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Are your SEO writers lost in Google-land?

Are your in-house writers lost in Google-land? Are they trying to write SEO copy but it’s just not clicking – and your site is suffering as a result?  Discover how you can give your writers a road map for online writing success.

Imagine this…

You’re asked to drive from Portland, OR to Methuen, MA. Easy, right? Except there’s a catch.

You can’t use a map

You can’t use your GPS.

Instead, you’re sent merrily on your way after getting some basic directions.

How many wrong turns do you think you’d take?

This is similar to how some in-house writers are trained in SEO writing. The writers are given basic directions and told to “create clickable Titles” and “include keyphrases in the H1.”

Their response?  “What’s a Title? And what does an H1 even look like?”

These writers are lost in Google-land.  They may reach their destination eventually. But it will be after many (expensive, time consuming, and frustrating) wrong turns.

If you give your writers a clear road map, their SEO writing will shine. They’ll feel more confident. Their writing will quickly improve. And you’ll see an improved ROI from their efforts (and spend much less time editing their work.)

Here are the five things you need to do to make it happen:

Assess your writers’ skill sets

Some of your writers may already be SEO writing ninjas. These folks would benefit from more advanced tips and strategies. Other writers may come from a print background and are fairly clueless about online writing best practices. These “newbies” require more instruction, more hand holding, and a higher degree of involvement.

As a side note, don’t assume that a writer is highly experienced in SEO just because they’ve been doing it for a few years. Many writers are operating on outdated SEO information (such as keyword density/stuffing) that can actually harm your site. It’s best to ask detailed questions about how they keep up with industry trends and review their work.

Review your SEO content training options

“Training your writing team” doesn’t mean sending them to a conference and telling them to “learn everything you can about SEO writing.” It’s creating a comprehensive, customized program.

For instance, people who used to write for print require a very unique training experience. Consider training these writers in topics such as how people read online and how to structure content for the online reader. Additionally, some writers are fantastic bloggers, but they don’t know how to structure solid sales copy. Teaching some conversion-writing tips would help them improve their writing.

At a minimum, your writers should be trained in keyphrase research, SEO writing and editing principles, and how to create top-converting Titles and meta descriptions. Often this can be accomplished in a day-long training, or a series of Webinars.

Create easy-to-reference SEO content guides

What’s your preferred blog post length? How would you like your Titles to be structured? Should the meta descriptions include a phone number, or does your company include another call to action? These details can often get lost after a training series. Develop a guide that clearly outlines what you expect and provides examples. It’s one thing to say, “Create clickable Titles.” It’s another to show an example of a good Title and outline what makes it so good.

Give feedback. Lots of it.

“Book learning” is one thing. Putting SEO writing strategies into practice is another. Pair the training with hands-on writing assignments. Ask your writers to craft a Title. Review their sales copy and make suggestions. Let them go wild with keyphrase research and review their strategy. The more mentoring you provide, the better the writing will be (and the more confident your writers will feel.)

If someone within your organization isn’t qualified to provide this feedback, consider hiring a consultant to help. An experienced SEO writer will be able to gently correct any mistakes, suggest alternatives, and give your writers valuable feedback around the process and flow.

Are you thinking, “We don’t have time to provide feedback. The training should give them everything they need.” You may want to reconsider your position. Many writers report that their SEO writing skills increased dramatically when someone was watchdogging their copy and providing suggestions. If you don’t tell your writers specifically what they’re doing right (or wrong,) their writing won’t improve.

Offer frequent follow-up training

Did Google change something again (like get rid of Authorship markup?) Develop a lunch and learn session and share this information with your writers. Are the basics getting lost? Consider a refresher SEO writing 101 session that gets everyone back on track. Ideally, training your writers is more than a one-off. It’s a constant stream of education that helps them refine their craft (and ensures that what they write for you is always top-notch.)

Why not give your in-house writers the skills they need for maximum SEO success? You’ll boost their confidence levels, smooth out their writing, and help them reach their writing destination even faster.

And your writers will finally be able to successfully navigate around Google-land.

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