Below is live coverage of the SMX Boot Camp: Copywriting For Search Success from the SMX East 2009 conference.
This coverage is provided by Sheara Wilensky of Promediacorp.
We are using a live blogging tool to provide the real time coverage, please excuse any typos. You can also interact with us and while we are live blogging, so feel free to ask us questions as we blog. We will publish the archive below after the session is completed.
|1:59||Barry Schwartz: Sheara has connectivity issues, she will post this session when she gets connected. She is covering it, so stay tuned...|
|3:17||Barry Schwartz: Disa: This is a session about what you do with your keywords research, this is where the traction occurs. It’s an excellent topic and I love moderating it.|
Please welcome Jill Whalen to the podium.
Jill: Let’s talk about what SEO Copywriting is NOT.
- - not writing a certain # of words, there is no magic #
- - not about bolding or italicizing keywords on the page – it makes it stick out as a sore thumb in a negative way
- - not about writing to a specific kw density, if you are trying to do this you will end up making it sound bad
- - not just optimizing for one kw phrase, that it will make it hard to write natural copy bc you will be repeating the same phrase over and over!
Remember that search engines don’t know who you are and so your website is not like an offline brochure, pretend that people coming to your site don’t know you at all so you have to explain who you are.
[gives examples of sites with poor homepage that doesn’t say what the company is about and so they cant rank for a specific keyword]
Every page on your site must provide specific info about what you offer. Also needs to be done in plain language that naturally uses kw phrases.
So what is good content? It’s really simple: it’s just the regular pages of your site – explain what you offer, speak to your target audience, solve their problem or answer their question.
Content that’s king: Good stuff that’s written for your uses that’s also keeping search engines in mind.
Writing balanced copy:
1. - Users come first (not search engines)
2. - Be descriptive
3. - Watch out for kw stuffing
4. - Avoid writing fake content, like the history of (no one cares)
Keyword research comes first! Choose the right kw phrases:
- - most relevant
- - most specific
- - most topical
Homepage: Describe the company/website as a whole, broader phrases that are more competitive can go on the homepage and then links into more specific info.
[gives bad example of a home page that contains lists of kws]
[gives good example of a home page with natural kw copy]
Use descriptive titles (not “read more”)
Product Pages: Don’t be afraid to see users on your product or service! Use very specific kw phrases, strong kw rich headlines and anchor text pointing to them from other pages.
News/blogs/articles Pages: Use natural long tail kws, don’t use PDFs if you can help it, even though search engines will index them, users don’t always like them. If you send out press releases and newsletters, put them on your site!
Where to use the kw phrases:
1) - Most importantly – title tags!
2) - Meta description tags
3) - Anchor text
4) - Alt attributes
5) - Headlines (doesn’t necessarily need to be in a header tag)
Seo writing tips:
-be descriptive – but don’t kw stuff like crazy
-edit the context, find generic word like “product” and “service” and replace with kws
-don’t use single kws, like “furniture”, describe the exact type of furniture.
-dont fake real content, you don’t need to build pages just for search engines, fill the searches need.
Professionally written copy is the key, I recommend hiring copywriters bc it’s well worth it bc it will convert your users into buyers.
The next speaker is Heather Lloyd Martin from SuccessWorks:
I will be talking about some of the common myths I have heard in my 12+ years in the biz.
So why even care about content? Seth Godin says the best SEO is good content. Why? It helps get good rankings, build your brand, get conversions, build a community, get links! So it definitely pays to py attention to the SEO copywriting, this is the foundation of your campaign bc it dictates what people do when they come to your site. How text is written has a tremendous effect on user interaction with your site.
The main advantage that SEO copywriting gives you is control. We cant control where we rank. We cant control who links to us. But we can control that the content is written in such a way that people will respond positively.
What is SEO content marketing anyway?
- - more than just copywriting
- - includes articles, blog posts, fb pages, twitter tweets, bc that reflects your brand and your messaging
An example of a site that does it really well is Zappos. They are everywhere! On Twitter, FB, they are a smart ecommerce company bc they build out blog posts where they can talk about their products more, the more human side of the shoes.
1. SEO Copywriting is just about getting good rankings. False. That is the equivalent of getting eyeballs to your site, but that doesn’t mean that your site will convert. So create a customer persona so you can figure out who you are writing the copy for! How can you write effective copy if you don’t know who your target audience is (your target audience is not everyone!). If you are off the mark with that, everything else will fall flat.
Think about your messaging, your tone. And how you can position yourself differently than your competitors.
Good writing also helps conversions off the SERPs too! Maybe you are #7, but you have great writing, so users click through to you.
2. There is no magical keyword density percentage!!!!!!! Unless it’s 1999! The search engines have changed. There are too many things involved in the algorithms for that to work. You don’t need to hit a particular keyphrase density.
3. You don’t need to sweat a good meta description. I know people focus on the title, and meta descriptions don’t always render the way you want them too, sometimes Google just pulls a snippet. But you should do it anyway because it can help you to convert off the SERPs. Users are not just focusing on the top 2 results.
Google Snippet Trick: when you are writing you copy, try to use a benefit statement near the first instance of your main keyphrase so Google pulls your set description and not something random.
4. Copy must be between 300-500 words. Back in the day it was a nice rule of thumb, but people took it as fact. The key is not to stretch out your sentences for a longer word count, just write for your target audience.
General keyphrase rules:
- - if you are not seeing rankings, check where your keywords are on your page – are they in headlines and subheadlines?
Myth 5. The best title format is keywords separated by commas. No! Titles are headlines.
Title structure: Write your title like a headline, try to keep them to around 70 characters, include your main keyword phrase, include benefit statements (free shipping) whenever possible, experiment with including your phone number.
Myth 6. I can optimize one page on my site and get good rankings. You are not just relying on one phrase!
How to strategize content: look at the different types of pages on your site to see what phrases are applicable, one phrase can go on 60% of your site bc it fits, another one might only fit 20% of your site.
Myth 7. Writing won’t help rankings, it’s all about the links. Links are helpful, don’t get me wrong. But at the same time, you need good content in the first place in order to get those incoming links!
Myth 8. My site is only relevant for 1 or 2 keyphrases. There are a huge number of variations of the way people search on your main keywords!
Myth 9. There’s nothing we can do. There is always something to do! It might take time but there is always something.
Beware of the website mullet: Check for outdated pages! Press pages, conference/events, old products, outdated articles.
If you attend or speak at conferences, add that to your site and update it!
Set up an editorial plan to update old copy.
Ways to leverage content opportunities:
- - use blogs
- - add customer reviews
- - hire someone!