10. How to write an article – An Example


Your article must be of value to your website or it is not worth writing.

To be of value the article must:

clip_image001 be on a topic related to your website.

clip_image001[1] be found in the search engines for a variety of terms that people are actually looking for.

clip_image001[2] be interesting and informative to your visitor.

clip_image001[3] increase your sites value (in terms of increased income, more traffic or whatever your goal is for your site).

OK, lets go through the process.

10.1. Target profitable keywords

I’ve done the research, put it through KRA. Here are my phrases for the article.

Count 24Hour Competition Keyword

280 81 272 baby nursery themes

118 34 167 baby nursery ideas

150 43 432 decorating baby nursery

354 102 5320 baby nursery furniture

177 51 1800 baby bedding nursery

581 167 253000 baby nursery

35 10 8990 baby nursery bedding

These phrases are made up of the following unique keywords:

baby

bedding

decorating

furniture

ideas

nursery

themes

From the list, I have selected "baby nursery themes" as my main (or primary) keyword phrase to target in my article. All other phrases will be secondary phrases that will be sprinkled into my article, either as complete phrases, or more likely by using only the unique words from those phrases.

Including only the unique keywords instead of complete phrases ensures that your don't over-use certain phrase (like baby nursery which is found in every one of my keyword phrases), which could alert the search engine Spam filters.

OK I have a list of phrases, what next?

10.2. Ask yourself what someone who searches for "baby nursery themes" is really looking for?

This next part of the article writing process is critical. You need to put yourself in the shoes of the visitors and decide what you think someone is really looking for if they type in your main phrase at the search engines. After all, it is no point ranking #1 on Google for the phrase "baby nursery themes" if your page isn't of interest to those people who click through from Google after searching for “baby nursery themes”.

Make a list of anything you can think of that think might be the searchers motivation behind such a search. Include anything you can think of that will be of interest to someone who is searching for that term. If possible, try to include your unique keywords in the ideas you come up with.

Here are my first thoughts about a visitor who types in "baby nursery themes" at Google:

clip_image001[4] they are having a baby.

clip_image001[5] new parents don't have training to be parents (it is something they learn as they go along) and often need a lot of help in deciding what to buy.

clip_image001[6] this person wants ideas on decorating a nursery.

clip_image001[7] nurseries are usually based on a theme often using characters from children's TV. As new parents, most wont know much about children's TV so will find choosing a theme difficult. They need advice.

clip_image001[8] they probably need advice on what goes in a nursery.

clip_image001[9] a nursery needs furniture and a range of baby products like bedding, nappies, changing pad etc. A checklist would be useful. they will be interested in lots of topics related to babies.

This is a simple list of ideas that I came up with in a couple of minutes. Notice I tried to include my keywords in the ideas (highlighted in blue). This makes it so much easier to put my keywords into the article naturally when I come to write the article.

10.3. Decide on a writing style.

Articles should always be informative, but can be written in a number of different styles. For example, you could write the article as a story about your own personal experiences.

e.g. "When my wife was 6 moths pregnant we decided it was time to turn our spare room into a nursery. Trying to decide on a baby nursery theme was a real challenge since we still didn't know the sex of the baby……." and so on.

This method makes the reader believe that you have been through their situation and can offer valuable help based on your experiences. I also believe that this method is a little easier to write as you tend to get carried away with the story aspect and can easily fit in your keywords without the article seeming forced or padded with keyword phrases.

Alternatively the article can be purely informational without the personal touch of the above style.

e.g. "Having a baby is one of the most wonderful experiences a young couple go through. However, a baby is a lot of work which usually starts months before it is born when the spare room needs to be turned into a nursery…."

Decide on the style you want to use to write your article.

