Thinking about hiring an SEO writer? Before you start digging too far into the depths of Guru.com, make sure you know the nine big questions you should ask your so-called SEO copywriting expert. Asking these questions just might save you time, money, and frustration.
Every SEO writer should know…
#1 How to Talk to You
Your SEO writer might be great at churning out interesting, keyword-laden sentences. But can he pick up the phone and talk to you? Does he know how to communicate with you verbally – and in a timely manner? If not, then you should probably keep looking. A great writer isn’t a very valuable asset if he can’t communicate with you about your objectives.
#2 How to Follow Grammar Rules (& Break Them)
If you’re working with an SEO writing agency, then you’re probably dealing with fairly competent writers, an editing team, a proofing staff, etc. These people (generally speaking) understand grammar, flow, and what makes a good piece of content.
Working with a freelancer, however, can be dicey. If the freelancer doesn’t understand the rules of basic English grammar (and when it’s acceptable to break those rules), then you could find yourself doing revision work you didn’t sign up for.
#3 What Character Limits Are
Character limits are crucial for SEO copywriting. For example, a meta description that runs 200 characters long is practically worthless in Google. But, if you don’t know that, then you could easily commit that mortal sin! Check to see if your writer actually knows her stuff by cross-referencing these resources with what she says she knows:
#4 How to Link
Linking is a lot more complicated than you might think. There are good links, bad links, Do Follow, and No Follow – and that’s just the start of this confounding linking business! “What are your linking strategies?” is a great question to ask your SEO writer. I recommend checking out the above article so that you have at least some idea of whether your prospective SEO writer gives a good or bad answer.
#5 How to Research Keywords
Yes, there really are SEO writers who have no idea how to perform keyword research. (You would be surprised.) There are a number of great free keyword research tools out there. Personally, I’ve used SEMrush with success, but keyword research isn’t my forte, so I would encourage you to do more of your own research.
#6 How to Use H1, H2, and H3 Tags, etc.
Any web page or blog post on your site can actually have multiple titles that are recognized by Google. These titles are known as H1 through H6 tags. Your H1 tag is the most important title, and your H6 tag is the least important. Good SEO copywriters will know how to use these strategies to your advantage.
#7 How to Optimize Images
Here’s an easy trick your SEO writer should know: Don’t let that image upload to your blog with some worthless title like “PIC_01327.jpg.” Instead, the title of your image should be keyword-rich so you get valuable image search traffic.
#8 How to Use WordPress
As of last April, at least half of the top 100 blogs are using WordPress. If you aren’t using WordPress, that’s fine. But chances are good that you probably are using the platform. That being the case, it’s probably a good idea to inquire about your SEO copywriter’s WordPress experience. Not a deal breaker, but good to know!
#9 Something About Visual Appeal
In 2006, Jakob Nielsen’s study on internet reading demonstrated that web-users oftentimes read content in an “F-shape:” two horizontal lines, followed by a vertical stripe. (Read more and see images from the original study.) This idea has come under fire in recent years, but for the most part, Nielsen speaks the truth. You and your SEO writer probably have theories of your own, which is fine. Just make sure to have this conversation before you dive into a project.
These are just a few of the reasons why you should hire an experienced SEO writer. Experience has probably taught you a few more. What questions will you always ask an SEO writer?