External Links

External links honor the marketing principle of “What’s In It For Them?”

External links show how deeply connected you are to your subject matter, to resources , news and leaders in the field. They also show you are more concerned with getting your visitors to the information they seek, which renders you a helpful provider in their eyes and “not a bad Joe” to seek out should they wish to throw some money at you.

External links let you demonstrate how far you’re willing to take them to be of service

When the engines crawl and analyze your site’s external links, there are five key things you should bear in mind when developing your list or preparing for your SEO web copywriting. First and foremost, yes, you most certainly should be linking out. It may not be as important as it once was, but it is absolutely still a leading SEO priority. That said, the second thing you should bear in mind is that you really shouldn’t have more than 100 links out. If you’re sending them to that many other places, it kind of begs the question, is there anything valuable to be found at your site? Your outgoing link anchor text should be complete with relevant keywords, and your site should show link stability over time – if you thought it was valuable at one point to send them to the National Meteorological website, why are you suddenly changing your mind? Lastly, always make sure of the validity of your external links.

 

 

 

 

Internal Links

Wiki your website: internal links turn your website into a mini, hyper-focused internet

Internal links may seem counter-intuitive or even counterproductive at first. After you’ve gone to all the trouble to get them to your page, optimizing it for a keyword, developing great, unique content, etc., why would you send them elsewhere? By promoting the other content on your site, you show both visitors and the engines that your site is more than a one-trick pony. No, we say, when it comes to this subject or industry, welcome to a treasure trove! Of course, link juice is still passing, even internally, so hopefully one great page begets another. Suppose there are two very similar pages, both of them explaining how to calculate an element of tax law. One links to other pages that show how to calculate other required amounts, the other exists in isolation. Which page and site provide a more valuable experience? Which should come up first for the desperate tax filer? The additional upside is that lots of relevant content also yields longer dwell times, which will then also affirm your status in the eyes of the engines.

Internal links show you have lots to offer an information-seeker

By going broad while remaining well-ordered, you present yourself as more of a single source destination. No, you tell the engines, my users won’t have to build a never-ending trail from page to page across the world wide web. We’re going to give them more of what they may need, all in one place. The advice isn’t necessarily to develop more content (although that’s always good), it’s to take advantage of all of your other pages by directing people there. Hey, you were searching for apples. We’re going to wow you with apple information. Now, perhaps we can tell you a little about a) the nutritional properties of apples, b) our approach to apple farming, c) how to make a great apple pie or d) bananas?

Things to keep in mind when implementing internal linking

A center & spokes strategy tends to be a preferred method of organizing both your site and your internal links. This lets you create a “power page” wherein all tier or sub-category pages link back to a more definitive, umbrella page. Going back to our tax calculator example, the hub page could be a page devoted to easy and free online tax calculators. Each spoke page could then include an internal link back to that center. But whichever approach you use, just make sure you do, in fact, link to your internal pages and test to ensure all internal links are valid.

 

 

Keyword Placements: After You Choose Them, Place Your Words Wisely

The consummate SEO copywriter uses keyword placement for optimized search engine results

For your keyword placement to result in higher listings in the SERP’s, you need to know where exactly to put them. To begin, for best results you’re going to want to make sure you are using your keyword in your url. As mentioned previously, a keyword in your actual domain name can be beneficial but is in no way mandatory. You will also want to use your keyword in your title tag, and you also want to make sure the length of your title tag is somewhere between 10-40 characters. Of course, you’ll want your keywords to appear in your description and keyword meta tags.

Keyword placements: exactly where are the engines looking?

One of the most important things to get right with your keyword placements is to make sure you are using them in your headlines and subheads, known as your H1, H2 and H3 headings. These days, it’s really the first one, the H1, that matters the most. (You may wish to consider using variants and thematically similar terminology in the others.) Then, of course, you actually need to use them with some degree of density in the web copy that follows those headings. I think two or three mentions in a short paragraph is plenty. If you use less, you ran the risk of appearing that the paragraph isn’t really about what you promised in your header tags. If you use more, it’s going to appear to be keyword stuffed. Secret: the more content you have, the more keyword placements you get because the density math works in your favor!

Words have seasoning power: pepper, don’t pour!

