Let’s simplify copywriting for websites (SEO)It is very easy to get lost in this world wide web of information, both for the sellers and buyers. To carve out a niche in this market, what is needed is good Search Engine Optimized copywriting. Some people don’t understand the need to invest in copywriting when the product is good. For them is this quote by Thomas Jefferson “The man who stops advertising to save money is like the man who stops the clock to save time.” A comprehensive and simple guide for search engine optimized (SEO) copywriting would therefore serve as a map to those who want to attract genuine end users and increase organic traffic to their site. Copywriting should be such that it is search engine optimized, it is clickable (interesting to click), and it can retain the visitor. Human mind with all its potential has this tendency to veer off into side topics or get deviated from the essence. It is therefore necessary to evolve a Standard Operating Procedure for SEO copywriting. A step-by-step guide following which can assure that no significant factor has been ignored while writing the content. The following guide is divided into three major sections. The first two are related to the research that needs to precede copywriting and the third one is an actionable guide on copywriting
- The Technicals of SEO copywriting – includes definitions of SEO jargon, search engine ranking algorithms, what the spiders and crawlers want, Penalizing, health of your site
- Searching for Keywords – some tools, on page and off page optimization
- Copywriting – optimized for search engines, increasing the no of clicks, visitor retention, traffic analysis, improvements
The Technicals of SEO copywriting
What is SEO?It stands for Search Engine Optimization. It means optimizing your content so that it becomes easier for search engines to find and therefore becomes accessible to a larger audience. A wider audience and increased traffic can derive huge economic benefits for the site. Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization) defines it as “The process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine‘s unpaid results – often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results.”
What is copywriting?It is the art and science of writing a copy (content primarily used for advertising and marketing) aimed at convincing customers or readers to take action. A copy is like a salesman, who is able to connect to thousands of prospective customers at the same time. A good salesman knows how to persuade, convince and create content which gets people to act. According to Howard Gossage, an advertising innovator of the “Mad Men” era- “Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad.”
Ranking Algorithms of Search enginesEvery search engine uses certain factors to rank websites related to some keywords. Spiders (programs which visit the webpage and read information) crawl the internet and note the keywords, their density, location, links to other websites and other factors which the search engine considers important for ranking a website. Here we will list down what are known as the most important components used by the most successful search engine- “Google” in its ranking algorithm.
- Trust/ Authority of host domain – 23.87 %
- Link popularity of specific page – 22.33 %
- Anchor text of external links to page – 20.26 %
- On page Keyword usage – 15.04 %
- Registration + Hosting Data – 6.91 %
- Traffic + CTR Data – 6.29 %
- Social Graph metrics – 5.30 %
Searching for KeywordsOnce you know the technicals and before going to the next step of copywriting, searching for keywords related to your topic is an important step. With tens of thousands of blogs being written each day, your new post would just disappear in the crowd. It is thus frequently advised to target low competition, high volume keywords. If however your content is very rich and unique you may also target for high competition keywords. You can easily get these numbers regarding different keywords through Google Adwords, or sites like Wordtracker. However going only by the numbers in case of keywords will not produce the desired effect. It is also required that you choose keywords keeping in mind the requirement of the user or the searcher’s intent. Based on searcher’s intent the keywords may be classified as commercial and informational. Those keywords which show the need of the user for a particular product or information can be commercial. Those in which the user just seeks for information at no cost of his are informational.
- Commercial- where to buy a car, buy a house in Mumbai, join a gym in delhi, coaching classes in Kolkata
- Informational- how to earn money, Taj Mahal history, information on Bankruptcy
CopywritingEquipped with the basics of SEO and some keywords related to your topic, you may now start writing your copy. Your copy should do two tasks simultaneously- it must attract the spiders and readers, and figure in the top results of search engines and once the user is on your page, retain the user with useful and interesting information or links.
Attracting the ReaderWe’ll next be discussing six elements of copywriting which will help you achieve the first target. These six elements are-
- Site Speed
- Meta Description
- Keyword Frequency
- Page Links
- Site Speed– It has been noticed that about 40% people abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load. What is the point in figuring in the top results, if you site takes ages to load. There are many tools like Pingdom- http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/, on the web where you can easily check your website load times. You may check previous loading times of your website under the history tab.
- Headline– A headline is the most important part of the article. It describes what you are about to talk in the post. If your content is of high quality, but the heading is mediocre, no one would care to go through all that is written in the article. Thus a catchy and attractive heading is desirable.
- Content– How you write your content is a major part of SEO. Shallow content which is short or is copied from elsewhere on the net will invite the wrath of Google. You will be ranked lower for such tricks. Try to keep your articles more than 1000 words long and the content original.
- Meta Description– Meta description is the most important thing after your heading, for increasing the number of clicks and visits. Your keyword should be helpful, and make your reader understand what the webpage discusses and what the topic is. Include the selected keywords in your metadata. It is advised that you have different and specific metadata to each of your webpage. This increases the scope of your website.
- Keyword frequency
- Page Links– Links both to and from you website affects your ranking. A more social website ranks higher. Create links within pages of your website. Also link to credible webpages, outside your website with relevant anchor text. In this way you help Google by making information about a topic more accessible. Post links to your website on social networking sites. If possible try to see that other websites also link to your website.
Retaining the readerFinally while doing all this you must ensure that the quality of your content is maintained. This helps in retaining the user on the website. Some points which must be kept in mind while copywriting are-
- The article must display clarity of purpose. Which means you must have clarity of what you want to achieve with this particular post. Attack a specific problem of the user and solve it. Describe a specific product, event etc. Try not to digress, and lose focus.
- Include some case study or story in your article/ post. Stories attract people. It makes the information more readable and conveys the point. Do this while staying in context.
- Fresh and Humorous content- try to bring up new or fresh content which you think is not available elsewhere. Stale content if written in a new style and with some humour becomes more attractive.
- Innovation and cleaner design- Innovation is what runs the show. Keep the presentation style new and innovative. Also keep the design simpler and cleaner, so that it does not confuse the reader.
- Wikipedia articles on SEO (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization) and Copywriting (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copywriting)
- Blog post on SEO copywriting by Neil Patel http://neilpatel.com/2015/02/10/seo-copywriting-how-to-write-content-for-people-and-optimize-for-google-2/
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