How a writer became a search engine optimization consultant.
Years ago, as a freelance internet marketing writer working on contracts for internet sales companies, I got a request from one of my clients to start including search engine optimized keywords in my writing work.
The client had recently contracted with an SEO research and consulting firm, and the firm was providing my client with code optimization advice, keyword analysis and search engine ranking information. But there were no marketing writers at the SEO consulting firm. My client needed help integrating the SEO keyword research they were receiving into their website copy.
Keyword researchers who had never even seen the copy I was writing would send me awkward phrases they had chosen with obscure algorithms, and ask me to work the text around them. Sometimes the words I was forced to use made no logical sense in the context of the page content. As a writer, I felt intensely frustrated.
It didn't seem logical to me to work this way. On the internet, sources of information and entertainment are constantly vying for a reader's attention; as an experienced internet marketing writer, I know well that if I fail to make my content compelling or useful enough to hold a reader's interest, another site is always just a click away.
I certainly understood the potential value of attracting traffic from search engines with SEO, but what good would it do to attract the attention of search engine spiders if the text I was writing failed to impress real human beings once they arrived at the page?
I felt there had to be a better way.
So I decided to learn the mechanics of search engine optimization and keyword research myself. If I could take control of an SEO project from the beginning as an SEO expert and a writer, I would be able to approach every aspect of optimization with a writer's eye. Instead of stretching the text to fit keywords, I would find effective, popular keywords that fit the text.
I found an SEO expert who needed a research assistant, and essentially apprenticed myself to her for several months. I read SEO books, scoured SEO blogs, and scanned SEO message boards constantly, determined to learn how to seamlessly integrate excellent search engine optimization with excellent writing.
And now, that's what I do.
Optimization that won't sacrifice style.
I am a writer first, and a search engine optimization consultant second. I believe that SEO at its best should complement, not compromise, the quality of well-crafted writing.
When I write or edit search engine optimized marketing copy, my goal is not solely to draw traffic to your site, but to create compelling text that engages visitors' interest once they arrive.
Effective, ethical traffic-boosting techniques.
I don't just tell my clients what to do to optimize their sites for search engine traffic &mdash I also tell my clients what not to do. With search engines constantly updating their search algorithms to stay competitive, the SEO landscape is always changing. Some SEO techniques that were considered good practice just a few years ago are no longer as effective, while emerging internet technologies continue create new SEO opportunities and challenges. I teach my clients the basic, underlying SEO principles that have stood the test of time, inform them of newer techniques I think might be helpful, and help them avoid outdated methods that no longer produce results.
I also teach clients how to recognize and avoid black-hat SEO practices &mdash techniques that are considered cheating by most major search engines, but are sometimes used unwittingly by inexperienced optimizers who are unaware of the danger. Black-hat SEO tricks aren't just bad form &mdash they can actually result in a search engine penalizing a site by downgrading its search ranking, or even banning a site entirely.
Social media experience combined with SEO expertise.
Having been an active member of blogging community for several years, I understand both how social media outreach can enhance search engine optimization, and how search engine optimization can help bloggers. I provide corporate and non-profit clients with integrated simultaneous social media and SEO consulting, and teach bloggers how to use SEO principles to promote and protect their work.
Responsive service and clear communication.
Search engine optimization is still something of a mystery to many otherwise internet-savvy people. If I'm working with you as an SEO consultant, I don't want you to feel like you're trusting your website to a strange magician who won't reveal her secrets. I won't just tell you to change a title here or add some text there &mdash I'll tell you why you should do it. If you have a suggestion, I'll listen. If you have a question, I'll answer. Sure, this might mean that someday you'll know enough about SEO that you won't actually need me anymore. But if that happens, I hope you'll be impressed enough to recommend me to your friends.
Why I don't write an SEO blog:
There are approximately fifty frillion people out there already writing SEO-themed blogs. Some of those people are really, really good at what they do, and are sharing really excellent knowledge with the SEO community and the public at large. Others are writing solely to attract clients, and may or may not have the best interests of their readers at heart.
Either way, the SEO blog market is absolutely saturated, and in order to attract attention as an SEO blogger, I would have to work very, very hard on an SEO blog. I would rather spend that energy on making my SEO clients happy. (And playing with my child. And growing food in my backyard. And writing about politics. And goofing around on Twitter.)