Creativity and an awareness of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) are equally important for the success of a blog, particularly a company blog. As defined by David Meerman in the 5th edition of The New Rules of Marketing & PR, SEO is “the art and science of ensuring that the words and phrases on your site, blog, and other online content are found by the search engines and that, once found, your site is given the highest ranking possible in the natural search results.” For a writer, SEO and creativity can appear to be pulling in two different directions. So who would win in a tug of war between creativity and SEO?
Given that Google creates around five hundred algorithm updates annually, it is exceedingly difficult to keep pace with what is required of bloggers and content developers. But in terms of keeping creativity alive, general suggestions can be made to lessen the intensity of the tugs. You could also raise the question if it should be perceived as a tug of war at all.
The rules of the game
Although rules may seem to dampen the creative spirit, keep in mind that most forms of creative expression are framed within certain parameters. When publishing for an online audience whose interest is fleeting and whose attention is sought by many, it is essential that you have an over-all idea of trending SEO updates. Your daily research and reading should include articles by thought leaders such as Barry Schwartz, Danny Sullivan and Matt Cutts who constantly tackle SEO related topics on their blogs and social networking sites. Their diverse outlooks will help you gain a holistic understanding of SEO and how it can propel creative thinking.
Assess audience reactions
Popular searches or keywords are an important aspect of SEO. In this regard it is extremely important to closely assess the interests of your target audience. Subsequent to conducting this assessment you will realise that your audience has many queries and concerns that can be tackled in your upcoming blog posts. As you come up with innovative ways of tackling a problem, your creative juices will flow freely.
Know your competitors
A close study of the topics tackled by your competitors will also prove very useful. Observe the topics, writing styles and solutions suggested. These will pave the way for innovations of your own. If your competitors have gained a prominent standing in search engine rankings, it will be useful to assess the way keywords have been inserted. Maintain a keen eye but always use these observations as a means of further cultivating creativity.
The most challenging aspect of SEO is having to incorporate keywords not only in the page title but also to other areas such as headers and the meta description. You will also be advised to provide links to credible sites and link back to your own work. This shouldn’t stifle your creativity because as a writer you would be accustomed to moulding your writing to suit the interests of a wide readership. Bend the rules to your liking while making sure your writing is in line with the stipulated SEO guidelines. After all, the most innovative individuals ventured out of their comfort zones.
In our opinion, the tug of war between SEO and creativity in blogging should be declared a draw or even considered non-existent. As bloggers we have researchers to guide us, competitors to motivate us and SEO to make us winners at the end of the day.
If you feel the need to discover more here’s a good place to start. We also recommend the SEO-related articles published in Search Engine Land. If you feel we would benefit from any other article you read, share away!