When we first started doing this, we didn’t have the faintest idea about SEO copywriting.
The Chief (that is, Tom Dauven) had some raw pencraft skills, but that was about it. He was nailing creativity and people kept coming back, but as we continued on our journey, writing for more-and-more websites, we started to realise how important SEO copywriting is in this digital marketing age. And not just for us, but for our future clients who would prioritise SEO.
SEO is described by the Cheltenham Group as:
“A collection of techniques that you can use with the goal of promoting your website within the search engine results.”
When they say ‘a collection of techniques’—that can’t be underestimated. It consists of roughly 200 factors, some of which also consist of what you do on your website.
Our in-house joke is that for the ‘uninitiated’, SEO copywriting is as “complicated and mysterious as the inside of David Lynch’s brain.” But the truth is, once you learn the basic principles of SEO, and apply them, it isn’t that hard.
Now, fast forward to when we got our re-brand in early 2014. At around the same time we decided that there was no point in having an awesome looking website, if it was essentially invisible to the public. It’s analogous to that old philosophical question: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” If a website is on the second page of Google, does it exist? There’s a meme getting around the World Wide Web that says that the best place to hide a dead body is on the second page of Google.
We definitely didn’t want our website to exist but NOT exist.
We knew it was time to do an intensive SEO course, and learn how to do SEO copywriting for ourselves and for our clients. The course was quite expensive, but it was one area that we knew we’d get a good return on investment.
Considering there are so many factors that contribute to how search engines rank your website pages, no one (let me repeat — no one) can guarantee that they can put you on the first page of Google. If anyone makes this claim, they’re usually going to use black hat SEO techniques. Black hat techniques are designed to trick Google, but in the end Google catches up and punishes you, sending your rank plummeting, or in the worst case, banning your website from Google altogether. So what do you do when someone offers you that guarantee? Don’t trust them. Relegate them to your Junk folder, and look for an SEO expert that is credible. Saying that, there are some simple things you can do for yourself, which have worked well for us. We’ve only been implementing our SEO copywriting knowledge for several months. Already we rank on the first page of Google for phrases that matter to us most: “Copywriting Perth” “Perth Copywriter” “Copywriters Perth” “Copywriting Fremantle” etc.
So here’s what we recommend:
- Research your keywords. That means know what phrases people use when they search for businesses in your industry. Ask friends, do your own searches, look at your competitors. Google Adwords is a popular keyword planner. Find out the search volumes and how competitive they are. It’s better to rank higher on a less competitive keyword or long-tail keyword phrase, than to try and compete with the Google Goliaths who are dominating popular keywords in your industry.
- Optimise each page with its own unique keyword or long-tail keyword phrase. Search engines rank pages, not websites.
- Include your carefully selected keyword in the page title, meta description, header 1 and header 2 (wherever possible) and of course the body copy. Make sure this is done naturally and fluently and don’t overstuff. There’s nothing worse than the heavy handed approach. It must sound natural and work well in the sentence, the paragraph, and the overall context of the piece.
- Stick to the recommended length of characters for your page titles (65 characters) and meta descriptions (150 – 160 characters). Search engines will truncate snippets if these are longer.
- Alt tag your images with the same corresponding keyword. Make sure images aren’t too large, which will reduce the speed and efficiency of your site.
- Get relevant SEO plugins to guide and assist the process. SEO by Yoast comes highly recommended, and we use it ourselves. Always do a backup of your site before adding a plugin.
- Make sure your website is intuitive.
- Use hyperlinks within your site.
- Aim for quality inbound links from authoritative sites.
- Go with a reputable hosting company. You don’t want a high percentage of ‘down time’.
There’s always more we could list, but that should get you going.
SEO Copywriting Is Where We ‘Shake Our Money Maker.’
As with any other sound business, a lot of our work comes through good old fashioned word-of-mouth. We also do well with our print marketing efforts, repeat clients, and just chatting to people in our normal, everyday lives. But we also know the way SEO has increased our overall reach, the percentage of enquiries we’re getting, and the conversation rate of enquiries to jobs. Some of our biggest and most ‘prestigious’ jobs have come through our SEO efforts. And of course the flow-on effect of doing a fantastic job for bigger, more reputable clients is that you get to put it on your copywriting portfolio, which adds to your credibility. That affects the quality of further enquiries that come through.
In conclusion, if you have a marketing budget, we can’t over emphasise the importance of SEO copywriting. Work towards having a well-designed site, with good, user-friendly information and quality images.
If after reading this article, the idea of doing your own SEO copywriting gives you a headache, give us a call, we’re happy to help.