Win a Webinar Spot with a #SEOCopyHaiku

Here’s a fun game to play — and your answer may land you a free spot in my upcoming SEO Content Writing:Step-by-Step webinar series starting September 19th.

You know I like writing haiku, right? I even wrote 14 SEO writing tips in haiku (check out this blog post for the geeky goodness.)

Now, it’s your turn.

Tweet me your SEO writing haiku (@heatherlloyd) and tag it on Twitter with #SEOCopyHaiku. You can write about keyphrases, your frustration with Google, learning the SEO writing ropes — whatever you want! The choice is yours!

I’ll choose my favorite one on September 6th (yes, after the Labor Day holiday) and announce the winner. Bonus points for making me laugh. For example, Craig from StrayGoat Writing Services, Ltd. submitted this gem:

Google you bastard
Hurry up and index page
Client impatient

As a quick refresher, haiku poems have three lines. The first and third lines have five syllables, and the second line has seven. I’ve included another example below.

Ready, set, GO!

Have fun!
Heather

Learn SEO Content Writing for Under $100 (for a Limited Time)

Do you want to dip your toes into the SEO writing waters, and you need a low-cost course to teach you the basics?

Are you tired of trying to learn everything yourself, and you’d love a webinar series with live Q & A and a place to ask questions?

Are you confused by conflicting SEO writing “rules,”and you’re wondering if you’re doing things the right way?

Problem. Solved.

I’m offering a three-week SEO content writing webinar series starting May 23, 2017!

Plus, the course price is less than $100 (and there are some extra goodies thrown into the price!).

via GIPHY

Here are all the course details. Have a question? Let me know. I’m standing by!

Should You Still Create Meta Descriptions in 2016?

Do you want more people to click on your search result — even if you’re not #1?

Masterfully-written meta descriptions have tremendous traffic-boosting powers.

In fact, Neil Patel has stated, “The meta description is the most important feature for improving click-through rate from search results pages.”

What’s more, you can write a great meta description in five minutes or less!

Here’s everything you need to know:

What’s a meta description?

The meta description is an HTML attribute summarizing the page content. In less geeky terms, the meta description proves a mini-summary of the page and describes what it’s about.

The meta description does not have an SEO benefit, although a strong meta description may entice people to click on your search listing.

(And this is where the magic happens!)

Here’s what the meta description looks like on the search engine results page:

SERP meta description

If you’re using an SEO plug-in, you’d insert your meta description in a field like this (this is from the Yoast SEO plug-in):

Post meta

 

Or, if you’re checking out the behind-the-scenes code, the meta description looks like this:

<meta name>=”description” content=”Wondering how much you should charge as a freelance copywriter? Use this guide to figure out your rate!” />

Now, here’s where things get really interesting…

Remember I mentioned the magic in meta descriptions?

Here’s why:

The meta description shows up when you share a post on social networks:

Social meta description

Plus, a masterfully-written meta description can tempt users to click on your listing over others on the search engine results page:

meta description comparison

See what’s happening here? The meta description helps “sell” the listing and encourages readers to click through.

Think of the meta description as “ad copy” rather than “back-end code,” and you can really grasp the importance.

The better your meta descriptions, the more of a chance you’ll see search and social traffic — especially when paired with a killer Title.

Plus, they’re fun (and easy) to write.

Here’s how:

5 masterful meta description-creation tips:

You’ll want to create an unique meta description for every page on your site, so it’s important to write them right.

1. Know your (character count) limits

In the past, we had about 156 characters (including spaces). Recently, Google has been testing longer descriptions — and now, you have approximately 200 characters (including spaces.) More than that, and Google will slice off your listing and show the dreaded ellipses (…)

Want to make sure you don’t push the character count limit? SEO plug-ins like Yoast’s and tools like Snippet Optimizer show you what your meta description will look like on the search engine results page.

2.  Think “clickable”

The meta description helps your listing pop off the search results page — so you’ll want to write to get the click. Use action-oriented words and a call to action to invite readers to learn more.

