Is there such a thing as writing naturally for SEO purposes and benefits?

Seems like a silly question doesn’t it? Well, I guess it just surprises me a bit when the subject comes up, gets debated, and usually ends up with someone checking the keyword density and arriving at a ranking conclusion based entirely on that.

MJTaylor over at WPW asked this very question in a recent thread…

Is it possible to write naturally and optimize for the search engines?

Well of course it is!

Look folks, for just a minute, hide all of your tools, especially that keyword density checker. Yes, even your spellchecker… use a dictionary. 🙂

Now pick a subject, any one at all and simply write. Write as if you’re actually having a conversation with someone. Simply write naturally. Once you’re finished, reread what you’ve written and make any additions or changes and title it. Remember… NO TOOLS! Just your brain. File it and forget it for the time being.

Now, pick another totally different subject. Use all the writing tools, density checkers, thesaurus, keyword suggestors that you want. Make all the changes you want and title it. Finished?

Okay, give both pages to someone to read and ask them what they honestly think. You may find yourself surprised at to which page they preferred reading.

Don’t get me wrong, there are tools that can help you when you’re writing for SEO but far too often, people rely solely upon those tools to determine the final product, adding keywords, phrases and text to SATISFY THE TOOL AND NOT THE READER.

Write naturally first. It’s far more pleasing to read than a page that was obviously written with SEO and ranking as its primary purpose. It’s easy to spot those from a mile away and is often no fun to read because the key phrases and related phrases are stuffed into the text every time a “tool” tells the writer to do so.

Natural writing for SEO can have even more benefits than what’s simply on the surface. Interesting and fun writing, even when it may not be the “best” writing, keeps people’s attention. They’re more likely to read it instead of skimming and more likely to read other things you’ve written. More likely to tell other people about it and more likely to link to it.