Beyond Google’s Panda and Penguin Updates
Between Google’s assault on low quality content, keyword stuffing, over-optimized anchor text and spammy links, many webmasters think search engine optimization and SEO copywriters are a thing of the past. But with quality content more valuable than ever, the ability to grasp what both search engines and users want is more important than ever. Understanding what users type into search engines and why (keyword research) has grown in importance – and with the removal of Google’s keyword tool, the job has gotten tougher.
A good SEO copywriter understands how Google determines whether content is high or low quality; and how to approach content marketing – whether on your own site or through guest blogs. Beyond keyword research and the understanding of what the user wants, the copywriter should know what other on page elements will help the search engines index your page properly – for example, where heading tags are used.
Planning Copy – Focus on Your Topic
Understanding what users want and having a plan to deliver worthwhile, unique information, resources or tools is the first step. For some writers, that means having a content calendar. It also means narrowing down your message, and getting very clear on what you are trying to convey to your market. Example: I want to target DIY webmasters who want to learn how to optimize their content and websites for the search market. So, when I write or when I accept a guest post, I am asking this question: does this offer practical SEO instruction?
Long Live the Long Tail
One of SEO’s earliest techniques was to focus on long tailed keywords that were less competitive. This is still a viable part of the strategy, primarily because the longer the phrase the more likely the searcher knows what they want.
Let’s say you’re a fishing captain in Key West – the most highly searched term is ‘key west fishing’ but will it be the most productive? Probably not; there are a lot of styles of fishing in Key West, and the guy who types in Key West tarpon fishing guide knows what sort of fish he’s targeting and that he wants a guide. It’s also a lot more interesting to write about the experience of catching one species of fish than it is to write a general article about fishing. Think targeted, focused content that will please your ideal customer.
What’s in it for Me? Writing about Features vs. Benefits
Copywriters frequently focus on product features and fail to explain the benefit to the potential customer. A list of features means the customer still has to think.
Fast Writing Service describes a feature.
Our quick turnaround on copy means you don’t have to wait to get content on your website and attract new customers.
Can you see how that presentation of benefits has more appeal to the reader than the statement of the feature? Your primary goal is to attract and keep the customer, but when you write about benefits you are more likely to appeal to search engines, too. It’s not that they can really discern the difference, but when you write about benefits, you are more likely to use terms that are related to the keywords you’re targeting.
Don’t Stop with the Story
SEO copywriting doesn’t stop with the content the user needs; the title and meta description are an important part of the writing process. A good copywriter understands how to write a title that clearly tells the search engine how to index that page, but also compels the user to click on the listing. That means some sort of call to action or language that entices the searcher. Look at the organic results for the term ‘SEO copywriter.” The second listing for an FAQ on an SEO Copywriting Training has this description:
Are you an in-house or freelance copywriter? Learn how to write great Web copy for Google – it’s easier than you think! Read the FAQ’s to learn more!
If you want to learn copywriting, wouldn’t YOU click on that? Of course, you would.
There are other important SEO elements on the page: heading tags should be used to break up the content and make it easier to read, for example. Image captions and alt attributes should be optimized. Each element is only a small part of the picture, but when it comes to making sure your site is search friendly, every detail adds relevance and makes your site more likely to be indexed successfully.
Determining Content and Copywriting Quality
Can you turn out your copy yourself or do you need an SEO copywriter? If you write well, and your content is unique, you may be able to do without an search engine expert. The trick is to generate content that is powerful enough to attract links. There is enough DIY SEO websites online to teach you how to do the basic on-page optimization so that you maximize your content’s position in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). If you have any doubts about your content, there are webmaster forums online where members are happy to provide feedback – take the comments with a grain of salt, though and check the ideas against other sources. There is lots of misinformation out there about SEO. But forums are a great way to learn about SEO and to establish relationships. You can usually determine how reliable an ‘expert’ is by the feedback others members provide one another.
Above All, Follow Your Heart
Whatever you do, be true to your own vision. Good copywriting – like a good speech – is usually from the heart. Don’t put the focus on the search engines; instead keep your own vision and your potential customer front and center. That’s what breathes life into your content. If you do that, the search engines will follow. Long live SEO Copywriting!