The A-B-Cs of SEO copywriting

Today’s post goes back to the SEO copywriting basics. If you’ve been in the business for awhile, this will serve as a great refresher (and it’s a great post to share with your  clients, too!). :) And if you’re new to SEO copywriting, this post is a good way learn your SEO copywriting A-B-Cs. Enjoy!

Always test your content (or in the words of Brian Eisenberg “Always Be Testing.”) Yes, a piece of content may work “just fine.” But what if you could turn that content up to 11 and REALLY make it perform?

Be picky about the content that comes out of your company. “Thin” content written just for Google – or so-so content that’s not very good – reflects on your brand.

Content curation is a fantastic way to provide value to your readers, without having to write your own content. Beware – although this sounds “easy,” content curation is time consuming. Read Laura’s tips on how to do it well.

Don’t worry about keyword density. It’s been a myth for years (and even Matt Cutts has said the same thing.) Finally, it’s safe to let this one go. Really.

Examine ways that you can repurpose existing content. This is a great way to save time, extend the reach of your content assets and reach people across platforms. Here’s how to do it.

Focus on the benefits (what’s in it for your prospect) rather than company and product features. You’ll sell much more product that way (or capture many more leads!)

Get educated! If you’re writing SEO content, learn everything you can about SEO, copywriting, neuromarketing and consumer psychology. The more you know, the better your content.

Hire smart, talented copywriters – not the cheapest one you can find. Make sure they know exactly what they’re doing, and that they keep up with the latest SEO news. Here are some tips about how to hire an SEO copywriter.

In-house training is a super-smart investment if your company employs copywriters. Why outsource when your training investment can pay for itself in just 10 pages?

Just say “no” to making sure that your articles/sales pages/blog posts are a certain word count “for Google.” Google will not give you the keys to their algorithmic kingdom if every page on your site is  500 words. How long should your copy be? As long as it needs to be to clearly explain the topic and make the desired impact.

Keyphrases are still important. Some writers ignore this step, figuring “I know exactly how our readers are searching.” Quit fooling yourself. Unless your name is “Google,” you don’t have access to this information. Don’t fall into this trap.

Long-tail keyphrases are golden – especially for blog posts and FAQ pages. Learn why you should learn to love the long tail. 

Mine your analytics for cool content opportunities. As soon as you learn what kind of your content your readers love, you can make sure to create more of it!

Never spam Google figuring that you won’t get caught. Techniques like invisible text or link spam has been bad for many years (and yes, Google will catch you eventually!).

Optimizing Web pages is only half the battle. It’s one thing to make them “good for Google.” It’s another to make them great for your readers. Know the difference.

Personas are soooo important. After all, how can you write targeted content if you don’t know who you’re writing it for? If you haven’t created a customer/reader customer persona document, do it now (and here’s how!)

Quit obsessing over Google’s latest algorithmic change. You can “chase the algorithm” or you can write great content.

Rest is important. It does no good to crank out Web pages when you’re tired, hungry, cranky or just plain burned-out.

Title tags are exceptionally important. Well-written, “clickable” Titles get the clicks from the search engine results page. Plus, they help with positioning. Learn how to write Titles right.

Understand the difference between writing to sell, and writing for social media. They represent two different skill sets (and may require two different writers.)

Vary your keyphrases. Focusing your very large site on a very few keyphrases will cause you to miss opportunities. And yes, synonyms are OK, too.

Winning in SEO copywriting means more sales, more shares, happier readers and more money in your pocket. Focus your efforts around those elements – not what Google may do next.

You is an incredibly powerful marketing word. Use it in your copy. A lot.

Zzzzz is the sound your reader makes when your copy is limp, lifeless and drab. Put some personality in your copy (check out 37signals as an example. You’ll find that people will read more of your content (and even convert at higher rates, too!)