There will come a time when robots will be in your target market, but that day is (at least) a few years away. In the meantime, we all need to remind ourselves the purpose of putting together quality copy on the internet:
- It must be unique and fresh, lest we get spammed for duplicate content
- It must be readable and persuasive, lest you lose customers
- It must answer the “So What?” question, lest we waste others’ time
Let’s Get Back to Basics
Each day, I spend 20-30 minutes tracking new findings and strategies in the world of search engine optimization. This research time has taken me all over the internet reading blogs and articles from SEO-ers all around the globe, but over the past few months, I’ve found far too many articles that fail to comply with the three goals mentioned above. The three “rules” are by no means the end-all-be-all of copywriting, but they deserve a second thought before you or your marketing team push “Publish” on that next blog post.
See Ya at End
SEO copywriting has undergone many transformations coinciding with Google’s algorithmic updates. Rather than staying just one step ahead of search engine equations, I recommend meeting them at the finish line. Each update to the algorithms finds it closer to understanding content from a human perspective. Therefore, write with the human audience in mind, and you’ll be light-years ahead of other SEO’s that are content with performing at minimal capacity.
5 Questions for Better Content
I have brainstormed five questions to ask yourself as you write that next piece of copy with SEO results in mind.
If I read this to my co-worker, would he or she walk away?
The key to this strategy is reading each sentence aloud. This will help you develop a better flow for each paragraph and allow you to clean up typos, punctuation and word vomit. You’ll also be able to tell if your copy is interesting enough to capture an audience.
Do my headers explain enough about my post?
If you only read the headers of your article, do you still get a functioning idea for the post? Is there still direction? Ideally, each header provides a segue and description for each paragraph.
Am I being a responsible writer?
This question delves into web-plagiarism and effective idea sharing. Many articles on SEO and Linkbuilding rehash old ideas and pawn them off as original. This isn’t as horrible as the plagiarism your teachers always warned against in school, but it won’t get you the attention you desire for SEO and linkbait. Make sure you’re noting where readers can find additional information by linking to other sites, videos, posts or pictures.
Am I offering anything new?
This question builds off the previous point. It is important that you match your goals with the content pushed out. Are you looking for links? New, fresh, organic content is the way to go. Are you simply looking to build your network and provide a forum for debate? Those posts should be short and sweet summaries with a tip of the cap to the original thought generator.
I have a keyword…Did I use it too often?
Yes, there should be some focus on keywords after all. Articles written with keywords in mind are nothing new. Content creators have been generating quality, keyword-focused articles for human eyes for many, many years. It is generally agreed that your keyword density (thanks Wikipedia!) should float between 1-3% so as to not sound forced or spammy.
Effective copywriting is about balancing your goals with the needs of your audience. If you come to a crossroads wherein you have to choose to appeal to human eyes or robot spiders, always choose the human route. Positive SEO results are much more likely when walking down this path.
If you’re looking for additional reading, check out Robert J. Holland’s 7 writing tips for making Web Copy Sticky from Ragan.com.