For the most part, I’m a professional freelance writer. My freelance writing business is called Arctic Llama, LLC.
But, I also do some editing and copywriting. Most of my editing is of the online variety. The kind of thing where you manage a forum, or channel, or even a whole website by assigning articles to writers and then making sure they actually turn them in.
(With so many people trying to be professional writers, you would think that it wouldn’t be so difficult to get people to turn in articles that they are going to get paid for!)
Once the articles are turned in, then you edit them for quality, content, and of course, typos and grammar. The latter is particularly irritating. If you are getting paid for an article, the least you can do is run it through a spell-checker and make sure that the sentences make sense when you read them.
A couple of investing articles I edited (and wrote) are Capital Losses and Tax Deductions and What Is a Preferred Stock.
Also, Moving Averages: Exponentially Weighted (which I edited, but did not write.)
As an online editor, there is an additional responsibility, and that is making sure that the articles are properly written and setup for getting good search engine rankings or SERPs.
Contrary to what the search engines would like you to believe, the various spiders that index the web do not have the slightest idea of what is good content versus what is junk. Sure, they can filter out the most egregious of spam, but that is about it. In fact, formatting and writing your articles specifically to do well with the various search engine algorithms and index bots is a whole category of professional writing of its own.
The key to being well liked by search engines and their automated scans and ranking algorithms is to make sure your article is written to what they are looking for, rather than written for what makes the best reading by a human. In a way, it is like the difference between teaching for smart, knowledgeable, people, and teaching to the test.
In one case, the students may understand more and understand it better but it won’t look as good when the grades come out. In the latter case, the student may not be able to actually use or apply their knowledge, but at least they will score high enough on the test to make it look like they know what they are doing.
For the Internet, the test is the search engine rankings and writing to the test, so to speak, is making sure that specific keywords appear in a specific order in specific places in the article, namely the title. More specifically, those key-phrases need to be in the title tag which is a bit of HTML code that tells a browser what to display at the top of the browser window, or on the tab in the case of newer tabbed browsers.
Don’t confuse the top of the window with the top of the article. The top of the article is where you start reading. The title tag has nothing to do with this. Rather, the title tag is what appears all the way up in the blue (by default on Windows systems) bar that has the little icons on the right side to minimize, maximize, or close the whole program.
In other words, those words above the menus, and search bar, and URL bar. Yeah, way up there at the top, the ones you never read.
Those words are critical to how a page gets ranked in the SERPs. Get those words wrong and it won’t matter if your webpage is the best one on the whole Internet, it will never show up in the top of the rankings.
So, as an online editor, part of my job, well, actually, the most important part of my job, is getting those words just right.
Want to see how I’ve done?
Here are some recently published articles from my gig as the Managing Editor at the Bright Hub Investing Channel. See what you think.
(Oh, by the way, the second most important thing in ranking high in search engines is what text is displayed for when there are links pointing to your article. You’ll notice that the same keywords or key-phrases are in the blue highlighted links below to ensure maximum Internet power, or as some call it, “link juice”.)
And then, here is a link to an Investing related site to make the search engine algorithm moe convinced that this webpage is relevant to the topic, which in this case is making money by investing.
I can’t prove it, but I think having a picture or graphic helps too.