Newsletters have several SEO benefits for site ownersGreetings! Welcome to another installment in the SEO Copywriting Checklist video series.

In today’s video, Heather addresses a content must that a lot of small business owners – and even medium- to large-sized businesses – completely forget about, and that is having an email newsletter.

This discussion came up when Heather was doing the SEO Copywriting Certification training in Phoenix last week. She was talking about how newsletters can be really good for business, and people came back with: “Why do I need to worry about a newsletter? I already have a blog. Why would I have a newsletter on top of a blog?”

Tune in to hear Heather’s response: Here’s why your site needs a newsletter. Right now…

Think A RSS Feed Is All You Need? Think Again.

The folks at the SEO Copywriting workshop had a really good question about why the need for an email newsletter as well as their blog, because a lot of site owners think “Oh, I have a blog, and people can subscribe to it through my RSS feed, so I’m good. I don’t need to worry about taking that extra step.”

But the thing is…

– Many people don’t know what RSS is or how it works.

– Weekly (or monthly) newsletters provide quite a few benefits – and are definitely worth the time and effort.

Email Newsletters Have Some Great Advantages

Some of the benefits of email newsletters are…

– They can drive traffic to your site and increase social shares.

So for example, the SEO Copywriting newsletter that I run comes out every Tuesday. Even if I couldn’t tell the day of the week in analytics, I could certainly see that spike in web traffic and know it must be a Tuesday, because of the surge in social shares and site visitors.

And what I do to encourage that with my newsletter is to include a little preview of what the blog post is about, and then a link that takes readers directly to that post on the site.

So the article isn’t printed in the newsletter, just a little snippet with a link that sends readers back to the site.

– They provide you an opportunity to “connect” with your readers. 

Newsletters are a fantastic way to keep in touch with your readers. One of the things I enjoy doing with my newsletter is to write a brief introduction that maybe talks about the theme of the newsletter, or just about what’s been going on.

Especially if you are the brand, this is a great way you can connect with your readers as well!

– They are a great way to build a loyal following.

Newsletters also can help build an incredibly loyal following. You’ll have this core group of people who are really excited to read your newsletter every week. And they’ll even email you if they didn’t receive it, and say “I didn’t get your newsletter – can you send it to me? I really look forward to reading it!”

And that’s always fun!

– Newsletters help you sell more stuff.

Finally, newsletters provide an ideal channel for selling more stuff!

If you’re writing blog posts on a daily basis, chances are those posts are not promoting your products and services – because you’re writing strong, quality, informational content.

But say you’re having a sale, or there’s something special going on that you want folks to know about? Within the body of the newsletter, you can always include a little call-to-action block letting readers know about your sale or special event.

You can even set it up so that your newsletter subscribers are the first to know about sales or other special events. That way you can have that V.I.P. “velvet rope” appeal to readers, granting them access to exclusive benefits just by signing up!

So if you don’t have a newsletter, I encourage you to get one going. Or if you do have a newsletter but you haven’t done much with it in awhile, you might want to think about kicking it back into shape – and figure out what you need to do in order to build a bigger subscriber list and get more folks visiting your site.

Because I guarantee, once things start rockin’ and rollin’, you’re going to see some huge benefits!

Thanks for joining me! As always, if you have any questions or comments please let me know – you can leave them here in the comments below, or find me on Twitter @heatherlloyd, or email me directly at [email protected].

photo thanks to FontShop

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A mashup of Heather Lloyd-Martin's post about Google updates & SEO best practicesDid you hear that?

It’s the sound of Google finally dropping the other shoe.

Google distinguished engineer and head of web spam, Matt Cutts, announced yesterday that Google’s much-anticipated Penguin 2.0 has arrived. In his blog post, Cutts said “…the rollout is now complete…” and that “[a]bout 2.3% of English-US queries are affected…”

Cutts went on to say that the Penguin update has also finished rolling out for other languages worldwide.

For those SEOs, webmasters, and site owners that had taken heed and cleaned up their site content and backlink profiles beforehand, this “…next generation of the Penguin webspam algorithm…” shouldn’t cause any problems (although there is always a remote chance of collateral damage with any algo update).

