Scribe: Supercharge Your Search Engine-Oriented Writing

by Joel Friedlander on May 4, 2010 · 7 comments

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I’ve been discussing over the last few weeks how nonfiction authors can learn to use keywords to bring more readers to their blogs or websites, or to other articles they write online.

I learned most of the ideas about keywords and writing with an eye toward the search engines by writing for my blog. In my article about using the launch of the iPad as a way to experiment with drawing traffic based on keyword research and use, you could see how a little attention to this side of your blogging or article writing can result, even on a small website, in significant amounts of new traffic.

Imagining the Perfect Tool

But there’s a lot more that goes into writing this way than just picking keywords and using them. Do you have enough keyword density? Is your article written at the right reading level? How will your title and description actually look in search engine results listings? Where in your meta fields do your keywords fall? Have you actuallty made your targeted keywords the most prevelant in your article?

All these questions and others help to determine how effective your material will be when it comes to competing with all the other information sources on the internet.

As I wrote more and more blog articles, I often felt lost about how to go about getting the results I wanted in terms of people coming as a result of search engine traffic. I didn’t know how to analyze what I was writing. Sometimes my result on the Google search results page looked weird, and I wondered if anyone would ever click on it.

This was frustrating. Through a lot of dogged reading and research I started to finally put a few of the pieces together, and after a short while I could see the results. Not only that, I found I really liked experimenting.

But I still didn’t have the time to put in to learn enough to feel confident that my blog posts and articles were really working well for me.

Then a few months ago, Brian Clark of Copyblogger, a blog about copywriting for blogs and internet business, announced a completely new product: Scribe. He called it an SEO copywriting service. And it was as if somebody had listened in on what I really wanted and created the perfect tool to help write search engine-oriented copy.

What Is Scribe?

Scribe is a service you can use through your blog or on Scribe’s webpage. This service analyzes your blog post or article, and returns a bunch of information as a result of the anaysis. The results concern the three main areas of your article that are most important for search engines:

  • The title—How many words and characters your title contains, whether it has primary keywords in it, and how close to the beginning they are.
  • The description—How many characters are in the description, does it have keywords, and how close to the beginning are they?
  • The body—Here the breakdown of results is more extensive:
    • How many words are in the article
    • The keyword density of the article
    • Are there hyperlinks in the article?
    • Is there a link near the beginning of the article?
    • What is the reading level of the article, as measured on the Flesch reading scale?

Scribe then takes all the results and cooks them into a numeric score, as a percentage of just how your article performs against its benchmarks. Here’s a screen showing the results from a blog post I wrote when I first began using Scribe:

thebookdesigner.com scribe seo copywriting tool

You can see I wasn’t doing too well with my search engine-oriented writing, but Scribe points out each area and tells me exactly what to do to fix it up.

After using Scribe for about a month, I wrote a post with this result:

thebookdesigner.com scribe seo copywriting tool

The Results of the Experiment

When I signed up for Scribe I was pretty leery of the program. I could see the obvious usefulness, especially for someone like me who wanted to get better at writing my blog, but who didn’t have the time to put in studying all this stuff. My hesitation was about the cost.

Scribe costs me $27 a month. When I signed up I decided to test it for a month. I figured that if it hadn’t proven it’s worth by that time, I would cancel it and just be out the $27. But a month went by, and then another. It’s now been three months.

With my posting schedule, I’m paying about $1 per article that I use Scribe to analyze. Each month when the billing notice comes, I think about it again. I say to myself, “You know, pretty soon I’ll be so good at this I won’t need Scribe anymore.” But I’ve paid up each time.

How long will I keep the subscription? I honestly don’t know. But I’m sure my keyword research and my writing have improved tremendously in terms of the results I’ve been getting. More people looking for information on self-publishing, looking for book design, and interested in the whole Indie publishing phenomenon have been sent to the articles I write. Isn’t that what we want as authors?

Right now I’m playing a game with myself: If I can get three articles in a row to score 100% (I only have one of those so far) I’ll feel justified canceling my subscription. We’ll see.

Want to Try Scribe? Here’s an Offer For You

I’m an affiliate of Scribe, so if you want to try it out for yourself and you click my link at the bottom of this article, I get a commission. If you don’t feel comfortable with that, just use the regular Scribe link here: Scribe.

But if you’re serious about writing on the web, and you want to find the readers who would naturally be interested in what you have to say, think about trying Scribe. Particularly for nonfiction authors, where you have a discrete niche with identifiable keywords that you can target, this tool could really make a difference. You can try it out and decide for yourself if it’s a tool worth paying for.

Use the link and check out the Scribe tour, I think you’ll be impressed. And if you sign up for Scribe, even for a month, I’ll give you a free 30-minute consultation* on any subject you’d like: blogging, book design, publishing options, you name it. Pick my brain for 30 minutes and I promise I’ll talk as fast as I can. Now that’s an offer that might be too good to refuse! Here’s the link:

* When I get notified by Scribe that you’ve signed up, we’ll arrange a time that’s mutually convenient and have our consultation by telephone. Image: Flickr.com / Nicolas Nova

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    { 7 comments… read them below or add one }

    Alex January 20, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Seems to be nice tool. You described so, that I’m getting lured into trying it. Your article is nicely written so soon you probably will not need the Scybe.

    Reply

    Mike Lipsey May 4, 2010 at 11:02 am

    My website sucks, so I’m almost embarrassed to drive traffic to it. But I just wanted to say that your new page design is very simple and clear. I like it!

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander May 4, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Thanks Mike! I’m still getting used to it, but I do like the change, it’s great.

    Reply

    betty ming liu May 4, 2010 at 5:00 am

    Scribe sounds great. Will have to try it when my new blog’s up. It sounds a little like online dating — the possibility of “if” can tempt me to sign up for…one…more…month. Then, it’s finally enough. But this being the online world, it’s always possible to go back for more!

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander May 4, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Betty, it’s pretty effective. I just got a message from someone I didn’t know and she told me that on two different searches she came to my blog and found what she was looking for. This seems to me the best outcome of all this search engine awareness. Thanks for stopping by.

    Reply

    Toni May 4, 2010 at 4:14 am

    It’s like you’re speaking to me here, Joel. I’ve been using Scribe for about the same amount of time and, every month, go through the same inner turmoil you describe, but always end up keeping it. I feel like it’s the extra bit of help I need because, after spending hours writing a post, the last thing I want to do is go back and edit it aimlessly, trying for better optimization.

    Scribe points me in the right direction and tells me exactly what I need to do to get the results I want. Even though sometimes I hear myself yelling “But I don’t WANT to come up with a unique title and description!” I do it anyway, and always feel a bit of a thrill when that score comes back over 90%. Your idea about a three-in-a-row 100% giving the green light to cancel sounds perfect…now let’s see if I ever get there!

    To everyone out there thinking about giving Scribe a shot, just do it! If it doesn’t work out for you, they make cancelling a breeze and, at the very least, you’ll have picked up a few broad SEO tips.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander May 4, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Hey Toni, I guess we’re both hooked. But I do feel like I’m getting really good training out of following the Scribe recommendations. And I’m determined to get those 100%! Thanks for your contribution.

    Reply

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