When you’re looking for an SEO content writer for your blog, it can sometimes seem like there are an overwhelming number of requirements that you need to consider.
You know you need to boost your traffic and generate posts in a systematic way. And there is no shortage of writers promising to do just that.
With so many options and potential hires, how do you pick the one who is right for you?
Know What to Avoid
Fortunately, you can help jumpstart the selection through the process of elimination.
Narrow the field by knowing what you don’t want. By thinking ahead about potential pitfalls, you can assure yourself a better and longer-lasting relationship with the writer you do wind up hiring.
As you embark on your search, here are the top examples of the sorts of writers you’re going to want to avoid.
#1 – Writers Who Can’t Write
This might seem like it’s so obvious that it doesn’t need to be said, but poor writing is a genuine problem that plagues far more blogs than it should. Sometimes it’s glaringly apparent, but sometimes it’s more subtle.
Let’s face it: not everything that gets posted on the internet is worthy of a Pulitzer. With the number of blogs being published (4 million new posts daily), some are bound to be duds.
Do you want those duds to be the articles that are going on your company site?
Of course, you’re not intentionally going to choose an SEO content writer that you know is terrible. Spelling errors, poor grammar, and sloppy material are usually problems that you can spot early on.
Let’s assume that you’re already doing your quality control, and skipping past the truly terrible writers in favor of bloggers who can at least string together a few coherent sentences.
Once you’ve done that, what are the “less obvious” problems you should avoid?
They Provide “Watered-Down” Content
This is a common problem, stemming from the increasing pressure for writers to create longer posts.
What do we mean these days when we say a “longer” post? Opinions vary somewhat, but most marketers agree that given the current trends, bloggers should aim for at least 1500 to 2000 words per article. The data shows that long-form articles outperform short content.
There is significant research to support this theory. Back in 2016, Backlinko looked at Google’s “first page” results for 1 million unique searches. What the study found was that the average word count for the top-rated posts was 1,890 words.
Although short 500-1000 word posts still get published all the time, the data trends seem to indicate that there is an advantage to writing longer. It’s better for search engine rankings, and it’s also more popular with readers.
If you think about it, you can already see the potential drawbacks, though, when it comes to the writing quality.
Meandering Prose and Word Salad
With added pressure to write more words, bloggers can sometimes fall into the trap of repeating themselves, adding a lot of unnecessary words or sentences, or simply “rambling on.” Although this might satisfy the demands of a Google algorithm, it doesn’t tend to command the attention of a human audience.
In the end, an SEO content writer has to remember: all the articles still need to be readable. They are more than simply archive material.
Not Getting to the Point
According to Tech Client, 61% of American consumers report that they’ve been inspired to make a purchase solely on the basis of a blog post. It just goes to show that the opportunity is there, if you find a writer who is able to make a convincing case on your behalf.
If a writer is adding paragraphs of nonsense to pad their copy, then you’re better off finding someone else.
#2 – Writers Who Don’t Do Good SEO Research
Not every writer will know how to create an effective SEO strategy for your company website. That’s just fine, if you already have someone on your staff who’s doing that for you. However, in some cases, a great writer can lack a background in web marketing.
This is essentially the opposite problem of the “writer who can’t write.” You could find someone who really connects with your audience, but doesn’t have the experience or resources to optimize it for search engines.
Great Posts That Don’t Get Read
If you find yourself in this situation, you could very well wind up with a collection of excellent posts that all go unread because of low rankings.
Hopefully, you can find a legitimate SEO content writer who can jump into the job with a solid knowledge of keyword strategy already in place.
If you’re not sure, though, there are a few ways you can tell if someone might not have as good a skill set as you need.
They’re Using Irrelevant Keywords
Sometimes a great post can languish in obscurity simply because it has a keyword that isn’t relevant to your company. Remember, your blog content exists to create a connection between you and your customer base.
The keywords all need to be phrases that your customers would use.
They’re Using Vague or Generic Keywords
If your keywords are too frequently used, you may also find that your posts are getting lost amidst a sea of similar material. Even if the specific keyword is relevant, if it’s too all-encompassing, it might not be able to stand out from the crowd.
Let’s say you own a bakery. The keyword “bread” might technically be relevant to your business, but you’re better off looking for something a bit more specialized if you want to boost traffic.
They Use Awkward or Clunky Keywords
Not all keywords work equally well in the context of an actual post. If a keyword doesn’t sound natural, then it’s going to be obvious to readers whenever it pops up.
#3 – Writers Who Use Terrible Formatting
Until 2015, the majority of searches occurred on laptops and desktops. But in that year, mobile searches overtook desktop searches, and have made up the majority ever since.
In response, Google’s algorithm started to display results that work better on mobile devices. The result gives preference to websites that look good on the small screens of smartphones. Overly complicated pages and blog posts get left in the dust.
An SEO content writer has to be able to write and format posts for the current market: and that means mobile optimization.
How do you know when something isn’t good for a mobile device?
Large Blocks of Text
Dense walls of text may be cheaper to print on paper, but they are harder to read, and on a website, they are completely unnecessary.
When you are trying to read something on a smartphone, the best bet is to write information in short paragraphs. This doesn’t a writer can skimp on the quality of the content. It’s just that formatting information like this is easier on the eyes.
Lack of Headings
Readers on the internet tend to skim their content, especially when they’re looking for answers involving a product or a purchase. Over half of web searchers report that they don’t read an entire post. Instead, they look for the relevant piece that tells them what they want to know.
The best way to help them (especially on a mobile screen) is to use headings that indicate what a section will be about.
Lack of Images
These days, you almost never see a blog post without an image attached. If you do, odds are that it isn’t getting clicked, read, or shared.
#4 – Writers Who Don’t See the Big Picture
The last piece of the puzzle is less about writing, and more about blogging itself.
Good writers understand that each blog post is a piece of something larger: a way for a company to connect to its customer base.
What are some signs that your writer isn’t keeping their eyes on the big picture?
They Don’t Listen to You
If you hire an SEO content writer and you explain what sort of posts you want, you should get what you have ordered. Don’t settle for a writer who constantly changes the content, or attempts to inject an opinion that isn’t your own.
They Don’t Research Your Business
Your writer should also have a basic understanding of your business and your market in general. Some writers come to the table with a lot of relevant experience, and some with only a little. But if they aren’t already familiar with it and they don’t take the time to learn, then that’s a problem.
They Don’t Write for Your Audience
You want your writer to write content that will resonate with your ideal customers. While it’s true that an SEO content writer is there to attract the attention of search engines, they also need to be interesting to readers once they click their way to your site.
SteadyContent: Your SEO Content Writer Team
When you order content with SteadyContent, you take the guesswork out of finding the right writer for your blog.
We use a team approach, which minimizes risks and delivers real results. The first thing we do is take a look at the big picture for your blog, and find out what keywords and topics will be the perfect material for your readership.
Next, our writers prepare your posts according to your unique needs. Whether you want long-form articles or frequent, short posts, we tailor all our content to your specifications.
Finally, our team of editors meticulously checks each post, ensuring quality writing, relevant SEO, and proper formatting.
If you’re interested in finding out more, we have a specially-priced trial package specifically designed for new clients. Don’t wait to boost your rankings and traffic: take your blog to the next level, and get in touch with SteadyContent today!