person writing in notebook

The short answer: Anything.

The middle answer: Anything related to your business which is relevant and useful to potential buyers and people searching for what you have to offer.

The long answer is a little more complicated.

The problem with “writing for search engines”

There are several problems with “writing for search engines”. These include:

  • The text can end up sounding mechanical and “robotic”.
  • Google could penalise your site as a result of it considering that you are trying to game the system.
  • It takes a lot of work to “write for search engines” correctly in order to circumvent the above two problems. It takes so much work, in fact, that you could probably get ten articles written in the same time. And that’s no exaggeration.

Google values high-quality content that people consider useful. If you just write content regularly and write about things you know (the first rule of writing), you’ll eventually get there with the search engines.

Content should be unique

This is where it gets tricky, and it’s probably the only thing you should take a few minutes to consider before sitting down to write.

If there are a gazillion articles on “Which is the best wizzywig?” and you decide to write an article about “Which is the best wizzywig?” then you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle to get found.

But even then there are ways around it. You could think up an angle for the article, a new way to view wizzywigs that you know about yourself. If you’re in the business of wizzywigs, there’s plenty you could write about which would be unique regarding them.

At the same time, to not write something because you’re afraid it might be “too similar” to what’s out there would be worse than writing content that doesn’t have a new angle. In the equation of “To write or not to write” the answer is always “to write”.

If that article gets picked up by the search engines, great. If not, you still have a fantastic piece of writing that might help sell your services or products if you send people the link to it when they enquire about your services.

SEO takes time

Regular content is key. Don’t expect to hit the top of the charts in only a week, or even a month.

Yes, there are ways to speed this up, although much of that comes under the heading of “Black Hat SEO” which is a definite no-no when it comes to Google and could get you heavily penalised on Google’s pages.

Just be patient, keep writing, maintain a schedule, and do your best to offer something useful to your readers.

Writing is a discipline

Writing is a strict discipline which requires constant practice. I can never help but laugh when I hear people saying that “anybody can write”. I used to think the same when I started writing nearly ten years ago. Haha! Man, I wrote some really awful things back then.

But a million words and over four hundred five-star ratings later, I can confidently say that I know how to write now.

Writing is a professional skill which is learned through constant repetition, ceaseless training. If you have any hopes of writing top-quality stuff for your website, you’re going to have to dedicate time to it.

That’s why a lot of companies hire guys like me to do their writing for them. But if writing is in your blood, the only thing you need to remember is that you must write regularly in order to improve your skill.

Are “SEO Plugins” worth it?

Not for writing posts. They’re great for the technical aspect of SEO — page titles, descriptions, and various other advanced things.

But any plugin which thinks it can determine whether or not a post is “SEO friendly” or “easy to read” is kidding itself.

After trying these plugins myself and typing in the keywords I wished to be found for, the article ended up sounding artificial. And it read as if I had written it for search engines.

It was awful and my experiment ended quickly. Now I just write what’s on my mind, and the plugins and search engines be damned.

Should you write in complicated or simple language?

Unless your site is specifically aimed at a literary crowd (in which case I doubt you’d be reading this post) you need to strike a balance between simplicity and style.

By style, I mean something on the lines of flair and elegance. You’re not writing in iambic pentameter, sure, but you should avoid overly dull articles, too.

Maybe I feel this way because I’ve written plenty of fiction and so I have a tendency toward adding little touches to my articles. But writing is an art, even if it is a piece of writing for a blog or a business. And so you should take pride in your art, in your article, and sprinkle it with touches of finesse which add resonance to the piece which makes it stick in people’s minds long after they read it.

This is really something you get a knack for after plenty of regular writing.

Forget the rules

The internet has completely changed how we read things. Leave all those snoring-boring rules and restrictions about “mixing metaphors” and “avoiding adverbs” to the Master of Arts graduates who like to look down upon the rest of us who have a way of getting our message across directly and succinctly despite all the broken rules (or perhaps because of them?)

I’ve read articles that were written appallingly and yet left me wanting more.

Yes, basic grammar and punctuation are important, because that’s the agreement we use to understand each other. But beyond that, don’t sweat whether you should use “that” or “which”. Half the articles on the web don’t even know the difference between “lay” and “lie”.

This doesn’t mean you should be sloppy. It means you should focus on the message first and perfection second.

Get your message out there. That’s what you should be writing about in your business blog — your message, your product, your activities, anything you want to. Just do it regularly, and do it to the best of your ability while you attempt to improve and do it better next time.