Creating A Search Engine Copywriting Plan
Thackston © 2005
Search engine copywriting has become an extremely
important part of the overall search engine optimization process. However, in
addition, search engine copywriting has developed into a misunderstood
Shoving keywords in anywhere they can possibly go is not
considered search engine copywriting. The process is more defined than that.
Successful SEO copywriting takes planning. Any half-hearted efforts at writing
copy geared strictly toward the engines will usually result in a decline in your
customer's experience at your site.
What's the best way to write SEO
copy? Starting with a plan is always a good idea. Keep in mind, these are
guidelines of techniques that can be used *IF* they make sense for your site
visitors. I never recommend writing solely for the search engines. In the case
of search engine copywriting, the customer is truly #1.
1) Use Three
Keyphrases Per Page - Not a carved-in-stone rule, the guideline of three
keyphrases per page gives good variety and helps keep the copy from sounding too
repetitive. I always choose keyphrases first - before I write - because they can
have a direct impact on the focus of the page.
2) Have 250 or More Words
of Copy - The length of your copy depends on several things: Your target
customer's preferred communication style, whether the product is new to the
marketplace, if a detailed explanation needs to be given, site design and many
other factors. However, the 250-word minimum gives enough room to get your
message across and offer an effective level of keyword support. Remember though,
it's all about the customer. If your target customers prefer longer copy, write
longer copy. If they like shorter copy, write shorter copy.
3) Write In
Natural Language - "Natural language" is a term popular in SEO copywriting. It
means that the reader should not be able to (or should barely be able to) detect
what keyphrases the page is being optimized for. The copy should flow as if it
were not written with the search engines in mind. You don't want the copy to
sound forced or stiff. When you generate ideas for the page copy, keep your
keywords in mind. Ask yourself whether you can use them in the copy in such a
way that they won't be obtrusive.
4) Use Keyword Phrases In Headlines and
Sub-headlines - if it makes sense to do so. You will not blow your rankings
you have no keyword-filled H1> or other H> tags. If your headline sounds
stupid with keywords in it, don't use them. There are countless sites online
that rank highly which have no keywords in the headline.
5) Use Keyword
Phrases Once or Twice Per Paragraph - Again if it makes sense. Remember
what I keep repeating? None of these guidelines are carved in stone. Read your
loud. If it sounds stupid or forced, take out some keywords or find ways to
rework them so they flow more naturally.
6) Use Keyword Phrases In Bold,
Italic or Bulleted Lists - if it makes sense to do so. Don't automatically
bold or italicize every instance of your keywords. It will make your page look
stupid, and your visitors will wonder what kind of drugs you've been
7) Do NOT Use Keyword Phrases As Substitutes For Generic Terms -
For example, do not replace every instance of the generic word "cruise" with the
keyphrase "Mexico cruise vacation." Your copy will sound ridiculous.
offer Mexico cruise vacation packages on the most popular Mexico cruise vacation
ships to the most breathtaking Mexico cruise vacation destinations. Oh
8) Use Keyword Phrases As Anchor Text In Links - This is
certainly not always possible. If your primary keyphrase is "Mexico Cruise
Vacation," you absolutely should not write every link to include that phrase.
However, if you can include keywords in anchor text within body copy or in text
navigation links, you might score a little extra credit.
9) Test and
Track - Lastly, and above all, please remember, it may take some tweaking to get
your page to convert the way you want it to. All customers are not the same, and
all sites are not the same. All keyphrases are not the same. There is no magic
bullet. You'll have to test and track and see what works best for
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