The role of SEO in guest blogging has diminished in importance. Oh, we’re not saying that you can’t still make money with and strategically use SEO in your website content, articles, blogs, and guest blog posts. What we’re saying is this: your SEO efforts now have to be more seamless within your writing content than ever before.

Now it’s the quality of your content, not your cleverness with keywords, that gets your webpages high in the SERPs as the web crawlers take notice of your genius. Those for whom you guest blog, some of whom are going to pay you up-front money for accepted work, are going to expect well-written, smoothly flowing posts chock full of good quality information. Oh, and they’re going to expect this even as they demand that you follow their writers’ guidelines.

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Google, still far and away the leading singular search engine on the face of the Earth from which all other search engines take most of their cues, has unveiled its Author Rank program. Author Rank has come on the heels of Google’s Penguin and Panda web crawling initiatives. These initiatives, especially those first two, scared the hell out of multitudes of Internet-based businesses and individuals making their living from online SEO writing. But the fact is that Google was right, more or less, to call the pre-Penguin Internet a “cesspool” of misinformation and writing void of anything that could be called standards. In those days, SEO cleverness could be used, and often deliberately was, to cover up bad writing or junk and ignorance disguised as content and information. And the cleverness won out over the true quality writing and content. A lot.

Penguin and Panda were the Google way of saying “Black hats need not apply”. And now, Author Rank is Google’s effort to nail shut the Black Hatter’s coffin lid. None of this should be frightening or intimidating to good writers, thinking people, or marketers who care about delivering quality to those whom they want to become their customers. In fact, this means that finally the Internet is slowly but surely reverting back to being commandeered by smart people, by free market forces that insistently search out the highest quality at the fairest price, and yes by those who are real writers or who believe in paying real writers to do guest blogging or other creative work. The way that things on the Internet should have always been is now reality.

What Does SEO Mean for You Now?

As we said above, writing in accordance with SEO strategy in and of itself just isn’t good enough anymore. People want a good read, even when they want a short one. They want solid, tasty information. When they do an Internet search they want something useful or entertaining to come back to them in a split second. They don’t want repetitive, hollow yammering. And neither do the web crawlers.

So, as a guest blogger and freelance writer, how should you go about things to get yourself or your clients in the good graces of Author Rank?

  • Use SEO, but use it sparingly and poignantly. If you are using a keyword (or phrase), it only needs to appear in the title or headline of the piece, and within the opening sentence. If it appears anywhere else in the content, it must be organic–that is, it must really need to be wherever it next appears for the sake of the writing’s meaning or the information conveyed about the subject matter.
  • Do an intelligent keyword search before you begin writing with one. This assures you of writing with flow and to the meaning of the content instead of forcing in awkward keyword use that only harms your content in the SERPs and the social media marketing world.
  • When you find your main keyword phrase, come up with two derivative secondary and tertiary keyword phrases that you also want to use. For instance, if your keyword is “spider webs” two derivatives may be “spider” and “web”, or “spider’s web” and “webs”. Place these in an organic way in your content, even if each one is only used one time.
  • Do thorough research and note-taking before you write on a subject matter. Be a real author.
  • Continuously study the online writer’s craft, technique, and content marketing strategies.
  • Never be without a dictionary, thesaurus, atlas, and Encyclopaedia Britannica at the ready when you’re writing, whether you access them online or offline.

Make sure that your writer’s hat is white, not black–even if it has a black headband.

Charles Dearing has worked extensively in managing SEO campaigns. He enjoys keeping companies on the straight and narrow when it comes to SEO. He shares his insights on various blogs. Visit SEO Works to learn more about their SEO packages.