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February 16, 2012

7 Dangerous Lies Your SEO Content Writer is Telling You – A SEO-News Exclusive Article

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Now that we’re living in a world where Pandas are something to be feared and relevant links are worth their weight in gold, there is an even bigger focus on quality SEO content writing.

The only problem?

Far too many of the content writers out there can’t actually write! As a result, they prey on people like you – hoping you’ll believe their promises and never notice that they don’t actually have any talent. Sadly, the odds are high that you’ve been lied to by an SEO content writer. Heck, you may have been told several lies!

There are some real doozies being told out there, but these 7 are the most common – and they’re also the most damaging to your business:

1. “I don’t outsource any of my work.”

This is a classic example of the ol’ “bait and switch.” Lots of SEO content writers promise that they (or a trusted associate) personally handle all of the writing. Then, they outsource the work to the far-reaches of the globe – and you wind up being the poor sap that gets stuck with content that’s not even remotely close to what you were expecting.

Before you agree to work with any SEO content writing service, you need to ask how they operate. If the person you’re talking to isn’t going to personally handle the writing, you need to find out who’s going to do it – along with what kind of credentials they have.

2. “I’ll have this to you in 24 hours.”

Have you seen those SEO content writing ads that promise tons of high-quality articles in just 24 hours? If you believe you’re going to get quality craftsmanship out of an offer like that, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you!

When you take advantage of promises like this, you end up with two scenarios – and neither one is good.

The first possibility is that you might actually wind up getting your order on time. The only problem is that you’re not sure if your content was written in English or some kind of Klingon-spinoff language.

The second possibility is that 24 hours pass, and you’ve got nothing to show for the money you’ve spent. Then, when you try to get a status update from your content writer, you get fed more lies – like the fact that the writer’s cat had the hiccups and, as a result, they were far too distraught to focus on your order.

3. “I don’t use article spinners.”

You wouldn’t believe how many marketers have been fed this line – right before they were handed a bunch of poorly-spun gibberish content. I’ve heard this same story from a number of new clients. They trusted some “writer,” and it wound up coming back and biting them in the, you-know-where. Adding insult to injury, they had to pay me to either fix the mess or to start over from scratch.

4. “I have tons of experience.”

While it is possible to find a diamond in the rough, most of the good SEO content writers out there have solid credentials. Sure, writing involves having natural talent, but harnessing that talent – by doing things like going to college and majoring in something related to writing, or having legitimate professional writing experience – is what separates the cream from the rest of the crop.

Unfortunately, the world wide web lends itself to anonymity and resume-boosting (if not out-and-out lying). Some SEO content writers will swear up and down that they’ve got the experience you’re looking for. Then, they send you content that your third grader would be ashamed to put his name on.

A good SEO content writing service will be clear on its experience and qualifications right on its website. If you’ve got any questions, a good writer will be happy to answer them for you. If your potential SEO content writer seems a little too vague, chances are they’re not quite as experienced as they claim to be.

5. “I do tons of quality research.”

There are plenty of solid places to do research on the web. A good SEO content writer will take advantage of several of them, just for one article or blog post. The bad writers will tell you how thorough their research is – then head straight to Wikipedia and copy information that may or may not be accurate.

When you read the finished product, you’ll be able to tell immediately if your writer really did do solid research, or if they’re just passing on the same half-truths and rumors that are circulating around the web.

The best way to prevent this from happening to you is to check out other content that your writer has written – either on their own website or blog, or in a guest post somewhere. Even if the subject isn’t related to your niche, you’ll be able to tell if it’s chock full of legitimate facts, or if it’s all fluff.

6. “I can make sure that all of your keywords flow naturally.”

This is a big lie that content writers love to tell. After all, a huge part of SEO content writing is SEO!

Some keywords are tougher to incorporate than others, but a good SEO content writer will have the ability to make sure that none of them stick out like a sore thumb. The last thing you want is a keyword that screams, “Hey! Look over here! I’m a keyword! I hope Google loves the fact that I’m smack-dab in the middle of this sentence!” All you’ll get from content like that is readers that run screaming in the opposite direction.

