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How to Create SEO Friendly Articles

Many people ask if there is a formula to follow to create SEO-friendly articles. The answer is an unqualified - kind of yes, sort of no. Back in the days, like two or so years ago (before Penguin and Panda), creating SEO-friendly content was relatively simple for anyone who wanted to spend the time learning the steps required to make a site more visible to the search engines.However Today, with Google leading the way for the other search providers, extreme care and creativity are needed if you want to help them find you.

This definitely does not mean that SEO is dying or dead, it means that SEO has changed, as it has done in the past eith to years. Based on extensive research, there are a few best practices to keep in mind when optimizing content...

· Remember who your audience is - for it is definitely NOT the search engines.

Your audience is the search engine clients, the searcher, not the search providers themselves. When creating content,  you need to make sure that your highest priority is a quality experience for the user. Fill all your articles with useful information and make them easy to read. Ultimately, your goal should be to get users to "like," "share," and "plus1" your content, sending clues to the search engines that the social network finds your content valuable.

· It's OK to help the search engines find you - but you must not overdo it.

Keep your content relevant to your chosen targeted keyword or key phrase, to be as a hint to them that you are offering quality content. Timely,relevant articles are the key to building a great audience, and to improving your ranking in the search results.

· Carefully use your keywords - and keep them relevant to your topic.

Although keyword density has lost their value recently, that is, keywords as a percentage of the word count, they remain a critical tool to help them find you. They are the clue that lets them know your subject and understand which words have value to the reader.

· Use your keywords strategically - and effectively.

Most readers will scan an article before they invest the time to read it. They will look for clues to help them decide if your information is what they are looking for. To do this, they will scan the same areas of your copy that the search engines will scan: titles, headings, bold text, links, and bullet points. Avoid using the same targeted phrase in these areas that you have chosen to use within your text. Today, with the focus on quality content, this might be seen as "keyword stuffing" or over-optimization by them.

It's of the utmost importance that you use your targeted keyword phrase in the title of the page or post. Really. I'm not kidding about that one. Also, place your targeted phrase at the beginning, middle, and end of your article and try not to use it more than three times, just to be safe. As of late I'm staying away from old standard on-page SEO techniques of underlining, bolding, italicizing, using them in H tags, overusing them in categories and tags, or overusing them as image alt text. Be very selective when you're using those tactics, as the big G could be watching with a suspicious eye. For right now, keep things more simple as the fires die down. I still recommend using similar and related keyword phrases sprinkled in the content, and in your image alt text and categories/tags, though. No harm there. Think "related", not "repeated".

· Focus on readability - not on being SEO-friendly.

As with so many things in life, when you focus on quality, the by-product is a benefit to you. Read your copy aloud and check the flow. If it reads naturally, you're golden. If it sounds contrived to you, it will seem even more so to your reader.

· Ask for comments and feedback - from your readers.

Also, include social share buttons on every page of content you offer. People who comment on your articles are much more likely to share them with others and these social interactions are valued clues to the search engines that you have produced fresh, relevant, timely content for your audience.

We've all read articles which we quickly realized were written more for them than for the reader. SEO-friendly articles read naturally. They do not feel contrived. They have spent decades learning to understand which sites are trying to manipulate them. By keeping your ultimate audience in mind, you are more likely to generate improved search results than if you try to game the system.

Since it is the goal of sites like Google is to provide the best possible search results to their client, it must be your goal to do the same. Post relevant, well-written, informative or engaging content, with just enough clues to the search engines to let them know that your copy is what their client is looking for. Creating SEO friendly articles is not as hard or complicated as one might be led to believe.

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