More to the point, those who never engaged in any spammy linking or keyword-stuffing practices in the first place, and instead focused on providing a valuable user experience, shouldn’t be overly anxious about the Penguin 2.0 launch.

Would it surprise you to know that before Panda – much less Penguin – was even a twinkle in Google’s eye, Heather was talking about the need to create quality content focused on the persona-defined reader? And encouraging SEOs and site owners to move beyond linkbait?

Me neither.

So as a nod to Penguin 2.0’s arrival, and as a shout-out to Heather for her vision and passion, here’s a mashup of her written and video posts around Google’s Penguin updates and SEO copywriting best practices… Enjoy!


SEO content strategies for Penguin UpdateSEO content strategies for Google’s Penguin Update

From this video post published just over a year ago when the first Penguin update hit, Heather’s counsel retains its relevancy. It is every bit as applicable to this second Penguin rollout as it was to the first!

Her message? Do the right thing and don’t fear the Penguin.


Going beyond linkbaitGoing beyond linkbait – why you need good, original content

In this post written in the fall (October) of 2009, long before the arrival of those cute black-and-white animal updates, Heather urges SEO content writers and online businesses to write for their audience, not for SEO’s sake.

“…better search rankings, better conversions and a better connection with your customers. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what it’s all about?”


Dont fear the PenguinHow to stop worrying about Google updates…and learn to love writing really great SEO copy!

Here is a second video post Heather addressed to the Google-stressed, written after Matt Cutts warned that the next Penguin update would be “jarring” to SEOs and webmasters.

Published in August of 2012, here Heather encourages site owners to move past their Google-fear and learned helplessness, and their ensuing content generation paralysis.

“…instead of being all fearful about what Google is going to do next, think of what’s going on as an opportunity: Good content is still good for Google.”


Suffering from Content Mullet Syndrome?Does your site suffer from “content mullet” syndrome?

Remember those mullets from the 70’s and early 80’s? You know – “business up front, party in the back”?

Once upon a time they were considered hip, even attractive. But today…not so much.

The same goes for your site content. Tune in to this video post as Heather explains what a “content mullet” looks like, and what to do about it.


Keyword DensitySEO keyword density: lose this relic and adopt best practices

Know how to make Heather grind her teeth? Ask her about “keyword density”…

In this video post published exactly two years’ ago today, Heather explains why there is no such thing as keyword density anymore.

Unless you’re stuck in a time warp and writing content for Alta Vista rankings, it’s time to put this SEO bone down. Really.

“You can party like it’s 1999, but don’t write SEO copy that way!”


image thanks to cnystrom (Chris Nystrom)

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The pending Penguin 2.0 update may require you to rewrite your evergreen site copyWelcome back! In this video of the SEO Copywriting Checklist series, Heather discusses the impending Google Penguin 2.0 update and what it means for site owners and evergreen web content.

Matt Cutts, a distinguished engineer from Google, recently released a video announcing the next wave of Google algorithm updates. He specifically discussed Penguin 2.0, saying it will roll out this summer.

So Google is giving site owners a big heads up!

Also, on last weeks’ SEO Copywriting Certification call with Bruce Clay, he discussed Penguin 2.0 and what it means for site content. So Heather thought she would address this update today because it is a big deal to a lot of site owners!

Tune in to learn what web copy on your site might need rewriting, before the imminent Google updates hit:

Are Some Of Your Pages So-So At Best?

– Does your site have any low-quality posts or articles?

– Does your sales copy walk a keyphrase-stuffing line?

When speaking to the SEO Copywriting Certification folks last week, Bruce Clay advised listeners to go through their websites and locate those pages that are of so-so quality, and make them as good as they can be.

A lot of companies have these so-so pages on their site. They might not be technically keyphrase-stuffed, but they’re not necessarily high-quality or well-researched either.

These mediocre pages might be articles that you kicked out all at once and under deadline, so maybe you or the writer in question were working a little bit more quickly than normal. Or you might have some lower-quality blog posts on your site from way back when you first started out.

