As a freelance copywriter with a successful website of my own, I am often requested to write SEO (Search Engine Optimized) content for client’s websites – and this requires a good deal more than just well written copy…
You could have the most charming, beautifully-written website which carries pocket loads of potential, but what would be the point if nobody could find it? People will only really find your website if it is optimized for your keywords in the main search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.
So, what are the first steps towards successfully optimizing your site?
1. Utilize Your Header Tags
The header tags, numbered H1-H6 carry a lot of weight when it comes to ranking your website highly for your main keywords. If your keywords do not feature in the header tags, then you are missing an opportunity to improve your website’s ranking position in the search engine pages.
Best practice is to include header tags 1-3 on each page of your website. And it’s important that you try to optimize each page for one particular keyword, as Google rank pages, NOT websites (although, other keywords may feature on a page’s header tags too). Just keep in mind that the greatest emphasis is placed on the H1 tag – so it must feature your main keyword for each specific page.
2. Think about Keyword Density
Keyword density used to be a big factor to consider, which meant that some highly ranking websites were nothing but pages littered with their specific keywords and the content made little to no sense… The search engine algorithms are now sophisticated enough to recognize this and consequently require a lot more than just pages scattered with relevant keywords.
Search engines now penalize pages that feature an excessive amount of keywords, simply because this nature of copy is the complete opposite of what they’re trying to achieve, which is to provide good quality and valuable content for their readers. Any website that follows the tactic of “keyword stuffing” is penalized immediately.
Although the significance of keyword density has been reduced in recent years, it is still important to feature your keywords in relevant places within the copy of your site. Without them, your content (and your web page) won’t be as relevant to your major keywords as it could be, and it won’t appear as highly as it should. A figure of around 3-5% is reasonable to aim for. Any less and you will risk falling under the radar, any more and you may enter ‘spam-like’ territory.
3. Make Sure Your Content is Both Unique & Relevant
The principle task of the search engines is to select the most relevant results for every search term typed in. After all, their very existence was designed to help the user quickly locate what they are searching the web for. If a search engine does not fulfill such criteria, users will find another search engine which will serve them more efficiently.
Consequently, an SEO copywriter should strive to make their content as relevant to the topic as possible, as well as optimizing client keywords and featuring appropriate synonyms. Throw into this equation the fact that all content should be completely unique and a copywriter is met with a somewhat time-consuming task. Unique content is a powerful tool, because search engines penalize duplicate content. So to give your web pages the best chance of rising highly in the search engines, ensure that your content is original and can’t be found anywhere else online.
Beware! Some ‘copywriters’ out there claim to produce unique copy, when actually they are doing little more than plagiarizing existing content which they’ve found online and then passing it off as their own work to paying clients! Anti-plagiarism software such as Copyscape, can help you spot this quickly and easily.
4. Make Sure Your Content is High Quality
When people read your website, they are not really captivated by your keyword use, or the fact that your content is unique. Truth be told, all they will notice is whether your website is well written and holds their attention, because if it doesn’t, they’ll just click through to another site and yours will be nothing but a blip on their website history.
A good SEO copywriter will be skilled at constructing eloquent copy that is a pleasure to read whilst incorporating required keywords in a relevant and subtle fashion. Readability is the primary aim of a good copywriter and this stands whether they are SEO copywriting, article writing or writing a sales letter.
Websites are principally designed for the eyes of a human, not the spiders of a search engine, and it’s important to remember this when trying to sell products. If content is informative, useful and of course well-written, then people will remember it. They will return and they may even link to it – a crucial step towards creating those all important ‘backlinks,’ which are powerful tools in any SEO campaign.
‘Backlinks’ carry considerable weight when it comes to SEO because when a site creates a link back to your site, it effectively counts as a ‘vote of confidence’ in your content. The search engines will then reward your website by pushing it higher in the rankings.
Consequently, your SEO copywriter should focus on high quality content that will attract backlinks for your site. Yet another confirmation that the secret behind a successful online business is a great writer…
Nick Cobb – Freelance Copywriter