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SEO Tips: Provide Focus to Writers

John Doherty —  February 13, 2011
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This morning I read an article over on Search Engine Watch by a man named Mark Jackson, who is apparently someone I should know about, and will in the coming months as he writes on SEW again.

Anyways, his article is entitled 10 Types of Helpful SEO Content. Take a read and glean some goodies from it. The man seems to have some good insights.

I did find one takeaway from his article, however, of a tactic that maybe he should have used for his client who provided him copy that sounded like his books, but was essentially worthless as web copy.

Jackson’s Case Studies

Mark Jackson gives two examples of websites that had bad content. One was willing to write him content for the site, to upgrade it to provide value to the users. Mark (and his team, I presume) reserved the right to “edit it for search engine optimization”, which is admittedly a good strategy to take, reserving editorial rights.

My problem comes in when Jackson (can I call you Mark? I’m going to from now on…) says that his client provided writing that was not useful as web copy. My question is, why was the client not provided with a clearly defined list of words to fit into the copy?

This brings me to my point:

Provide Writers With a Keyword Focus

(Disclaimer: this is not meant to zing to Mark, but rather to facilitate discussion.) As a writer, I have always valued direction from the person I am writing for, especially when writing for a specific topic. Working off of this modus operandi I think that when working with a non-web copywriter, the SEO should provide the writer with a focus of keywords to work into their writing. After all, if the person of focus of the website is doing the writing, they should be able to work the focus keywords into their writing so that it sounds natural and organic.

I do admit that I write this as a novice and I do not have case studies to back this up, so I would love to hear feedback.

Questions: Whose responsibility is it to edit freelance SEO writing? Who should provide the keywords, the consultant or the company, or both? Do you have any interesting resources to share about this topic?

John Doherty

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I'm the new (as of October 2013) Online Marketing Manager of Hotpads.com, soon to be based in San Francisco. Previous to Hotpads I worked at Distilled for 2 years as an online marketing consultant. In my spare time I shoot lifestyle photography, explore new and interesting food in New York, ski, rock climb, and update my Twitter and Google+ accounts.