There also may be old sales copy on your site, where you thought you were supposed to include more keyphrases than you really should, and they are walking that keyphrase-stuffing line.

These are all examples of evergreen content that is ripe for a rewrite.

Also consider that you’re probably not getting much promotional value from them, because you know they’re not good. You never link to them, you never talk about them, and you may haven’t had the time or the inclination to go through your site and make those posts or those sales pages as good as they can be.


Now Is The Time To Make Some Changes!

– Google wants to recognize authority sites.

– Identify low-value and low-quality content and rewrite it.

– If your blog hasn’t been updated in months, it’s time to start blogging again.

In his Google Webmaster Help video, Matt Cutts made it very clear that Google wants to recognize – and reward – authority sites. And Bruce Clay emphasized in his presentation that if you have those kinds of pages on your site that are so-so at best, now is the time to revisit and rewrite them.

So identify that low-value and low-quality content! And if you don’t have time to go through and rewrite those pages, now is the time to find someone who can help you with it.

That way, when the Penguin update does hit, you know that all of your pages are exactly the way you want them to be: they are well-written and well-researched, and you’re able to link to them and refer to them without embarrassment!

And if you’ve neglected your blog for months, now is the time to get back to it. Again, Google wants to recognize and reward authority sites, and the way that you can establish yourself as an authority in your niche is by blogging about it – consistently!

If you tackle this evergreen content rewriting project now, then when Penguin 2.0 and other Google SEO updates roll out, you should be in good shape!

Thanks for tuning in! Have any questions or feedback? I’d love to hear from you! You can leave them in the comments, or email me directly at [email protected]. You can also find me on Twitter @heatherlloyd.

photo thanks to nick.amoscato (Nick Amoscato)

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Write SEO content for your readers, not for GoogleGreetings! Welcome to another installment of the SEO Copywriting Checklist series. Today, Heather gets back to the basics in discussing whether you’re writing content “for Google”.

The idea that you need to write content in a particular way for it to position well in search results is a tenacious misconception. It’s also an unhealthy one, both in terms of search engine appeal and user experience.

Tune in to hear what Heather has to say about writing “for Google” and how to correct for this stubborn tendency in your own SEO content:

“Gift Baskets” Is Repeated 9 Times!

So here’s an example of what writing content “for Google” can mean, where the term “gift baskets” is repeated nine times within a teeny-tiny block of copy!

I’m sure that the person who wrote this content didn’t do so thinking “Im gonna try to spam the engines and get up to the top results!” But the problem is that a lot of folks still think this kind of keyword stuffing is the way you write good SEO content.

Relax! Google Wants You To Write Good Content

So if this has been your mindset – that you have to write separate pages “for Google” or stuff the page full of your keyphrases in order to get a good ranking – you can relax: Google wants to you to write good, quality content. Really!

– Never write copy “for Google”. Write it for your readers.

Instead of hanging onto the notion of writing your content for Google, think about writing for your readers – always focus on their experience!

You don’t want to include a keyphrase so many times that it becomes distracting. People may well bounce off your page and out of your site to find another source of information that sounds more reputable, and offers content that is easier to read.


– Keyword stuffing won’t help your SEO.

Google has closed that loophole. Once upon a time, sure, jamming your copy full of keywords might’ve worked – but not today. So there’s no reason to do it!

– Unsure if you added too many keyphrases? Read the copy out loud.

If you aren’t sure whether or not you’ve been heavy-handed with the use of keyphrases in your content, sometimes the best thing to do is to just print that page and read it aloud.

The same applies if you’re a site owner working with a copywriter: when s/he submits the copy, read it out loud. That way you’ll hear if the keyphrase has been used too many times.

– Think quality – not quantity.

When thinking about your content, it’s always best to think of it in terms of quality.

It’s not about how many pages you can kick out so Google starts thinking you’re an authority on “X”. It’s about how many good pages you can write for your readers, so you attract more traffic and build your brand that way!