How can you tell if your SEO content writer incorporates keywords the right way?

Ask!

A good writer will never say they have a “blanket” keyword density. They’ll say it depends on the keyword and how often they can incorporate it, while still having an article or blog post that flows properly. On the other hand, the bad writers will make crazy promises – like a keyword density of 3-5% for each of your target keywords, or promising to use each keyword at least 27 times in a 400 word article.

7. “I can create awesome SEO articles for just $2.”

The problem with content that only costs $2 is that it results in a terrible hourly wage for your writer. Personally, I write very quickly, so to research and write a 400 word article takes me about an hour (give or take, depending on the subject). Since I like having a roof over my head and food on my dinner table, I’m not willing to work for $2 an hour. I’m sure you couldn’t make ends meet that way, either!

When you’re paying a writer a couple of bucks per article, their focus isn’t on giving you a well-researched, carefully-crafted piece of content. Instead, their goal is to churn out $2 articles as quickly as they can, so that they can try to make enough money to live on.

Look at it that way, and it’s easy to see that you’re never going to get high-quality at those prices. But it makes for a great sales pitch, right? Too bad it’s completely untrue!

Bottom line – There are some amazing SEO content writers out there. They’re intelligent, hard-working, creative, and engaging. There are also a bunch of “wannabes” out there, who are only looking for a quick buck. If you don’t choose wisely, you’ll wind up getting these lies spoon-fed to you, and your business will have a real mess on its hands. Who’s got the time for that?!


Nicole Beckett prides herself on being a “somebody,” instead of a “wannabe.” If you’re looking for SEO content that can take your business to new heights, Nicole and the team of professional journalists at Premier Content Source can give it to you.

53 Responses to “7 Dangerous Lies Your SEO Content Writer is Telling You – A SEO-News Exclusive Article

    avatar Janeth says:

    It also damages your business and your reputation. The worst part is most of the people that hire you for that price will then turn around and demand that you work like they’re paying you thousands of dollars.

    avatar Former Marine says:

    Nicole; IMO, this is another great article from you and I’m not surprised that all “alleged” SEO companies / site owners haven’t responded at all.

    From my many years of Internet experience, all of your points are absolutely valid and point out the truth.

    Guess that’s what scares alot of SEO companies / site owners … they don’t want the truth about them exposed.

    Nicole, great article! Quality content is more important than ever, and that’s not going to change. I was just on the phone yesterday with a prospective client who was grumbling that the good writers were “so expensive” and then he admitted that you get what you pay for. If a client doesn’t want to pay me a reasonable amount to do a quality job, I don’t want/need them as a client.

    Jacquelyn, you’re absolutely right – on all points! I’ve had plenty of clients who tried the “cheapos” first, then wound up heading my way when they didn’t get what they wanted.

    The sooner business owners understand that they’re actually renting a writer’s expertise for however long it takes them to work on their project, the better off they (and their traffic/sales) will be!

    Former Marine, thanks for the kind words!

    You’re right, the “alleged” SEO guys and business “wannabes” won’t be around to share their thoughts anytime soon. Luckily, though, they’re not all like that. I do alot of work with SEO companies and business owners who “get it”, so it’s nice to know that *everyone* isn’t out there looking for shortcuts! :)

    avatar Copywriter says:

    Good conversation. The post touches on the vagaries of SEO. On the other hand, if a SEO agency/marketer/expert, or anyone for that matter, approached my business with answers of “it depends” and “I don’t know”…then I would know I would not depend on them for results. To SEO writer it is always a challenge to convert visitors into customers. Nice post.

    Janeth, you’ve touched on a very good point – the content you publish is your only chance to communicate with your target audience. If it’s not good, they’re never going to believe that you’re worth their time and money.

