Write for the audience not for Google bots
Striking a balance between SEO and pitching your message is a real battle for in-house SEOs and online marketers. The marketing experts want flowery language that embellishes a landing page and perfectly pitches a product but the SEO professional is intent on getting as many semantic variations of keywords into the content. But who is right? Who gets to stamp their authority on the landing page?
A landing page is any page of a website that is a point of entry for your target audience. If your PPC and SEO campaigns are well run, you will have several landing pages on your site – each talking to the relative audience segment.
Your landing page needs to appeal to that audience – if your product or service is appealing, then you are likely to be generating sales. However on the opposite side of the coin, you have the SEO aspect, which is geared at attracting the web traffic in the first place. It’s a real balancing act perfecting the ideal landing page content and there is a lot of testing involved to get it right but the most important thing you can do is make sure your target market is the primary audience to which you are writing – not search engine robots.
Posted by savantcopywriting on October 31, 2011
Split test different versions to improve conversions
Writing purely for landing pages is a different concept to writing for SEO. Search engine optimisation places certain constraints on the way you write – you must include certain keywords, and a certain number of those keywords, which can effect how direct your message is.
Balancing SEO and your marketing message can be done – it’s a specialist skill, but if you are advertising your business on PPC platforms such as Google Adwords, through stand alone landing pages, then the SEO element of a page doesn’t come into play. This gives a writer freedom to write the marketing message exactly as they want it, rather than feeling obliged to work around certain phrases or headings.
Writing a more direct message to your target market usually results in higher conversions. The only down side is that you have to pay pro rata for your PPC traffic. It’s also worth split testing different versions of a landing page – changing headings to have more or less ‘impact’, which can compromise the trust of a reader (if it’s over-promising something or claiming something outrageous for example).
It’s not just design and layout that can be split tested on landing pages – test bullet points versus plain text. Test 300 words versus 100 words. Test a page with the prices included versus one without.
Testing is a key success factor for online marketing – if you can increase your conversion rate from 2% to 3%, you are effectively doubling your sales opportunities, which can significantly influence your profit.
Posted by savantcopywriting on October 22, 2011
Improve your SEO campaign with internal linking
One thing many novice online marketers (and even some established pros) forget to do is cross-linking their SEO content. Internal links are a vital part of any successful SEO strategy and direct search engine crawlers to pages you see as most relevant for the anchor text that forms the link. For example, if you have a special offers page, and you make reference to special offers in a blog post, then your anchor text “special offers” should be hyperlinked to the special offers page.
Internal linking is another signal to Google and other search engines to reinforce what a page is about. If you have keywords in your title, in your heading tags (h1, h2 etc.) and in the anchor text for internal links, then you are more likely to rank for relevant search phrases inputted by your target market.
This is a fundamental element of any search engine optimisation strategy – but don’t over do it. I usually try to set a limit of one link per 100 words, you can probably get away with more but I think it starts to look unnatural. Also, don’t link to the same internal page twice from a blog post or site article, or even a static page – there is no extra value to be had from linking to a page twice – even if then anchor text is different.
If you can get your internal link in the first 100 words or so, it’s more likely to get crawled by search engines each time they visit the page – there are theories that suggest Googlebots don’t crawl entire pages every single time a crawl is done. They apparently make assumptions that pages haven’t changed and don’t crawl it through to the end – which means links at the end of a document can get overlooked. Not sure if this is an absolute fact of SEO but I have heard it from several industry professionals.
Posted by savantcopywriting on October 12, 2011
Correlation between grammar and Google PageRank
The quality of online content is an important issue for online marketers but how relevant is it really? How much should professional SEOs and online marketers worry about things like spelling and grammar in their web content. Well according to Google, it is important – not as a direct signal for search engine optimisation per se but it is important and from analysis, pages with better content and grammar tend to earn greater trust, respect and ultimately PageRank.
In this video Matt Cutts explains how spelling and grammar should probably be metrics for evaluating the quality of content on websites.
It seems logical that spelling and grammar are important factors – the more professional your content appears to your target market, the more trust and loyalty you build (all other things being equal). While it’s not a ranking right now, there is the possibility that it will in the future – especially when Matt Cutts says it’s a fair indicator of quality.
To ensure you are meeting quality guidelines with your web content, follow a policy of proofreading and sub-editing material before it’s published and also re-read the post when it goes live. Have someone else read it though because you are less likely to spot mistakes in your own content.
Posted by savantcopywriting on October 8, 2011
Build your online presence with more web content
If you are considering blogging and developing a social presence online, where to find ideas for content can be difficult. You may have some decent ideas to start off with – and suddenly you decide to write a blog post every day but quickly discover you have run out of content for your website before the end of week 1.
They key to online content is to pace yourself, build a content strategy before heading straight into it. To novice content writers, ideas and words on paper are often the slowest and most painstaking parts of writing. Getting words on paper – even in bullet point form is a good start.
Ideas can come from your day-to-day working life – questions customers ask; changes to prices due to increases in supplier/transport costs; government regulations affecting your industry etc. are just some examples of where the inspiration for content can come from. A good old-fashioned notepad and a pen at work are a good idea – otherwise a great idea you think of might suddenly be forgotten due to other daily issues occupying your mind.
Posted by savantcopywriting on October 3, 2011