Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on November 4th, 2011

SEO Copywriting Tips: Conquering the Four-Headed Dragon

copywriting tips

One of the most debatable and misunderstood topics in SEO, that which can divide a country and sound the battle horns, is the role that copywriting plays in an SEO campaign. Is it truly necessary to write targeted SEO content? Are on- and off-page SEO copywriting techniques truly effective? Isn’t SEO copywriting just glorified spam? I can already hear swords being drawn... 

I am hear today to tell you that not only is SEO copywriting effective, it is an essential key to any successful SEO campaign, when implemented appropriately. If you are search engine-optimizing the rest of your website without producing optimized content on a regular basis, you're in hot water. Get a copywriter or three in your arsenal quickly, before you wake the dragon.

There are four main types of copy that will benefit your rankings, in what we like to call “Copywriting’s Four-Headed Dragon” around these parts. Two are strictly on-page copywriting, while the other two are off-page copywriting. All four, if done appropriately, will benefit you, your web site, and your company's bottom line immensely. But just like the Knights of the Round Table, SEO copywriting takes time, effort, and practice, in order to properly slay any dragon, not to mention one with four heads. In preparation for the next damsel in distress, please consult your guide to slaying the four-headed dragon, after the jump.

SEO Dragon Head #1: Web Site Copy
Online competition is fierce. Being indexed and ranked very well by Google almost takes a Festivus miracle! What Google is looking for are the most authentic, honest, helpful, informative, professional, and engaging websites in their relative niches and industries that they feel will benefit the greater good. One of the most effective ways to determine your web site’s value to the world is through your web site’s copy.

Your website's copy is the hardest dragon's head to defeat simply because all your other copy is supplemental to it. Well written and useful content is perfectly capable of telling search engines what they need to know without spam. What is good for search engines is good for human visitors as well, which is why on-page SEO and keyword-optimized web page content if effective.

Tip: Use keywords in your H1 tags, headlines, sub-headlines, and toward the beginning of paragraphs throughout body copy – but DO NOT keyword stuff!

SEO Dragon Head #2: Blogs
At first, blogging appeared to be a fad for those who love to read their own writing. Now business blogs have become very popular and very advantageous for all parties involved! Heck, you’re reading my business blog, right?! But for blogs to be useful for an SEO campaign, they must first and foremost be informative, helpful, engaging, and entertaining. Blogs are a great tool for long-tailed keywords, while keeping the reader at the center of what you write. Blogs can connect you with your audience, customers, and clients through comments and feedback. They can also see the person(ality) behind the business. Sometimes, that is all some people need to see in order to land their business. Use your blog to talk about news in your niche, evolutions of your industry and helpful insights to your products. Don’t oversell in the blog, or you will never have repeat readers.

Tip: Remember the SNL skit, CoffeeTalk, with Linda Richman (Mike Myers)? Harness that energy and engagement, but actually provide the value of Bill Brasky.

SEO Dragon Head #3: Articles
Articles that are created and submitted to article directories provide backlinks to your web site. However, articles that do not utilize keywords and SEO best practices will just add to the ever-growing pile of junk clogging up the Webisphere. But articles that are well-written and provide value to its reader with tips, tricks, and hints, can drive targeted traffic to your site. Submit these articles to the correct categories in article directories (online libraries) with keywords and optimized anchor text and you will benefit from the traffic.

Tip: The article should link back to an appropriate landing page on your web site. If the article is about a cordless fan that you offer, don’t link it to the landing page for air purifiers.

SEO Dragon #4: Press and Release 
Press releases, when issued appropriately, will give a major boost to your online profile. But they are only worthwhile when you have something worth saying, which makes the title and first paragraph critical to retaining your reader for the rest. As they say in most copywriting circles, short and sweet is best. Linking to more information is completely acceptable and a great way to build inbound links. You can also target keywords using appropriate anchor text, but don’t overdo it. There is a general rule with press releases that anything more than a hyperlink per 100 words of text is blurring the worlds between news and spam. Spam is not a world you want to be in.

Tip: Use third person narrative only, and limit your sales pitch to a brief quote.

Effective SEO copywriting is a delicate balance between writing for human eyes and search engine spiders. Ignoring one side when writing for a website, blog, article, or press release will only wake the dragon of discontent. Focus first on the human reader, and then give a nod to the search engines with keywords. If you are able to master this balance, you will be well-equipped to slay the four-headed dragon of SEO copywriting

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