Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of writing your copy to rank high on search engines for your chosen keywords. An SEO copywriter creates content that appeals to search engines as well as your prospective customers.
Search engines only consider words to discern the content of your web pages and to index them correctly in their directories. While the Internet certainly has plenty of graphics, the search engines look only at text. So you’ll need well-written, informative copy on all the pages of your site that you want indexed and ranked.
If you want prominent placement on search engines, you’ll need copy that gives the search engines lots of clues as to what it’s about. These so-called “hints” are keywords or key phrases that are included in your written content.
You’ll want to target the right keywords or all your efforts could be in vain. Use these five methods:
A recent poll that asked search marketing experts for their favorite Keyword Research Tools resulted in this list:
What’s most important is coming come up with good, relevant keywords. That is, search engines aren’t going to bestow a high ranking on your website about wedding gowns if your site mostly uses words like “romance” and “your special day.” If you have a store selling wedding gowns, make sure your site copy gives prominence to the phrase“wedding gowns” as well as other wedding-related terms.
Because broad general terms are extremely common, you’re unlikely to have your website rank high for them. While in the early days of the internet, you could target general phrases, these days there’s far too much competition to succeed with that strategy.
A better approach is to search for niches. They allow you to use long-tail keywords in your copy and meet the relevancy guidelines for search queries. A long-tail keyword contains at least three words and targets a specific demographic rather than mass audiences. They’re often less competitive than generic keyword terms, which makes ranking higher for the term a bit easier.
Going back to the wedding gown example, you would likely find it nearly impossible to rank for the keyword phrase “wedding gowns” because thousands of websites target that phrase. A better approach if you owned a store selling wedding gowns might be to localize your terminology and seek to rank for something like “Pawtucket Rhode Island wedding gowns.”
If you sell special dresses for brides getting married for the second time, then write a special page called, “Wedding Gowns for Second Marriages.” Or if you create your own gowns, set up a page called, “Custom Designed Wedding Gowns” or, even better, “Custom Designed Wedding Gowns in Pawtucket Rhode Island.” Sure you won’t get traffic from people searching for wedding gowns in Florida or Alaska, but were those people likely to come to your store anyways? Probably not.
Be sure to make reference to those specific terms in your headlines and body copy. And remember, because search engines see words, not pictures or videos, include plenty of informative content that will help your page get considered as relevant matches for search queries.
Once you’ve brainstormed and researched keywords for your site, the next task is to integrate those keywords when writing your copy. The trick is to do this subtly and elegantly so as not to distract or turn off your reader.
Keep sentences concise and easy to understand, taking advantage of opportunities to work in those keywords in a way that makes your copy read naturally.
Just in case you’re thinking of trying to outsmart the search engines, you should know that they won’t look kindly upon your site if they sense that you’re jamming keywords into sentences where they don’t belong, or putting them in places like comment tags and image ALT tags where the keywords have nothing to do with the specific image.
Be logical about it and keep the searcher in mind, as Google does. Google wants to provide searchers with the most relevant results for their query. So with every word you write, ask yourself if it will help searchers find what they’re seeking.
If you need help writing copy with keywords that doesn’t sound awkward to readers, consider working with an SEO copywriter. Skilled and practiced in composing keyword-rich copy that appeals to Google and searchers, SEO copywriters can help you rank higher. And if that copy brings you more traffic and even a handful of new customers, it will have been well worth the investment.
One of the main reasons you place keywords into content is to help the search engines identify the page’s subject matter and evaluate its relevance to the user’s search query. Over time search engines have become much smarter in interpreting content.
Latent semantic indexing (LSI) is an algorithm used by Google to determine what a page is about outside of specifically matching keywords being searched. It recognizes synonyms and related terms, which opens up great possibilities for adding word variety to your pages.
Let’s go back to the wedding gown example. Some terms that would fall into the LSI category would be bride, groom, wedding ceremony and wedding reception.
If you were writing an article about PhotoShop, Google would recognize words like photos, picture resolution, image editing and cropping as terms related to your subject matter.
Using LSI keywords is SEO-friendly, and because it helps your copy to read naturally, is better than using the same keyword phrase repeatedly.
Ranking high on search engines like Google is a sure way to drive traffic to your website. But the top spots are highly competitive. An SEO copywriter can help you achieve your search rank objectives.
Another key variable in SEO is incoming links to your website from another website. Incoming links add credibility to your site. The more links, the better, providing they’re from reputable sites.
Google sees those inbound links as proof that your content is worthy of sharing with others and that you’re an authority on your subject.
In some ways, the search engines look upon links as popularity votes. The more votes, presumably the higher the value of your content.
While links are important, unfortunately, you can’t just solicit links from every website you can find. The linking site needs to be relevant to your subject matter and it must itself be highly-ranked.
“The fastest way to get those quality sites to link back to your site is to produce valuable, free, informative content that offers advice, tips, suggestions and ideas within your niche that no one else is producing, or that you are producing 10x better,” according to Big Commerce blog.
Another tactic is to write guest posts for blogs in your industry. You provide useful content in exchange for a link back to your site.
You can use a tool like Linkio to monitor your backlinks and also for anchor text suggestions, which are the keywords to make into clickable text in a hyperlink.
Infographics are also effective in getting inbound links. Create an infographic relative to your industry and then offer it for publication to other sites and blogs. At the bottom of the infographic, be sure to embed a link back to your site. You can also promote your guest posts and infographics on social media to encourage others to repost your information.
Meta tags go into the HTML coding of your website. They work behind the scenes to clue search engines into the content on each webpage. Title tags and meta-descriptions are the two most important meta tags for SEO and human click-throughs.
The text in the page title tag, roughly 50-60 characters, will appear in the:
The text in your description meta tag, approximately 50-300 characters, should:
The text you put in the description meta tag influences the page description shown in search results and when your page is shared. Although Google doesn’t look at the description tag for information about your content and therefore doesn’t factor it into ranking, your potential visitors do when they’re looking at Google’s search results, so you want to choose your words with care, as you would for any other marketing copy.
As you write your meta tags, consider both the search engines and prospective customers. While meta tags alone won’t guarantee your website’s high ranking, they do play a significant role in helping search engines determine search results and in getting searchers to click-through to your site, so don’t overlook this fundamental part of website SEO.
Don’t think of SEO as right or wrong, or on or off. It’s not that black or white.
A better approach is to consider SEO a competition. It’s your website competing against other sites or web pages that have targeted the same niche and keywords.
No one thing will help you win. There’s too much competition for that and Google is too sophisticated to consider only a few variables in determining search results. Instead, a combination of factors, all of which must be composed with searchers and Google in mind, play into SEO.
Think of a group of elite runners in a race. The winner is likely to have done the best job at honing a number of skills — speed, endurance, strategy, etc. Similarly, with SEO, you need to excel on multiple fronts, and continually be improving, if you’re to beat your competitors’ sites, rise to the top and stay there.
A professional SEO copywriter can help you achieve that goal and the prize that comes with it — prominence on Google that will generate traffic for your website and leads and sales for your business.