Understanding SEO Copywriting

The truth is helping a client’s page achieve top rankings isn’t quite as simple as writing great content and then sitting back to watch the page climb SEO rankings. On the contrary, SEO is a an ever changing art. In addition to SEO being a complicated concept that would be impossible for us to talk about in a  completely in a single article, but if you start slowly, you should be able to master the basics in no time at all. Below you will find some basic truths that can help you (and your clients) understand why SEO is not nearly as straightforward as you might think.

1. It’s not just about keywords.

You should be aware that keyword stuffing is bad for SEO, but it bears repeating. Many people remember “the good old days” of SEO where improving a site’s rankings was supposedly as simple as repeating your target keywords enough times to convince the search engines of yesteryear that your page was relevant to the search terms. As a copywriter, it’s possible that some of your clients will pressure or even order you to use those outdated methods.

These days, though, if you use such tactics, you’ll often find that your page has terrible rankings or has even been filtered out as spam. Keywords are still important, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to employ them. The right way involves finding a balance between a believable number of carefully chosen keywords and informative content. The wrong way is keyword stuffing.

2. Linking properly is more important than most people realize.

Linking, as the very basis for the web itself, is vitally important to improving a page’s rankings. Not only will linking to other people’s pages boost their rankings, but it will help to improve your own rankings as well. Links help to build your site’s legitimacy in the eyes of search engines, but it’s important to link correctly.

For example, the pages you’re linking to need to be relevant both in terms of content and in terms of the keywords you highlight for the hyperlink. Trying to drive traffic to a friend’s blog entry on cars, for example, by hyperlinking the words “apple pie recipe” will not only annoy your readers, but it could also cost you some legitimacy in terms of SEO.

Other tips for linking include the following:
Don’t do it too often. If you include too many links, your readers (and the search engines) will think you’re spamming them.
Don’t just link to another site’s homepage. Linking to interior pages (specific blog entries or product pages, for example) can help with SEO while directing readers to the specific article you may be discussing.

Vary your anchor text. Sometimes linking using rich keywords that directly correspond to the destination page (e.g. “Saratoga Race Track”) will work best; other times, a simple “Click here” will flow more naturally. Don’t always feel obligated to link using keywords as your anchor text.

Don’t go crazy with internal links. Yes, sometimes it can be helpful to link to some of your other posts, but it’s much more effective to link to both internal posts and external websites whenever relevant.

The number one rule of linking is that it should be helpful to your readers in some way. If your readers won’t benefit from a link, it’s probably not going to help strengthen your website.

3. It takes time, even for sites with great content.

One of the worst parts about trying to improve a site’s rankings is realizing just how much time it takes. Unfortunately, no matter how great the content is, it almost always takes time for a site to become strong.

For these reasons, most SEO-focused copywriters or SEO firms tend to work with clients on a long term contract basis, providing constant updates and a consistent stream of content.

Gene Dmitri

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