Thanks for joining me for this week’s video! As always, if you have any questions about today’s post, or anything else for that matter, I’d love to hear from you! You can email me directly at [email protected], or find me on Twitter @heatherlloyd.

image thanks to warrantedarrest (Tomas de Aquino)

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Anatomy of SEO co-citation and authority transferIt never fails. A new year comes along or Google unleashes a new algorithm change, and SEO professionals start whirling theories and warnings about how SEO will never be the same. They claim SEO is dead.

Once you’ve been in this industry for a while, you learn to pay attention to what’s going on, but not to jump to conclusions and pull your hair out every time someone sneezes.

Link building has always been an integral part of performing effective SEO on any site, regardless of whether it’s a big brand or small mom-n-pop shop around the corner. But when Penguin hit the scene in April 2012, a whole new mindset had to be adopted.

No longer could you easily get away with ranking a lower-quality site merely by creating an army of backlinks for it. And in the SEO world, heads were spinning. To this day, many agree on some principles of links, building them, which ones are good, and which ones really help your site (or hurt them). Other times, there’s disagreement.

Co-citations are becoming a hot topic in the SEO world these days, and for good reason. Several years ago there was a lot of discussion about them; it was the hot new thing for SEO professionals to talk about. But the talk sizzled down… until very recently.

What are co-citations?

Co-citations can be a little difficult to wrap your head around. But I’m hoping you’ll leave here with a basic understanding of them. Co-citations mean that if someone links to your site as well as a well-known, authority site, within or closely related to your industry, in the same article, then you will share some of that authority site’s respect from Google.

Even that was something you had to read several times to try to understand, right?

Maybe this will help:













In essence, the authority or respect from Google flows both to and from a link. Article “A” links to authority site “B,” and smaller site “C.” The authority from authority site “B” transfers back to article “A” (which is why it’s always good to link an authority site to your content), but it also carries over to smaller site “C.” Got that?

Now, I can just hear you saying, “If I’m writing article ‘A,’ I certainly don’t want to link to a better-known, big-boy competitor’s site!” Well, yes, it can be tricky. What you want to do in this situation is find something relevant and helpful to the reader, but not something that would be a direct competitor to you and your content.

For instance, let’s say you’re a travel agent. You aren’t going to want to link to Tripology or some big travel company. An acceptable alternative might be to link to a well-known luggage store or travel guide books on Amazon for where your readers are interested in going.

This concept has also been referred to as SEO co-citation and similar terms. It shouldn’t be confused with local SEO citations, though.

The shifting perspectives on co-citations

This has been a pretty well-known concept in the SEO industry for a while. But today, the strategy of using co-citations seems to be shifting. The same principles still basically apply, but now we’re going deeper, due to the need to respond and adapt to Google’s constantly changing algorithm. We should be concerned not only about who we’re linking to and who’s creating content that links to us and authority sites, but also the anchor text.

The age-old practice of using keywords as the anchor text is out. Instead, Google seems to be factoring in the words that surround or are in close proximity to the anchor text, as well as the context and subject of the entire article.

Using the example above, in which we imagined you are a travel agent, here’s an example of a great link to have pointing at your site: A blogger for an African Safari company writes a piece about the new day trip they offer. They’ve noticed a spectacular deal you have right now for travel to Africa and link to you saying: “And if you’re looking for a great discount on traveling to Africa, click here.”

They’re using only the “click here” for the anchor text, but it has “discount on traveling to Africa” very close to it. Let’s say they’ve also linked to Wikipedia for the term “African safari” and to a guidebook on

Essentially, you’re now sharing the authority of Wikipedia, Amazon, and that company’s blog. Plus, you’re keeping Google’s Penguin algorithm on your good side because the link anchor text isn’t keyword-rich.

So how do you make this happen?

I’m hoping this has helped you understand what co-citations are, how they’re shifting, and why you should be striving to get as many of them as you can. But that leads to the next question: How can you get them?

The best advice is to create content that’s not just for SEO, or purely for the sake of link-building, but to be helpful to the user. Every article, post, video, infographic, or whatever you create should focus on a targeted theme. It should be insightful or trigger an emotion among your readers so they feel encouraged to share it within their networks.