10.4. Flesh out your initial ideas.

Remember that most, if not all of the information you need in order to write an informative article is available on the Internet. If you are promoting a product, read the merchants page for that product. Search Google using your chosen keywords. Don't think that you don't know enough about a topic to write an article on it. If you have an Internet connection, you have a whole library at your fingertips.

clip_image002As mentioned earlier, I use Search Automator Pro for my research, and love it. If you are going to writing a lot of your own content, this tool should be a serious consideration. The price is very reasonable.

This stage of article writing is probably the most daunting for anyone new to writing articles. However, it is really easy. Go through the points you wrote in the second stage of the article writing process, and try to put them into an order that makes sense to you. This will be the blueprint for your article.

When you are happy with the order, take each idea in turn and write a small paragraph about that idea. Try it. It really is that simple.

Things to bear in mind while writing your article:

clip_image001[10] Include your primary keyword a couple of time in the first paragraph of your article, and then once or twice further down the article.

clip_image001[11] Sprinkle in your secondary phrase, either the complete phrase, or just the unique keywords that make up the phrase. If you include the complete phrase, be aware that your article can start to have a very high density of certain phrases (like baby nursery in this example).

clip_image001[12] Try to make your article solve your visitor’s problem. Remember that your visitor searched for the phrase at Google to solve a problem they had. They needed ideas or advice. Solve that problem for them in your article. Take the "pain" out of their situation by telling them what they need to know. In my article for example, I would inform them about what a nursery needs (a checklist?), give them ideas on various themes available (from my affiliate merchants of course) and direct them to the best online resources for buying what they need (again to my affiliate merchants).

The process of fleshing out your ideas into an article is a little bit like a game.

You have certain points to cover and your job is to make one point flow into the next in an easy to read manner, all the time working in your keywords.

10.5. Call to action

Your article has a function other than just a way to capture search engine traffic. You want to make money from that visitor if possible, so you need to be funneling those visitors to another web page (either on your site, or via an affiliate link to a merchants site). This "call to action" step of article writing is a reminder to you that you need to tell your visitor what you want them to do.

Here are three examples of calls to action I could use in my baby nursery article:

"Visit our buyers guide to find reputable online suppliers for your baby nursery themes".

"Deciding on a baby nursery theme is only one task that new parents must do. Visit our "New Baby Checklist" page and make sure you are prepared for your new arrival".

“We found that (Insert Merchant Name Here) provides an amazing array of nursery themes. These include everything from Winnie the Pooh to Thomas the Tank Engine. Go to (Enter Affiliate Link Here using Merchant Name as link text) now, as popular themes do tend to sell out.

These all tell your visitor what you want them to do. This is an important part of the article since it is unlikely you are writing it purely for informational value.

Leave your visitor in no doubt what they should do next.

10.6. Create a headline

You might be wondering why I left the headline until last. My reasoning is simple. Until you have written the article, you are not fully aware of the benefits of what you are pre-selling. Add to this the fact that the headline is used by your visitor to see if the rest of the page is worth reading, and you can see why a great headline is essential.

If the headline does not capture the interest of the visitor, if it does not tell the visitor that this page holds the information they are looking for, they will click the back button and find another page from the search results. You will lose your visitor and any hope of making money from them, The headline has to grab the attention of your visitor and inform them that your article will give them the information they need to solve whatever problem caused them to search at Google in the first place.

Take a look at your initial ideas, and read your article. What is the single most important benefit of what you are pre-selling to your visitor? For my article, it is probably that it gives the visitor ideas for their nursery. Let's take this and expand a little:

clip_image003the ideas you get when planning your headline should reflect what is written in your article.

Here goes my train of thought –

Ideas for a nursery theme ->

Things they need to buy ->

Checklist ->

Make sure they are prepared for parenthood ->

If not prepared, then what?.

OK, here we have it. This train of thought has brought me to a point where I can really capture the visitor’s attention. The idea that if they are not prepared, they or the baby might suffer in some way. Tugging at the heartstrings is the best way to make your headline work for you.

How about this as a headline for my article:

"Exciting baby nursery themes ideas – a checklist for a safe and enjoyable

journey into parenthood."

