Creating a successful online presence can at times feel like balancing on a tightrope. On the one hand you need to work hard at creating search engine optimised content which will give you the traction you need in the results pages of Google and the other search engines. On the other, you need to create content which will draw in the actual flesh and blood people who will become your customers, and which will resonate with them to the extent that they stick around. Doing both at the same time is not an impossibility – in fact it is a necessity.
SEO copywriting versus web copywriting
There may once have been a distinction between ‘SEO copywriting’ and other types of copywriting for the web, but in 2015, all online content should be SEO optimised. Conversely, content that is created for SEO purposes should not merely exist for the purposes of wooing the search engines – that simply won’t work.
The fact is, when you create content which is search engine optimised, you are aiming to give the search engines what they want, in a bid to improve your positioning within their results. And what they want today is content which is useful and of value to users who are searching for information and products in a specific niche. Who are these people? Your customers of course.
There are inevitably a multitude of technical elements that feed into SEO, but as far your actual content is concerned, you simply need to create great copy which engages with your customers and is useful to them.
Keywords and relevance
Since the dawn of SEO there has been a near incessant chatter about keywords. Though they are not as important as they once were, keywords are still necessary to provide ‘markers’ which tell the search engines what your content is about. But in creating content which engages your intended audience and gives them information which is relevant to them, you should be generating plenty of these keywords naturally without even trying.
Obviously doing some keyword research to discover what specific search terms are the most popular will enable you to more effectively target your content, but by just creating high quality relevant content you will improve your SEO no end. Do this first and foremost, as generating content with keywords as their primary consideration is a little like wagging a dogs tail to make it happy.
Structuring content for man and machine
How you structure your content will have a significant impact upon how it is viewed by both the search engines and by your customers. Because the search engines are on the lookout for content which is accessible to their users, they tend to like the same features within the text as people. These include:
- Short descriptive titles – Tell your users and the search engines exactly what your piece of content is about
- Subheaders to break up the content – When reading online, people tend to ‘scan’ the screen for interesting information that is relevant to them, and subheaders provide handy signposts. They also give you another chance to pick out the themes of your content for the search engines to find.
- Short paragraphs and sentences – Usability studies have repeatedly shown that web users find it far easier to read content which is broken up into numerous paragraphs than they do two or three large chunks. The search engines have also learned this and so favour content which follows this pattern.
- Bullet headers which give quick access to key information – Like these ones.
All successful businesses target their customers’ needs first and focus on pleasing the whims of the search engines second. But as you can see, these are today so closely aligned that you don’t need to sacrifice one for the other. If you require any help with creating content which appeals to man and machine, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at Big Star Copywriting.