The more people who discover it, and like it, the more people will link to you; the hope is that they’ll also link to related authority sites.

If you’re actually creating content to use for linking back to your site (guest posts, for example), remember to avoid always using your keywords as anchor text. Instead, use different keywords in close proximity to your anchor text. And don’t forget to link to authority sites that are related to your industry.

If you create a post that links to resources the reader finds useful, and if you create content for your own site doing the same… co-citations will come naturally, along with better rankings, traffic, leads, and sales.

About the Author ~ Jayson DeMers

Jayson DeMers is the founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based SEO agency, as well as, a lyrics-humor website. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.

image thanks to Dzhus (Dmitry Dzhus)

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Keyphrase research is a crucial first step to SEO copywritingGreetings and welcome to another installment of the SEO Copywriting Checklist video series! Today, Heather discusses keyphrase research – or more precisely the lack thereof, leaving content un-optimized for both search engines and readers.

Lately, Heather has been hearing a number of excuses from a lot of people as to why they’re not researching their keyphrases. What follows is her rebuttal to their excuses, as well as why keyphrase research remains a critical first step to sound SEO copywriting.

Do one of these excuses sound familiar…

Although keyphrase research is a very important, foundational SEO step, a lot of people decide to skip it. There are several reasons I’ve been hearing for neglecting keyphrase research, the big one being…

– We don’t have time to research keyphrases.

…We are producing a lot of content, we are on very tight deadlines, we don’t have time to research the keyphrases before we start writing, and so we’ll try to remember to do it later.

– I’ll do it later. 

And of course, what often happens is that “later” never comes. The site is then left with all this un-optimized content that could be much better for the search engines and much better for readers if it had those keyphrases.

– We’re a big brand company. Google will figure it out. 

A lot of big brand companies think because they are such heavy hitters, Google should know this and figure it out – so they shouldn’t have to worry about keyphrase research.

Which certainly isn’t the case. Then, small business owners who are typically overwhelmed anyway just trying to get a site up and working will often say…

 – Do I really have to?

…I’ve got so many other things going on! Is this one more thing that I have to learn?

And that answer is yes.

No matter who you are or what you’re doing…

Keyphrase research is a critical first step

In order to “control” positioning for a keyword, it needs to be on the page.

And especially if you’re kicking out a lot of content, the advantage to doing this preliminary work is because…

Keyphrase research helps you understand what information people are searching for and what questions they have.

That means you don’t have to guess, or try to figure out “What should I write about today?”  The keyphrase research can often dictate that – so you know people are looking for X information, and you can be the resource site that provides it to them.

So keyphrase research is important to do on a number of levels.

Your solution? Just do it.

I know it takes time, I know that there’s a learning curve involved, but it’s well worth it.

– If you don’t have time to do the research, hire someone.

Now if you flat out don’t have the time to do the research, or you are focused on so many other things you don’t want to learn how to do it, that’s cool. But consider hiring someone who does this day in and day out, who can help you with the keyphrase research, and then…

– Go through the site and (intelligently) add keyphrases to your content and Titles.

That way, you’re going to have the best of both worlds: you’re going to have really, really good content and you’re also going to make that content easier to find in the search engines and connect with even more readers. So again…

– It will be worth it. Trust me.

Thanks for joining me for this week’s SEO Copywriting Checklist video! If you have any questions at all, or ideas for a future video, I would love to hear from you. You can reach me at [email protected], or find me on Twitter @heatherlloyd.

photo thanks to Bruce Clay, Inc.

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A collection of 6 inspirational posts by Heather Lloyd-Martin

Morning in the Canyon

Sometimes an encouraging word makes all the difference on a difficult day. And some days all we need is a spark of inspiration to stir our creative muse.

Then there are those days when we need a swift motivational kick in the butt to get unstuck and move forward.

Over the past several years, Heather Lloyd-Martin has written prose that encouraged us to move past fear and self-doubt, pushed us to claim our worth as damn good writers, motivated us to welcome challenges and changes, and inspired us to grow by sharing her own experiences with facing down and walking through some of the worst stuff that life can throw at us – and by transcending them.

