What is it about the word ‘keywords’ that gets people so wound up?
Some go into a frenzy, others look blankly at you or there are those who try to devise cunning ways to cram as many of said words into everything they write.
This blog is going to look at what they are, how you work out good ones for you and what you should do with them.
What is a keyword?
The first thing to remember is that a keyword isn’t necessarily a word; it can also be a phrase.
In a nutshell, it is a word or phrase people use to search for a product, service or piece of information.
So if you sold designer leather dog collars, your keywords would be things like:
Leather dog collars
Designer dog collars
Leather designer dog collars
The other thing to remember is that every business will have more than one keyword. Which is just as well, because every page of your website should be optimised for a different keyword.
Your keywords can also include your geographical location to give your local search engine optimisation a boost.
The value of a good keyword
Before deciding on the keywords you want to use, it’s important you check out their competitiveness and impression frequency.
It is pointless going after keywords if they are:
Hugely competitive with everyone chasing after them
No competition because no one uses that term to search for things
You can use Google’s keyword tool to find out the number of searches (globally and locally) and whether the competition is high or low.
Long tail keywords (such as ‘leather designer dog collars’) will draw a lower search volume, but because it’s more targeted they are likely to bring in buying customers.
Single keywords, for example ‘copywriter’ are incredibly competitive and will take a very long time to rank well for, but if you opt for something such as ‘email copywriter’ or ‘copywriting services’ you’ll stand a better chance of getting quicker results.
How to decide on keywords
The best way to come up with a list of keywords is to write down everything that relates to your business, including technical and non-technical terms (your customers are more likely to use the latter).
Then use tools such as Google’s keyword tool and Wordtracker to help work our which ones are the best to go for. You can also use Google Trends to see how certain keywords are performing.
Using your keywords
I mentioned earlier that every page of your website should be optimised for a different keyword, but that doesn’t mean cramming every inch of the page with it.
Firstly, work out which words are to be included on which page and create your navigation bar (each page should have its keyword in its title).
Then create a keyword rich title tag (that actually makes sense) to show Google what your page is about.
When it comes to your content, make sure your keyword is in your H1 heading (main heading) and any other subheadings you use and then write naturally. You will find that your keywords will appear without you having to shoe horn them in.
That last point is vital – write naturally. Your website is there to attract people not search engine spiders because it’s the people who’ll be buying from you.
That’s basically all you need to know about keywords. If you have any questions leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
For many years now, businesses have turned to their trusted copywriter to create their website copy.
Because they knew that the way their content was written would have an effect on their search rankings, in other words they needed SEO copywriting.
Now for me ‘traditional’ SEO copywriting is no more, especially in light of Google’s recent algorithm changes that has put more emphasis on good quality writing as opposed to that which is over optimised.
Let’s face it, that’s not a bad thing as finally, we might be able to say farewell to those awful web pages that are completely incomprehensible because they are stuffed to the rafters with keywords.
So are copywriters now redundant?
Far from it.
Google adores good quality content. That means stuff that’s:
Adds value to the reader
Interesting and relevant
And that means it should still be written by a professional because they do it every day and therefore are really rather good at it.
You see the misconceptions that SEO copywriting is all about including your keywords at least 15 times in your copy, or stuffing them all within the first few lines of your page, or just getting copy out there that the search engines read because people don’t read it anyway are exactly that, misconceptions.
SEO copywriting is and always has been about writing good quality content that’s focused on the reader and communicates with them in a conversational, simple to understand way.
Basically, the copy should always be written for the reader and not the search engines. Google or Bing aren’t going to come knocking on your door, credit card in hand, looking to buy your products or services so why write for them?
If you produce great content that entertains, educates and engages then customers will walk through your door because it shows that you ‘get it’.
Sadly, SEO copywriting has a long way to go before the myth of keyword stuffing is debunked for good. In fact, I was working on a web copy project recently for a client who, unbeknown to me, was working with some ‘marketing experts’ to get his business on track. He’d asked me to produce his web copy, which I duly did, focusing on the benefits and reader. After reviewing it and agreeing it, he then sent it to these ‘experts’ who came back saying ‘this is not SEO copywriting, there is no optimisation…’
Was I fuming or what?
After explaining once more about SEO copy and offering to send his ‘experts’ some information from Matt Cutts that backed up my work, they went quiet. It’s a shame, but that just goes to show how indoctrinated people are about SEO copywriting.
Over to you
I could bore for England on this subject, but rather than do that how about having your say?
Whether you’re a copywriter, marketer or business owner, what are your thoughts on this?
Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your views.
Everyone understands the importance of search engine optimisation.
But not everyone seems to grasp the fact that it’s an ever-changing field of marketing. As search evolves so do the complex algorithms the search engines use to determine which sites are relevant to which search terms.
Why the constant changes?
That’s mainly down to the less than white SEO ‘experts’ out there who find a technique to boost their website’s rankings and exploit it.
For example, as a result of websites with poor content that wasn’t relevant, Google’s Panda came along. Hot on its heels was the mighty Penguin to battle against keyword stuffers, cloaking, duplicate content and those participating in link schemes.
In the world of SEO you have two choices: keep doing what you’ve been doing for years and watch your website disappear from view; or move with the times and adopt new techniques.
SEO Techniques to steer clear from
To get you on the right path, here are just a few old SEO techniques that should be consigned to the rubbish bin.
1. Keyword density
This is a phrase that should never be mentioned again.
If you’re not sure what it is, it’s a dreadful practice old SEOers once employed, claiming you have to have a certain percentage of keywords in your website copy in order get ranked for that particular search term.
If it were that simple, the world would be full of websites that were complete gibberish and only contained one or two phrases repeated again and again.
The right way to create effect SEO copywriting is by writing high quality content that is written naturally.
2. Numerous press releases
Online press release outlets were seen as a God send to many.
The result was numerous press releases that had absolutely no substance to them whatsoever being blasted across the web in the hope of attracting a back link or two.
The main problem with this is that you’re putting out substandard releases for the general public to see, which is hardly going to put your company in a good light.
There’s nothing wrong with issuing press releases, but only when you actually have some news to tell.
3. Content spinning
Once upon a time, marketers would write an article, spin it using some software and post it out to numerous websites. Worse still, they would send out the same article to hundreds of websites creating vast swathes of duplicate content.
That is such a bad idea.
If you want to put content out there make sure it’s original, of high quality and offers the reader something. After all, if you want to generate links, it has to be some pretty awesome content.
4. Meta tags
Once upon a time (there’s a pattern forming here) SEO was linked to your meta tags because they helped the search engines determine the relevance of your website. Surprise, surprise, this resulted in numerous SEOers stuffing their meta tags (they appear in the <head> section of your website’s code) with keywords.
The search engines are far cannier these days, and use other tags (e.g. title tags and alt tags) and the actual content of your website to determine what your web page is about.
As you can see, throughout the history of SEO someone finds a loophole and exploits it. That’s why it’s important you keep updated with the latest SEO techniques and news to make sure your efforts continue to bring you the results you want.
The following guest post was written by Vicky Fraser. The author’s views are entirely her own and may not reflect the views of FreelanceCopywritersBlog.com. If you are interested in producing a Guest Post for this blog, please get in touch with your ideas.
SEO: search engine optimisation. It strikes fear into the hearts of some; cynicism and distrust into the hearts of others. However, if your business has a website and you need to generate leads, you’ll ignore it at your peril.
Firstly: a warning. Anyone who tells you that they can shoot you to the top of Google overnight is either lying, not terribly bright or using dodgy techniques like ‘spamdexing’ (which will get your site blacklisted).
Tackling it yourself
For those who want to undertake SEO themselves, there are a few things to think about. If this is your first foray into SEO, it’s worth spending a little time learning about it.
A video is worth quite a lot of words on this subject, and this is a great little introduction to SEO from those clever guys at Search Engine Land:
When you’ve sussed out your meta descriptions, chosen your URLs, set your keywords and (this is important) written your image ‘alt’ tags, it’s time to think about the copy itself.
It’s not just the search engine spiders you’re writing for; it’s your customers, too. And the search engine spiders know that. New algorithms are popping up all the time and they are getting more and more intelligent. The spiders can recognise good, relevant, useful content and they are more likely to rank it highly.
However, it’s not just about algorithms: the more relevant, interesting and engaging your copy and content is, the more likely it is to be shared, and the more likely it is to be ranked highly in the search engines. Be honest: if you’re not a good writer, employ one. It’s an investment you won’t regret.
Use the tools available to you, as well. There are quite a few good freebies around. HubSpot has an excellent ‘marketing grader‘ tool that gives feedback on a variety of aspects of a website. The SEO snippet tool is a brilliant wee thing for writing your Google snippets and URLs. And SEOQuake is great – offering a suite of widgets to diagnose individual webpages.
Once your site is optimised – don’t leave it alone! SEO is not a ‘job done’, it’s an ongoing task. Start a blog, and update it often. Fill it with relevant, useful content that people want to share – the search engines love it.
