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5 Steps to Great Content for Readers and Search Engines

Kristi Hines

One thing that has become evident in the post-Google Panda world is that if you want to ensure that your site doesn’t lose rankings, you will need great content!

Not simply search engine optimized content, but content that both search engines AND visitors will enjoy alike.

Everyone’s content development process is a little different.  Today I’d like to share mine with you, particularly when it comes to writing.

1.  Figure out your target keywords

Sure, most people know a few keywords that define their site.  But chances are, they are not enough keywords to generate writing topics around.  In some cases, your keywords might be general enough that you can narrow them down into more specific topics of focus.  In other cases, your keywords may be so specific that you need to broaden your horizons in order to find topics to write about.

Keyword suggest tools are the best way to go for finding keyword phrases that people search for often. When you start typing in a keyword on Google, for example, it will start suggesting related search terms:

Google isn’t the only suggest tool out there though – be sure to check out Bing, Yahoo, Ubersuggest, and YouTube for additional keyword ideas.

The best part about the latter four is Topsy and Wefollow will tell you what keywords are popular on Twitter, Delicious will tell you what is popular in articles that are frequently bookmarked, and YouTube, of course, will tell you what is popular in video content.

2. Generate some content ideas based on those keywords that people will want to read

Once you have a great list of keywords, the next step is to create headlines that will appeal to readers.  The best way to generate some great content ideas is to use proven headline formulas, such as those given in the free guide, 102 Headline Formulas by Chris Garrett of Authority Blogger, and plug those keywords into the headlines in which they fit best.

For even more ideas, don’t miss Copyblogger’s How to Write Magnetic Headlines, which is an 11 part series on writing better headlines in no time.

3. Forget the SEO and write your content

Here’s what I consider the fun part.  This is where you forget about SEO for a while and just write your content.  Instead of thinking about optimization, think about the content – articles, blog posts, magazine pieces, etc. – that you have really enjoyed reading and write your content in that manner. Make it enjoyable, valuable, and exciting for readers!

I would also suggest during this writing spree to hold off on the editing as this can slow down your writing process. Let the ideas flow from your mind to your keyboard, then take the editorial run through to check for spelling and grammatical issues.

4. After your article is written, then you can work on the search optimization.

Now that you have a great piece of content that people will love to read, you should go back through and add the optimization features that will make the content easily searchable and targeted for your keyword phrase.  This includes the title tag and meta description, header tags (H2’s and H3’s especially), and optimization of your images (including the  ALT description), and a proper file name with keywords.

5. Get out and promote it!

Last, but not least, once that awesome piece of content is written, optimized, and published online, you will need to go out and promote it.  Content is not something where you create it and your audience will just naturally flock to it (unless you’re Mashable and already have a monster audience).

You will need to promote your content through social media, your mailing list (for those especially awesome pieces), instant messenger, forums, blog comments, and any other form of getting the word out in which you can participate.  Only then will your content be a success!

I hope these steps help you balance the fine line between SEO friendly and reader friendly content development when it comes to your blog posts, articles, and page content.  What additional tips would you like to give writers who have to develop content for both worlds?

Kristi Hines is a blogging and social media enthusiast.

5 Post-Panda Strategies for Optimizing Your E-Commerce Site

Welcome back! In this third post of her Q & A video blog series, Heather addresses the oft-asked question:  How can I make my e-commerce site better for the search engines? Many smaller to mid-sized e-commerce companies are now striving to make their sites as good as they can possibly be, after suffering the fallout of Google’s Mayday and Panda/Farmer updates.

Over the past financially-stressed year, many e-commerce companies simply lacked the resources needed to produce high-quality, original content.  So they’ve been hurt by Google’s Mayday and Panda/Farmer updates.  But there is a shiny silver lining to this setback, as Heather explains:

Common E-Commerce Issues:

  • Mayday Update: Many SMB’s without the financial resources to invest in content generation were “downgraded” by Google because they simply duplicated the product descriptions from the original manufacturers of the goods offered.
  • Farmer/Panda Update: Those businesses without the money for content creation were also hurt due to “thin” and/or “low-quality” content.  These folks may have tried to build out keyphrase-laden pages to drive traffic, or were stuck with the same old products pages with no fresh or original copy.

Whatever the circumstance, these smaller e-commerce companies are at a huge disadvantage right now.  But the silver lining is that this setback presents a fantastic opportunity for these businesses to give their e-commerce site a complete “make-over.”

