SEO writing tips: A love/hate guide

Optimizing your content for search engines often comes at the expense of clever, snappy writing. Here’s how you can find a happy medium.

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• Clever headline: “From beets to leeks, meatless eats for kiddo treats!” • SEO headline: “Six easy vegetarian recipes for kids”

Who’s searching for “beets to leeks” or “meatless eats for kiddo treats?” Nobody—other than me (and maybe my mom). Who’s searching for “easy vegetarian recipes for kids”? According to Google’s Keyword Planner, a bunch of vegetarian parents. As much as I’ve felt my creative energies have been thwarted in the name of optimizing content, I’ve realized its benefits. For one, SEO gets the content in front of more people than me (and my mom). It also helps me cut the crap (see clever headline example, above). I’ve learned how to use SEO as a writer, too. For any of my scribbling comrades who have also felt stunted by the red ink of an SEO editor, here are my tips:

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