Whether it is the traditional print media or the electronic media, be it advertising, newspapers, or a website, copywriting is the use of a strong blend of powerful, motivating and persuasive words that not only put your message across to your target audiences, but also brings about the desired results. In advertising, good copywriting grabs attention, creates user interest, holds attention, conveys useful product information and expects to generate more sales. You’re right, we are talking A.I.D.A. formula! Grab Attention, create Interest, build Desire and bring them to Action! A newspaper article, on the other hand needs to be informative, interesting and absorbing. It cannot be denied that credibility also plays a crucial role. It is important to keep your audience in mind while writing: Whom are you addressing? Who are the people reading your article? What exactly are they interested in reading?
Generally in most cases, be it web, print or electronic media, space and time is a constraint, not necessarily from the feasibility point of view but more from how long you’re able to hold a reader’s or a viewer’s attention. This not only requires addressing the emotional needs of the people but also picking up their common traits, as no two readers are the same.
What is Search Engine Copywriting?
Search Engine Copywriting or SEO copywriting is re-writing text on the website page in such a manner that it continues to appeal to the site surfer while being compatible to the Search Engines. Search Engine copywriting is a specialized field that optimizes your site content so that search engines tend to rank your site higher when keywords related to your business are searched. One might question the need for Search Engine copywriting, when they already have the best of best copy on their website. The fact is that sometimes, even the finest written copy by the greatest copywriter might not generate the rankings on the search engines that you had hoped for, despite the fact that you have a great product or service, have spent an amazing amount of time and money in building that site. Interestingly, since Search Engine Copywriting attempts to focus on specifics, it usually improves even human viewers’ appeal and clarity rather than hurting the creatively written copy.
Search Engine Copywriting helps in optimizing your site in such a way that; a) It ranks highly on the search engine results with your business specific keywords. b) It succeeds in bringing quality (read targeted) human traffic to your site and generates more potential for sales and c) is intended to bring long-term ‘free’ traffic through ‘natural’ search engine rankings.
What Search Engine Copywriting is ‘Not’
It is important to understand that Search Engine Copywriting is not developing ‘creative’ copy from a scratch. At the cost of repeating, Search Engine Copywriting is essentially a re-writing process of existing ‘creatively written’ copy. It is not an attempt to insert several disjointed, thesaurus-sounding keywords into the copy just to make it rank high in search engines. The fundamental difference is that Search Engine Copywriting is written (read optimized) for both human surfers as well as search engines.
Search Engines and SEO Copywriting
Many websites have a high degree of dependency on the Search Engines like Google to get traffic. Search Engines collect information from websites and match this with the keywords searched by a user looking for relevant information on different topics. If the Search Engine algorithms detect a close match on relevant search terms, your page is likely to be ranked higher. It is therefore important, from a SEO perspective, to have keywords strategically appearing in the text of your site. Search Engine Copywriting as mentioned earlier, is writing for these Search Engines, in order to bring higher rankings, quality human traffic and thus a higher potential for sales. Interestingly, a nicely done SEO copywriting job makes the copy even more appealing to the human visitors.
What does SEO Copywriting do for Existing Copy?
- It makes the existing content more Search Engine friendly, without interfering or spoiling its natural and original essence.
- It makes the copy targeted for specific theme of the page by utilizing keyword phrases relevant to the content of the page.
- It makes the copy more structured.
- It makes the pages compatible to both the human surfer as well as the Search Engines.
Effective Search Engine Copywriting
Though there are no cardinal rules for effective SEO copywriting. You can follow a few guidelines that can help make your text Search Engine friendly. Here are a few useful tips:
1. SEO Copywriting with Keyword Phrases
Doing Keywords (read Keyword Phrase) research is one thing that all successful SEO Copywriters swear by. Targeting the right keywords and key phrases is a significant step in SEO copywriting because this way you would know what people are actually searching for. Good Keyword Phrase research removes guesswork. Focus needs to be on specific search phrases pertaining to what your site is offering. Once keywords have been decided they need to be used at several strategic places on your site.
Keyword Selection Process
The first step in the Keyword selection process is a good Keyword Research. There is simply no point in using keyword phrases that no one’s searching for! Hence, it is advisable to do your keyword research by using tools like Wordtracker and Overture- Search Term Suggestion Tool Other search engines like Google also offer some tools https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordSandbox ), which can be used as a guide, although Google does not indicate the popularity count of each key phrase.
Note: Wordtracker offers free use for one day. If you are organized in your planning, you can complete your keyword research in a day and use this benefit
Lets take an example to understand keyword research better. Lets say, you have a hotel in Las Vegas and your site wants to get traffic for customers looking for your services. The first few keywords that come to your mind may be, Hotel, Hotels, Las Vegas, and Las Vegas Hotels etc. When we look for these keywords on Google, we are bombarded with several million pages of information. A lot of these pages talk about hotel chains, Las Vegas Gambling etc. The users usually refine their search to find more specific information. They may, for instance, type in ‘Discount Las Vegas Hotel’ or ‘Las Vegas Hotel Reservation’.
The benefit with focused approach is two-folds. One, you would get visitors who would be looking for ‘exactly’ what you are offering; Second, you would be dealing with far lesser competition in ranking your site high.
