10 Stupid Business Mistakes Smart Writers Make

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Are you struggling in your freelance writing business and you don’t know why?

There’s nothing worse than working your butt off and feeling tired, burned out and poor at the end of the day. If you’re churning through clients and feeling like you’re making less than minimum wage, you know you have a problem.

Good news, if you’re in this position, you can easily fix it. Bad news, it may mean changing your process, how you spend your time – even how you communicate with clients.

Once you overcome what’s holding you back, you’ll be able to transform a business #FAIL into a fantastic (and profitable) way of life.

And that’s pretty cool.

Here are the ten most common business mistakes I see smart writers make:

Missing deadlines

Never, ever miss a deadline. Period. It makes you look flaky and puts your client in a very bad position. If you know up front that you can’t make a deadline, express your concern or don’t take the gig. I’ve seen writers get fired after missing one deadline. Don’t let this happen to you.

Forgetting to invoice clients

How much would your cash flow improve if you collected everything that was owed you? It’s amazing how many solopreneurs forget to invoice their clients and end up in a cash crunch at the end of the month. Services like Paymo and FreshBooks can help, and they’re easy to use. If you need additional help (or you hate billing,) find a VA who can invoice for you. It’s that important.

P.S. Clients hate it when you send one invoice for three months of work and say, “Oops, I’m a bit behind. Please pay this immediately.” Doing this once could cause you to lose the client forever.

Asking if an invoice has been paid three days after sending it

Your personal finances are not your client’s problem. If you want your invoices to be paid up front or net 15, put that condition in your contract. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait for payment like everyone else.

Besides, if you do send a “please pay me” email, it screams “I’m desperate” – and you’ll turn off your client. Certainly, you should check in if it’s been over 30 days or if the check is late. Otherwise, makes sure you always have enough money in your account to help float any receivables.

Dropping the communication ball

Your clients will love you if you send them quick status report emails and answer their emails quickly. Good customer service is so rare that this one little thing will make your service shine. Waiting days to email because “You don’t know anything yet,” will drive your client nuts and cause them to think about you in cranky ways.

Talking about leads/clients on social networking sites

One of the best business pieces of advice my father gave me was, “Keep your mouth shut.” Congratulate yourself if a big fish comes your way, but don’t talk about it on Twitter or Facebook. I have seen writers kicked out of the running (or fired) because they said a little too much. If you treat everything as confidential, you never have to worry about saying the wrong thing. :)

Not having a well-optimized, compelling site

How can clients trust you to do a good job with their site if your is poorly designed, you aren’t positioning for anything, and the writing looks like an afterthought? Richard Hostler, Senior SEO copywriter from Brookstone, recommends new copywriters optimize their site for their name, as well as their other top keyphrases. When clients type your name into Google – voila – your name will pop up in the top spot, and they can read all about you.

Being afraid to speak up

I’ve chatted with scads of copywriters who say, “The agency gave me a list of bad keyphrases, but I’m afraid to say anything to the client.” You know what happens after that – the page doesn’t position, and the writer gets blamed for sub-par work.

If something doesn’t work, speak your mind! Tell your client why. Back up what you say with data. Your client may choose to ignore you, and that’s their choice. If they come back to complain about their poorly performing page, you can remind them of your recommendations and see if you can steer them in the right direction.

Not keeping up-to-date with the latest SEO news because you “don’t have time.”

There is nothing more embarrassing than an informed client asking a question about the latest Google update – and you having no idea what they mean. Make sure that at least 10 percent of your day is spent educating yourself on the latest and greatest. Yes, it sounds like a lot of time. Yes, it’s that important.

Holding yourself back

Expanding your business is scary. So is taking on larger clients, asking for more money per page or taking a vacation when you know you really need it. Plan out what you want to do and do it. If you “fail” – so what? Pick yourself up and try again. This goes along with…

Not taking care of you

I’ve said it before – if you don’t take care of yourself, you put your entire business at risk. Play with different work/play schedules and see what works for your lifestyle. Laugh with your friends. Eat well. Exercise. Your energy levels will skyrocket if you do. Trust me.

What about you? What stupid business mistakes do you see new and established SEO writers make?

5 Easy-to-Give SEO Gifts that will Make You A Better Writer in 2014

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You'll actually want to keep your SEO giftsYou’ve got a bunch of names on your gift list this year, but your name probably isn’t one of them. After all, we’ve been taught it’s better to give than receive. But what if you could do both? By giving yourself these 5 simple SEO gifts, you’ll also receive the boost you need to take your writing to a new level as we bid goodbye to 2013.

