- Writing for SEO
By Doug Williams – June 14, 2011
Writing website copy is different than writing for print. Writing for the web is brief and to the point with shorter paragraphs, shorter sentences and fewer words.
SEO is about optimizing a website for people that use search engines. It is this human side of search engine optimization. Use keywords as a central theme in your messaging, your page headlines and your hyperlinks. It is about establishing relevance to what your visitors are searching for.
Targeted keyword phrases are weaved into marketing text so search engines take note of the important phrases. Your writing must be convincing to both website visitors the search engines.
Your words need to grab a reader’s attention and direct them toward a specific action. Good content writing entertains, educates and convinces your audience. People rarely read web copy. Instead they scan and pick out individual words and sentences.
Your page headline should grab your reader’s attention and contain keywords. Body text should stimulate interest and assure your reader they are in the right place. Are you clearly addressing the “burning question” that your ideal buyer will have? Write in a customer focused style.
- Plan of action: You should storyboard out the sales process and then write the text to give the results you are after.
- Get their attention: When they first arrive, they need to immediately see your sales pitch, your offering and even your order button. Don’t make them scroll down or switch pages.
- Three second rule: Internet users are active, not passive. If they don’t immediately see what they are looking for, they are gone. First impressions are critical. One click and they’re gone in as little as 3 seconds after they arrive.
- State the benefits: Benefits are what sell. Benefits are what features mean. Features are what products do.
- Anticipate Questions: Focus on the benefits and answer your visitor’s question “So, what’s in it for me?” Other questions that need answering are: “What am I doing here,” “How do I do it,” and “Where can I go next?”
- Keywords: Your most important keyword phrase should be used a minimum of 3 times. Once in the headline, once in the first paragraph and once in text that will be hyperlinked to another relevant page on your site. Other keywords should be used 1-2 times.
- Keywords up front: The keywords that you are targeting should appear at the beginning of your page, beginning of your paragraphs and even the beginning of your sentences. These first words are given more importance by the search engines.
- Headline: The headline sets the tone. It grabs attention…or not. It reveals a promise. It raises hopes. It creates surprise. Your headline has to be the most powerful text on your page.
- Easy to scan: Your reader wants to scan down your web page and get the gist of it before reading. The main points should stand out in sub-headlines, lists, images, colors, italics and indented text.
- Enough Text: An optimized web page should have a minimum of 300 words of text. 400 is better. Break up your content into small articles for easy reading the way a newspaper does.
- Make it personal: If you want to hold a reader’s attention, drill down for the details of your story. Get down to a personal level. If you’re selling a trip to Hawaii, don’t talk about Hawaii, talk about one person enjoying Hawaii.
- Call to action. End your page by asking for some sort of action. Have questions? If you need answers call, email, click on live chat or whatever action you want your visitor to do. Better yet: Buy now!
- Back up what you say: Web visitors don’t believe hype. If you want to be believable, you have to back it up. Reference your sources.
- Start strong and finish strong: Grab their attention when they arrive, and astound them with your finish. Put your best material at the beginning and the end.
Good, logically presented information presented in a convincing way does not get near the results as web copy written with emotion. Get the visitor involved emotionally with what your product or service will do for them.
Psychologists have identified five “Great” motivators, and virtually all good web copy creates sales by catering to one of these forces. These include fear, exclusivity, guilt, greed, and the need for approval. When our custom copywriters tap into these basic motivators, you will see your sales increase dramatically!
In addition to these five great motivators, the consumer is also motivated by what is referred to as “soft” motivators. The soft motivators are convenience and pleasure. These are utilized best when combined with one or more of the five great motivators.
Go through your website and test it against each of these writing tips. Remember that your home page is the most important page to do. You only have a few seconds to make that perfect first impression.