    And as for the people who pay hamburger prices and expect filet mignon service – well, it’s short-sided for sure. It’s also human nature to a point (the desire to get something for nothing). However, it’s not smart business practice because it rarely works out that way :)

    avatar Geoff says:

    Nicole, I started out by playing around with tons of $2 posts on niche sites and quickly realized that cost has a direct correlation to quality. And the time is gone where you can just pump out lots of keyword laiden posts and hope to rank with the big G. The past year or so I’ve started focusing on quality instead of quantity (with my own writing and staff writers) and man does it make a difference in terms of traffic and interaction. You definitely get what you pay for!

    Thanks for chiming in, Geoff! You’re right, the days of “blasting” junk content and building quick links is gone. Having the right skills or the right writer is crucial to setting yourself apart online. Kudos to you for making the switch!

    avatar Frontliner says:

    Thank you for information. I am an aspiring SEO writer. I want to become a good and respected contractor.

    You’re very welcome, Frontliner! Congrats on getting into the industry. It seems like you’re dedicated to building a business – rather than “just writing” – so that already puts you a step ahead of alot of other folks!

    avatar Rahul Jagtiani says:

    SEO writing isn’t rocket science. Anyone who has written any sort of articles, or essays in high school and done a decent job at it, can be an seo writer.

    SEO isn’t rocket science either and there are way too many scammers out there taking advantage of the unsuspecting small business owner. All u need is intelligent, original keyword rich content and a few technological changes to your site architecture which your developer can handle. Once most people realize this, the SEO job profile will vanish or become extinct!

    This is a rare and well-written post, Nicole! Many good writers are suffering because of this “$2 per article” market trend, but I firmly believe this is a bubble waiting to burst. All the best!

    You’re right, Rahul. Far too many “writers” are taking advantage of people – hence the thought behind this article! :)

    However, SEO content writing isn’t nearly as easy or as one-size-fits-all as you make it sound in your comment. I suggest you read an article I published a couple years ago called “SEO Content Writing – Why ‘Just Anyone’ Can’t Do It” (http://www.amazines.com/article_detail.cfm/1939906?articleid=1939906)

    I was hoping the bubble would burst after Google Panda, Ankush! :) Unfortunately, I guess there will always be people out there who want something for nothing.

    avatar Gil says:

    Nicole, great article ! I found it so informative that I made a translation in French and published it on http://goo.gl/CIWz5 including links to this post and your own website, let me know it that’s ok !

    That’s definitely OK, Gil! Glad you liked it! :)

    avatar Gil says:

    Thanks Nicole !

    avatar Miguel says:

    I am looking for a content writer for my new business and I am planning to build 10 SEO articles
    this month.

    What is your rate to do so?

    Regards

    avatar Ageless says:

    Write articles and blog posts can be a big challenge, especially if English is not your first language. I think the idea of hiring a skilled and professional writer is not bad at all and deserves to be seriously considered.

    Hello sir, i am provider seo article and content so plz content me, affordable price

    avatar Nicole says:

    Miguel — shoot me an email at nicole@premiercontentsource.com so that I can get a price quote to you. We base our rates on word length, so let me know how long you’d like each article to be.

    Ageless — Writing compelling content is hard enough even when you’re a native English speaker, so I can’t imagine how tough it would be to do if you weren’t a native speaker! You’re so right – if you can’t write things yourself (or, you simply don’t want to), hiring a writer is a great idea — just as long as it’s the *right* writer! ;)

    Hi Nicole,

    It’s a sad truth that there are some who think that anyone with a set of fingers and a keyboard can become a content writer.

    I started writing online years ago and back then it was even worse. Content mills were flourishing, creating opportunities for unskilled, non-native speaking essay writers to work for peanuts. Luckily, these days there is more awareness of the value of well-written content. Building strong client relationships by consistently providing quality content usually means that a ‘real’ SEO content writer can charge whatever he or she wishes.

    Anyway, a great article. I`ll create a follow up to post on my website and link back to you also.

    Daniel

    avatar Danica says:

    Insightful article Nicole. What I find is many times clients expect more from SEO than it is meant to do. Unless there is a strategy in place that is clearly defined to measure results expected, any writer they hire can slap keywords in an article.

