echo and friends.