Here, I’ve collected some of those words of encouragement, inspiration, and motivation penned by one of the best damn writers, generous teachers, and finest human beings I’ve had the honor to know. I hope they enrich you as they have me, and many, many others.


What to do when you don't get the gigWhat to do when you don’t get the gig

 It happens to all of us. But people don’t talk about it. Sometimes, you don’t get the gig – and your “hot lead” goes somewhere else…Depending on how you’re feeling, it may be hard to face this kind of “rejection.”

From her opening words, Heather’s empathy comforts us with the knowledge we’re not alone with this disappointment. It’s an occupational hazard. It’s what we do with it that matters. Here, Heather suggests 10 things to do – two of them twice. Keep it handy! Because it does happen to us all.


Are you creating your own hell?Are you creating your own hell?

…Her situation made me think of all the ways we create our own business (and personal) hell. Instead of dealing with issues head-on, we let FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real) stand in our way. We let things fester, hate the “place” we’re in and come up with every excuse we can think of to explain why our current situation can’t change…

Written over two years ago, this post demonstrates the “tough love” Heather shows from time to time. She doesn’t do whining, and nor should we if we are to break free from that paralyzing fear of change! An open invitation to take an honest look at how we can sabotage ourselves.


Yes you can!Yes you can!

…Yes, I learned an important lesson about the necessity of taking a long break. More than that, I learned that anything is possible – if you ignore the excuses of why you can’t do something.

Telling yourself “no” all the time, granted, is the easier path. But here’s the thing: How long are you going to let “no” dictate your life?

Just back – officially – from her Grand Canyon rafting trip last June, Heather shares how giving herself permission to leave her “baby” (business) for an extended adventure way out of her comfort zone opened up unexpected doors and possibilities.


Turn your creativity up to 11!How to turn your creativity up to 11

I’m often asked, “Heather, how do you write so much content without burning out?”

Um, good question. I could talk about how I’ve spent almost half of my life studying copywriting (ack, that’s scary to type.) Or how I force myself to write online copy, even when I don’t feel like writing. Or how I’m just plain stubborn.

But what’s the real secret of my success? I force myself to take breaks – long, soul-renewing breaks – and let my creative juices do their thing.

I wasn’t always this way.

Heather shares how she went from working, working, working at a break-neck speed to the far more balanced lifestyle she’s now enjoying…as well as why – and how – we can too. Read Heather’s do-able tips for “building in some downtime,” because “without our creativity, we’re lost.” Indeed.


You are a writerYou are a writer

Have you ever struggled with something…and suddenly, everything clicked into place? Maybe a random conversation helped you see your situation in a different way. Or you read a passage in a book – and it’s almost like the passage was written just for you.

Here, Heather shares the power of positive self-talk, after realizing (almost as an epiphany) that she is a runner. Applying this empowering experience to new (and even experienced) writers, she challenges us to affirm to ourselves that yes…


How a personal crisis shaped my businessHow a personal crisis shaped my business

I’m going to tell you a story not many people know.

Eleven years ago, my then-husband committed suicide. Saying that I was “devastated” doesn’t come close to describing how I was feeling. I don’t remember much about that time. That’s probably a blessing…

…That dreadful experience shaped my business more than any book, conversation, or mentor. Here’s what I’ve learned.

I’m still floored by the courage Heather shows here, not just by sharing such a personal and terrible experience, but by learning and sharing lifelong lessons from it.

Bravo, Heather!

Said well, done even better.

Are you making your call to action hard to find?Welcome back! Are you selling a product or service online? Then you’ll want to pay close attention to this second video of Heather’s SEO Copywriting Checklist series – where she pinpoints website content that is ripe with SEO copywriting opportunities.

Using her recent experience with the Feedly website, Heather addresses the conversions-killing error of making your call to action hard to find. She then discusses how to optimize the placement of your call to action to maximize conversions.

