SEO can be confusing and there’s a lot of conflicting information out there, but the one thing that seems to stick with people are keywords. Optimizing your posts and pages with good keywords can definitely help you rank well on Google, but oftentimes, I see people get obsessed with adding keywords to their writing and they start to sound like robots! If you’ve been trying to figure out how to optimize a post for SEO without sounding like a robot and without keyword stuffing, these tips are for you!
Stop focusing on keywords
Keywords are helpful for SEO optimization, but they’re not the be-all-end-all. They’re just one step in ranking well on Google. No matter what keyword you choose, you’re going to rank for other keywords anyway! Google is smart and can understand what your post is about, and if it’s well written with quality content, Google is going to show your post when people search for keywords similar than one you’ve chosen. If you don’t believe me, make sure you have a Google Search Console account set up and you’ll see all the different keywords that have brought people to your site!
Don’t keyword stuff
Keyword stuffing is trying to fit in your keyword as many times as you can in a post. Don’t do it! You’ll definitely sound like a robot. Keyword stuffing used to work years ago and it was easy to trick Google, but it’s wised up since then. If you keyword stuff today, it might think your site is spammy and it will hurt your ranking.
Use variations of your keyword
To avoid keyword stuffing, only use your keyword a handful of times throughout your post, and make sure you change the phrasing. For example, don’t use “things to see in Copenhagen” over and over. Switch it up with phrases like “sights in Copenhagen” or “Copenhagen sights” or “what you can see in Copenhagen.” But even when you switch it up, make sure your variations are still flowing well in your copy and it doesn’t seem forced.
If you are using the WordPress plugin Yoast for SEO, it does not recognize keyword variations, so don’t panic if you get a “red light” for your keyword! Google is smarter than Yoast and will recognize that all those keywords mean the same thing.
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Write drafts without your keyword
One thing that has helped me write posts that don’t sound robotic is to finish a draft of my post without working a keyword in at all. Then I will go back and add it where it makes sense. If you focus on your content before your keyword, your posts are going to sound much more natural!
Use headings (but not too many)
Headings are great for SEO optimization and helping the post flow well. Headings signify to Google what the most important pieces of your text are, but don’t go crazy and have 10 headings for a 350-word post. Headings also signify to your readers what the most important points are, and they will structure and break up your post to make it easier to read.
Write for humans, not Google
This is going to sound scary, but Google can read like a human. Like I said before, it knows when you’re keyword stuffing, and it can tell if your content is quality writing or if the content is empty and just trying to rank for a particular keyword. So write for humans, and you’ll still rank well! Plus, your audience is going to appreciate it if you’re giving them well-written posts, and that alone is going to keep people on your site.
Tell a story
I do a lot of travel writing and while I do work in tips throughout my posts, I also tell stories of my travels, even on posts like packing lists! It makes your posts much more enjoyable to read, your audience is going to feel more connected to you, and you’re definitely going to sound more human than if you just list out travel tips or packing lists.
Read your post or page aloud before publishing
In college, I used to read my essays out loud all the time before submitting them, and it’s a great exercise for any kind of writing! If you notice awkward wording or if you notice that you’re repeating your keyword too often or in odd places, edit it and read it again. Hearing your posts out loud can be a lot easier to find errors or weird sentences than just reading them on a screen.
Read posts about SEO optimization
You should look for more posts from experts about SEO optimization for the content, but you should also look at their posts to see how they are set up. These people know how to rank well on Google, to see what their writing style is and how they format their posts. Look at the length of their paragraphs, how many headings they use, how they title their posts, and how they work their keyword into the content.
So if there’s one takeaway from these tips on how to optimize a post for SEO and not sound robotic, stop focusing on keywords and write good content for humans. It takes time to rank well on Google, but if you follow these steps, you’re going to succeed!
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Julia lives in Philadelphia with her Siberian Husky and owns Julia Renee Consulting, LLC. She works with creative small businesses on growing their online presence with SEO consulting, social media marketing, and copywriting. In her spare time, she travels and runs a travel photography blog.
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