Writing for the Web is different than writing for publications or TV

During the many years I spent as a TV reporter, I wrote and edited about 15,000 stories. While considering many things when writing the stories, I never considered keywords.  Now, with most of my writing ending up on the Web, I’m finding out that one of the things I need to do is pay attention to keywords.Keywords?  Yes, keywords! This is how web-writer Mia Carter describes their importance: “Writing that’s intended for the net must contain strong keywords in order to rank well in search engine results. In short, if the search engines can’t find your article, then it’s not going to be profitable.”

Instead of just using the words that would normally flow from your writing vocabulary, you need to give more consideration to the words that readers might use in searching for the information in your story.  I was trying to think of an example of how this might work. And so, because I’m having a mid-morning craving for popcorn (my favorite treat), let’s use that as a story topic. Think about the words you would use if you were trying to find information on popcorn. The list might include; snack, salty snack, movie treat, butter flavored treat, and so the list can go on and on.  While it might be a good idea to write down keywords before writing the article,  I found a caution from Carter about having too many keywords.

“Be sure that the keywords flow naturally with the story; inserting too many keywords – known as ‘keyword stuffing’ – will make for an awkward read and unprofessional appearance to an article.”

It’s not just the body of the story that needs strong keywords, don’t forget the title or subtitle.

Mel Serow