15 headsmacking SEO copy ideas

I love “headsmacking” SEO copy opportunities. You know, ideas that are so simple, easy and obvious that they make you hit your head and say “Doh” when someone points them out.

It’s easy to have blind spots around our own SEO copy – we either look at it all the time (so we don’t see opportunities,) we wrote it (so we’re too close to it,) or both. Here are the most common headsmacking opportunities I see:

  1. Technically correct, but boring Titles. Remember, the SERP (search engine results page) is your first opportunity for conversion. If you can create “clickable” Titles that read more like headlines, you’ll see more click-through love.
  2. Having a lot of copy without a SEO plan in place. It’s great to have “a lot of quality content.” But if it’s not maximized for search and social positioning, you’re losing impact. Good news: This is easily fixable.
  3. Super-short product copy. You don’t have to write 500 words about every product, but 25 words per product page won’t work. Look beyond your print catalog (and/or the manufacture’s copy) and describe your product in different ways.
  4. Completely ignoring the Title. If your Titles are filled with “Welcome – [company name]” and “Product – [company name]” you are really missing the boat. Fixing your Titles alone can have a huge impact on your campaign.
  5. Feature-rich and benefit-free pages. Are you telling your target audience why they should buy from you? If not, why not? Learn the difference between features and benefits and watch your conversions soar.
  6. “Shallow” content. Google’s Farmer update taught (some) sites a lesson: Good content is rewarded, bad content doesn’t help. Take a cue from BedBethStore.com and create value-added Web SEO content that’s focused on your customers.
  7. Writing for the masses rather than the target audience. Your customer persona should dictate how you write your Web SEO content: What benefits you stress, the tone and feel – even the words you use. General copy gets so-so results. Highly targeted copy helps your prospect feel like you understand her exact needs. It’s well worth it.
  8. Resting on your content laurels. Do your product/services pages have a 15% conversion rate. Well done. Now, how can you make it even better? Testing your copy allows you to see when “good” isn’t “good enough” – and what you can do differently.
  9. Forgetting that “brand identity” and “ecommerce” copy can live together in harmony. Just say no to copywriting silos! If you have brand copy, why not (intelligently) cross promote your products. When you’re writing your product copy, test if linking to a brand page can actually help increase conversion (such as a page discussing a company’s “green” benefits.)
  10. Ignoring your analytics. Reviewing your analytics can provide many headsmacking moments, and clearly show what content is working, what’s not, and how people interact with your content. Learn to love your analytics. You’ll make way more money if you do.
  11. Figuring that people will “just call.” Many sites shy away from having a lot of content because they want to encourage people to call them. Guess what – people want to interact with your site (and your business) their way, so forcing them to call can cause conversions to drop. Allow folks to find your information online and get their questions answered.
  12. Hiding all content behind a firewall to increase lead generation. I frequently see this with B2B companies. Remember, the search engines can’t fill out your lead generation form. And many people won’t want to give up their email address without knowing exactly what they’ll get. Consider making some information (such as a short summary) public and crawlable. It will help you with the search engines, and highlight your content’s value.
  13. Not understanding how to repurpose content. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time. Have a great white paper? Use it as a basis for a blog post. Have a great blog post? Pull out some tasty sentences and use them as tweets. Here’s a great post by Lee Odden with other content repurposing ideas.
  14. Forcing folks to sign up for your blog via RSS – with no other alternative. It’s easy to forget that not everyone knows what a RSS feed is, nor do they ever want to learn. Consider sending your blog posts as an email newsletter instead. Besides, sending an newsletter allows you to control the message and add other informational/promotional tidbits – something you can’t do with a RSS feed.
  15. Not having a set SEO content marketing schedule. I know it’s fun to send out tweets when you think of something brilliant – or blog when the Muse visits. The problem is, you can’t do much with a scattershot content plan. If you figure out what to do when, you’ll see a much better response.  (Sneak preview – I’ll be discussing content marketing schedules next week.)

What about you? What headsmacking opportunity would you add to the list?