Other things the engines can detect are: prominence, including the font size of the keyword, proximity, phrase order, use of the keyword in your alt text and in links to site pages. They also look to see if your so-called golden words also appear in your anchor text, a pretty good indication of whether your page is truly about what it claims to be about. Your SEO consultant, SEO web copywriter or SEO company should be able to advise you as to whether you are getting the maximum mileage out of your keyword placements.

For A Freelance Web Copywriter Keywords Are Key

For a freelance copywriter, keywords hold the keys to unlocking more organic search traffic

Keywords sit at the very heart of your SEO strategy. You can’t rank well for every word a user might type into their browser; you organize your goals and initiatives around the keywords you’ve determined will be most beneficial to your site and business. Of course, you’ll want to think about the obvious keywords, but the more obvious the keyword, the more chance there is serious competition for that keyword. So, to arrive at a good keyword strategy, you want to think about not only the words you’d love to own, but also about search volume, competition, searcher psychology and specificity. Also, it’s good to think in terms of one keyword per page of site copy. Most small businesses shouldn’t preoccupy themselves with a list of targeted keywords any longer than 10 or 12. Look to your SEO copywriter, whether freelance or in-house, for specific guidance based upon your unique business model, size, objectives, etc.

A keyword identification example in the case of an attorney

Suppose you are a lawyer in solo practice. Of course, you’d love to come up first whenever anyone, anywhere searches for an attorney or a lawyer. Well, it makes perfect sense to want that, and it certainly makes sense to telegraph to the engines that’s what your site is about. But when it comes to actually ranking higher and getting more traffic, you’d be wise to broaden your thinking. As quick examples: family law attorney, how much to write a will, inexpensive trust, lawyer near Beverly Hills, etc. The good news is there are many free tools online to help you identify potential keywords.

Where you or your SEO copywriting agency look to identify good keywords

Since you know your business or topic best, start by asking yourself which elements, products or services of your business are most likely to result in the best combination of high traffic with decreased keyword competition. Then, put yourself in the shoes of a prospect and ask, if he or she isn’t searching for me, what types of information might he or she be looking for? Then, I would take that initial brainstorm and couple it with what you can find by using sites such as Google’s keywords tools as part of their WebMaster toolkit and also offered in conjunction with AdWords. Did you know there are even sites that let you check up on your competitors’ keywords?  Again, your copywriter of SEO company should be able to point you in the right direction for good keyword selection.

Fresh Web Copy

Web copy that’s fresh yields refreshing search results

Fresh web copy is viewed by engines such as Google and Bing as an indicator of relevancy. Not only is timely information deemed to be more valuable, but frequent updates show that your site is being maintained, increasing the likelihood that you are a viable authority in your respective field. More to the point, the assumption is that users will be more satisfied in the search for information, with a bias toward “new news” versus old news.

But you don’t need to completely reinvent your web copy and content on a quarterly basis to maintain freshness. You can create a content calendar that includes updating just a single page once per week or month. You can blog regularly, as this is a great way to keep your web copy fresh in the eyes of the engines. You can post periodic news items and press releases to your site. Remember: when the engines crawl your site, they are trying to make a determination of value. If they discover a site that appears to be well-kept, well, that should outrank a site that has grown lazy and musty, right? Fresh web copy results in fresh eyeballs on your site, giving your web copywriter fresh opportunity to convert.

Four web copy freshness signals

The freshness of your website pages and copywriting, the actual dates and times they were last updated, sends a powerful message to the engines about whether they will be sending searchers to a “well-kept” store. The overall amount of changes you make further helps them determine whether you are simply “sweeping the dust bunnies under the rug” or you are making more than cosmetic fixes. The freshness of links, both outbound and inbound, further serves to establish the site’s vitality and relevancy. The frequency of your updates establishes a historical performance benchmark: did you just do a one-time spring overhaul or are you constantly in the process of providing a current and comprehensive understanding of your subject matter? Your web copywriter should work to ensure your web copy and content project a timely, top of your game, professional image.

