Writing for SEO can be a bit of a balancing act. On one side, a major reason for writing and content marketing is for the search engine rub, so it’s important to write “for SEO.” On the other hand, your content should be provide value and not be convoluted, which often happens with SEO writing. Luckily, as the search algorithms get more sophisticated, the more nuanced their understanding of language becomes.

Here are a few things to watch for to make sure that your SEO writing walks the fine line effectively.

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Don’t Overdo Keywords

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In the early days of SEO, keyword stuffing was common and it worked. The more times you mentioned your keywords, the better results you got. Unfortunately, this lead to awful articles that ranked well, but were of little use to the reader. If it can’t be useful to the reader, it won’t convert, meaning it won’t be useful to the business.

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Today, keyword stuffing is a good way to ensure that not only you don’t get ranked, but also ensure that no one reads your content. Luckily, search engines are now advanced enough to understand related words and phrases and in context can make pretty good sense of your content. Focus on good content, with a mention of your keywords where applicable and you’ll be in good shape. If it feels like too much, it probably is.

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Go Easy On The Links

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Anchor text allow the search engines to make sense of links and understand a bit of context as to what the links are about. Anchor text was a very important element in search engine optimization up until it was de-emphasized a bit by a Google update about a year ago. Sensing that anchor text was being used by black hat SEO’s to score rankings, Google updated to make repetitive anchor text a red flag, primarily targeting mass spun articles. Since then, diversifying your anchor text has become a bit more important. While anchor text still matters, it’s not as important as it once was and there’s no reason to put a bunch of links into your content. Be sure they’re in there, but add them in naturally here and there.

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Focus On Quality

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In the end, your content serves little purpose for you if it isn’t generating business. If it isn’t being read and readers aren’t ending up back at your website, this is a pretty good indication of content underperforming. Since the search engines are sophisticated enough to understand context to an extent, give some clues for search and err on the side of quality.