This should tell my visitor that I am going to give them ideas for their nursery, tell them exactly what they need for their nursery, and that their new child will be safe as a result of following my advice. It includes my main keyword phrase near the beginning of the sentence and has the warm glow feeling associated with the thoughts and hopes of every new parent "an enjoyable journey into parenthood".

OK, this may not be the best headline ever, but I am happy with it. I think it captures the essence of my article, while informing my visitor that it contains the information they are looking for.

Stick your headline at the top of your article and you are finished.

Your headline should always include your main keyword phrase (to help it rank well in the search engine) and if possible, try to fit in secondary keywords you think are important.

Before we finish this section, I thought it might be of some use to you if I summarize the main points of article writing as I see it. A quick reference guide if you like, so here it is:

Article Writing Quick Reference summary

1. Keyword Research – find related phrases.

2. Organize your keywords into a primary and some secondary phrases.

3. Decide on a writing style.

4. Decide what your visitor is really looking for.

5. Flesh out your points.

6. Call to action.

7. Create a headline.

10.7. Keyword optimization concerns

I was reading through some articles that were submitted to my article site the other day. Some are really very good, but on the other hand, some were not.

Of the "bad" ones, the thing that struck me was how easy it was to pick out the main keyword the author was using when he/she wrote the article. Even after reading only the first paragraph, I could spot it, and my suspicions were confirmed as I continued down the article.

Articles written around a main (primary) keyword often read very badly. The author tries to insert the exact phrase over and over again, even when it is not grammatically correct to do so. The article sounds forced (because it is).

And my point is?

Well my point here is that if I can spot this type of keyword focused content, so can a search engine. Articles written in this way are written for the search engine, not the visitor, and are therefore going to be the type of article that the search engines want to remove from their database. Remember, the search engines want to serve up the most relevant content with the best information. They will assume (as I would) that any article written purely for the search engine is not going to be of interest to a visitor.

So, where does that leave us in terms of keyword research? Does this mean we should not target primary keyword phrases?

Keyword research, and manipulation of keywords going into an article has evolved in recent years.

When I first started out it was simple. Write content around one primary keyword and 2 or 3 secondary keywords. Insert the primary in the title, meta tags, H1 header tag, twice in each paragraph, H2 header etc etc. Insert the secondaries throughout the article.

Nowadays that optimization technique would be labelled as keyword stuffing by the search engines and ranked appropriately.

In fact, I would not recommend any technique that had hard and fast rules about where to insert keywords into a document. With rules, you leave footprints, and footprints are visible to the search engines.

I read a newly released/updated "SEO tutorial" which offered exact methods of keyword placement involving inserting exact numbers of keywords into various parts of a page. Sure it helps a writer concentrate on the objective of the article having such firm rules, but don't expect it to help your rankings. If you follow the same rules on all your content, all your content has the same footprint.

Obviously keywords are important since they will tell the search engines what a page is about. Don't forget though that keywords in incoming link text is important (even more important than the keywords on a page) in the page ranking.

Keyword optimization must involve both on-page and off-page strategies.

Off page factors are relatively easy. Select several phrases you want to rank for, and get incoming links that include those phrases. Add more phrases into the inbound link text mix as time goes by.

On-page optimization appears a little trickier.

The way you should be thinking about writing content is not so much about focusing on individual keywords, but more on the overall theme of a page.

When people search for stuff at the search engines, they enter a wide range of phrases, even when searching for the same information. Your job is to find all of the variations of search terms used, and pick out those words that often appear in the set of searches. Using these common words in your content will ensure that your page is themed around the topic of your main keyword.

For example, if you were writing a web page about baby shower invitations, you would look for all phrases related to baby showers AND invitations.

Here is how I would do it.

1. Go to Wordtracker and do a compressed search for baby shower invitation (with "number of results" set to 500).

Wow, Wordtracker returns 500 results for this phrase. That will give us plenty to work on.