Tune in as Heather describes her “where’s Waldo?” website (mis)adventure and the lessons it holds for SEO copywriters:

How do I sign up?

I was inspired to discuss the mistake Web writers make of burying their call to action by my hide-and-go-seek experience with trying to sign up for Feedly. Like a lot of people using Google Reader, I knew I needed to migrate to a different service, and I’d heard great things about Feedly.

This screenshot is of Feedly’s home page above the fold.

I’m looking at the copy and thinking “huh…I’m not quite sure where to sign up…” Then I spot that little hyperlink there at the bottom of the paragraph and decide that has to be it, as it’s a hyperlink and prominently positioned above the fold.

So I click on that link and…

Oops! Not here!

…Bam! I’m taken to a blog post that talks about keeping the site up, listening and adding new features.

So by this time I’m highly confused about how I would actually be able to use Feedly!

I back out of the blog post and go back to the home page, then…

There it is!

…I discover that if I scroll down below the fold, that’s where the CTA is! Buried beneath the fold.

I went back to the blog post and noticed that had I scrolled down past it, I would’ve seen “Note 2.” And although it is not necessarily a very strong call to action, technically it is a call to action.

But again it was buried beneath the fold, hiding under the blog post, so I didn’t see it immediately.


There are some lessons to be learned here:

Don’t hide your call to action and stick it below the fold.

If you want people to do something – especially if it’s an instant type of thing like “get Feedly” – you want that front and center. So…

Consider the main action you want people to take, and make that action easy to take.

Don’t make your prospects play “where’s Waldo?” with your call to action – because it’s also very easy for them to think “nevermind”, back out of your site, and go to a competitor’s.

When you make that call to action easy to find, then you’re definitely going to increase your conversion rates!

Thanks for stopping by! As always, if you have any questions at all, please let Heather know. You can email her at [email protected], or find her on Twitter @heatherlloyd.

See you next week with another installment of the SEO Copywriting Checklist series!

photo thanks to denverkid

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Hot SEO copy postsWow. It’s the end of 2012 already. How did that happen? :)

I feel like the year went by like that ::snapping fingers.::  One second, we were dealing with leftover Panda “issues” from 2011. The next, we were focused on the Penguin update, the exact-match-domain update, the DMCA penalty, still more Panda refreshes…


In the words of the Grateful Dead, what a long, strange trip it’s been.

It’s not surprising that many of 2012’s top posts were of the “back to basics” variety. Marketers were struggling with their SEO content creation during all this algorithmic weirdness. Now that Google is stressing quality content, people want to know what that means and how to make it happen.

And that’s a wonderful thing.

This marks my last official blog post of the year – and I’ll be back at it in the New Year. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the top 2012 posts from the SEO Copywriting blog.  Thank you for your comments, your ideas and for reading my blog posts. I appreciate every one of you.

Happy Holidays! Here’s to a FANTASTIC 2013~


#10: How to avoid Google’s over-optimization penalty

Wondering if your Web copy is a tad too optimized?  Are you afraid to write anything, for fear the the Big G will slap it down?  Consider this video post your virtual chill pill. I’ve outlined three ways to determine if you’re pushing the optimization envelope a little (or a lot) too much.

#9: 14 SEO truths I’ve learned in 14 years

Are you putting all your eggs in Facebook’s basket and ignoring your own site? That may be a bad move. In this post, I discuss 14 SEO truths I’ve learned in 14 years. For instance, tip #2 states: “The only thing that you can control is your own Website.” Something to think about if you allocate all your budget for Facebook ads and none for your site content…

#8: The women who made SEO great

This is one of my all-time favorite posts. A group of super-smart women have helped transform SEO/social into what it is today – and it was an honor to feature them. Learn more about the women who made SEO great – and make sure that you follow them on Twitter. You’ll learn a lot. Trust me.

#7: How to create an editorial calendar

Ah, the editorial calendar. People know that they should do it, but they don’t – and they pay for it later. Yes, your editorial calendar can be a hassle to create. Yes, it takes time. But it’s important to do – and having one will save your bacon many times over.  Really. Check out this video post for some step-by-step tips.