So here’s what to do (over) if you find your e-commerce site hurting from Google’s algorithm changes:

1) Figure out what’s working, and what’s not: Seize this opportunity to delve deep into your analytics and look at things like bounce and conversion rates. The information you glean can provide you with a road map as to what to do next.  For instance…

2) Are you using the right keyphrases? Upon entering the e-commerce world, you may not have completely understood what keyphrases were or how to work with them. Or your original keyphrases may have brought in traffic at the start, but may be not the best, qualified traffic. Again, this is a great opportunity to go back to the beginning and re-evaluate.  You may well discover other keyphrases to focus on and leverage for SEO.

3) MessagingDo you address your prospect’s primary question of what’s in it for me (WIIFM)? Revisit your benefit statements: do they explicitly tell your reader what’s in it for them? Are the tone and feel of your site targeted to your perfect customer? Are you bringing out the best benefit statements that you can? This is a golden opportunity to make your site as tight and wired to your customer as possible.

4) What else can you “tweak?” Consider what other elements could be improved to help make you money.  For instance:

  • Do you need to change your page Titles? Probably. See what you can tweak to increase both your ranking and conversions.
  • Could you add customer reviews? This is a great way to build out original content on your products pages.
  • Can you build out different types of content (video, podcasts, other types of descriptive content)? Ideally, your product page content should be unique – not just a reiteration of the original manufacturers’ copy.
  • How can you leverage your blog to help you with sales? Your blog presents an ideal venue to “soft sell” and link to your site’s product pages.  It doesn’t have to be “sales-y,” and in fact shouldn’t be. Written deftly, your blog content can go a long way towards supporting sales.

5) Checking your analytics, determine what your top-performing pages are and start re-writing those first. Look at the top 20-percent of your site’s highest-performing pages, and begin your copywriting do-over with these.

Yes, this website “do-over” does mean an investment of time and money, but the silver lining is that once you’ve gone through the process — taking the time to do it right — then everything else will fall into place:  your site will be well-optimized for the search engines, will better serve your customers, and you’ll see a greater return on your investment!

 

Change the Game of Search by Defining Your Content Category

Guest Author, Joe Pulizzi

Joe is a leader in the content marketing space. Not only does he “get” the importance of quality, well-written content, but he’s also a fantastic evangelist who’s helping to transform the industry. I’ve always enjoyed his perspective, and I’m honored that he’s providing today’s guest post. Enjoy! — Heather

It happens all the time. A brand defines the search terms that their customers are looking for around their products and services. Then they actively create web content like blog posts, articles, ebooks and white papers around those terms.

Then the activation begins. The “content coordinator” comments on appropriate blog posts, shares the content in the right places online, does guest posts for link backs and more.

This can work. It may also produce crickets, depending on the difficulty of that keyword phrase. Sometimes, the clutter may simply be too much to cut through. I’ve seen some brands do everything possible and all the right things and still not crack the search rankings for a particular keyword.

Change the Game

I’m of the belief that the consistent creation of valuable online content can actually change the behavior of an industry…if you want it bad enough.

Our company, Junta42 and the Content Marketing Institute, made exactly this kind of move four years ago.  Back in 2007, the industry of non-media companies creating media was called custom publishing.  The term “custom publishing” was dominated by associations and large companies who had worked in that field for years.

We made the decision that instead of fighting for that keyword, we change the conversation.  Instead, we called the industry “content marketing”  My first blog post in April of 2007 was entitled “Why Content Marketing?” This was strange to literally everyone in the industry because no one had used this phrase in this way…but we dedicated ourselves to changing the game on that key phrase.

The results?  Content marketing is now THE phrase used for the industry.  According to Google Insights, content marketing is now used more than custom publishing worldwide.  Thousands of posts, hundreds of webinars, tens of ebooks and white papers, and a ton of community support, and it happened:

This one decision has made all the difference for our business.

And we’re not alone.  Citrix GoToMeeting has done the same thing with “Workshifting,”  the concept that people can work from anywhere today. HubSpot has done it with inbound marketing.

This type of strategy is not easy. You may not choose the right term.  Customers and industry influencers may not spread your message.

It takes a lot of customer listening and a ton of research to choose a term that will work for you, your customers, and ultimately drive business.

But, if it works, it’s a game changer.  If it works you can dominate an industry within that keyword phrase and all variations of that phrase.

So, what will your phrase be?

Joe Pulizzi is founder of the Content Marketing Institute.

Google’s Panda Update: How to Win the War with Quality Content

I feel for those crippled, battered or left otherwise bruised by the big fat Panda.  There’s been a lot of discussion around the recent update Google applied and just as many cringes and cries from the world of online marketing and search optimization.

Those are cringes that occur every time Google makes an update worthy of a nickname – honestly it’s like we’re naming hurricanes… and every time Google sneezes we have to scramble to assess the damage that’s been done.

With previous updates, one of the most popular cries from the marketing community has been about article marketing – someone always raises the question as to whether or not traditional article marketing (submitting content to various article directories for the purpose of links and target traffic) is in fact dead.