SEO Gift #1: Learn More About Your Industry

Some of us spend our careers writing for a single industry, while other SEO copywriters work across multiple industries on a daily basis. Either way, you need to know every detail you can about what your audience knows and what they expect. Learn the jargon, who the industry leaders are, unusual ways products or services are used and any other insider info you can get ahold of. This will make it easier to find low-competition keywords (especially long tail) that others may have neglected. It will also help you write more comfortably and honestly, and that’s something your human audience will appreciate.

SEO Gift #2: Tune up Your Basic Copywriting Skills

Just like practicing fundamentals is important in sports, focusing on copywriting basics can do wonders for your SEO writing. Search engine spiders aren’t very particular (yet) about well-written content. Your flesh-and-blood audience is. Write copy that is interesting and uses sentence structure (shorter is almost always better) and vocabulary that engages your readers. Keep paragraph structure and page layout in mind. Most people don’t really read online; they scan. Do them and yourself a favor by employing headlines, sub-heads, callouts, and paragraph breaks. And finally, always include a call to action. This is something we all learn in Copywriting 101, but many of us forget down the road. Help your site visitors by telling them exactly what you want them to do next. They’ll thank you with their dollars.

SEO Gift #3: Broaden Your View of Keywords

When it comes to keywords, many of us write with blinders on. We identify a few keywords we want to use and write without looking around. This gets the job done but causes us to miss semantic search cues, long-tail keyphrases, and partial matches that we should be picking up. The next time you identify primary keywords for a project, take a few extra minutes to look at related terms, synonyms and suggestions in your keyword tool. Make a secondary list of single words to be sprinkled into your copy as they fit. These words can help avoid keyword repetition, make your copy easier to read and help you pick up incremental onesie-twosie search traffic you aren’t specifically optimizing for.

SEO Gift #4: Trim the Fat

Raise your hand if you’ve ever written filler copy just to use a keyword a couple more times on a page. (Author sheepishly raises his hand.) It’s a crutch we’ve all used when writing for the spiders – and it can work well. Unfortunately, it’s a huge turn-off for your human readers. If you bring visitors to your site only to drive them away with long, boring or repetitive copy, you’re just shooting yourself in the foot. The next time you face the decision to fill or not, don’t do it. Only write additional copy if it is engaging and helpful to your human readers.

SEO Gift #5: Do Something for Yourself

Question: What is an SEO Copywriter without an optimized Web presence? Answer: Hard to find. Make it easy for prospective employers or clients to find you by creating and optimizing a website that’s all about you and your writing. If your name is fairly unique, buy that as a domain and set up shop there. If you have a common name or suffer the great online misfortune of sharing your name with a celebrity, you’ll need to take a different approach. Add location-based keywords to start and build your individuality from there. For example, I might go with something New Hampshire related, like or just Whatever you choose, be sure to optimize it just like you would a client’s site, and make yourself easier to find.

There you have it – 5 simple SEO gifts you can give yourself this holiday season. Best of all, you don’t have to wrap any of them.

What other SEO gifts do you recommend?

About the Author

Richard Hostler writes engaging copy that generates sales. He is currently the SEO Copy Manager at Brookstone, where he connects online customers with the best gadgets and gifts. When he’s not writing, Richard can be found training for and racing triathlons around New England. You can follow him through his websiteLinkedIn or twitter.


Photo thanks to waferboard (Tacky Gift Exchange-101219-03)


Seeking a talented SEO copywriting intern!

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Looking for one-on-one SEO copywriting mentoring? I need an intern – and you may be the perfect candidate!

I’m looking for a super-smart SEO copywriter who can help me 5-8 hours a week. This is a great position for a new copywriter who is looking for hands-on experience within the SEO copywriting industry.

The position is unpaid, but the payoffs in terms of exposure, making invaluable industry connections, and learning the day-to-day realities of managing a high-visibility, online SEO copywriting blog are truly priceless!

I will be giving preference to SEO Copywriting Certification students/graduates.

Besides possessing excellent writing skills and a passion for SEO copywriting, it is imperative that you have the following qualities down:

  • Spelling, grammar, punctuation, and syntax
  • Spelling, grammar, punctuation, and syntax (yes, I wrote it twice)
  • How to link to sources, e.g., SEO Copywriting
  • The importance of deadlines (x2)
  • WordPress: Uploading documents, editing, and adding media
  • How to write tight, compelling headlines and post descriptions
  • Working knowledge of the SEO and content marketing industry
  • A healthy sense of humor

Add double bonus points for knowledge of AP Style, and triple bonus points for common sense! :)

Does this sound like something you’d love to do? If so, please email me a brief letter of introduction describing why you think you are the perfect candidate for the internship, along with two recent samples of your writing (either links or better yet, Word.doc or pdf attachments to your letter):  [email protected].