Make social media work for you too – more and more, it is searched and indexed by those spiders. The search engines are recognising what valuable sharing and search tools social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are.
Employing someone to tackle SEO for you
The advice above is very brief, and is the tip of the iceberg. If it feels like more work than you can take on yourself, pay an expert to do it for you.
There are many SEO bods out there with a variety of skills, and you may not want or need someone to take care of the whole shebang. Take a good look at your site, using the free tools mentioned above, and decide which areas need your attention most. Then spend your budget on those areas, and tackle other areas yourself.
If you have a little experience with the back end of websites, and know how metadata works, this is a relatively simple (but fairly time-consuming) task, and one that you could tackle yourself. Don’t underestimate, though, the skill involved in boiling each page down to 156 characters for the meta-description (that’s the snippet that appears in Google’s listings. It’s not terribly important for rankings, but a well-written snippet will stand out from the rest on the page and is more likely to be clicked)…
Perhaps your website copy needs rewriting and optimising for search engines? It is not simply a case of stuffing keywords in there; in fact, doing so is likely to harm your rankings and it certainly won’t do your customers any favours. As mentioned above, and this cannot be overemphasised, your website copy needs to be interesting, useful, relevant and informative – as well as easy for the spiders to recognise and rank using keywords.
Maybe you’d like a regular blog, but you just don’t have the time? Or perhaps you’d like to embrace social media, but you don’t know where to start…
Getting the best from your freelancer and the most from your budget
You’ll be paying for the copywriter’s expertise, and a good one is worth their weight in cheese. However, you can keep costs down by doing some of the legwork yourself.
Do your research yourself. Ask your customers, your friends and family, your colleagues and even complete strangers what they would search for if they were looking for your product or service.
If you can pass on a decent list of keywords and keyword phrases to pass onto your freelancer, you will save them time. That is not to say that they won’t do their own research if necessary, but they will quote accordingly.
Compile a full list of your competitors – local and national – and pass it on to your freelancer. They can do some keyword research, investigate their blog and take a good look at their use of social media to see what works in your industry.
Trust your freelancer: they will be able to look at your business from the outside, and talk about what your customers (and potential customers) want to hear. This will probably not be the same thing you want to say! Your customers want to know what you can do for them, not how great you think you are. It may be painfully honest, but it will be honest and it will do your business good.
If you’d like to employ a copywriter to blog for you, you can save them time (and reduce the bill) by providing a list of topics, and writing an outline. Researching blogs takes time, so if you do the research for us and provide a skeleton article, the costs will come down.
SEO isn’t that scary. Honest. It does require skilled writers, and an investment in time. Either way, if your business relies on inbound leads from the internet, you can’t afford to ignore it. Dive in – and do it properly!
Vicky Fraser is a freelance copywriter and marketeer based in Warwickshire. Being a science nerd undertaking a physics degree, she specialises in simplifying and clarifying scientific and technical copy but writes about all manner of things for a wide variety of clients. She blogs about science, freelancing and writing – amongst other things.
But what I want to concentrate on in this post is the use of your keywords.
Going right back to basics, keywords are the words and phrases your customers type in to Google’s search box when looking for your products and services.
In the bad old days, ‘SEO experts’ would have you believe that to be highly ranked, you had to cram as many of those keywords/phrases into your copy.
The result…well, you can imagine; page after page of complete drivel.
Thankfully, those days are gone (but be warned, there are one or two dinosaurs still around touting keyword density as the Holy Gail of SEO copywriting) and marketers are far savvier.
Natural writing is the key to good rankings.
By keeping your copy focused on your reader and the benefits you can offer them, your writing will engage and naturally contain your keywords and phrases.
But there is one caveat here: your key phrases do not have to be used in their entirety throughout your web page.
What do I mean by that?
For example, let’s say you sell “designer leather dog collars”, rather than using that phrase in its entirety everywhere in your site, you can break it down using single words such as “designer” and “leather” or combinations “dog collars” “designer leather” “leather collars” etc.
You get the idea.
You see Google looks at your page for synonyms too, so splitting your phrase down will really help your rankings.
Of course, you still need to use it in its entirety somewhere to show Google exactly what your page is about, perhaps in your:
Anchor text links
Remember, writing SEO copy is an art form when it comes to understanding Google’s likes and dislikes, but the overwhelming aspect of it is to write naturally and always for your reader.
Keep them firmly in your mind when writing your copy. If you start to think about the search engines your content won’t do its job.