Therefore it’s evident that:
- When people search for information, they’re searching for specific information. Hence it makes more sense to optimize for specific keywords.
- It is better to use keyword phrases than single keywords, as single keywords tend to be generic. Apart from that, many keyword phrases can be made out of a single keyword.
- Try using popular yet ‘not so competitive’ keywords, rather than most popular and competitive ones. They’ll get you better ranking on the search engines and moreover, bring targeted traffic to your site rather than just junk traffic.
Other Useful Tips:
After you have researched for your keywords, you may realize that your keywords appear in both singular and plural versions, as can be seen in the above given example. Hence, use all the different forms of your keywords in order to rank higher. This can also include words that can be spelled differently or commonly mis-spelt words. For instance, words like eCommerce that can also be written as e-Commerce. For effective Search Engine Copywriting make sure that your keyword phrases run throughout the page, rather than focusing on just the beginning or the title of the page. So be generous while using those all-important keywords, but a word of caution, don’t go overboard. Excessive keyword repetition can lead search engines to think you are spamming which can get your site penalized.
SEO Copywriting for Page Headings
Headlines, apart from giving a brief preview of what follows in the body copy, are also used to pass on the most relevant information on the page. One look at the headline and we decide whether we want to read the article or not. In Search Engine Copywriting too, headlines are as sacred as in most other mediums of communications as search engines give high value to text put in heading formats. So, place your keywords in the HTML header codes <H1> and <H2> tags.
For instance, the headline of this page is Search Engine Copywriting :
placed in the <H1> tags. This is suggestive of what the page is about. The sub heading Importance of Good Copywriting follows in <H2> tag. This is then followed by keyword rich body text.
Optimized Text-Length on Page
It is advisable to have sufficient text on your home page and important section pages. Search engines like to see between 250 to 500 words of text on a page to assess its keyword relevance. The longer the text, the better. Let the beginning of the page text contain your important keywords. Some search engines do not read deep in your page. As such, it becomes important that they read your initial text with the keywords. Avoid placing links in images. Search engines cannot read images. If you must have images, have a text link bar at the bottom of your page. Try and include your important keywords within the hyperlinks (anchor text) as this gives a high relevance not only to the page but also to the linked page. Read our detailed article on Anchor Text Optimization.
Search Engine Copywriting: Using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
CSS or Cascading Style Sheet is a style sheet language that allows you to tell a browser how to present your page. CSS can be used to control text formatting, thus maintaining the visual appeal of the text in headings. This separates the presentation style of the documents from the content, hence simplifying site maintenance. This includes specifications regarding the kind of font to be used, spacing, color, margin, border etc.
Search Engine Copywriting for Meta Tags
Meta Tags are used to communicate information to the search engine crawlers that a human visitor may not be concerned with. It should be noted that, Meta Tags in HTML are not necessary while making your web pages but SEO-wise; they can be a great help. Owing to its easy manipulation by webmasters, some Meta Tags (Meta Keywords Tag for instance) have lost the importance they enjoyed till some years ago. Yet, some Tags such as the Title and Meta Description Tag are still very important. Keeping your Meta Tags updated is not such a bad idea. In today’s scenario, the most valuable feature that the Meta Tags provide to the websites is the ability to control, to a certain extent, how its web pages are described (displayed in search results) by some search engines. Apart from this, HTML Meta Tags also offer the ability to specify that a certain website page should not be indexed. Out of the number of existing Meta Tags; the more prominent ones are mentioned below.
Types of Tags:
The Title Tag
Whatever text is placed in the Title Tag will appear in your reverse bar (the top bar of your browser) when you view that web page. The Title Tag also comes in use when we bookmark or add a page to our favorites list. For instance, if you were to add this page to your favorites list, then it would appear by its Title, ‘Search Engine Copywriting : Tips & Copywriting techniques for effective search engine copywriting’. For more information on Title Tag, read our article on Title Tag and Meta Description Tag Optimization.
Title Tag of 70 to 90 characters is appropriate.
Meta Description Tag
The Meta Description Tags allow you to manipulate, to a certain extent, the description of your page in some of the crawlers that support this Tag. I repeat ‘to a certain extent’ and only in ‘some’ of the search engines. Meta Description Tag of about 25 words should be fine. Read our detailed article on Title Tag and Meta Description Tag Optimization.
Meta Keywords Tag
The Meta Keywords Tag can contain about 15 important keywords. Search engines no longer read the Meta Keyword Tags. It’s sufficient to have one on the home page (just in case). Read our article on Meta Tags Optimization for Search Engines.
Other Useful Tips for SEO Copywriting
- Update your content frequently, as some search engines index your content more often, if it is updated and kept fresh. But a better reason to do this is that when a user visits your site again, he should find new relevant information, which would bring him to your site again.
- Have adequate HTML text on your home page with important keywords in the beginning. This is what search engines can read. For home page and important inner pages, about 250 words of text with keywords should be fine.
- The best SEO copy written pages that rank highly on the search engines are the ones with the best information and content. These are kept so natural that a surfer, more than often does not even realize that they have been optimized.
SEO Copywriting and other kinds of copywriting don’t always blend well, but that’s exactly what SEO copywriter has to ensure, because SEO copywriting would only help in bringing people through the search engines to the website. Hence, it is essential to provide maximum information, so that people don’t hit on the back button as soon as they visit your site.