And if you are an SEO Copywriting Certification student or grad, be sure to note that in your email!

Thanks so much! I will be reviewing applications throughout the week, and will be the first to let you know if you’ve been selected for the position this Friday, September 14th!


photo thanks to andjohan (Andreas Klinke Johannsen)



Target Your Web Copy with an Ideal Customer Profile

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Guest Author, Courtney Ramirez

There’s something at the center of every great web copy page. It’s not keyword selection or the call to action, although those are both important factors. It’s the customer. Understanding the customer is at the heart of good copywriting – but to make truly great SEO copywriting you need to go one step further and create an ideal client profile.

In an Ideal World, Who Are You Doing Business With?

When you create an ideal customer profile, you’re basically answering this question. Who do you want to do business with? The biggest mistake I see clients make is that they assume that everyone needs their product or service. This happens with everyone from solopreneurs to large corporations. No matter what your size, you need to narrow your scope and find an ideal client. Your ideal client is uniquely suited to what you have to offer.

Does this mean that you’ll turn away consulting clients who don’t fit your exact ideal or set up your shopping cart so only certain people can make a purchase? Of course not. When you focus on marketing to your ideal client you’ll naturally get business from people who are “nearly ideal.” Not everyone you attract will be carbon copies of one another.

Creating web copy pages with an ideal client profile in mind will make the process a lot easier, and a lot more effective. It will help you reach out to those ideal and nearly ideal clients in a more precise way.

With an Ideal Client Profile, You’ll Benefit From:

  • Easier keyword selection – You can tap into the exact words that your clients would use to describe your product or service. By getting into their head, you can find keyword phrases that represent their research phase, their decision making phase and their buying phase.
  • More targeted copy – Writing to an audience that includes everyone and your grandma can really muck up your copy. By focusing on just one person, you’ll know exactly what type of language to use.
  • Clearer calls to action– The more you know about your ideal client and what motivates them, the better your conversion rates will be.

Now that you know about the gloriousness that can come from an ideal client profile, it’s time to piece one together.

Building Your Ideal Client Profile – A Few Rules

  • Your ideal client is not your target market. Your ideal client is part of your target market but they are different. Think of it this way – your target market is your vineyard and your ideal client is that one perfect bunch of grapes that is perfectly ripe. Your vineyard includes lots of perfectly fine bunches, but you want to pick the perfect one.
  • The more specific, the better. Don’t be afraid to get really specific with your ideal client profile. Many businesses resist this type of narrowcasting because they believe that it will put a cap on their profits. Not so! If you know your audience well, you’ll be converting your ideal clients and nearly ideal clients at a better rate than casting a wide net and trying to market to everyone.

Building Your Ideal Client Profile – 3 Steps

Step One – Demographics

The demographic characteristics of your ideal client will detail their age, income, location and other quantifiable factors.

For example, an inner wealth coach focuses on working with high income women in Los Angeles, between the ages of 35 and 65, who have more than $2 million in net worth. This demographic information is an important starting point because already we can tell that the copy will be geared toward a female reader and keywords should include location.

Step Two – Psychographics

Demographics were the tried and true way to research a target market but due in part to the Internet, they are not enough to zero in on an ideal client. Online demographic groups can mingle to create new groups based on motivations, interests and feelings. Psychographic information helps you zero in on the intangible similarities between the members of your target market. With it, you can get a clearer picture of your ideal client.

The same inner wealth coach has psychographic quantifiers for her ideal client. She mainly works with women from that demographic group who feel trapped in wealth and aren’t sure how to cope with the feelings of being extremely privileged. They are looking for something more than just a weekly shopping spree on Rodeo Drive. They want to find their purpose and use their wealth to create good in the world. These psychographic elements will affect how the copy will position this particular coach’s services and will create the tone for the web content pages.

Step Three – Fleshing Out the Persona

Finally, it’s time to put your creative writing cap on and flesh out your ideal client profile into a persona. Look over the demographic and psychographic characteristics and create a person to fit those details. Give the person a name. Tell their back story. Get really specific and you’ll be able to understand how to reach your audience better.

For example, Stacia is a 42-year-old woman who lives in Beverly Hills. She has been married for 18 years and has a 15 year old daughter and 12 year old son. She is married to Greg, who is the CEO of a major entertainment company. She believes that she can do more with her money. She worries about raising her children in affluence and making sure they come out with good values intact. She likes bargain shopping but doesn’t know if it’s “okay” for her to shop at Costco. She has several causes that she is interested in supporting but doesn’t know how to start supporting them in a real and lasting way beyond making financial donations.