    Which keeps $2/500 word article-spinners in business. Eventually they will go away, but don’t expect it to be any time soon.

    avatar Nicole says:

    Great point, Danica!

    Oftentimes, people think of SEO as a catch-all that’s going to do everything they’ve ever needed (and more!) — without actually giving any thought to a particular strategy. Those people also tend to not know a whole lot about SEO. As a result, they think any keywords are good keywords — even if they’re shoved in randomly and unnaturally.

    avatar Matt says:

    You made some great points in this article. Some article writers offer services with promises they cannot keep, however there are still honest and good quality writers out there. Thanks for sharing!

    avatar Nicole says:

    Thanks, Matt!

    Just like in any other industry, there are “good apples” and “bad apples”. If you want to wind up with the best results, you’ve got to do some digging. However, it’s totally worth it!

    avatar mohammad umair says:

    Nicole

    I’ve just started on content writing journey. Your post definitely has helped me to know what I shouldn’t be doing if I want to become a respected writer. Just as Danica said, I too believe that good content results when there is understanding between both the writer and the client.
    Thank You!

    avatar Stuart says:

    Hey Nicole,

    Thanks for the great article. Just reading it displays that you’re a talented writer. It’s definitely critical that business owners know that quality matters!

    I’m an SEO content writer who writes because I love to write. It just happens I love SEO too :)

    Hopefully a few business owners will read this post and understand that content writing is more than SEO, it’s about engaging you readers with quality information.

    The one thing I ask my clients is:

    ‘What are you using SEO for?’

    Then they soon understand that rubbish content will never help their online business.

    Thanks for the article, and keep up the good work :)

    Stu SaturnSEO

    This is a great article. I hope business owners will realize that if they want persuasive and engaging content, they have to focus on the quality of articles not on the cost.

    However, a lot of companies are still looking for writers who can write at $2 and even $1 per article. You can see these rates at most bidding sites like odesk….

    jun

    avatar Sherrie Carter says:

    I have been writing content and marketing websites since I was a teenager. My success rate is very attractive. This article does have some truth to it, but a content writer and an SEO with passion would never do any of these tactics. Just a friendly reminder that talented and honest SEOs still out there!

    avatar Nicole says:

    Mohammad — Glad I was able to help! :)

    Stu — Thanks so much for the kind words! That’s a great question to ask your clients (so simple, but the simple questions are usually the best!). It really hammers the point home that it’s all about informing people and showcasing your business in the very best light.

    Jun — Unfortunately, you’re never going to convince some people that they can’t get content for $1 or $2. It’s their loss. Luckily, there are plenty of companies out there who “get it” and understand just how important content is — and why you actually have to invest in it.

    Sherrie — There are certainly talented writers out there! :) Unfortunately, the bad apples tend to make all of us hard workers look bad. I cringe at some of the horror stories I’ve heard, and I’m sure you have, too!

    avatar mohammad umair says:

    Nicole
    You are welcome. Keep posting such wonderful articles.

    avatar James Sanson says:

    My question is where do you find valid good writers you know how to structure it for readability, search engine ranking, etc.

    avatar Nicole says:

    James — Start with people/places you trust. If you subscribe to a certain newsletter, see who the owner of it recommends (or who they have guest posting for them). Or, if you work with any SEO professionals/web designers/etc, ask them who they recommend. They might just know of someone great!

    In any event, once you get the name of a writer/writing company, do some homework. Don’t just take their word for it that they’re a great writer. Instead, look at things they’ve written, and ask them questions. Remember, the writer you hire is going to determine what kind of reputation YOU have online — so choose wisely!

    avatar Su Lee says:

    Thanks for that very relevant and trenchant article, Nicole. As an article writer myself, I’m not sure how to market my work and I have no idea what the market rates are. I’m comfortable working with one particular writing company and I think my work is good, since I never get rejections or rewrite requirements. But sometimes I wonder whether there’s a world out there that’s passing me by!

    avatar Asclepiodorus says:

    One should never speak of himself. His/Her ego will always have the final word, thus compromising the veracity of said words. Instead, one should always have proofs of his/her works. Be it written articles, paintings, crafts or really anything else. This way, clients will have a clear statement of one’s abilities and skills. In other words: no promises — let your work ‘speak’ for you through an outstanding portfolio.