2. Get Wordtracker to calculate the competition for you.

Using this method of keyword harvesting, Wordtracker will only find the competition for the first 100 words, but that is OK. These 100 will be the most common search phrases in the group, and those are the ones we are most interested in (since they are the phrases that are most often typed in, and therefore can be used to most strongly theme our page).

3. Email the results to yourself.

4. Import the keywords into your favourite "keyword manipulation" tool. I obviously use Keyword Results Analyzer (KRA).

Now, you need to find the words that are most often associated with your main phrase "baby shower invitation(s)" in the queries made at the search engines. This will tell you what words are highly related to your main phrase, and therefore should be used to theme your page.

5. Order your phrases by Count, with the highest count at the top. This will put the most common phrases at the top of your list.

The next step depends on how many "themeing words" you want.

6. Select the top 10 phrases. Here they are in my example:

baby shower invitations

baby shower footprint invitation

baby shower invitation

free printable baby shower invitations

baby shower invitation wording

free baby shower invitations

free baby shower invitation

baby shower invitation ideas

wording guide for baby shower invitations

abc girl baby shower invitations

All you now need to do is make a list of all unique keywords that appear in this list. They will be the words that are most often associated with baby shower invitations searches, and therefore the best ones to use to theme your page.

Fortunately KRA gives us this information in the reports:

Here are the themeing words:

abc

baby

footprint

free

girl

guide

ideas

invitation

invitations

printable

shower

wording

A web page that is written to include these words in the page, will inevitably be seen as a page on baby shower invitations by a search engine, since these words are most commonly found in baby shower invitation searches.

Add into the mix, one or two occurrences of the exact phrase "baby shower invitation" on the page, plus inbound links containing this and other related phrases, and you will have a page that should do well for a variety of baby shower invitation queries.

If you are writing a longer article, this last step can be changed to include the top 20, top 30 or more phrases.

Here are the unique themeing words to use if you use the top 20 phrases instead of the top 10 as shown above:

abc

baby

bear

cheap

create

footprint

free

girl

guide

ideas

invitation

invitations

pooh

print

printable

shower

teddy

unique

winnie

wording

This has added a few more themeing words into our arsenal:

bear

cheap

create

pooh

print

teddy

unique

winnie

This can also give us ideas on different related pages that we could write. Looking at the additional phrases, it might be worth a web page devoted entirely to Winnie the Pooh invitations.

Checking KRA, 5 of the 100 phrases we collected are related to Winnie the Pooh, but I am sure we could find even more at Wordtracker by searching for "pooh shower invitations". Sure enough, there were another 17 phrases found related to this phrase. Here they are:

baby pooh baby shower invitations

cheap winnie the pooh baby shower invitations

classic pooh baby shower invitations

classic pooh shower invitations

classic pooh timeless memories baby shower invitations

classic winnie the pooh baby shower invitations

classic winnie the pooh shower invitations

free printable pooh baby shower invitations

free printable winnie the pooh baby shower invitations

free winnie the pooh baby shower invitations

pooh baby shower invitation

pooh baby shower invitations

pooh classic baby shower invitations

the pooh baby shower invitations

winnie the pooh baby shower invitation

winnie the pooh baby shower invitations

winnie the pooh shower invitations

And letting KRA do its work, here are the themeing words for a page on Winnie the Pooh baby shower invitations:

baby

cheap

classic

free

invitation

invitations

memories

pooh

printable

shower

timeless

winnie

As you have seen, selecting keywords for themeing pages is very easy to do, and just by making sure that these words are included in your page, you will be themeing your page and getting the on-page factors right, all without overly focusing on a primary keyword.

All you then need to do is work on off-page factors, getting incoming links with link text rich in a range of primary phrases and themeing words.

clip_image002[1]The tool of choice to help in this themeing is Keyword Results Analyzer.

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