In a recent video, Google’s head of search spam (Matt Cutts) posted a video to remind us all just how important body copy is to search engines – and to our customers.
To illustrate the point, he is featured in the video as simply a floating head, which is an amusing bit of video magic even if you aren’t interested in the content….which, of course, you are.
What’s in a head?
If you’re not too familiar with the markup of a webpage, here’s a quick guide to the writing bits of content you find in the ‘head’ of a web document.
- Title tag: this is where you need to include the title of your page, helpfully using the correct (key) terms for the content of the page.
- Meta description: in this tag, you will describe the contents of the page. Think of it like a book summary, using key terms, but describing what a reader will find in the content.
In the old days, SEOs would call this ‘on-page optimisation’, but we prefer to call it what it is…
Good ol’ fashioned copywriting.
This means using the key words and phrases that your target market uses (i.e. their search terms) and repeating and reinforcing your key messages throughout the body of your page to keep them engaged and ‘on track’ to your goal.
There is an element of quality when you think of page copy in this way, and that happens to be exactly what Google is looking for – quality content.
Be useful and relevant
If you read those guidelines from Google, you’ll notice that they actually want you to write for your audience – for people – and not for search engines.
That means, being useful, relevant and avoiding the ‘tricks’ that some blogs and ‘experts’ out there think will get you higher results.
How do you know if your body copy is relevant and useful? Well, you just need to ask yourself this one question:
These are the two most powerful words for your copywriting. We’ve written about using these words elsewhere to help you focus your content on what the reader cares about.
The closer you get to answering the ‘so what’ question for your readers, the more successful your pitch will be, the more succinct your copywriting will become and the more your audience will convert. All this means…your content will be more relevant to search engines.
For an absolutely packed guide to SEO and make your page the best it can be, have a read of this SEOmoz guide to page optimisation.