Improving SEO Writing – Back to Basics

Improving SEO Writing is an ongoing important part of any SEO strategy. Effective writing is an important skill that any webmaster should have. Mastering basic English writing skills is a fundamental part of creating content your readers will understand.

While you may have to write simple and concise text, this doesn’t mean it should be short, boring, and feature no personality. Below we look at some writing rules many forget when focusing on keyword placement and other on-page SEO techniques.

1.      Content Structure

content structureHave a clear concept: before you start writing, you should understand the concept you are writing about. Ask yourself what the point of the page is. Once you are finished writing, ask yourself if you have achieved your goal.

If your concept is complex, outline it: doing research before you start writing is essential. It will help you outline multiple questions, requests, and sub concepts.

Answer queries: put yourself in your reader’s shoes and anticipate their questions. Doing so will help you determine if you have given them enough context to understand what your content.

Stop over-explaining: keep your content simple by giving readers just enough details to understand what you are saying. Don’t overwhelm readers with trivial details that probably are not important.

2.      Grammar – Parts of Speech

Grammar – Parts of SpeechParts of speech are things like nouns, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections.

So, writing as you would speak can sound conversational, but it can also lead to a lot of rumbling and fluff. Not only can this make your text hard to read, but it also adds a lot of unnecessary words. Here are few grammar techniques to help you make better writing choices.


Prepositions are words that show the relation between a subject and an object. There are four types:

  1. Location
  2. Direction
  3. Space
  4. Time

Some of the most popular propositions used in English include above, along, around, at, behind, by, down, from, in, into, near, of, off, on, to, toward, under, and with.

While using prepositions can add color to your text, excessive usage makes your text wordy.

For example:

It is best to speak with caution when talking with your male friend in the presence of your husband.

As you can see, the word “with” is used twice and unnecessarily. This sentence can be altered to read better as follows:

In the presence of your husband, speak cautiously to your male friend.


Adverbs can get really wordy, and become very unnecessary. Sure, they are okay to use once in a while. But if you suddenly find yourself using them more than you should, you are probably overdoing it. Some examples include:

  • Really
  • Seriously
  • Basically
  • Very
  • Certainly
  • Actually
  • Suddenly

As you can tell from that opening paragraph, I used too many adverbs. This is how you would fix the paragraph:

Adverbs can get redundant and become purposeless. Sure, they are okay to use once in a while. But if you find yourself using them more than you should, you are overdoing it.

When you get the hang of this, you will stop decorating weak works with adverbs. Descriptions such as very bad or very easy can be replaced with words such as nasty and straightforward.


One of the best ways to add detail to your sentences is to use adjectives. These are descriptive words used to give vital information or make sentences more interesting.

For example:

Please pass me the black t-shirt – black is adjective.

The fluffy cushions add so much character to the couch – fluff is the adjective


To avoid sounding mechanical and impersonal, you can use pronouns. They replace nouns within sentences and help with making nouns less repetitive. Subject pronouns you can use include she, he, they, it, you, and I.

3.      Filler Words and Phrases

Filler Words and PhrasesCertain words can make you sound unsure and untrustworthy. Words like “maybe, sort of, like, and might” are a great example.

For example:

If you make your purchase really early in the morning, you can possibly get your purchase tomorrow.

In this case, “if’ already tells that there is a chance that you may not get your purchase, so the word possible (synonym of maybe) is unnecessary.

Also, the word “really” is a filler adverb used to modify the adjective early.  You can also do without it.

4.      Using Semantics

Using SemanticsSemantics are synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, connotation, denotation and homophones. We will be focusing on synonyms and antonyms. Using synonyms is a great way to avoid having the same word in the same sentence or paragraph.

Synonyms are similar words.

For example:

Jimmy is a funny guy who sometimes makes funny comments during the meeting. However, his funny moments are missed when he is away.

Jimmy may be really funny, but there is no need to say “funny” three times in two sentences. Here is how you would fix it:

Jimmy is a funny guy who sometimes makes humorous comments during the meetings. However, his comical moments are missed when he is away.

Antonyms are opposite words.

For example:

Anthony is not a good boy because he chewed my shoe.

This sentence flow better as:

Anthony is a bad boy because he chewed my shoe.

5.      Be Conversational

 Be ConversationalRegardless of what you are writing, it is intended for another human to read. Being conversational makes the reader feel as if you were writing to them personally. Formal writing isn’t conversational and can create a barrier between you and the reader.

Here are a few tips for being more conversational with your writing:

  • Watch out for passive voice
  • Keep your sentences short and simple
  • Know your audience
  • Use pronouns
  • Break a few rules (ending words with prepositions and starting sentences with “and” or “but”)

6.      Don’t Forget Punctuation

PunctuationIt is fair to say that most people battle with punctuation, especially when it comes to using commas, semicolons, hyphens, and colons correctly.

The 14 most used punctuation marks in English grammar are the full stop, question mark, exclamation mark, dash, parentheses, brackets, apostrophe, quotation marks, comma, semicolon, hyphen, colon, braces, and ellipsis.

We will be looking at the top five most problematic punctuation marks:

  1. Comma

Commas (,) are used to:

  • Separate two sentences: We went for lunch, then we went to the bar for drinks.
  • Separate a list: Tamera wants the black, pink, and white track pants.
  • Direct address: Not today, Tom.
  1. Semicolon

Semicolons (;) are used to link independent clauses better than a full stop would

Angel was upset; she knew he only left to make a point.

  1. Colon

Colons (:) are used to introduce an explanation, a quotation, or an example. They can also be used for emphasis or to explain an independent clause.

  • Introduction – Abbie was planning to study five modules: politics, English, drama, psychology, and economics.
  • Emphasis – I didn’t have time to change my outfit: I was already late.
  • Explain independent clause – There was one thing Gabby wanted more than any other: a new car.
  1. Apostrophe

An apostrophe (‘) is used for many reasons. It can indicate contraction, plurals of lowercase letters, and possession.

  • Omission: I’ve, wasn’t, we’re, aren’t, etc.
  • Plural for lowercase letters: Its easy to remember like the a, b and c’s.
  • Possessive case: Kate’s flowers are stunning. Or, “the teams’ day out was much needed.”
  1. Dash and Hyphen

A dash is used to separate words into statements. A hyphen is used to join two or more words together into a term.

Dash: He gave his answer — Yes!

Hyphen: well-known, good-hearted, and son-in-law.

Conclusion of Improving SEO Writing

The English language is not hard to master. In fact, all you need to do is stick to basics to get the most out of your content. Revising your parts of speech and punctuation every now and again will not do any harm.

Remember that writing more conversationally can help with user intent.  Even though we need to please Google bots,  we need to remember who we are writing for.

Writing for SEO starts with writing, then spending time optimizing for keyword placement/ Once you have done this,, you should go back and read your work again.

Reading your work out loud will help with the flow of the page and lose the monotonous sentences. Also, you are more likely to notice where you have left out a comma or full stop.