Why page rank matters to a copywriter

Elements of Page Rank

Neither your copywriter nor you should confuse Page Rank with the position you occupy in the results when you search for one of your keywords. Though they are quite connected, your page rank plays just one role in your position. I think of it like a quality or validity score. Most everything discussed on these pages and in relation to search engine optimization is all about making incremental progress toward a higher position, sometimes influencing page rank and other times not. In addition to the content items mentioned on the previous pages, there are “infrastructure” components for which the value cannot be overstated. More on these in a bit. While Google used to use Page Rank as the sole determining factor in establishing positions, this is no longer the case. Page Rank is just one aspect of your “grade” as determined by Google, but it matters to your copywriter because it matters, or should matter, to you.

Page rank is exponential

In page ranking, it is often five to ten times more difficult to move up from a PR1 to a PR2 and from a PR2 to a PR3. We aren’t going to spend too much time on PR8, PR9 and PR10 sites because here you’re talking about the Microsofts, Facebooks, Yahoos and Googles of the world, the kingpins of popularity. For most small businesses, the jump from a Page Rank of one to a two is pivotal because it takes you out of the world of, say, anyone who might have thrown up a single page site on a whim – you really don’t want to be lumped into that crowd. To go from a two to a three is monumental. This is what separates the vast majority of sites out there, from those that take their organic search business seriously. Often, the difference between a PR2 and a PR3 is whether, assuming all else is equal with your search engine optimization, your site will show on the first page of listings because your page rank will “settle the tie,” so to speak. To go from a 3 to a 4 is epic, to use a word of the times, because now you’re really taking about some rarified air.

When you begin to talk about PR5, PR6 and PR7, you tend to be talking about the sites of major businesses and retailers, institutions, news outlets and the like, including blogger sites who’ve excelled at providing informational content, getting backlinks and engaging an active following or fan base. Their sites are huge, well validated repositories of content that are maintained for freshness. That’s why getting backlinks from these types of sites is so valuable … which, in turn, positively impacts your own page rank, though perhaps not as much as many think. But that’s not the whole story, either, because geography, freshness, user-generated content and social signals now play their algorithmic roles in helping the engines determine which sites should come up first and when.

Increasing Your Page Rank

Page Rank is an evaluation of how well you’ve done in creating a website in which the engines feel confident. Think of it as core character and trustworthiness. The overall size of the site and the age of both the site and the page play key roles. Think about it: a fly-by-night site that somebody put up to sell snake oil doesn’t deserve the same status as your website, so make sure it doesn’t! Other factors you want to be contemplating in the pursuit of a higher page rank include whether or not the site is listed in DMOZ and in which category. Inclusion in the Yahoo directory also plays a role in your page rank, as does anything else that confers expert status onto your site.

Technical elements in page-ranking

Many page rank technical elements serve to validate other search engine optimization elements. For example, suppose an engine awards you a first page listing because it sees lots of keywords and alt tagged pictures on your site that would seem to be relevant to the searcher’s query. But now let’s suppose when it sends traffic to your site that people don’t stay very long. Not a good sign. So they track that, too. Page traffic, page selection rate, time spent on page, bookmark add/removal rate, how they left, where they went, time spent on your domain… all of these (and more) influence your page rank. A decent SEO copywriter may be able to get them there for awhile, but a great copywriter keeps them there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEO Web Fundamentals

SEO web fundamentals

Your SEO efforts can only help you rise if you are building on a solid foundation. I equate the SEO website fundamentals with the preparation of a construction site – these are all things that can happen or may have happened even before your SEO web copywriter started typing. But he or she, your web design, web development company or your search firm, should certainly be able to consult with you in the direction of a properly optimized site, even when that transcends copywriting or design or whatnot.

Create an SEO website by first making sure you are building in brick.

Your SEO web copywriter should be quick to tell you that one of the absolute most dominant factors in today’s SEO is your domain name and its extension. Ideally, you want a top level domain, meaning a .com or one of the other most recognizable extensions. Though this could change, with a bevvy of new tld’s having been released in 2014, I tend to doubt it. I think a .com will continue to carry extra cache, both with consumers and with the engines. That said, if one of your keywords shows up as a top level domain, I think you’re going to have to work extra hard to maintain your position. How does your SEO web copywriter help you? By creating lots of great, unique, natural language content! What? Didn’t you read the previous page?! An SEO copywriter works to develop unique content, while balancing the user’s experience and the company’s need to promote its products or services with the search engines’ needs to see your site as a credible, validated source of relevant information.

