A Quick, More Specific Follow Up to Last Week’s Post on SEO Copy
In last week’s post, Writing Copy for Search Engines and People, we gave a global overview of Search Engine Optimized (SEO) copy. This week we’ll follow up with a quick and dirty post about actually writing the copy – or editing it – for SEO. Again, I’ll assume that you already have, are in the process of getting, or know that you need a keyword list or matrix.
Always Be Branding in your SEO copywriting
Before I get to those tips though, a quick reminder about any communication you have with anyone, including when you’re writing SEO content: everything you put out to the world reflects your brand. So if you write a bunch of content and post it on your website, even if the SEO is solid, if you’re unwilling to run spell check, if you make a bunch of promises you can’t deliver on, or if your copy just doesn’t make sense, you’re going to damage your brand. As I mentioned last week, for a really effective SEO-ed website, you need to be writing or buying branded SEO messaging, as opposed to “SEO copy.”
So remember, Always Be Branding when you put “pen to paper.”
5 Tips for SEO Copywriting
All that said, today I do want to focus on optimizing your copy, rather than branding it.
- Use Your Words – They say brevity is the soul of wit. On the web, it’s also the soul of good sales copy. Unfortunately, Google (and Bing, and any other search engine you can find) likes more words than I do. Each page should be at least 250 words long, and your homepage at least 400 words long.
- Be Dense – Keyword density is a term that refers to how many times you use a keyword or search term per page. Each term should be used at least twice, but preferably 3 or 4 times on each page. Try to use them in your headlines and subheads (H1 and H2 tags), and use them higher up the page whenever possible.
- Be Orderly – Search terms should be used within the copy in the same order in which they appear in your keyword list. For example, if you want a page to be optimized for the term, “Champaign custom remodeling,” that phrase should appear in your copy in that exact word order. A quick note: in the hands of the wrong writers, this can make the copy read awkwardly; a good SEO copywriter can work within this constraint to produce good messaging.
- Be Bold – Bold or italicize your keywords a couple of times on every page. But don’t overdo it; your copy will look amateurish and you’ll take an SEO hit as well. 2 or 3 times per page is sufficient, and don’t overdo the bolding and italicizing in the rest of your copy either. Never use ALL CAPS. It’s annoying.
- Be Unique – Each page on your site should be full of interesting, persuasive, informative copy. Don’t just make lists of your keywords or links. Google knows when you do this. The search engines “want,” every page on the internet to add value, so they ignore or penalize duplicate content, out of context keyword lists and other “spammy,” copy.
Finally, and this may seem to be a “goes-without-saying,” tip, but it’s not. Get the copy done. So many web and SEO projects are delayed (and opportunities missed) because the copy just isn’t done, let alone whether or not it’s any good. Set aside time write, or if you don’t have the time, skills or inclination to do it in-house— hire a professional to write it for you. Your web development team will thank you for it, and ultimately, so will your customers, clients, and users.