Find a picture on Flickr to match your ideal client profile so you know who you’re writing for. Get as detailed as possible with your ideal client, especially with large websites where you’ll need a lot of copy. By taking the time to create a profile you’ll find your SEO copywriting will be much more effective and easier to write.

About Courtney Ramirez:

Courtney Ramirez is a certified SEO copywriter and content marketing consultant. As a student of search engine marketing, web usability and social media, she’s been able to craft a writing style that is both inviting to readers and ranking factors.

Courtney prides herself on excellent customer service and is semi-addicted to the Sims 3. When she’s not typing away at the keyboard, she is spending time with her husband, an author, and two daughters.

On SEO, B.S., Panda & Best Practices: Interview with Terry Van Horne

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To refer to Terry Van Horne as an SEO expert is nearly redundant. An accomplished practitioner, sage and advocate of SEO best practices, Terry — well known in the SEO world as “Webmaster T”– is a partner in the SEO Training Dojo, the founder of, and the director of the not-for-profit organization of Search Engine Optimization Professionals.

It’s a pleasure and honor to share this in-depth interview with Terry. — Heather

You’re a recognized SEO expert since back in the day, widely known at “Webmaster T.” So tell us: how did you get your start in SEO?

Pretty much how anybody does these days. I had a website and was looking for ways to promote it, only back then search engine optimization was just part of what you did to promote a website.

There were a lot of very bad search engines so most users were using directories like Yahoo!, which at that time had an even more dominant position than Google has now.

My passion for SEO started when one day I was trying to find Pegasus email software and noticed many engines were very challenged in finding the site. So I decided to see if I couldn’t figure out why.

What inspired your founding of

Founding SeoPros was a no-brainer. There were a lot of bad things being said about the industry and I felt there needed to be something done to start changing the image, or at the very least providing the other side of the story.

I was also a Telemarketer and definitely saw the potential for the industry to become regulated by government (think “do not call” list) in the same manner and for the same reasons, i.e., a few bad apples spoiling the bunch. I also hoped it would help the industry become a trade rather than just another Internet marketing business.

How would you describe the “mission” or philosophy of  How would you describe your role as Head of the Executive Committee on Standards?

Standards are tough because there is a stigma attached to them. IMO, most of that is more about people not being confident in what they do (i.e., afraid they wouldn’t pass the standards).

Mostly, I think many jump to conclusions about what standards can be applied to them. Anything using internet protocols, or are errors in Google Webmaster Tools, can be tested and standards applied because these do not change… or rather, very rarely change.

The second part of our “mission” is to provide free guidance and information to people looking to hire SEO’s. Quite frankly, it is absurd to think someone should have to learn about SEO to hire one.  Do I have to learn about the laws concerning my case before I choose a lawyer? Do you have to research your symptoms before choosing a doctor?

Considering I have over 16 years’ experience and am still learning something new every day, am I any less a professional than a doctor or lawyer?  No. But the industry holds itself back by clinging to “fight club” attitudes from the 90’s that are no longer valid or good for the industry.

SeoPros provides both an RFP generator and assistance in hiring an SEO. It is always good to have a third party opinion with no potential influences from a biased party.

There’s a plethora of SEO companies out there, all claiming to be the “best” or “absolute ‘expert’” provider of SEO services. How would you recommend weeding out the B.S. when searching for an SEO provider?

Always check out the linking techniques. That usually tells you a lot about the expertise and knowledge within an agency or of a consultant. Are they are providing all 3 types of links?

1. Foundational (directories, bookmarks and article marketing)

2. Promotional (begging for links from top sites, press releases)

3. Placed Content (guest posts, widgets, etc.)

Each website and business is unique! The best SEO’s and link builders will use a diverse strategy, using all three types of these techniques with variations according to the target audience.

Tell us a bit about the SEO Training Dojo.

The SEO Training Dojo was founded by David Harry, and I came on as Dave’s partner about 6 months in.  The Dojo is a unique community in that there is little if no hierarchy. Some may look from the outside and see Dave as the pinnacle, but that is an incorrect assumption in that all are on equal footing — which means the flow of information comes from many people, not just a few at the top of the hierarchy.

The networking aspects of the community have been its biggest asset, with members often preferring to work with others from the Dojo because there are a lot of synergies in what they do together. That has been a bit of a surprise for Dave and I, but it is something we are both very proud to be a part of and try to foster.