    Hi Nicole.

    You have written a great article here and I can totally relate to the $2/article stories. Your article made me realized that I might have been feeding myself lies when I called myself a writer.

    English is my second language and I have written high school essays to actual technical books.

    Now I tried my hand on writing articles as a source of income and I specifically develop a blog to serve as my portfolio.

    The story is, I was hired to write a $1.75/200 words article. This is after a very lengthy interview, he asked me to submit a test article. Upon his review of the said article, he said that it was full of spelling, sentence construction and grammatical error. The result was that he ended the job contract and commented “misrepresentation of skills”. I did not like his reason for ending the contract, knowing that before everything else, I have given him my blog site for him to review my writing style and grammar among others.

    To say the least the experience made me doubt my capability and thus now I belong to the $2/article horror stories. But what really hurt the most is not losing that cheap writing job but being called a liar in my face.

    So I ask you this upon reading this comment, do I have a problem on my sentence construction? My grammar? Or if you have time to read some of my blog entries, am I just deluding myself in calling me a writer?

    Thank you and my apologies for airing my grievance here. I know this is not the right place but your article just struck a chord.

    -Maria

    avatar Sara Wright says:

    Maria, your writing is no worse than the author’s writing. Take Nicole’s work to the employer and you will get the same feedback.

    If you aren’t a professional writer, don’t say you are a professional writer. End of story. Do what you do best.

    I do not like that Nicole wrote this blog article posing as a “better-than-everyone-else” writer when she has no background whatsoever in professional writing — clearly.

    avatar Nicole says:

    Hi Maria:

    Thanks for taking the time to chime in! :)

    If your blog is written as well as your comment on this article, I certainly wouldn’t label you a “horror story”. In fact, I wouldn’t have known you were a non-native speaker if you hadn’t mentioned it! You’ve got a couple of grammatical mistakes in there, but you write *far* better than the horror stories I’m talking about (and *far* better than the messes I’ve been hired to clean up!)

    Don’t be so hard on yourself about the writing job you described. Some people just aren’t very nice (especially out on the web, where people have monitors and keyboards to hide behind). It could be that you ran into a bully, or that your customer simply found someone who charged less than what you were charging (hard to believe, but it’s true!). I wouldn’t waste too much time worrying about it.

    Now, does that mean you’re cut out to be a professional writer? Maybe, maybe not. You *will* have to get those few errors taken care of before you start selling your services to paying customers. However, you were able to convey more emotion in one comment than most of the articles I read these days! :)

    avatar Sunil says:

    I believe a genuine content writer never promises moon and stars to clients. However, there is no content writer who truly claims to be “know-all” individual as content writing involves gathering quality inputs which invariably forces them read and understand thoughts of other writers. A relevant experience in writing and being word-smith is all that can make you a good content writer. However, it took me some months to finally get the drift of SEO content writing.

    I would love having your comment on this article of mine on Ezine.

    http://ezinearticles.com/?Content-Writing—5-Quality-Measures-You-Should-Never-Ignore&id=7423424

    avatar Gray Ghostwriter says:

    This is one of the most brilliantly-written pieces of self-promotion that I have ever seen. It has all of the classic marketing elements: position yourself as an expert, call anyone who doesn’t have your credentials a “wannabe,” and promise to “grow your business to new heights” in a piece that criticizes marketing lies.

    Thankfully, most internet marketers don’t fall for the assertion that “credentials equals results;” they simply want those results, and are able to keep an open mind when looking for well-written content.

    It’s no accident that plenty of journalists are looking for work; the newspaper model is failing miserably in the internet age. It is, however, quite amusing that journalists still perceive themselves to be superior to those who had to do other things for a living.

