5 Globs of Grease for your SEO Web Copy Shoehorn

31 August, 2011

5 Globs of Grease for your SEO Web Copy Shoehorn

Search Engine Optimisation is mostly a numbers game.

The right combination of keywords, inbound links and HTML coding equals virtual alchemy for web traffic figures.

Even web copywriting has its formulas. The SEO experts I work with say a good web page contains around 250 words of original content. Target keyword phrases should appear 3-4 times. Each page should target prioritise a single keyword phrase.

But this is where the maths ends and the writing skill begins.

Unlike links and meta tags, web content has to appeal to another audience besides search engine robots – the customer.

It should make the reader feel like Number One.

That’s very difficult to achieve if we’re shoehorning SEO keywords in all over the place.

We’ve all seen pages that have been a little ‘over-optimised’. They’re ugly, they read badly and they definitely don’t sell.

So what’s needed is a way to fit in our 3-5 keywords, while still producing good writing. A little grease for your SEO shoehorn, if you will.

Here are 5 simple techniques I use often.

1. The heading is gold

Putting our target SEO keyword phrase into the page heading (e.g. H1 or H2) is a must.

Let’s imagine we’re writing for a plumber in Sheffield. On the home page, we’re probably going to target ‘plumber Sheffield’.

Including that phrase in our page heading has lots of SEO value. It also tells our customers that they’ve found what they were looking for.

Best of all, it’s very easy to do. Just put it in a short and positive phrase, like “Your Quality Plumber, Sheffield.”

Don’t worry about having a comma or preposition in between the two words – Google largely ignores them. It’s not quite as good as using the exact phrase, but it does give us the quality of language we’re looking for.

2. Give the reader what they want

Let’s stick with our Sheffield plumber.

The very first sentence of our page’s body copy is a great place to put our SEO phrase and keep it sounding natural.

Why? Because it’s the topic of our page. Our reader searched for ‘plumber Sheffield’, and we need to give them what they want immediately.

A simple opening like “Looking for a reliable plumber in Sheffield?” does everything we want it to. Our SEO phrase sounds nice and natural, and we have the perfect lead in to talk about why our plumber is great.

Another possible opening might be: “J Davis is a Sheffield plumber known for x, y and z.” In fact, there are countless ways to get our target phrase into the opening sentence of our copy – you can probably think of even better ones yourself.

3. The paragraph closer

Now we’re into the body of our web copy, including our SEO phrase starts to get a bit trickier.

We can’t just keep making statements about our Sheffield plumber, or we risk irritating the reader.

The solution is a nice paragraph closer. And it’s very easy to do.

Here’s how. We’re bound to have a paragraph in our copy that lists some of the benefits of working with our plumber, right? A part where we talk about his experience, the range of problems he can solve, or something similar.

By ending that paragraph with something like “You won’t find a better plumber in Sheffield”, we get to round off our list nicely and include our SEO phrase.

Other possibilities could include “That’s what makes J Davis the best plumber in Sheffield” or “No other plumber in Sheffield offers so much”. Again, you can probably think of even better ones yourself.

4. The call to action

Every web page should end with a call to action. The part where we invite the reader to click through to the next page, contact us or make a purchase.

The call to action is also a great place to summarise what we’ve said on our web page. It reinforces the reasons why the reader should act.

This makes it a great place to include our SEO keyword phrase.

A call to action that goes something like “For a free quote from the most experienced plumber in Sheffield, contact us now” ticks all of our boxes. It summarises our copy and it asks the reader to act.

It also gives us the third instance of ‘plumber Sheffield’ within our body copy. Mission accomplished!

5. Don’t forget HTML title tags

The HTML title of our web page might not strictly be classed as web copy – but it’s probably the most important place to put our phrase from an SEO standpoint.

We need to keep our title short and put our phrase at the start. Something like “Plumber Sheffield – J Davis Plumbing Ltd”, for example.

No need to worry about natural language here, either. In today’s browsers we can hardly see page titles, so their only real value is for SEO.

So there you have it.

We’ve got 3 non-spammy instances of our SEO keyword phrase in the body of our web copy. We’ve also got a well optimised page title and heading.

Depending on how good our other SEO techniques are (and the quality of the sites we’re competing against), this could take us to the top of Google.

And it was incredibly easy, wasn’t it?

Now all we need is some great copy to go with it. But that’s for another post.

Written by Neil Wheatley

Neil Wheatley is a Manchester-based freelance copywriter who writes for agencies and marketing depts across the UK. He isn’t this grumpy in person.

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