A number of clients contact us about articles for SEO, or want to start new SEO web content assignments, but often it’s the first time they’ve hired a copywriter. It’s totally normal to be new to the idea. There are a number of things we need to know before we can get started, and if you can prep some details upfront, the price we give you will be more accurate and the project will also start more quickly.

If you’re thinking of hiring a blogger or having your website re-written, running through this checklist will help.

Web content: recommended length

How long should my web pages be, and what word count do I need? The answer to this question will depend on a number of things.

One; if you’re having your website redesigned, you may not know how much content will fit neatly on the page, and your copywriter will have nothing to refer to in order to make a guess. It’s a good idea to ask your web designer what they recommend. Remember to factor in some white space or clearance around images and H1, H2 and H3 tags. For web pages, the aim is to produce enough content to fill the space without making people scroll. For blogs and articles you can be a little more relaxed about layout.

Two; refer to SEO best practices. There are no hard and fast answers to this, but this article about Word Count for SEO recommends a minimum of 500 words per page. That’s about a page of A4 in a 12 point font. In reality, a shorter page is fine if your subject doesn’t naturally lend itself to a long article. We normally quote for 500 words so we can write shorter web content first with the option to scale up.

If you’re not sure about page length or word count, think of humans first and crawlers/ spiders second. Real people won’t enjoy reading web content that is deliberately padded and lengthened just to hit a certain word count. If you have a really good idea for an article, there’s nothing wrong with going up to 1,000 words. Just avoid going to extremes: we don’t recommend aiming below 250 or above 2,000.

Page titles for SEO

When a web content writer creates your copy, they’re going to need to know exactly what you want. That means you need to have a list of page titles, a site map or a rough sketch of the layout (known as a ‘wireframe’).

If you’re looking for original blogs and articles to improve SEO, it helps to give your copywriter at least one fixed title for the first blog so they know what you’re expecting from them. After that, you can continue to supply fixed titles to your blogger, or you can let them choose their own themes and topics. Normally we end up doing a mix of both, although it does depend how specialised your blog is.

Articles for SEO: headings and keywords

Web content writers don’t generally perform SEO keyword analysis or research: that’s something you need to arrange before you approach your copy writer. You can choose keywords from your analytics or employ an SEO consultant to help. But whatever you do, you’re going to need some idea of the keywords you’re targeting and the intensity of repetition you need.

When choosing keywords, spare a thought for your content writer too. A very high keyword density and a clutch of similar words will affect the readability of your copy and may make it feel awkward. Also, pages stuffed with keywords are easy to spot – they look cheap and they often don’t tell you very much at all. You don’t necessarily need a really high keyword density to create an effective SEO blog or web page, as you can use other tricks to promote keywords too. For instance, remember to put keywords in your blog titles when you can.

Consider your deadline

Last but not least, when ordering web content or articles for SEO, consider the time we will need to set up your project. We then need to write the content and pass it back to you for review. You may need to provide an order form, sign a contract, pay a deposit or upload source material; all of that takes time for both the client and the writer. Most copywriters also need a little notice to fit things in to their calendar. Finally, once your content is finished, you need to allow yourself time to read it thoroughly so you and your writer are both happy with the result.

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Claire Broadley

Technical writer, blogger, and editor at Red Robot Media
Claire Broadley has been a technical author and web content writer at Red Robot since 2010. She contributes to dozens of websites, focusing on consumer technology, online privacy, digital marketing, and small business topics.

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