Search Engine Optimization October 4th, 2012
Quality content remains the true target of SEO copywriters. It always has been, but in the past, writers tended to stuff keywords in every nook and cranny and copy read very poorly as a result. Bloggers wrote short posts just to keep to a blogging calendar and quality suffered – you just can’t really say all that much in a couple hundred words – at least not in most cases. Today, writers need to focus on what the audience really needs and take a long view on content.
An obsession with keyword density can only work against you. SEOs have been arguing for years about whether keyword density mattered and whetherthere was a sweet spot in the range of 3-5% that would help a page rank.Certainly content that matches the keyword a searcher uses is a critical element in search, but you are more likely to over-optimize than under optimize. You still need to know what people are searching and the terms should inspire your content, but you must guard against overuse. You will still want to put your keywords in the title tag, but only once, and you may want to use the keyword in the headline – your h1 tag. But don’t worry if it doesn’t fit. Instead, use h2 tags throughout your article to make it more easily read – and use target keyword target there. For example, this article is really targeting ‘seo copywriting’ but I used it in the sub head rather than the headline.
Google is paying attention to social signals; especially to Google+. If you’re anything like me, you are a little overwhelmed with Twitter and Facebook and the thought of adding and developing another presence is daunting. But Google has decided that it wants to be part of your socializing, and you presence and participation on Google+ is a signal. That means you need to consider how your content may be used on social networks. Providing infographics and photos to complement text is something you need to plan for in your copy strategy. Catchy headlines are more important than ever. Controversy can be an edge that gets your content shared. So can asking a question. The right question, of course. Brainstorm on other titles for every post. This one might have been headed: Has The Penguin Pooped On Your Content?
A lot of SEOs have been saying this on the forums for a long time. If you build links or content just for ranking, you will not win. It leads to lower quality. Start with your own audience and decide what resources and information your market wants. One of the earliest requisite pages on websites was the FAQ: frequently asked questions. Those pages ranked well and got lots of traffic for a reason. They answered the needs of the very people who visited the website or the business. The customers were literally telling the website owner what they wanted to know. Consult your email inquiries for content ideas. Look at your own FAQ and see what content would be more useful if expanded. Look at the FAQ of the competition to find even more ideas. Watch your industry news via trade publications and Google alerts. Look for a way to comment on news or in some other way make it fresh. A great way to do this is to interview someone close to a news story – especially someone that hasn’t had any press but is authoritative on the topic or close to the story.
This is really just another reminder to think about the quality of your content. If it’s not something that will last, think twice about spending too much time on writing it – or skip writing it altogether. The exception is news – what’s happening with the latest Penguin Update won’t matter much in a couple of years, but it does make sense to write about it now, doesn’t it? Think “tutorials or do-it-yourself” posts. An advantage to a DIY post is that your customer may find you – the authority — while he or she is still planning on doing the job solo. The DIY establishes your credibility and may well convince them they need a professional. For example, a Realtor might write a great story on “How To Sell Your Home Without A Realtor,” but the tips may make it clear how tough the negotiations can be when you don’t have the MLS information on sold properties to show buyers why your asking price is fair. A great way to find ideas for evergreen content is to spend time on forums related to your industry – or join listservs for your topic – and pay attention to what questions get asked over and over.