As “Webmaster T” with SEO Training Dojo, what do you enjoy most about this gig?

The people! They are outstanding individuals — not just as SEO’s, but as people. Getting a chance to interact with a lot of new and intermediate SEO’s in the Dojo has made me wonder how I worked on my own for so many years.

Google’s Panda update is still causing a fair amount of controversy. What is your take on the sites that got slapped by the Panda? And moving forward, what does Panda mean to SEO?

From the old SNL days, “Panda has been very, very good to me.” None of my or David’s clients have been hit, but we have had our newer SEO consulting biz take off like a shot from sites hit with Panda and something similar in Ecommerce that looks to have rolled out in January.

Sites that got hit by Panda in many cases deserved it! They followed bad advice like “build sites for search engines not users” (and the person who advocated that said almost the exact opposite after Panda). Following bad advice because someone is supposedly an “expert” is just silly.  Never, ever, ever believe anything you read on an SEO blog is the gospel according to Sergey.

Most of those who got hit did no future-proofing of their SEO. In other words, if they didn’t question the long-term value and see that directory submission, article marketing and comment spam were not long term solutions, then they were not thinking ahead and they will always be hit by new filters and dampening of link values.

Doing things because they work today is often a poor strategy in the long run… but keep it up folks, because those of us who do future-proof reap the benefits when you stumble. :-)

Mainly, if Panda means something to your SEO … you were doing it wrong and you’d best take a loooooonnnnnnnng look at everything you are doing! Panda is basically a return to the basics of REAL SEO. You know, before SEO’s became link whores and understood their job was to unlock visibility on sites that work!

Make your site search engine friendly with an optimized architecture and easy-to-understand navigation, and you’ll have happy users and enthusiastic crawlers. Keep thinking you can optimize through links and your SEO business will be struggling in a few years. There is definitely a trend away from link text/authority to more on-site relevance and personalization of authors and internet users.  Google now has the ability, using the Social Graph, to track reviewers, authors and other entities. Link authority will have some value…it will just be drastically reduced.

In your opinion, what are some of the “low-hanging fruit” SEO techniques that most businesses don’t leverage (or leverage well)?

A website that works! A website that is built to sell to people, not search engines — because, well, I’ve yet to have a crawler buy anything from a site. :-)

Fully optimized, on-page factors is a must. Building links into a poorly-optimized site is pouring link equity down the drain, and often means that link equity isn’t passed correctly down the link hierarchy.

Do you have any words of advice for copywriters who may be considering specializing in SEO?

Yes: don’t get too enamored with SEO! Learn as much as you can about keyword research! There is a lot more to it than just getting query data from a tool!

Keyword research and development of personas are keys to SEO Copywriting success in an age where Google is really developing its ability to know who you are and your status in your community.

Mostly, be careful not to change your writing style! The best SEO copywriting doesn’t look SEO’ed at all!

5 ways to use analytics to find content marketing opportunities

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Guest Author, George Passwater



Socially challenged.

These are the stereotypes that come to mind when mentioning statistics or those who love digging through analytics. I may get the strange look from the occasional stranger, (maybe it’s my rugged good looks?), but I’m far from being the poster child for the Revenge of the Nerds movies.

With so many ways to find ideas for effective content marketing, we often forget to check the hard data. Sure, we look at it to see how many visitors we get or how many widgets we sell, but many overlook the goldmine of content ideas laying in analytics.

With such a limitless source of information, it’s hard to condense it all in one space, but I am going to give you 5 of the top areas to consider when looking for content marketing ideas through your analytics.

5 Ways Analytics Gives You Content Marketing Opportunities

1. Keywords

If you’re looking to generate more visibility and top ranking searchable content, the keywords section of your analytics is one of the first places to look. Here, you analyze what’s working and what isn’t, while finding other opportunities you may not see in your current SEO efforts.

For instance, finding out your site ranks high for the term “writing for tribbles” may excite or confuse you. I personally like a good tribble post, but to each their own.

To find out what keyword phrases people use to get to your site and how they can help you with creating content, consider:

  • What keyword phrases attract the most traffic to your site? Does content surrounding those keywords bring in more traffic to your site? I smell a topic to focus on here.
  • Do you have high conversion rates of pages with high-ranking keyword phrases? There’s opportunity for products, services or more content in them search results.
  • Do a search on keyword phrases that show consistent traffic in your analytics, but add “how to” or “how do I” in front of them. Do you see even more opportunities here?