#6: High five: The best SEO copywriting how-to’s

Are you a newbie SEO copywriter? Or, do you need some back-to-basics reminders? This post lists the top five video posts – from how to write compelling Titles, to how to make more money as an SEO copywriter. Enjoy!

#5: SEO content strategies for Google’s Penguin update

First, there was the Panda update. Then Google’s Penguin update waddled its way into our lives, causing us to look at our sites in a whole new way. If you’ve been stressing about Penguin, check out this post. You’ll learn how Penguin targeted web spam – and what experts in the SEO community think you should do.

#4: Ignite your copy with this hot strategy

No, AIDA isn’t a Swedish pop band (that would be ABBA.) But it’s still important to learn about and master. Granted, you won’t be singing “Dancing Queen” after reading this post. But you will know how to write better content. This video post explains how to take your content from lukewarm to smokin’ hot!

#3: The conversion dilemma: AIDA in the Internet age

Want even more AIDA info? This guest post by Katie Fetting-Schlerf goes into the AIDA nitty gritty – and even includes a link to an Alec Baldwin movie. Intrigued? Read how Katie rebuilds the AIDA model and makes it relevant for today’s sensory overloaded marketplace.

#2: How to charge for freelance SEO copywriting services

Are you writing content for 60 hours a week, but barely scraping by? Stop it!  Yes, you can make a great income as an SEO copywriter. And that means charging what you’re worth – not what you think people will pay. If you’re struck in a pricing quandary, read this. You’ll discover five questions you should ask yourself when you’re figuring out your rate structure.

And the number one post of 2012 ::drumroll please::

#1: 25-point Web copy checklist: How to write for Google

Here’s a news flash: “Writing for Google” isn’t hard at all. Yes, there are certain things you should do. But mostly, it’s understanding your customer persona, writing really good, sharable content and giving your readers what they want to read. If you’re new to SEO copywriting – or if you’re working with writers – this checklist is a must-read.


In today’s SEO copywriting how-to, Heather discusses the value of using bullet points in your copy, and how to make them pop off the page.

Check it here:

How to Break Free of Boring Bullet Statements

Bullet statements are great to use in your copy. They help set items apart and provide a simple way to feature text. Likewise, they are easy to read and scan online.

One common temptation is to use bullet statements and simply list out all the features of a product or service. This certainly sets apart each item, but it is … yawn … boring.

Look at these bullet points and tell me if they grab you and make you want to book a room at this hotel:

  • The Portland, OR airport is five minutes away
  • All guest rooms are 400-600 square feet
  • Rooms have a mini-bar, small refrigerator, and coffee maker

My reaction is “so what?”  There are probably a dozen hotels with these identical features. Calling attention to features is a part of good copy, but great copywriting focuses on “what’s in it for the reader?”

Your copy should pull in the reader and make him want to take action. How can you accomplish this?

Lead with a benefit statement!

Instead of listing a specific feature, simply add the benefit to the beginning of the bullet statement to show the reader “what’s in in for him.” Follow up the benefit by listing the specific feature.

Read the revised bullet statements below and see how the bullets pop off the page compared to the previous bullet statements:

  • Wheel out of the terminal and check in within 15 minutes. The Portland, OR airport is five minutes away.
  • You can spread out and relax in style. All guest rooms are 400-600 square feet.
  • Enjoy the comforts of home, away from home. Rooms have a mini-bar, small refrigerator, and coffee maker.

Reminding the reader “what’s in it for him” can be a tremendous help with conversion.

Follow this simple recipe: Lead with a benefit statement. Follow it up with a specific feature. And remember, great copy always answers the question “what’s in it for the reader?”

Thanks for tuning into this week’s SEO copywriting how-to! As always, if you have any questions, comments, or an idea for the next video post, please let me know! Contact me, or find me on Twitter @heatherlloyd!

Are you interested in an SEO Copywriting Certification Program? Check into the only industry-endorsed online training that certifies copywriters in SEO copywriting best practices. Find out more here.

photo thanks to earth2marsh (Marsh Gardiner)