You’re hiring a freelance writer to help with SEO. But how can you be sure your writer has applied SEO effectively? 

While SEO strategies vary and each writer might apply those tenants differently, there are several things you can look for when reviewing SEO application.

5 Ways to Know Your Freelance Writer Applied SEO

When interviewing and testing a new writer, there are several steps you can take to review their SEO skills. Here’s how to see if the writer has effectively applied SEO strategies to your content.

1. Review Keyword Usage

Keyword usage in articles should be natural. If it sounds like the keyword is applied only for SEO, it isn’t reader-friendly and search engines will know it isn’t quality content.

As you go through the content, review how natural the keywords flow in the content. Also count how many times the writer uses the keyword or phrase. If it seems excessive, it probably is.

The general rule of thumb is that the primary keyword should appear no more than three times in a 1,000-word blog. It’s good to space these out in headings and body copy though for best results.

Secondary keywords should only appear once. For best results, it’s better to use keyword variations than it is to repeat the same keyword multiple times.

Check to see if your writer used headings appropriately to break up the content and to use keywords in those headings.

2. Run it Through Grammarly

An important aspect of SEO is grammar and accuracy. Poorly written content simply won’t engage your audience or help you reach the top of search results.

Grammarly will help you check for common mistakes, misspellings, improper word use and more, even with a free subscription.

You don’t have to be a grammar expert to evaluate a writer’s skills. Modern tools can help you do that.

Also realize that these tools have limitations. So every “mistake” that it flags won’t necessarily be wrong. How well the content reads to you will be just as important as seeing whether a grammar program flags errors.

3. Check the Flesch-Kincaid Score

Once you’ve checked the grammar and word use, it’s time to see how the content ranks for Flesch-Kincaid. The industry your business is in and the complexity of the topic will impact this score.

For example, medical content is challenging to make easy to read. So is technology content because you naturally need larger words and more complex sentence structure to explain these topics.

But ultimately, you want your content to score in a decent range for your industry. Most marketing content should get a 60 or higher because this puts it at a 7-8-grade level, which is understandable for the average reader.

You might not think about readability as an SEO aspect but it is crucial. Search engines want to delight their customers with quality content that answers their queries. That way, they keep coming back, potentially clicking on ads and leading to revenue for the search engine.

4. Think About How Easy It Is to Read

As you look at the content, does it feel overwhelming? Are the paragraphs large and chunky?

Do you have to scroll a long distance before the next heading? Are there bullet points and numbered lists to help make the content feel more digestible?

All these factors impact how easy the content is to read. Simple sentence structures, shorter paragraphs and clear division of content using headings can make readers feel welcomed and ready to enjoy your content.

Call-out boxes, graphics and visuals all help make the content come to life. Depending on your agreement with your writer, you might have this content included. If you want more engaging articles, you’ll need to pay for that added time to help you find good visuals. However well-structured content should be a given when working with a skilled writer.

5. Request Meta Data and URL Slug Suggestions

Many writers don’t implement the content on their client’s websites. Your agreement might be different with your writer so just be sure you know what to expect and have clearly outlined roles and responsibilities at the onset of a project.

Even if your writer is not posting your content to your website, you can request that they include metadata and URL slug suggestions for the best possible SEO results.

Outstanding writers will provide these elements to you without you requesting them. But others might need a prompt and to have that request included in their agreement with you.

If you’re working with an SEO writer who isn’t currently passing these tests and want to explore your options, schedule a free consultation with Rebekah Brately at Bridge the Gap Communication. Rebekah is a writer with more than 12 years of experience and has worked in digital marketing roles to know key strategies for reaching customers.