SEO copywriting consists of a blend of educational and marketing text designed to communicate effectively to two distinct audiences: people and the search engines.
Each audience have different purposes for visiting a website, but the common theme is both look for relevant and valuable information that convinces them a particular company is a good resource and offers valid products or services within a certain niche.
People want to find the best solution for the problem or need they are trying to address and the search engines work to reward the company websites that provide those best solutions by ranking them highly for the relevant keyword searches.
The SEO copywriter must satisfy these needs by providing that relevant and natural information in a persuasive yet soft-handed manner for both audiences. Very few appreciate a hard sales pitch anymore especially when the information presented leaves out important details or is focused primarily on the marketing aspect. At Blue Horseradish, we recommend copywriting focused on people and the educational aspect primarily and believe writing in a natural way works best for the search engines as well.
A recent interview by Karon Thackston, president of the Marketing Words, Inc. web and SEO copywriting agency and author of the Step-By-Step Copywriting Course, with Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam Team, reinforces this approach. Previously, a popular practice for keyword optimization focused on repeating exact keyword phrases throughout the page copy to match the specific phrase a person used and achieve a high ranking on the search engines.
For instance, if a person searched for ”marine force sensors” the copy would include that phrase multiple times and in multiple places on the web page. Now, Matt Cutts states including the exact phrase is not as necessary and that page copy that naturally includes the exact phrase and “marine”, “force” and “sensors” separately would be optimal matches and could receive positive results.
Karon Thackston asked several very relevant questions that get to the heart of this approach in her interview:
KARON: Can you confirm and/or comment on whether keyphrases always need to be used in their original form and if it helps or hurts to also use the words within the phrase?
MATT: Keyphrases don’t have to be in their original form. We do a lot of synonym work so that we can find good pages that don’t happen to use the same words as the user typed.
In general, though, if the words are on the web page (not in a spammy way, of course), that makes our job easier because we don’t have to rely on synonym matches to find good documents.
KARON: Has proximity of the keywords on the page also gone by the wayside? And, while we’re on the topic, is it still best practice to include keywords in certain locations on the page? For instance:
1. Headline 2. Subheads 3. Alt tags 4. Anchor text link Etc.
MATT: People can overdo it to the point that we consider it keyword stuffing, and it hurts. I would just make sure you do it in natural ways where regular people aren’t going to find it stiff or artificial. That tends to be what works best.
KARON: So, then, you’re saying perhaps put the original keyphrase on the page once or twice (to help Google out), and then just use the individual words within the phrase throughout the rest of the copy? If so, that’s what I’ve been suggesting for years.
In light of all the recent changes with Google, would using the keyphrase numerous times (which is what everybody has gotten used to doing over time) hurt the page’s ability to rank? I’m not talking about the infamous keyword density. For years most people have been taught that you do keyword research to find what people are searching for, and then you use those phrases (provided they are relevant) within your copy, within anchor text links, etc., etc. Still true or…?
MATT: Correct, as long as it’s done naturally, not artificially or in a spammy way.
As I’ve always said, “Never sacrifice the quality of your copy for the sake of the search engines.” It’s just not necessary. The next time you write a new page of copy, test this approach to writing for the engines and see if you get as good (or better) results than before. I’m betting you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
That last quote by Matt Cutts tells the tale in a nutshell. Write natural and relevant copy for people and the value will be obvious to them and the search engines. Contact us for any help with your SEO copywriting needs.