2. Top Content

Now, not everyone will hit a home run on every piece of content they produce, but it’s better to have a winning percentage than the alternative.  To key in on the winning content from your site, look at the top content area in your analytics and ask yourself these questions:

  • How long does a reader stay on a page in this category?
  • Does a reader bounce from this page or click-through to additional content in the site?
  • What elements are common with the top content? Headline? Subheads? Formatting? Keyword phrase rich titles? Photos or video? Links from or to other sites?

3. Bounce Rate

In web analytics, bounce rate is the percentage of site readers who enter your site on a particular page and leave without clicking through to other site pages. In other words, it’s a very important statistic to look at when you’re analyzing your site for content marketing opportunities.

When you look at which pages have lower or higher bounce rates, consider some factors to pull out for creating new content:

  • Where did they come from? (No, not on a intergalactic sense, but what site did they come from?) Was it a search engine? What did they search for?
  • How long did they stay on your page before they bounced out?
  • Is the bounce rate higher or lower for new vs. returning site visitors?
  • What pages have lower or higher bounce rate? What type of content or keyword phrases did you optimize those pages for?

Just remember this: higher bounce rates are usually considered bad. This isn’t always the case; it just depends on the type of content or purpose of that page. If you have a high rate on a squeeze page with no conversions, then, yes, you need to go back and see what’s causing that behavior.

4. Referrers

Now, if you’re doing a good job at promoting your content, not only will you get high positioning in search and social, but others will link and talk about you on their own sites.

No, I’m not talking about your cousin’s extreme shopping cart demolition video extravaganza site or your Dad’s bass fishing blog – I’m talking about those sites who are relevant to your content.

For optimal results and if you were in, say the content marketing arena, you would want top sites referring traffic to you like highly respected sites, like

So, when you’re looking at your analytics, look at what referrers send you traffic and how you can use those stats to create your own content.

  • What’s the focus of that site? Is it relevant to your site?
  • What specific information did the referring URL cover? Was it optimized for specific keyword phrases? What was its ranking on that keyword phrase?
  • Was the referrer a blog? Did that page have lots of comments? Did they answer the comments? Look at some ideas in the comments.
  • Did the referrer have a hook to it? Great headline, video or some sort of interactive element?

5. Email

Do you have an email newsletter? Do you create email content to a targeted list? If you do, there are valuable statistics in your email marketing.

Now, I have my own email marketing campaigns and I find loads of valuable information in how my readers interact with those messages. Although my Sponge Bob for president fan club email list (it’s really for my kids, not me!) may have different behaviors, look closely at:

  • Look at open rates – how many people opened your email? What was the topic? How about the subject line? Did you link to your site or keep them just in email?
  • Who opened your email? Are they consistently opening every message you send? What elements get them to open your emails? This is an opportunity for possible list for different content for different members of your lists.
  • What’s your click-through rate from email messages? Do they bounce from that click-through page or go deeper into your site? What was the common element?

Content Through Analytics

When you’re looking for ideas to create some kick butt content, statistics and combing through data isn’t boring – it helps you create opportunities

If you identify each opportunity to create new or enhance existing content, you will have a limitless amount of inspiration for your content marketing efforts.

George Passwater enjoys helping businesses succeed with online marketing strategies.

What Does an SEO Copywriter Do, Anyway?

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Welcome back!  In today’s video post, Heather answers a question from the LinkedIn SEO Copywriting group:  What does an SEO copywriter do, anyway? It is an excellent question, as many folks are somewhat mystified by the words “SEO copywriting.”  Whether you’re in the online writing profession, or are considering hiring a SEO copywriter, you will learn a lot in just a few minutes,  as Heather tackles this question in her second Q & A video post.

What Do They Write?

  • An SEO copywriter may create content for blogs, Facebook posts and tweets (often know as a social media writer), or…
  • She may create sales and informational copy for Websites, writing content that helps people take action and buy the product or service offered.

The common denominator is that in SEO copywriting, all writing is “wrapped around” keyphrases.  The SEO copywriter knows how to research those keyphrases, or knows what the keyphrase research means, and she also knows how to skillfully incorporate those keyphrases within the page copy in a way that they fit and flow smoothly.

SEO Copywriters Are a Crucial Part of the Equation in a SEO Campaign

The image of the well-known marketing expert, Seth Godin, is shown because he is quoted as saying that “the best SEO is great content.”

How he meant that is, when you have a really well-written page, people will want link to it, because they want to link out to good quality content.  Well-composed, high-quality pages tend to attract more readers, and keep them on the site longer.

This is important to consider when hiring or working with a SEO copywriter, because you need to have solid, quality content on your site.  The writing needs to be good, and read smoothly.  You want to steer clear of clunky, keyphrase-riddled copy.