For instance, let’s unpack Moz’s meta description:

moz meta description

This masterful meta description for the Moz home page includes:

Social proof: “the largest community of SEOs on the planet”

Benefit statement: “Moz builds tools that make inbound marketing easy”

A call to action: “Start your free trial today!”

That’s a lot of brilliant writing within a very limited character count.

3. Clearly describe what the page is about

Yes, you want to be compelling — but you don’t want to write a cutesy, click-bait meta description that doesn’t match the page’s intent.

Think about it: people are busy. Why would your reader click on something when they weren’t 100% sure it would answer their question (or solve their problem.)

After all,

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Am I right? 🙂

4. Include keyphrases, but don’t keyphrase stuff

Keyphrases in your meta description won’t help your SEO. However, it could help your click-throughs. Here’s why:

  • The keyphrases will be bolded in the search listing. So, if someone searched for [blue widgets], the words “blue widgets” will show in the meta description.
  • Using keyphrases and related words reassures searchers your landing page contains the information they want.

So yes, include a keyphrase if it makes sense…but focus more on getting the click. Including…

5. Experiment with different CTA formats

Adding a CTA to your meta description can drive more eyeballs to your site — or even calls to your company.

For instance:

  • Does your business thrive on phone calls? Try including your phone number.
  • Raven Tools recommends action-oriented verbs like, “buy,” “shop”, “click.” “Read more” is a popular blogging CTA.
  • Neil Patel discusses how the meta description should “spark curiosity.” For instance, here’s a description that makes you want to learn more:

Match the CTA to the page’s intent and don’t be afraid to try different things. You never know what will spark the click and drive fantastic results!

Do you need more back-to-basics SEO writing tips? I share my best secrets in my free newsletter. Sign up now!

 

5 Beginner SEO Writing Tips to Try

Pre-launch Site Success:Video Roundup:031813Today we feature five of Heather’s SEO copywriting video how-to’s that address web content planning and strategies which tend to get overlooked – at the cost of traffic and conversions.

From defining your unique selling proposition (U.S.P.) and a customer persona to creating clickable web page titles and resonant tone and feel, discover all that goes into a successful website launch…before the launch!

Site Launch Considerations3 things to consider before a site launch

So you’ve a sexy web design and beautifully written content – you’re good to go, right? Wrong. Find out what’s missing from this picture – three critical elements, in fact – that will make all the difference between whether your site launch succeeds or flops. (Besides what the other videos listed here address).

 

So what defines you? Creating an irresistible U.S.P.What's Your U.S.P.?

What distinguishes you from your competition? What makes you unique? Learn what makes for an effective unique selling proposition (U.S.P.) that will appeal to prospective customers and set you apart from the rest.

 

Customer Persona How ToHow to create a customer persona

Just as you need to define who you are by means of a U.S.P., you need to define who your target customer is by creating a customer persona. Listen in as Heather gives examples of customer personas, and discusses how to fine-tune yours so your web content attracts, keeps, and converts!

How to resonate

How to resonate with your readers through web page “tone and feel

Now you’ve created a customer persona, you need to “speak” to him or her through your web pages’ “voice” – meaning, your site’s tone and feel. Does your web writing resonate with your target audience? Or is it generic – or worse, discordant? Learn how to tweak your web content for reader connection and conversion.

 

Clickable SEO Page Titles

How to write SEO Titles that get the click: 3 tips

The search engine results page is your first conversions opportunity. In answering a reader question about the use of “pipes” in webpage Titles, Heather first explains what “pipes” are, then goes on to discuss preferable, smarter SEO and conversion strategies for creating Titles that will lure the “click” on the search engine results page.

 

Photo thanks to Eric__I_E

How to Write Optimized SEO Titles: 3 Tips

Greetings! Today’s SEO copywriting tip addresses a question posed in the SEO Copywriting Certification graduate group forum:

“In my experience, pipes have been added to define SEO keywords in the search engine results…can you explain what is the preferred way of writing general SEO Titles – with or without pipes? What produces the best results in terms of consumer search behavior?”

