As a search engine optimization writer, you need to be familiar with all the basic tenets of SEO writing. That means being familiar with headlines, formatting the text in a way that is readable, using meta tags and alt text to help tell search engines more about what the website is about and being able to incorporate keywords throughout a document such that it reads naturally.
In the early days of SEO writing, it was much easier for people to write hundreds of spammy articles that used grammatically incorrect and awkward SEO phrases throughout simply for the purpose of ranking in Google and other search engines. Unfortunately, however, sometimes you will be asked to incorporate these awkward SEO phrases as naturally as possible as an SEO writer.
It's not always easy to do this if you're not familiar with the basic ways to work in these phrases that will still seem slightly awkward but somewhat better once you have considered how to incorporate them into a sentence.
What Are Awkward SEO Phrases?
Let me explain further what I mean about awkward SEO phrases. You’ll know one when you see it because as a freelance writer, you might have an inner resistance to working this grammatically incorrect phrase into your pieces.
Imagine that you have recently been hired by a plumber in Portland.
This Portland plumber has given you a list of preferred keywords that he requests that you use. You've done your research and as a knowledgeable SEO writer you plan to incorporate these keywords up to 5% to 7% of the overall article.
You've identified various blog post topics such as "what to do when your sink is leaking" or "five plumbing emergencies you should contact a plumber for immediately".
These are great ways to help address problems that people are really facing by using an SEO article to help explain some of the critical solutions to these problems and also prompt them to call the professional that you are writing the blog post for. Now, in a best-case scenario, this person might give you keyword phrases such as:
- Plumber in Portland
- Portland plumber
- Portland toilet repair
On the whole, these phrases are relatively easy to work throughout your blog post because they're grammatically correct. Unfortunately, however, some of the less competitive keywords are coming back into vogue these days because there's a lot of competition online.
Think How You Use Search Engines First
So, while plenty of people might be trying to rank for "Portland plumber", for example, your client may be requesting that you use the keywords "Plumber Portland" which can more challenging to work into a blog post naturally. You're basically talking about the same thing but think about the way that people search for information on Google. That's what really makes the big difference here.
Although the grammatically correct phrase might be "Portland plumber", or "Plumber in Portland", the way we think when we approach the search engine is typically somewhat different.
We type in basic keywords designed to prompt the bare bones search engine results. Here are some examples:
- DUI lawyer Houston
- Hair braiding Chicago
- Landscaper Los Angeles
These are some of the most common awkward SEO phrases that you can see because they typically just involve a geographic tag as well as the basic search term that person intends to use. This doesn't mean, however, that you should write these off.
How to Use Awkward SEO Phrases in Your Freelance Writing
First of all, many websites and writers tend to shy away from these search engine terms to begin with because they are somewhat awkward or grammatically incorrect. That means that there’s less competition for them, however, when it comes to Google Ads or ranking for the keywords overall.
This is why even though these kinds of keywords were thrown in without any concern for grammar in the past, and then faded out as a result of being viewed as spam tactics, there’s now been a resurgence of using these more awkward SEO phrases to draw in traffic.
Here are some ways to use these awkward phrases and still have them make sense while also appealing specifically to the exact keyword phrase:
- Hiring a DUI lawyer Houston residents can trust
- Identifying a plumber Portland community members have turned to for toilet emergencies for years.
- Find a chiropractor Orlando is proud to have helping those injured in car accidents recover.
As you can see, these are just a couple of examples of ways to work in phrases that may at first seem uncomfortable or grammatically incorrect while targeting these specific keywords that your clients are asking for.
Never shy away from an SEO project where it seems like it might take a little bit of extra work to add these keywords in. It might go against your inner writer to have to ensure that these phrases still make sense but they can lead to a happy client, specifically targeted keywords, and an article that is easy to read.