As I’ve been reading through update after update it’s my opinion that this latest Panda update (or farmer update) was the nail in the coffin for article marketing.

Google was tired of that content mucking up the search results and finally did something about it.

A People Divided

Not all marketers are created equally, and from my conversations with various folks in the industry I’ve found people on both sides of the fence.  Some believed without a doubt that article marketing was the best way to gain quality links and traffic – others couldn’t fathom the concept of using articles to leverage a different website while crossing their fingers in hopes the traffic would funnel to them.

The newest update left a lot of site owners reeling because “obscure” websites were now claiming better spots in the search results… and many weren’t entirely certain how to combat the issue.  Produce better quality content and try different directories?  Do they push harder with link building?

Finding a Solution to Tame the Panda

An event to note is that I actually lost some rank for my own website for one of my targeted keywords during this update.  I typically sit in spot 2 or 3 for this keyword (depending on how much Google loves me that day).  With this Panda update, I lost rank to a blog post – originating in 2010 – that came out of “nowhere.”  In examining the page in question I realized it had one incoming link from Digg.  The post was informative, had upwards or 20+ comments (all dated from last year) and over 3k retweets.

This occurrence is a testament to the fact that the Panda update is doing exactly what Google intended.  It’s giving more relevancy not only to sites with original, quality content but it’s using social sharing and social proof as a ranking factor; proof in the fact that a dated blog post (and a well written one at that) beat out one of my magnificently written landing pages that has lotsa link love.

The Alternatives to Off Site Content Marketing

There are plenty whom have relied on off-site content marketing and article distribution to keep the profit wheels turning; some for personal gain, others for clients.  That simply won’t work anymore – and if it does you won’t get near the same results.

Google wants your website to be in the top of the search results – not article directories – so it’s time to give up the old strategy and give Google what it wants.

  • Use your Blog – If you’re not leveraging your blog it’s time to start.  That regular content will become high ranking landing pages thanks to this Panda update.  You finally have a chance to make your posts appear higher in the SERPs.
  • Optimize your Blog – Make sure you’re using keywords appropriately within your titles, descriptions and within the body of your content (just make sure it flows naturally).
  • Revisit your Site Content – Go over your content and landing pages – are there ways you can improve the content to maintain relevancy post-Panda?  Is it time to beef up your content to stand apart from the competitors?  Think benefit statements and useful intel.  If you did lose some rank then aiming to improving conversions is more important than ever.
  • Post a Media Section – Leveraging the power of press releases for marketing?  Make sure you maintain a press section on your site to share your media releases.
  • Guest Post – Offer content to people within your network or market. Invite them to do the same.  For a time-strapped person (all of us, right?) guest posts keep the content flowing on your site.

Playing it Big – Create Your Own On-site Article Directory

This is what I recommend above all else and this type of content should be separate from your blog.  Create your own resource section – why should someone else or some article directory be the authority?  A perfect example of a company that dominates with onsite directories is Service Magic.  Start plugging in searches for contractors, painters and other home improvement info and they’ll likely pop up.  They have massive on-site articles and resources.

If you’re a writer or a marketer, think about all the services you offer and what you know about your biz.  You could likely populate a wiki or article directory easily with what you know.  The same could be said for your clients.

Add to that the fact that you can drive traffic to your content and share it with a variety of social plugins on your site and you’re reinforcing that content with social proof.   Just as it was (and still is) with your link profile – it’s always a popularity contest with Google.

Your website is there for a reason – it’s time to give your target audience a reason to visit and stay.

Derek Cromwell is a graduate of the SEO Copywriting Certification program and founder of TBMedia.net  He provides optimized content development and website copywriting to anyone willing to pay for his kids’ college education and game addictions.

Interview with SEO Copywriting Certification Grad, Carole Seawert

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!

How to Create Clickable Page Titles

Welcome back!  In today’s video post, Heather discusses how to create compelling, clickable page Titles for your website.  Page Titles are important to master, as they not only weigh heavily in search engine positioning but also serve as your first conversions opportunity on the search engine results page.

So take a few moments and join Heather as she discusses the dual purpose of page Titles and shares tips for crafting them:

The highlights of today’s lesson are…

Titles have a very specific structure:

  • Page Titles are limited to 50 – 75 characters, including spaces.  Try to keep them to around 69 characters.
  • The Page Title “lives” above your browser window, and appears in the backend code framed as <title>My Cool Web Page<title>
  • Every Title should be unique to each and every page on your site – and yes, this does mean each page, however deep your site!  Think of your page Titles as book titles that distinguish the different books in a library or bookstore.
  • Be sure to include the keyphrases you used for the page in the Title for that page

Titles serve a dual purpose:

  • Well-written Titles paired with strong content help pages position well on the search engines results page
  • Clickable, compelling Titles tempt your prospects to click on your link rather than the nine competing ones on the search engine results page, improving your website’s click-thru rate

Using the example of the search engine results for “business cards,” it is clear that while all the page Titles are written well from an SEO standpoint, positioning for the keyphrase “business card,” and all do a good job of describing the page, the Vistaprint Title is the most “clickable” with its reader appeal:  it features its “sale,” and further lets the user know that there are discounts available throughout the site.