The Words SEO Copywriters Use Help Drive Traffic and Make Money

SEO copywriters are also crucial to the equation from a sales and conversions perspective, because their incorporation of keyphrases within the copy helps to drive traffic and income.  Their skilled writing will help visitors take that next conversions step, whether it’s going to another page in the site, or buying a product, or requesting more information.

SEO Copywriters Work in Conjunction with a Great SEO/Social Team

The chart by Matt McGee aptly demonstrates the many components that make up a successful SEO campaign.  The SEO copywriter plays an essential role in the overarching campaign, as noted, and may work with a number of team members such as programmers, web designers, social media and content strategists.  Ultimately, it is the SEO copywriter that creates the content that attracts traffic, engages the audience, and encourages site conversions.


Interview with SEO Copywriting Certification Grad, Heather Georgoudiou

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Heather Georgoudiou is an in-house SEO copywriter for Revenue Performance, Inc. an internet marketing firm that specializes in the hospitality industry. A graduate of Rollins College, she writes optimized press releases, web copy, newsletters, email blasts, and social media posts.

What got you interested in SEO copywriting?

I was a non-traditional age college student who always loved working with language. When I graduated college in 2009 my only goal (seriously) was to get a job with the word “writer” in the title.

Unfortunately, that was during the recession and the major newspaper in town was laying off a lot of copywriters, so there was a lot of fierce competition for writing jobs and just graduating, everyone had more work experience than me. I applied for a job at an internet marketing agency, and just kept showing up at the door until they hired me. That was in 2009.

I was the only copywriter so I had to learn SEO techniques on the fly. My first day on the job the owner handed me Heather’s first book, “Successful Search Engine Copywriting,” and I read it cover to cover. I still have the book by my desk, highlighted, dog eared, and working hard everyday.

What do you consider to be your biggest “take-away” from the certification program, in real-life terms?

As an agency copywriter, the most valuable portion of the lessons was being introduced to direct response copywriting strategies such as reaching your target audience, and how to effectively “ask for the sale.”

More “solid gold” stuff I learned from Heather:

  • How to tactfully educate clients on SEO basics and how to handle tough client questions.
  • Scheduling and delegating time for writing tasks (this helped me immensely)!
  • Addressing the five questions to answer before you start web copy (SOLID GOLD):  I do this before I start any web copy!  It saves me bunches of time and always pops out those benefit statements.

I have been able to use the skills I acquired from the SEO Copywriting Certification course to improve my in-house writing across the board, from press releases to web copy to meta-data and emails blurbs.

What SEO copywriting projects are you working on now?

Current projects include:

  • Rewriting company website
  • Building our original content to build credibility within the industry
  • Client projects- hospitality industry: mainly 3 to 4 star hotels and luxury resorts

What do you do in your free time?

My husband is an amazing chef, so in order to balance that I spend several mornings a week at the gym. After college I crated a fiction writers group that meets regularly to support and work on fiction projects. I’m also involved with my church group and do a lot of learning and getting advice from some amazing people, I also play guitar and sing with a gospel group.

Any words for those considering enrolling in the program?

Heather clearly has a passion for SEO and her excitement is contagious. This intense program includes study manual, podcasts, phone meetings, support forums, and Heather’s amazing accessibility for “how to” questions.

If you are serious about breaking into SEO copywriting, Heather is the authority. What are you waiting for? Learn from the best!

Interview with SEO Copywriting Certification Grad, Carole Seawert

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Carole is a UK-based, freelance copywriter who writes all kinds of marketing materials, from websites and brochures to mailshots and e-newsletters. She has a marketing and public relations background and was Head of PR at the Financial Times newspaper before embarking on her freelance career.

Over the years, she has written for clients across a range of market sectors, from financial and professional services to public sector, telecoms and hi tech. She also writes a blog, Freelance FactFile, which is an invaluable knowledge bank containing all the information you need to succeed as a freelancer.

What got you interested in SEO Copywriting?

I knew that being able to say I was an SEO writer would add a valuable extra string to my bow. But what was the best way to go about it? I attended a couple of introductory webinars on writing for search engines – that was a step in the right direction. I then bought a 300-page book on search engine optimization but was disappointed to discover there were only a few pages devoted to the copywriting side of it. Then, I came across Heather on Twitter and found out that she had an in-depth SEO course especially for writers. It was exactly what I’d been looking for.

What do you consider to be your biggest “take-away” from the certification program, in real-life terms?

In February, I issued a press release announcing the fact I’d become a certified SEO copywriter. The next day, I typed ‘SEO writer’ into Google and my press release appeared on the first page of the search results! Living proof that, if you employ what Heather teaches, you/your clients will accelerate up the through the rankings.

