Make It Official
If your organization uses a web style guide, you have a great head start. Because for
SEO, rules are good! It will give your SEO guidelines longevity—so that your standards
are followed not just once, but every time a new page is created. And it will benefit you
when, six months down the road, you’re handing off SEO reviews to someone else or
you’ve forgotten what you’d planned at the outset.
What if there’s no style guide, just one or two designers putting together pages
based on what feels cool at the moment? You’ll need some way to formalize your
agreements and give them some long-term viability. If you can’t get it in writing, a
handshake will do. Set up a system for your designers to run edits by you in the future.
At the very least, be sure that you’re informed of major site edits so that you can coor-
dinate a site review for SEO.
Writers and Editors
Writers and editors are the wordsmiths who craft the all-important text that your site
audience, and the search engines, will see. Since SEO is so focused on text, you are
going to need some writers in your corner. Writers and editors can help with these
important SEO tasks: keyword brainstorming, writing or rewriting content with key-
words (and linkability) in mind, writing or reviewing ad content, and establishing a
process for SEO review of new content.
If you’re doing this yourself, be prepared to spend a good portion of your SEO
time on writing, keyword research, and related tasks.
Writers are a natural choice as SEO coconspirators. Unfortunately, SEO is often
perceived among writers as something that will force them to alter, or maybe even
degrade, their creative content. If you’ve ever seen a page of text that was written pri-
marily for the benefit of search engines (see Figure 5.1), you know that writing for
robots just isn’t something that your human audience will respond to.
So, just as you did with your graphic designers, start your conversation with a
promise: the human audience will always be the most important. In fact, the whole
point of Your SEO Plan is to bring in that audience and speak to them, clearly, in their
own language. Including your writers in the keyword brainstorming process will give
them important information about the terminology your target audience is using,
which they can then incorporate into their text. If you educate your writers on con-
cepts like keywords and keyword density, that means less rewriting in the SEO review
process. That’s less work for you and more control for your writers.
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