Section Four: After You’ve Done the Writing

You’ve studied the brief or created your own outline. You’ve done the research and written the content. What’s next?

Checking for Keyword % Usage

We’ve already established that keywords are important for SEO, but stuffing your article with too many keywords can harm readability. Aim for a natural integration of keywords, keeping the density of every word or phrase around 1-2% of the total word count.

To get more specific, the best ratios are 3% or less for a single word, 2% or less for two-word phrases, and 1% or less for phrases of three or more words. But this is just a basic guideline. Not all clients will abide by these numbers or might have their own ratios to meet.

Copy the entirety of the article and paste it into a density checker like keyworddensitychecker.io to find out if you’ve overused any words or phrases so that you can make some tweaks.

Using Tools like Surfer

There are endless SEO tools like Surfer that can analyze your content for keyword usage, structure, and other SEO factors. Keyword density checkers are great, but tools like Surfer offer suggestions for overall improvement to the work.

The best part is that Surfer SEO is super easy to use! Just paste your written article, and it will analyze it for optimal keywords, density, word length, and suggested headings. It will even give your article a content score.

Checking for Plagiarism

These days, this step is more important than ever. Always assure your client that your work is original by using plagiarism checkers like Copyscape or the one built into Grammarly. Plagiarism not only harms your reputation but also your client’s SEO ranking.

Copyscape is great, but you have to pay for every single check you do. Personally, I would stick with Grammarly Premium for this. You get so much more than just a plagiarism checker, and it’s a must-have for any freelance writer. 

Plagiarism checkers will highlight text that’s too similar to content already existing on the web and will even link to it. Just change the wording until the checker no longer flags it, and you’re golden!

Editing Your Own Work

Editing is just as important as writing. Most clients will already have an editor that your content moves onto, but I think a writer should still hand over a near-perfect piece.

Check for grammar and spelling errors, clarity, and coherence, and make sure your article aligns with the client’s brief and style guide.

Steps for Self-Editing

  1. Naked-eye read-through
  2. Run through Microsoft Word’s editing feature
  3. Read aloud or use Word’s built-in feature that will read back the text
  4. Run through Google Docs’ editing feature
  5. Run through Grammarly

Bonus Tip: After you’ve applied self-edits, run the piece through a plagiarism checker once more. You may not have copied content from the web, but there are common phrases that tend to get flagged.