Google dominates the world of search engines and as a copywriter myself, along with everyone in the Codeland crew, we were really happy to see their increased focus on the use of relevant keywords in website content. There are dozens of articles and tutorials on keyword research, unfortunately most of the information is too generalized to produce results. Relevant keywords are even more important today because of the increased online competition; but when it comes to copywriting, some clients insist using these general terms to deliver their message. Relevancy, or how closely a term relates to the subject, is one of the things that differ between writing copy and copywriting.
What IS Copywriting?
Whenever I tell someone I am a copywriter, they often ask me: “what is copywriting?” In essence, my job is to use language in a way that distributes information to promote and publicize a person, an idea, a service, a place or a product. It’s the descriptive use of words used in marketing and advertising activities. The idea is to motivate the reader to take action, i.e. , “Clip this Coupon and Save $5 on Your Next Purchase” in an offline newspaper or “Follow This Link for Your Free Income Calculator” on an Internet website.
A copywriter needs more than just a good command of language; an understanding of how language effects behavior is essential. It’s a proven fact that some words and phrases are more effective than others that mean the same thing. If you drill down into the science even further, you’ll discover that these words are connected to primal human motivators; love, power, recognition and security.
What are Relevant Keywords?
The words a person uses when they search the Internet is usually more related to the solution they want than the product or service itself. Understanding what’s beneath the surface of the features and benefits of a product or service are the keywords that make it relevant to the person searching for it. For example, a person looking to buy a lock for their door, might use the search query: “how to prevent robbery.” A copywriter has to also consider the variables of the service or product. For instance, is it something that has a geographical reference? The language, phrasing and tone used to promote Texas barbecue is not the same as what would be used to promote McDonald’s.
Copywriting, Search Engines and Website Content
Google’s focus on “relevancy” as one of the qualifying points in ranking websites has made the job of being a copywriter a little easier. There are many websites that have misused keywords in their META tags and their content to gain high rankings in the search engines. More times than I would like to remember, I have visited web pages that reduced to gibberish because of the over use of keywords throughout the content.
On the other hand, if the website title is “Sea Turtles in Madagascar” and the content is about scrapbooking, it also will fail to meet the visitor’s expectations. Not only will this produce a poor ranking in the search engines, it will undoubtedly frustrate the Internet user who is searching for content related to the title of the website.W
hen you produce quality, relevant content you empower your visitor and increase your exposure. As a copywriter and a website content producer, the challenge is to phrase the information to please humans and search engine bots at the same time.
Okay, So How Do I Do That?
Start with the basics to build your foundation. It definitely is important to know:
- who can use the information you want to distribute,
- why it will be of use to them,
- what benefits it offers them
- where they are looking for the information
Then start building your message by drilling down to the motivations:
- what is the basic need that your information is related to
- which terms are people using to search for it
All of this information is what the experts call “long-tail” keywords, combine them with your primary keywords and then you can begin to create the information for your website content. The more useful the information you offer to the reader, the greater your credibility and reader-loyalty will become.
It’s All about the Reader
Crafting your content so that it informs and provides the reader with a way to use or enhance the knowledge they receive brings even better results. Related information such as reference books, events, products or services depending on the subject of your content. An excellent resource for combining different methods to deliver knowledge to your audience is Lynda Felder’s book “Writing for the Web: Creating Compelling Web Content Using Words, Pictures, and Sound.”.
Keep in mind that when you are writing for your website, you best bet is to approach it like a conversation, instead of a report. A conversational tone engages people and helps them fully understand your message. However, respect your visitor’s time; get to the point of your paragraph quickly or you risk losing their attention.
A face to face conversation doesn’t include the shorthand code that’s used when sending text messages on a mobile phone. So it’s a good idea to resist the temptation to use it when you write the information for your website, unless of course, that is what your website is about. It’s very convenient to think that everyone understands what these abbreviations represent, but that’s not the reality. It’s worth remembering that many of these terms have a short span of popularity; a few months from now, they may no longer be used. If you use these terms today, will your content make sense a year from now?
Providing information that makes sense and is easy for the reader to understand is probably the most important part of being a copywriter.
Next time, we’ll take a look at some of the technical tools you can use for copywriting for relevancy. Thank you for taking time to read this article.
- Search Engine Optimisation – Further Information (firstdigital.co.nz)
- 5 SEO Tricks to Build Your Brand (openforum.com)
- Now Live: Google Caffeine, So What Does It Mean For Your Website SEO…? (firstdigital.co.nz)
- Usability vs SEO: Getting The Right Balance | Loop11 (loop11.com)
- Search Engine Algorithms & Research (firstdigital.co.nz)
- Site Content Review & Copywriting (firstdigital.co.nz)
- Writing for Search Engine Spiders (firstdigital.co.nz)