    Anyway, congratulations on your transition from journalist to sales copywriter. Putting an attractive face on sales copy and disguising it as “journalism” is definitely a great recipe for prosperity. If you’re lucky, nobody will notice the inherent hypocrisy.

    You’re a brilliant copywriter. Why don’t you just try being honest about it? While you’re at it, you could stop belittling others who are out here making a living.

    avatar Sara Wright says:

    As reality would have it, this article contains scores of grammatical errors! Ha! I laughed when I saw all the sentences ending with prepositions! Not to mention blatant punctuation errors.

    The common person may not recognize all the errors, but a professional writer notices them immediately.

    Nicole, you are right about several points. However, before launching another article like this, please have it proofread by a professional writer.

    I’ll bet you delete my comment because you don’t want to be exposed as one of the writers you described!

    avatar expatseek says:

    As a website eager to develop solid content, it was great to read this article and get some important advice. Thanks

    I agree. Freelance sites are full of these people. I came across a job application on one of these of a guy saying that he was native and an expert writer. However, there were tons of mistakes in the application. Guess what: he was awarded the job. Obviously, the client did not read the text through. It is worth to check the reputation of the SEO writer and ask for samples.

    This is a great article, it mainly comes down to content now. If Panda doesn’t find good content on your site you won’t be rewarded. If your writer is not helping…its time to get a new one.

    avatar John says:

    Nice article Nicole, in these days of quick, cheap fixes it is good to see a focus on the importance of delivering quality.

    I was recently asked if there was an industry recognised qualification for content writers. You mentioned the importance of solid credentials and I wondered if you had any recommendations for qualifications. I guess this would include content writing and an understanding of SEO.

    Thanks in advance,
    John

    As far as I know, there isn’t any type of industry recognized qualification for web content writers (I’m sure there are membership groups that writers can pay to join, but that’s definitely not the same thing!)

    If I were shopping around for a writer, I’d look at their background — did they go to college? What did they major in? What type of “real world” experience do they have? I would also look to see where/if they rank for certain content-related keywords. That will tell you if they *really* know about SEO. I would also read their website carefully. After all, if they can’t handle their own writing, I wouldn’t let them handle mine! :)

    avatar Gregory says:

    I think it always helps to find a good content writer who knows your industry. I work with a bunch of different industries but always make sure to source writers that know their stuff. It always makes me laugh reading an article that is clearly written by someone who knows nothing on the topic. Not a good way to get people engaged with the content… here’s an article I wrote recently on the intangible benefits that offering free SEO content writing services can bring.

    avatar Glen Wilson says:

    Great article Nicole. Unfortunately in this age of outsourcers, elances, odesk, fiverr etc.. people go for the quick fix and get sucked into using strategies, personnel and tools that unfortunately are going to come back and bite them in the bottom.

    Whenever I use an article writer now, I pay no less than $10 and have paid up to $50 for great content.

    It’s the old saying, you get what you pay for.

    Thanks, Glen! You’re right — these days, people want a push-button solution for everything. However, when it comes to something as important as your content marketing strategy, you can’t afford to cut corners. Unfortunately, there are a ton of writers who like to prey on this “easy fix” mentality — and offer you an “easy” solution. In the end, though, they wind up making the process much harder than it needs to be!

    avatar Tuhin says:

    Hello Nicole,
    I have some writer friends who get the work outsourced from amateur writers to earn more profit! They pay these writers marginal amount and charge high from clients. As a result the quality of the work deteriorates! I am against this practice and consider it as a severe form of cheating!

    You’re right, Tuhin… it’s absolutely cheating! That’s why it’s so important to do a little bit of homework before you hire a writer. Find out what kind of qualifications the person writing YOUR stuff has. If you’re dealing with a company that employs several different writers, make sure there are specific hiring standards in place. Good companies will be happy to answer your questions… If you have a gut feeling that this writer/company may not be for you, don’t ignore it! You’re probably right!

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