An excellent question! Beginning with an explanation of “pipes,” Heather discusses how to capture clicks with unique, optimized webpage Titles:

First, what are “pipes’?

Pipes refer to those vertical lines used in webpage Titles (in lieu of commas or hyphens) to distinguish words and phrases – which yes, tend to be keywords and keyphrases.

For instance, in the first screenshot (showing the search results page listing for a Portland pilates business) the structure of the site’s home page Title is clearly visible: keyword | keyword | keyphrase | location keyphrase | company name.

Sometimes, as demonstrated in the second screen, pipes are generated automatically in a page Title due to the website’s template. (This is often the case with WordPress blogs.) So you see a descriptive page Title | company name.

So, what would get your click?

Comparing the two Titles, which one would you click? The pipe-separated string of keywords, or the customized Title that also has keywords worked into the copy?

Both are technically “right,” but the top example represents a more “old school” approach to Title optimization. It isn’t “wrong,” and it won’t get you banned in Google, but you’re leaving a lot of opportunity on the table.

The second Title is much more powerful. It still is optimized, with the main keyphrases included, but it’s a far more “clickable” Title.

Three Title creation tips

When crafting a webpage Title, keep these tips in mind:

1. The search engine results page is your first opportunity for conversion. Enticing Titles help “get the click.”

2. Watch your character count – make your Title stand out in 60ish characters (including spaces).

3. Always make your Titles unique for the page. Don’t forget to include your main page keyphrases, synonyms or related words. Always.

photo credit to: afu007

How to Create a Customer Persona

Greetings! This week’s video how-to answers a reader question:  “How do I create a customer persona?” Creating a customer persona is a fundamental step that is often overlooked by businesses both large and small.

Join Heather as she explains the purpose of developing a customer persona, as well as how to go about it:

When your prospects read your online copy, there’s only one thing they want to know:  “What’s in it for me?”

The purpose of creating a customer persona is to get to know the person who is reading your stuff or buying from you.  And at the end of the day, what matters to that person is what is in it for me? So everything you write – be it sales copy, blog, or article – should be targeted to your customer persona. The “what’s in it for me?” customer question is the essential one you need to answer.

  • And then you need to consider that you’re looking at different types of folks who may be visiting your site, reading your content, or considering buying your products or services.

An explicit example:  Would you “sell” the same way to these 35-year-old guys?

A lot of folks will claim that they have a product or service that appeals to everyone, so they can’t write copy specific to any one persona.

Well, consider this example of two 35-year-old men:

  • Customer Persona #1/Momma’s Guy:  He lives at home with his mom, enjoys ham radios and bagpipes, reads magazines about military history, and dates maybe once a year.
  • Customer Persona #2/Metro Guy:  Lives in a downtown condo, enjoys scotch and fine dining, reads exotic travel magazines, and dates several times a month.

So would you write the same for them?  No, probably not.  Each guy has different hopes, fears, desires, pain points, and objections to overcome.

This example speaks to the importance of creating a customer persona.  When writing online content, you’ll want to delve deeper into your readers’ persona.

Some Questions to Ask When Developing a Customer Persona

There are a lot of questions that you need to ask at the very beginning of the process when creating a customer persona.

If you’re a freelance writer, one of the first questions to ask your client is if you can view their customer persona documents so that you can capture the reader you’re writing for. Or, if you’re working in-house and don’t have access to customer persona profiles, then this presents a great opportunity to go back and revisit your copy to discover what content is really resonating with your readers.

A list of questions to start out with are:

  1. Do you have multiple target audiences?  (As referenced before, Constant Contact does a fabulous job of segmenting verticals on their landing page).
  2. How old is your typical buyer/reader?
  3. What level of education have they reached?
  4. What are their average income levels?
  5. What benefits are important to them?  (What is important to one 35-year-old guy may be irrelevant to another, as noted above).
  6. What magazines do they read?
  7. What sites do they visit and trust?
  8. What objections do you need to overcome in the copy?

In the end, you want to know your customer persona like you know your best friend. Your copy will resonate with the customer, and convert!