Writing search engine copy can feel like a minefield. Get it right and your site will attract new customers via search engines and increase sales. Get it wrong and new customers simply won’t find you. The good news is, there are some simple things you can do that will make all the difference.
Google looks at each of your web pages on its own merits, rather than looking at your site as a whole. So, when you’re planning the structure of a website, you need to think about your key areas. Make sure that each area has its own page. That way, you can optimise each page for a particular product, offering or benefit.
For example, if your website sells electrical products, divide the site into separate pages for broad areas such as kitchen appliances. Then create individual pages within these categories for products such as washing machines and irons.
Selecting keyword phrases
It’s crucial that you get your keywords right, so rather than guessing, it’s better to use keyword research. Single keywords tend to have more competition, making it difficult to get good organic search rankings for them, so it’s far better to be more specific and choose keyword phrases.
For example, an airline should use ‘cheap flights to Malta’ rather than just ‘flights’. This also helps to ensure you get good quality traffic. People are more clued-up these days about search engines and know that more specific keyword phrases are more likely to deliver what they’re looking for.
Emphasise your USPs
In the same way that USPs are important to sales copy, they are just as relevant to SEO copy, too. If you offer something unique, it should be clearly included in the keyword phrases. If for example, your airline is the only one offering flights to a particular city, include that in your keyword research.
Building key phrases into your copy
Content is king – there’s no point in attracting lots of people to your page, if what they find is nonsense. Nobody likes to read copy that has keyword phrases clumsily or inappropriately dumped in the middle of every sentence. It’s important to get the balance right and make sure that the key phrases aren’t getting in the way of the page’s readability.
Start by writing a first draft of your page, focusing on what you want to say. Then look at how you can incorporate your keyword phrases without losing the essence of the content.
For example, if you mention that your airline offers a huge range of European flights, you could expand on that by saying that these include ‘flights to Italy’ and ‘flights to France’. Or you could change ‘European flights’ to ‘cheap European flights’ if that’s one of your key phrases.
Focus on two or three keyword phrases per page. If you have too many, you’ll end up diluting them and they’ll be less effective. Also, make sure the keyword phrases aren’t getting in the way of readability.
Each page needs to be laced with well written copy with your chosen keyword phrases. Approximately 5% of your content should be keywords. It’s important not to go over 10%, though, as search engines may think you’re spamming and penalise you with a low ranking. Measuring keyword density is the only way to ensure your keyword phrases are appearing prominently to search engines.
The importance of titles, headings and links
Search engines view titles, headings and links as being particularly important, so your keyword phrases must be in them. Words that are in bold are considered of higher relevance by the search engines, so it’s worth putting your keyword phrases in bold. It also helps users pick out the relevant points.
Don’t forget meta tags
As well as building your keyword phrases into the copy, they need to included in the page titles and meta tags of every page. If you don’t do both, your site won’t be indexed for those keywords.
Web copywriting tips
Know your audience
If you have a clear picture of who you’re talking to, it’s far easier to pitch the tone and type of information at the right level. Create a mental image of your target customer, then imagine you’re talking directly to them.
Keep it short and sweet
The first couple of sentences are crucial. In a web environment, you’re competing with a never ending supply of information, so you’ve got to grab people’s attention from the outset. Make them really relevant, so that your reader knows what you have to say is what they want to read. Then, once you’ve got their attention, you’ve got to keep it. Keep sentences and paragraphs short and to the point. Web audiences need relevant information quickly. Assume that your audience has a limited amount of time to hear what you have to say.
Remember, once your site is up and running, it’s important to monitor and analyse its performance, so that you can make improvements where necessary. It’s also crucial to regularly update your content, as the search engines begin to ignore pages that aren’t updated regularly. Users want to know your site is kept up-to-date and see fresh, innovative content, so be sure to provide them with it to keep them coming back.
Achieving good Google rankings is only half the battle. The web is a competitive environment, so once you’ve got good rankings for your key phrases, you need to make sure you keep them.