Thursday, 24 July 2014 10:35

SEO copywriting - 5 ways to set hearts a flutter

When Google’s latest algorithm, Hummingbird, was released last year, many a business owner had a flap.

Just when they thought they had the online world cracked, the environment changed.

Again.

 

 

Alas, to keep the love of Google and maintain precious search ranking favour, they set about modifying their website and online marketing strategies in a number of ways: Writing accurate meta descriptions to keep bounce rates low, investing in new mobile-ready websites; posting fresh web content, regular as clockwork, and getting busy on social media platforms (love em' or hate em') were but a few of the activities.

Exhausting, right?!

When all business owners really want to do is get on with business as usual.

I should know. I may be a professional copywriter with an arsenal of SEO knowledge but I do, in fact, suffer from dark thoughts that Google will tire of me and go find a new love. This is mainly because I have scant time to update my own website when I’m so deeply invested in writing great copy for others.

Anyway, if like me, you’re someone who appreciates a little sure-footedness in an ever-changing online jungle, be of good cheer, I know the way ...

What’s so reassuring from an SEO copywriting point view is that, even in the face of Google’s ever-evolving algorithms, one thing will always remain constant: great copy will always be great copy.

The simple truth is this: SEO copywriting is primarily about engaging your target audience and selling. There’s no point whatsoever in getting prospects to your website then leaving them high and dry, right?

So, to win the love of both your audience and Google (and hummingbirds, pandas and penguins) here are 5 future-proof ways to create naturally good SEO copywriting:

1. Know your audience

It’s not just about who you know, it’s also about how well you know them. So if you’re not sure what makes your target audience tick, do your research and get to know your potential customers, intimately.

Trust me. You’ll know what to say and how to say it - and your content will both rank and sell, beautifully.  

2. Grab a great grammar guide

This summer, I attended a Guardian Masterclass. The teacher, a highly successful author, stressed the importance of grammar and style – and basic punctuation! He recommended a wonderful book: ‘The Elements of Style’ by William Strunk Jr and E.B White.

Here’s a simple tip from the Masterclass: If your sentence reads ambiguously, put a comma in it! (Do this online and your audience and Google will lavish affection upon you).

3. Write captivating headlines

Great copywriting aims to achieve ‘mental rental,’ i.e., renting out space in your reader’s head (when there’s already ‘very little room at the inn’ in this content-crammed world). Crafting compelling headlines – that stick in your reader’s mind – is the only way to go.

A copywriter from acclaimed ad agency, Ogilvy & Mather, once crafted this thought-provoking headline: ‘Cancer cures smoking.’ If you too can craft memorable, relevant headlines and throw in a few keywords for good measure, you’re on your way to long-term audience/Google love.

4. Write longer, shorter copy!

Longer copy: The latest studies show that longer posts (up to 1,500 words, against the traditional 500) are helping sites rank better. And, of course, longer articles are a great opportunity to give your readers more value, whilst demonstrating more of your expertise.

Shorter copy: While longer articles may be the darling of SEO, long and meandering paragraphs are assuredly not. Tight, punchy copy, depending on your brand, can be highly compelling. One rule of thumb, online, is this: If it’s scan-able, it’s loveable.

Here’s an opening to a newsletter I recently wrote for a client:

“Detoxing isn’t just a luxury.

 It’s ESSENTIAL. All year round.

 Why? Because your body needs detoxing to maintain a healthy immune system.

There are 5 things that have an impact on the effectiveness of your immune system:

 Diet. Exercise. Stress. Pollution.

 And the biggie ….

 AGE!”

 5. Remember contextual relevance

Lastly, it would be wrong to talk about Google’s latest algorithm without mentioning semantic search - the reason Hummingbird was created in the first place.

Semantic search is all about contextual relevance and focusing on what the searcher really means, rather than on a string of keywords. Searchers tend to type questions into Google, so always be ready to answer those questions in your content - skillfully and insightfully. If you can do this, you’ll be setting hearts a flutter left, right, centre.

Remember, these are just 5 ways to master your SEO copywriting. Don’t forget to keep coming back for more tips.

I post new content … whenever I can!

If, in the meantime, you’d like a little extra help getting your SEO copywriting to take flight, please get in touch

I've known Vicki for over 10 years. She is an extremely talented and adaptable writer. She’s always been a pleasure to deal with, and I'd have no hesitation in recommending her to anyone.

Phil Cookson, Director, Creative Resource