Does a search engine optimized website mean I have to put a keyword into my domain name?

An SEO website doesn’t have to do any one thing – the upside to such complicated search engine algorithms with so many factors and weightings is that you have countless opportunities to increase your cumulative “score” – soar with your strengths, remedy your weaknesses, and let longer dwell times, backlinks and social shares affirm your authority in the eyes of the engines.

Most SEO web copywriters will tell you that if a great keyword happens to be in your domain name, as of today, that’s a definite plus. But, honestly, that could change any day, so don’t go considering it make or break. Many websites out there have a keyword in their domain name, but with flimsy content supporting it, so please don’t think for a minute the engines won’t prefer all of that juicy, keyword-optimized content your SEO web copywriter created just because it’s behind a clever, non-generic domain name. But if the competition has both the industry keyword AND the content to support it, well, get angry, I suppose. No, no! Don’t get angry. Just outsmart them in other ways. Build more links. Blog harder. Pay your SEO web copywriter more.

Website optimization: a few do’s and do not’s

Though many of these things fall outside of SEO web copywriting, you’re going to want to know them. So I’m going to tell you. You don’t want hyphens in your domain name; it smacks of impurity. You do, however, want to use them in your page names. Not underscores. Repeat: not underscores. Hyphens. Just not in the domain name part, but we’ve covered that already. Something else you don’t want: url’s of unusual length, the joke here being, of course, the reference to R.O.U.S.’s from “Princess Bride.” End of digression. Something you do want? Applied semantics and keyword stemming. These pertain to whether the engines deem you to be communicating holistically on your subject, which would include not just utilizing your keywords per se but terms statistically relevant throughout the field and variants (singular, plural, tense) that indicate a genuine discussion of the topic, as opposed to keyword stuffing. An SEO website is one that delivers value to visitors. Period.

 

 

SEO Web Content is King

SEO Web content: if you can’t beat the search engines, why not give them what they want?

Great SEO web content is the kind that actually informs and answers to a searcher’s need for quality information. And, yes, that information can absolutely be about you, your products and services, their benefits and what makes working with you uniquely great. You just want to keep your eye on being informative, helpful and valuable. As the web and the search engines evolve, it’s important to ask yourself or your SEO Copywriter: what do web searchers really want? What do we, as Googlers, really want? To visit site after site that has been cleverly optimized but fails to give us the information we’re really after? No. We want to learn! We want to captain our own discovery! Of course, it’s okay to sell…it’s more than okay to sell…but can you do it in a way that is helpful and informative, regardless of whether they choose to work with or buy from you?

 

Great SEO Web Content positions you as a subject matter expert.

There was a time when “expert positioning” was one choice amongst many for how to set your company’s stage in the marketplace. But today, everybody needs to be an expert in their chosen subject matter. Today, you send that message with a comprehensive site and pages that deliver lots of content, specifically lots of unique, high-quality content. The more content you have, the more natural your language can be, as the keywords will naturally slip right in. The natural outgrowth of that: lots of links pointing back to you as more and more sites discover your website to be a killer source of expert information. Beyond volume of content, quality and uniqueness of content, a natural use of language in that content and a good number of high-quality backlinks, keeping your content fresh sends a message of relevancy to both users and the engines’ crawlers. Master just these things and you will not only find yourself head and shoulders above most websites; you just might find yourself with top ranking! This is, of course, the end-game for great SEO web content.

SEO Copywriter

Your SEO copywriter: writing for humans and robots simultaneously.

 

An SEO copywriter must balance the need to help you rise in the search engine rankings with the need to connect to your real audience: your prospects, buyers and shoppers. In other words, due to these competing needs, he or she won’t be able to implement all of the search engine optimization tactics all of the time. Instead, you are looking for a mature, balanced approach. Since SEO and SEM represent such a vast and ever-changing topic, thanks to frequent algorithm updates by Google and the other engines, you need to be working with a person who can think beyond the binary. The best SEO companies and copywriters utilize a more sophisticated approach, based upon an overall strategy that factors in all of your website objectives, all of your traditional marketing and all of your inbound marketing techniques.

The expert SEO copywriter knows it’s about conversions, not just rankings.

