SEO is an abbreviation so commonly thrown around that many people accept it as ‘something necessary’ for a positive search engine ranking and boosted website traffic, but they don’t always know what it actually means. So here’s the short lowdown on what SEO is, and how an experienced copywriter could (and should) be optimising your website content.
What does SEO stand for?
Simple question, often forgotten. It just means Search Engine Optimisation, and is now also referred to as SEM, Search Engine Marketing, for a broader scope.
What does that mean?
What it means is that the website content you have is trawled by search engines to find the most relevant pages for a user’s search. If your copy is optimised using SEO or SEM techniques, it is more likely that your pages will be returned higher in search engine results, and return results more often for both broad and very specific searches.
Surely that just means using keywords?
The short answer to this is ‘no’. Keywords are a great way to build your path to that top organic Google #1 spot, but you can’t just overload your copy with keywords. This will actually damage your results, let alone make for incredibly boring and often irrelevant copy. It did used to be the case that you could write a ton of keywords and it’d rank your page highly – however, that was many years ago and is highly frowned upon by consumers AND search engine crawl bots.
What are longtail keywords?
This is where a good copywriter is worth their weight in coffee (a writer’s gold, naturally). Paying a freelance copywriter to create your online content may feel like an unnecessary expense – but it pays dividends. The impact decent SEO copy will have on improving your website traffic for relevant leads of people who are already searching to buy the product you offer must also be considered.
An experienced SEO copywriter may cost a little more than a normal copywriter – and for good reason. They’ll know exactly how to research your company, products, goals, and audience, and know how to find out what people are searching for when they come to your website. This is very important: it’s where longtail keywords come in.
Longtail keywords are specific phrases that are niche to your offerings. These may feel too specific, but it is these client-specific phrases which help businesses climb the Google mountain. For example, if you sell high end washing machines, a long tail keyword could be “internet-enabled smart washing machine”, capturing a niche – but specific – market in one short phrase.
These longer phrases are also a huge benefit to your paid AdWords campaigns: it’s often much cheaper to have organic traffic find your site through a niche phrase than it is to bid for the most common words. So while a bid for the phrase ‘washing machine’ is very expensive per bid, having ‘buy a smart washing machine with next day delivery’ in your website copy will zoom your website to the top of the Google rankings for a search with those exact words – without having to pay for the expensive AdWords bid.
So anyone can write SEO content?
Technically, yes. However, you should always consider hiring an expert – you wouldn’t do your own dentistry, and probably hire people to do your accounts, and we’ve all been to restaurants before (where people not only cook for you, but bring it to your table AND do the washing up afterwards) – so that’s where copywriters come in for businesses.
An experienced SEO writer will understand how to make your longtail keywords flow naturally in a piece of copy, whether that’s your website landing page or in your blogs. Content that sounds natural and not obviously keyword-centric has more authority with readers, and this will help to boost the ‘Domain Authority’ (DA) of your website. (That’s a whole other article though; for now, you just need to know that boosting your DA is a Very Good Thing).
I’m a writer – is SEO essential to my skill set?
It isn’t essential, but you’d be wise to learn more about it. In particular, if you’re specialising in advertising copy and work on sales-based targets, it’s in your interests to monitor the website traffic stats of any client (if they’ll let you – and if you explain why you need it they are unlikely to refuse). Learning how to use SEO techniques makes a big difference to your copy in terms of quality and returns, so it is worth looking into it in more detail to keep writing well into the future.
Want to know more about SEO content in detail?
Here’s the plug: keyword-rich content is something I do. If you want to have a go at writing SEO content yourself, but need some guidance to get started, I can give one-to-one or workshop tuition. Just get in touch to find out more!