What SEO copywriting projects are you working on now?

A long-standing client is having his website completely redesigned and I’m rewriting the text so that it will be search engine friendly. And an upcoming project for another client is to write 10 LinkedIn profiles with keyword phrases so they can be easily found when people do a search on LinkedIn.

What do you do in your free time?

Being a writer means I sit too much at my desk. To counteract that, I’m at the gym a lot. I live in London, so I like to spend time making the most of this great city – whether it’s going to new exhibitions, walking in the parks, seeing friends, visiting markets, or just enjoying the buzz of the place. Although I’m a city person, my ideal holiday is staying by an Alpine lake and going for hikes, surrounded by mountain peaks.

Any words for those considering enrolling in the program?

You’ll learn skills that are in high demand and, with your certified SEO copywriter status, you’ll be regarded as a real expert in your field. Just do it!

Interview with SEO Copywriting Certification Grad, George Passwater

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No matter where or how old he was, George Passwater’s life always involved a very vivid imagination and a love to find out how things worked. This led him to going out in the world to seek his fortune. When he didn’t become a caped superhero, the leader of a temple of Shaolin Kung Fu monks or win the lottery, he set his sights on more attainable goals.

For over 20 years, he held different positions in technology and creative realms until he couldn’t resist the call of entrepreneurship and at-home Fatherhood. Now as the owner and operator of a successful online copywriting and online services business, Passwater Media, and a stay-at-home Dad, George utilizes his trusty tools of laptop and vacuum cleaner to provide both his at-home clients and business clients with what they need, when they need it.

What attracted you to SEO Copywriting?

Well, I am a hybrid of sorts. I was working “online” before the web came along and my first writing piece was a story I created before age 6. I have a natural knack for technical and creative work. In my 20 something years of doing whatever it is I did, I held many job responsibilities including webmaster, programming, systems admin, project management, copywriting, storytelling and some marketing too.

With both sides of my brain in constant battle, SEO copywriting just came naturally to me. I mean, think about it – SEO fulfills my techno, statistical, data weenie side and copywriting quenches my creative thirst to weave the thoughts (or is it voices) in my head into ideas, stories, and strategies into the written word.

A perfect combination of Yin and Yang.

What SEO copywriting projects are you working on now?

With such a need for qualified SEO copywriters, I have current and prospective projects that include ghost SEO writing, blog writing, landing pages, email campaigns, social media content (after all, social and search are kind of going steady now), developing full- blown content strategies and whatever else I have on my project management dashboard. This doesn’t include new inquiries for work – which I am always happy to entertain!

What do you find most challenging/interesting about SEO copywriting?

Simple – explaining to prospects and even current customers the amount of work involved, why they need it, and the costs (value) of SEO Copywriting. Most understand the search engine ranking thing, but they don’t get why you can’t simply take the copy they have and add a few keywords to it.

They always ask me why do I need to know so much about their business, how it ties into Social Media or why it takes so long to write a web site. I actually had one prospect say that a homepage shouldn’t take more than an hour to write! That one blew my mind.

What have you found to be the biggest “take-aways” from the SEO Copywriting Certification program?

That I’m the real deal.

I have proof that I took the time to dedicate myself to increasing my knowledge and skills from the best in the industry. Heather is all that and a bag of chips – everyone in the industry knows this and when she certifies someone, you can be sure her graduate knows what they’re doing…thanks to the SEO Copywriting Maven.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

All my free time goes to my family. Not only do I own my own business, I am a proud stay-at-home Dad. I have two younger children (my inspiration) that rock my world, along with my wonderful wife (my voice of reason and my rock). I also have my other child, he’s a Pug full of awesomeness.

I am also a big supporter of Special Needs parenting and disabilities rights, as my youngest child currently lives with disabilities. Everyday, she inspires me to be a better Father while helping her move any objects that block her path to success. Just as with everything else, I believe you can do anything you want and I know one day my children will become what they want – disabilities or not!

Any words for those considering enrolling in the SEO Copywriting Certification program?

If you’re looking to learn about true SEO copywriting, look no further than Heather’s program. She gives it to you in simple, easy-to-understand lessons along with the personal attention of a well-seasoned professor.

Since Heather is the resource for SEO copywriting, I wouldn’t waste anymore time searching for programs that just spit out false promises. Heather’s program delivers what you need to be successful in this field. (Not to mention, she’s one of the nicest people you will ever have the pleasure of meeting). As I said before, she’s all that and a bag of chips!