It might not seem logical, but a web site that's well-written for human consumption with a little SEO help usually is also well-received by the robots of search engines like Google and Yahoo.
So, what does "well-written" mean? Here are some tips to good SEO copywriting for Google, Yahoo and site visitors.
SEO Copywriting Tips – How to Write Great Web Site Content
- Keyword research: This topic deserves a whole article on its own, but suffice to say that you'll want to base your site content on the keyword terms that you know are most popular among the audience you're trying to reach. There are online tools available that can help you determine the right keywords for your company. Among them are WordTracker and Keyword Discovery.
- One topic per page: If your company makes 5 different products, you'll need to devote at least one page per topic.
- Details, details: Each topic should be covered in enough detail that the site visitor can determine whether to contact you for more information. From an SEO standpoint, the more detail you provide on each topic, the more easily the search engines will be able to determine the relevance of your site to that keyword.
- Kill the sales brochure: Internet users don't appreciate going to your web to find only a sales brochure. Avoid flowery language; it usually signifies a page that's light on content and heavy on sales pitch, which the search engines won't rank well. Good SEO copywriting will focus on objective facts about your company's products and services, with a call-to-action for more information.
- Create a content hierarchy: The more detail, the better, but be considerate of your site visitors' time. Good SEO copywriting separates content into multiple pages and creates a hierarchy for your pages with most important information first, least important last. The most important pages you'll want on your navigation bar, with lesser pages linking off those. Make sure you include a site map, though, that lists all your web site's pages.
- Keyword density: In order for search engines to be able to rank your pages for a particular keyword, that keyword has to be used on your page. At the same time, the more often you use it, the more relevant the page will seem. ONE CAVEAT: Don't go overboard. Writing should sound natural to the human visitors you're trying to reach. Search engines can penalize you for "overoptimizing" by using the keyword too often (known as keyword stuffing or spamming).
Types of Content to Consider for Your Company Web Site
Part of the SEO copywriting process is project planning. It's important to take the time to consider what information people would want to know about your company. Here are some types of content well received by Internet visitors and search engines:
- Product details, including features/benefits, specifications, data sheets, diagrams, flow-charts, video demonstrations and photos (with alt tags, see below)
- Technical tips, product troubleshooting guides, user manuals
- Customer testimonials, case studies
- Industry definitions
- Product selection guides, comparative information
Advice on Adding PDFs to your Site
Search engines have become more sophisticated in being able to index varying file types. PDFs work fine for information that site visitors might want to print out and keep. But, if you use PDFs, make sure they open in a separate browser. Also, add a link to your home page somewhere on each PDF; otherwise, site visitors that enter your site from a search engine via the PDF won't have navigation to take them to the rest of your site.
Where to Get Ideas for Good SEO Content
Type your top keywords into Google and Yahoo and see what sites and pages come up on the first or second page of results. This will give you a good idea of some of the content that search engines like. More specifically, take a look at:
- Competitor sites
- Industry portal sites
- Industry magazine sites
- Resource sites
Other On-Page SEO Copywriting Tips
Once your content is written, it's time to place it on the page. Here are some additional details you'll need to be concerned with to complete the SEO copywriting process:
- Title tags: Make sure each page title tag is unique and complements the content of that page. For instance, if your page is about "blue suede shoes", then your title tag might be "Blue Suede Shoes | ABC Company"
- Description tags: Likewise, you'll want each page description tag to be unique and complementary to the page it describes. This is the information that many of the search engines use to display a description of your page.
- Keyword tags: Most search engines have de-emphasized use of the keyword tag, but we feel it's a useful tool to help you organize your site content. If you followed the advice above regarding one topic per page, then your keyword tag would be pretty short and limited to that topic. It'll probably have more than one term in it as there might be multiple ways to describe the topic, but this is a good check that you're in the process of writing a well-optimized page.
- Alt tags: You can use the meta alt tag to help search engines interpret what your nav buttons and images are about. Search engines can't "see" images, so unless you specifically tell them, that information will be ignored. If you have a picture of blue suede shoes, use the Alt tag to label it as "blue suede shoes."
- Internal linking: Build your keyword phrases into the links on your pages that are used to navigate from page to page. For instance, a call to action might be "Contact ABC Company for more information about our blue suede shoes," with the phrase "more information about our blue suede shoes" as the link. Avoid using "clíck here" as the link.
I've created quite a to-do líst of SEO Copywriting Tips, but when done properly, your SEO copywriting efforts will help yield long-term results in the way of top placement on Google and Yahoo and, most importantly, increased opportuníty to reach new potential customers.
About The Author
Angela Charles is president of Pilot Fish, an Akron, Ohio, search engine optimization and web design firm specializing in industrial clients.