On the SEO pages of this website and blog, you will find a boatload of quality information and expert SEO tips for your website copywriting and on search in general. Take this to heart, as nobody wants to build a website that nobody ever discovers. But also take it with a grain of salt. Nobody can do it all, and certainly not all in one fell swoop. After all, what good is a top position on Google if your ultimate site experience is poor? The ability to create site content that informs, engages and persuades is the hallmark of a veteran marketing copywriter. The ability to structure your website and compose that winning prose while also telegraphing the right messages to the engines is the juggling act of the SEO copywriter.

The best SEO copywriters know how to serve both masters.

To be a top SEO copywriter, one must start by being a top copywriter. You can’t learn the fundamentals of marketing and sales, branding or positioning from a YouTube video or a wikihow entry. You can’t cheat that part or try to learn them in reverse. Once you understand how to connect a target audience to a brand, business service or product, mastering sales psychology, creativity and language, you begin growing a s a copywriter. Then, you simply layer on these additional SEO responsibilities. Suppose you used every SEO keyword trick under the sun to garner a top position on Google. Do you know that you’d probably ultimately suffer in the rankings, due to high bounce rates and a lack of quality backlinks?

The SEO Copywriter’s goals: to get your website to rise in the rankings while still being able to get a rise out of your visitors.

Specifically about an SEO Copywriter’s dual objectives, for demonstration purposes these pages admittedly err on the side of search engine optimization. You’ll notice a frequent use of keyword in the subheads, supporting use of that keyword in the paragraphs below and some attention to semantics. But if I’ve done my job even partially correctly, I haven’t let those engine signals interfere too much with my interest in providing you some insight on the tension between being a great brand marketer and salesman and being a great SEO copywriter. Hopefully, you didn’t feel the extra mentions were too heavy-handed. Every time I used them, I tried to make sure I was adding more relevant information to the conversation. Have you learned more about the difference between keyword-stuffed websites from overseas and artfully optimized sites by creative content kings? I certainly hope so! The best SEO copywriters give the people what they want; they just do it in a way that satisfies the robots.

For First Impressions Your Company Name Is The Firstiest

Okay, so firstiest isn’t word. But here’s one that is: persuasion. Your sales process (persuasion plan) needs to begin far earlier than most think. The earlier you start thinking about your long-term structured sale, the more time and money you will save in the long run.

Considering just how much muscle a great company name can exercise in helping your company push past the competition and/or solidify a unique position on the landscape, even if you don’t have tens of thousands to spend, it’s certainly worth thinking about why the best and brightest companies do prioritize and invest so heavily into the company naming affair.

Be assured: they don’t simply enjoy throwing their money around; Boards and experienced Venture Capital firms regularly approve these substantial expenditures because they know you only get one chance to make a first impression. They know that when you’re trying to accomplish something truly great, like mothering a sustainable revenue stream into the world, you want everything going for you, nothing holding you back. Your name, tag and logo represent the three opportunities, your three ripest opportunities, to establish and pronounce your market presence and leave a permanent, positive impression on your target audience. So, like all things branding, when it comes to naming your company, the stickier, the better.

Time for Brand Naming

“How much time should we allow for our brand naming project?”

As for timelines, the entire brand naming process can take anywhere from two weeks to three months, with the smaller firms probably, though not definitively, demonstrating more flexibility and agility when it comes to working around your brand discovery, strategy and identity development schedule, your budgetary constraints and your other needs. A tagline generation should ideally be executed immediately following brand naming, which should account for another two weeks in your schedule. (As a line-item, an experienced brand strategist’s or professional copywriter’s tagline generation will cost anywhere from $2500 to $7500, depending upon the number of alternatives you require, which is often a reflection of company size and layers of bureaucratic entrenchment, whether there is a suitable creative brief in place, prior clients, industry stature, etc.)

For brand naming and for taglines, as with all of the creative disciplines, the more proven a talent, the higher the fees he or she can command due to the greater likelihood of increased quality with decreased risk. While you certainly want to be working with somebody who understands the business and marketplace clocks are ticking, it’s best to plan for, rather than rush, the time these mission critical initiatives take.

Please click here for more on Articulated Brands’ business names and company naming agency services.