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Seems that everyone has a different strategy for how to succeed in the search engine optimization (SEO) game. Some people will tell you keyword-rich copywriting is the answer. Others say ranking is based on the quantity and quality of your inbound links.
Still others will argue it’s only the meta-tags that matter. And then there’s that detestable group of know-it-all SEO black hats who have a footlocker full of sneaky tricks designed to fool Google to get ranking.
The road to a successful website is a combination of the above strategies, minus the devious black-hat techniques, of course; those are just a big no-no despite the fact they may give you some short-term results. In its most simple form, good SEO means putting your visitors first, giving them a pleasant experience.
Provide the information they seek in a comprehensive, easy-to-find manner, and Google will reward you with good ranking.
Take off the blinders and look around. Know what’s going on in your industry in terms of marketing and how your website measures up to the competition’s.
Consider this simplified example. If you have 3 pages of content about subject X and your competition has 10 pages about subject X, most likely your competition will rank above you. It makes sense that your competitor’s site will appear to Google to be the authority on the topic, doesn’t it?
If all the information on your website is “salesy,” and the information on your competitor’s website is more, well, informational, then again, your competitor’s website will likely outperform yours.
If important facts are buried in dark corners of your website, hard to find and perhaps in PDF form or Flash, and your competitor’s information is front and center, again, your competitor will outrank you. And finally, if you’ve neglected to get inbound links or your meta-tags don’t include your main keywords, you’ve entered the game with several strikes against you.
No longer can you get by with a website that’s simply an online version of your printed brochure. Minimal content woven around generic stock photos just won’t cut it. Not only will it not be effective in terms of your search engine ranking, it also won’t persuade visitors to take action, whether that’s to subscribe, call, place an order or schedule an appointment. Your website needs substance!
When is the last time you added to your site or updated its existing content? No longer can you get by with a website that was launched five years ago and hasn’t been modified since. Google wants to present material that’s relevant and timely. If your website is stale, Google knows and will rank other more current sites above yours.
You’re at a huge disadvantage if your website isn’t a true showpiece of your corporate brand. But pretty isn’t everything. A great design without compelling copy won’t deliver the goods.
Strategies that might have worked in the early days when the Internet was new and few companies had websites aren’t effective today. It’s just too competitive online now. You need to actively be adding to, updating and improving your website.
How do you know if you’re doing enough? If your website isn’t generating leads and sales for you, it’s not doing its job. So get busy!
If you dread copywriting, lack the skills or just don’t have the time, consider working with an SEO copywriter. She’ll create keyword-rich content that helps grow your website in the right way. She’ll help you to rank for long-tail (broad, general) and short-tail (tight niche) keywords, both of which are important in grabbing a bigger piece of the pie for your industry.
Good SEO copywriting will pay for itself many times over. Depending on your product or service, often just one or two sales generated by quality content will give you the return on investment you seek.
If you’re even considering black-hat techniques, stop! You don’t want to go there. Keyword stuffing, invisible text, doorway pages – they all are against search engine rules. They unethically present your content to search engine spiders in an attempt to fool them into believing yours is a quality site.
Eventually, the spiders figure out they’re being deceived and rank you, or ban you, accordingly. More importantly, you’re creating a poor user experience, and that’s not how you win clients and influence sales. Stick with white-hat SEO for good, long-term results.
Don’t cut corners. Don’t try SEO fads. And don’t get hung up on the small stuff. Ignore small fluctuations in search engine ranking. Instead, focus on making your site the best source for information on your topic. And if it’s beyond your own abilities to add good content, outsource it to a professional SEO copywriter.
The stakes are high and the payoffs substantial in the SEO game. With an authority website, you can expect to see results. The benefits will be two-fold: 1) a high organic (non-paid) ranking on the search engines, which generates traffic to your website, and 2) conversions in which visitors who come to your site are persuaded to take action. And really, isn’t that what it’s all about?
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