Thursday, December 31, 2009

How to Write Quality Content and How-to articles - Part 1 SEO

Finding a place to write articles was great.  After being a poet and working on a memoir though I realized I had to make quite a huge transition in order to be successful writing online content.  But, the best thing to do is to just start writing articles on topics that you know. Now, I am focusing my attention to InfoBarrel, a relatively new site with a lot of promise (**see updated below).

Quick and Easy SEO Definition:

Through trial and error I have learned how to write quality how to articles.  There are many variables that determine whether or not someone is going to read your article. Among the most important is being able to find the article.  When I started writing how to articles I didn't know about search engine optimization (SEO).  I just had a passion for writing and wanted to share.  Search engine optimization is a way of writing that incorporates the words that you want people to be able to use to find your content.  These are called keywords.  Think Google, Bing, Yahoo, and any of the other search engines that you might use.  What you type in to that box to search with is what content writers try to predict and it is called a search query. Keyword research is part of search engine optimization.

Keyword Research and Keyword Density:

What is the optimum use of keywords?  Well, this number varies, but experts say that your keyword density (the percentage of time in the article that you use the keyword phrase) should be as low as 2% and as high as 7%, but there is continuous debate over what is the best keyword density.  Using keyword density tools can be very helpful in writing and editing articles, especially if you have an article that isn't earning.  Keywords should be sprinkled throughout the articles.  The keyword is the main phrase that you are talking about in the article and what you want readers to be able to find you by in the search engines (query).  The right combination will allow people to find your product, content, website, blog, and more.  But, don't get hung up on the actual keyword density percentage, unless it is super low or very high.  Quality articles have pertinent information, deliver to readers, and uses a keyword phrase naturally throughout the article.  Write naturally and don't force the words.  Writing awkward sentences will turn off your reader.  Writing too much when it's not necessary does the same thing.

Writing Quality Content:  Points to Remember:

* identify your keyword phrases and keep them in mind while writing your article
* use the keywords in the title of your article or post
* use caution writing with dual meaning words (for example:  broke meaning poor or broke meaning broken as in How to Get Discount Laptops When You Are Broke.  Using words with double meaning can confuse the search engines even though they use Latent Semantic Indexing, a process that tries to interpret the meaning of an article).
* use two, three and four word phrases (long tail keywords) so you have multiple search terms
* write naturally
* do not use fluff wording to try to capture long tail keywords or nail word count on some website (readers are turned off by this and they are the audience)

This is just a basic skim over SEO.  There is an abundance of good information online if you want an in depth understanding of how it works, but to get started writing quality how to articles or other content, identify your key phrase or keywords and use it throughout.  If you are just beginning to write online then research and read more information on SEO tips, SEO strategies, and how to do keyword research.  To simply get started, pick a topic and write about it.

If you have questions please feel free to post them in the comment section and I'll do my best to answer.

Update:  As of December 2010, I am earning good money at InfoBarrel.  Although the site was slow going at first it had more to do with me learning to write there than with the site itself. There are SEO tips and tricks that I use to earn there, but that's true of any website.  InfoBarrel is the best website for content writers, in my opinion.  I encourage you to sign up at InfoBarrel if you are not already writing there.

If you sign up at InfoBarrel through me I will help you with some pointers as long as you let me know that you've signed up (use the comments here, they're anonymous).  Also, see this Google earnings  post for more InfoBarrel info.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Beginning of Article Writing

In August 2008, I was driving down the highway.  Traffic came to a lull which wasn't anything too out of the ordinary, but the reason for the slowdown was quite moving.  Around the corner was a convoy of Army men and women driving Hummers, tanks, military trucks, the big covered trucks that look like they carry lots of young, proud and probably secretly fearful bodies.  I was overcome with the urge to salute.  Instead, I waved and flashed them the peace sign with enough energy hoping to envelope them in safety wherever their orders took 'em. I maneuvered through traffic. Their faces were so young and stoic -- innocent.

That moment stuck with me throughout the day.  Later I started to write a poem.  I wanted to know how to salute properly because this wasn't the first time I'd ever passed Army guys on the road.  I remember thinking of a conversation or a t.v. show that said Americans hold their hands differently from the rest of the world's military.  The sight was so moving that day that I did not want to do it unless I had it right and I questioned whether it's something civilians even do.

My curiosity drove me to quick online research.  After striking in some quick search terms on my laptop, I landed at one answer on  It was my first time on the site.  After looking around their website for several minutes I found out that "normal" people can write articles.  But, I was apprehensive and they wanted my social security number.  I started researching eHow at the Better Business Bureau.  I was pleased to see that they were actually listed and had a grade of an A.  Within a week I was signed up and ready to write articles.  What I didn't know at the time is that writing how-to articles and producing quality content isn't just as easy as knowing something.  There are a lot of people who know things, however being able to tell someone how to complete a task is a whole different story.  Who'd have thought that passing slow traffic could produce a whole new area and opportunity for learning?  Certainly not me.

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