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April 27, 2010

WordStream for SEO: As Close to Natural SEO Copywriting as It Gets

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It seems a contradiction of terms: natural SEO copywriting. Is the content written “naturally,” by which I mean, writing the way it’s been done for centuries, with a human audience in mind? Or is it written for SEO, for the bots to lap up strategically placed keywords and reward rankings in return?

I read an incredibly thoughtful essay on how Google’s system of search and advertising has encouraged a deterioration of the written word. The author describes his experience writing for sites like eHow. As the story goes, the parent company tracks popular search terms and projected AdSense revenue, and based on that data, a computer synthetically generates article titles.

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Those titles, along with the promise of $5 to $15, are passed on to freelance writers, who write an article to go along with the title, usually with little to no background knowledge or research. From that content, eHow and sites like it optimize the page for search and load up the page with AdSense. Then they rake in the advertising spoils when unsuspecting readers take the bait. These articles often rank well thanks to a trusted domain and optimized content that appears relevant. I encourage you to read the full essay. I found it to be quite a trip.

That’s all to say, it makes me sad that the dominant system of navigating the Web promotes a cycle of low-quality, misleading and sometimes, just plain wrong information making its way online. Of course, the story of eHow is a story of extremes. Back in the ethical world, those in the SEO copywriting community recognize the need for page content to be relevant to both human readers and search engines. So what’s an SEO copywriter to do?

Last week I told you that a few interesting tools had come my way in recent weeks, and WordStream’s tool is one that made a great impression. When I got the demo of WordStream’s newest tool, I saw a way to bring SEO and quality content together in harmony. With WordStream Keyword Management for SEO and the WordStream SEO for Firefox plugin, I saw that keyword popularity intelligence didn’t have to be at odds with smart and meaningful content.

The plugin gives a writer the knowledge of keyword popularity and related keywords as she writes. Writers can craft the message they originally intended, yet are able to introduce keywords into the content that are relevant and useful to a human audience of searchers. Instead of force feeding content with keywords, a writer can see where keywords and long-tail, related topics might figure into the content in a natural way.

[Update, May 6, 2010: WordStream Keyword Management for SEO has been selected as an Editor’s Pick in the Google Analytics Application Gallery, a collection of applications that leverage the Google Analytics API to provide additional value beyond analytics. The editors call WordStream for SEO the “ultimate keyword research tool, designed to help you discover your most relevant and profitable keyword opportunities, then organize and act on those keywords to drive traffic and leads through better organic search engine optimization”. Google’s impressed, too!]

The tool keeps track of how many times keywords are used, so a writer can see at quick glance if she’s too heavy-handed with the keywords or has veered from her original message. And WordStream for SEO can integrate with WordStream Keyword Analytics to help a writer see if the keyword she’s using is a topic her readers come to the site to learn about, and where she can build out more valuable content.

If you’re looking for a solution that puts the process of keyword research and inclusion at your fingertips, without losing the message to over-zealous keyword usage, you can give WordStream Keyword Management for SEO a trial run with a free trial account. Writing for two audiences, people and bots, can make content feel forced, overworked and unnatural, but WordStream’s tool is one of the best I’ve seen at making the process of SEO keyword inclusion the most natural it can be.





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9 responses to “WordStream for SEO: As Close to Natural SEO Copywriting as It Gets”

  1. Reuben Molina writes:

    Very interesting tool indeed. This could make seo articles more easier for us humans to understand. The dimming number of good articles that are both intended for humans and bots might see a brighter future with this.

  2. Ken Lyons writes:

    Hey, Virginia.

    Thanks so much for writing about WordStream for SEO. We really appreciate the plug, and hope bloggers and copywriters big and small find the content optimization features helpful.

    Cheers!
    Ken

  3. Wynne writes:

    Hey Virginia. Good looking tool, I’m checking it out. Thanks.

  4. Rajan writes:

    I agree that Copywriters should not go robotic http://www.directtrafficmedia.co.uk/News/SEO_Copywriters_must_avoid_Robotic_Writing_54122845966.html

    The quality articles take time, generally over 10 hours for quality research else 3 to 4 hours per quality work.

    The most important thing is to include the whole company into adding content wireframes.

  5. Andy writes:

    Sounds like an interesting tool that lets the average user think about copy the same way a professional copywriter does.

    I might check it out – I wouldn’t want to be out of a job if it worked!

  6. Christian Neeser writes:

    This tools sounds really cool. I will definitely give it a whirl and see if I like it. Thanks Virginia for the tip.

  7. Jay writes:

    This sounds like an interesting tool… For me, ages ago, I’ve tried to repeat what I thought were relevant keywords/phrases intuitively within blog posts. To a degree, it probably makes the post somewhat less readable.

    However, I had never formally researched the popularity of these or related keywords.

  8. Dillinger@ Dominica Hotels writes:

    I don’t have a problem with companies that charge for their work. Go for it.

    BUT I do have a problem with companies that SAY there is a free trial or a free download (the Firefox Extension) and there is but only with credit card details.

    This is SPAM.

    Downloading the Firefox add on will prompt you to open an account with much information needed. Then you are asked to give your CC details to sign up.

    YES, we all know that eventually with a lot of messing around with emails and unsubscribing and the suchlike … you get away without paying if you do not want the product.

    It seems a good product but it is in the hands of a bunch of spam merchants.

    The prices start from around $50 US. I did not wait around long enough to see if that was monthly or Yearly. I expect the way these guys work … it is monthly.

  9. Virginia Nussey writes:

    Anytime I’m faced with a situation where you can get a free trial but have to provide credit card info first, like you, I usually decline. But I don’t think the model is atypical, and I assure you that WordStream isn’t made of spam merchants. They’ve made a choice of how to offer the trial using a common method, and you made a choice not to use it. It’s all good :)



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