Writing for the Search Engines – Search Engine Strategies – Day 2

by Stephanie Cockerl, nextSteph, for Smallbiztechnology.com
Whether you are producing a website for the first time, or are revamping a website, there is always a factor that influences the search engines; that is copywriting.
Heather Lloyd Martin of SuccessWorks International stated that “Back in the day, SEO was technical; now it about copywriting.”
The goal for any business is to get into your target audiences’ head and find out what they are searching for.
Both Heather and Jill Whalen of High Rankings discussed best practices for copywriting for search engine optimization (SEO) in Writing for the Search Engines at Day 2 of Search Engine Strategies in New York.
Heather pointed out the dangers of having duplicate content. Simply put, this means having the same content on different webpages. She explained that in a case study, the client was able to overcome this by increasing its Pay-Per Click (PPC) spend, then creating “value added content pages”, pages with useful information for its visitors. As a result, the client was able to reduce its PPC saving almost $50K for the year.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when copywriting your webpages:
– every keyword is important on your webpages
– Do not spam keywords in the copy, or it will not make sense to website visitors
– Keyphases (2 or more keywords) in images does not help the search engines recognize the webpage
– For retail websites, be generous with your product descriptions. Product descriptions should be 250 words per page.
Keyphases should also be incorporated on the webpage in these ways:
– Headlines
– Subheadlines
– Body Copy
– Call to Action such as hyperlinks along with the √ębenefit statement” near keyphases.
In terms of meta tags, not all search engines recognize them. For example, Google does not recognize the meta tag description. Instead, they take snippets of copy from the actual webpage. This is why it is important to have good copy that is readable and that makes sense.
The title tag , the blue bar that appears on the top left hand side of the browser, it another opportunity to put the headline of your copy. Most websites have the name of the Company on all the titles. However, the company name does not necessarily indicate the content on the webpage. Titles can mean the difference between being on page 1 vs. being on page 5.
Jill Whalen stressed managing what websites can control. She indicated to anticipate visitors’ needs such as creating webpages for:
– Press Releases
– FAQs
– How tos
– Articles
– Newsletters
And of course , Blogs!
Jill also had some tips for the audience:
-Keyword are KEY!
-Optimize for real keywords that real people are searching for
-Optimize all pages, not just the homepage
-PDFs are readable
Flash websites are not generally readable by the engines.
Be careful of WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) web production programs, as they may publish extraneous code or sometimes an image which can interfere with indexing the webpage.
What to consider:
Consider misspellings of keywords. If you were/are a Mom and Pop store, would you turn a prospective customer away because they misspelled the model number? Jill recommended purchasing those terms on SEM providers, and using the website to focus on the correct spelling.
When all is said and done, it is the web user that matters; and if they are able to make sense of your website.