The Vistaprint example underscores the power of pairing the page Title with a benefit statement or call to action.  Local businesses have experimented with including their phone number in the Title, encouraging their prospects to call them.

That’s a wrap for today’s mini-lesson on creating compelling, clickable page Titles.  Thanks for joining us, and be sure to tune in next week when Heather will go into more detail on writing powerful benefit statements.  See you then!

 

Interview with SEO Copywriting Certification Grad, Derek Cromwell

SEO Copywriting Certification Grad Profile of Derek CromwellDerek Cromwell is a 30 year old self-professed copywriting dweeb and content marketing nerd – his Twitter background states that much clearly.  He is the founder of Thunder Bay Media, LLC, a company he started in 2009 based in the Metro-Detroit area of Michigan.  From his home office/fortress he provides SEO copywriting and content marketing services to help businesses of any size improve and solidify their presence on the web, boost sales, dominate their market, win traffic, build a better mousetrap, end war and solve world hunger.

Before making a career change to copywriting, Derek spent several years working in Emergency Medical Services in both southeast Michigan and northern Michigan.  His career in EMS was preceded by a 10+ year span working in upper management across several companies including a national internet service provider and two major restaurant chains.

What attracted you to SEO copywriting?

All my life I’ve loved to write.   I started writing online content back in 2007 for what people now consider “content mills”.  The money was nice but I really loved EMS and had no reason to try to change.  I was working upwards of 80 hours a week and quite happy.

Then someone stuck a pin in the economy and my hours got cut.  Who would have thought people would stop calling 911 to save a buck?  Stuck at home with a family to support, I decided to see what I could do with my writing.  Blogging for bucks led to content marketing for other businesses  That of course evolved into SEO & website copywriting.  I’ve refined my craft on my own for the last year and now I’m here.

I chose this course because – while I felt I had already learned a great deal about SEO and copywriting – I wanted to make sure that I was headed in the right direction.  I knew this course would reinforce my education.

What do you consider to be your biggest “take-away” from the certification program?

There are a lot of people “out there” in the business world but you can break them down into people who are writers and people who need writers.  In both categories you’ll find a large amount of people who know Heather and respect her for her education, experience and what she has to offer.  The badge on my site and my certificate is a way to tell the world that I really know my stuff – that I’m not “just another writer” because I learned from one of the best.

What SEO copywriting projects are you working on now?

I’ve got a full plate of extremely fun projects, and I’m really digging all the range, the research and preparation to write.  I’ve got slightly more than a dozen clients waiting in line on my production schedule including:

  • Complete site content revamp for a retailer of designer handbags
  • Content marketing for one of the leading travel agents handling Australian trips
  • Complete site content and content marketing for a major branding community that’s getting ready to launch in February (almost done with this one!)
  • 3 other small business site launches that are upstarts
  • Some free consults & optimization with a local wedding photography that’s about to land her on page 1 of Google (she did the most beautiful pictures for a close friend who just got shipped to Afghanistan – was the least I could do)
  • Complete site content for a business networking community based in the Virginia/D.C/Maryland area
  • A major luxury home builder based in Texas that is struggling to rank in their local market

And there’s always more to come.  I get a few new client requests each week through my site.  The line never ends and I love it.  :)

What do you feel are some of your biggest accomplishments since you started copywriting?

There have been a few.  Launching a successful business and keeping it going is a big one, but completely supporting my family so that my wife could quit her job in pharmaceuticals was also a huge step for us.  Now we’re all home and I can spend time with my family any time I like.

I also have to admit that when I got my own website onto page 1 for a number of targeted keywords I practically did backflips.  You can tell clients all day long that you can increase their rank in the SERPs but nothing sells it better than showing off your own site there.

What do you do in your free time?

I love to read, and I have a bookcase full of Dean Koontz books.  I’ve also started soaking up anything related to content marketing.  When I’m not reading I love playing with my two beautiful girls:  My 3 year old Emma and my littlest one Lily who is now 4 months old.  Once a week I treat myself and my wife to a kid-free date night to get us out of the house.  We both love music, comedy clubs, stage performances, fishing and other outdoor stuff.

When I get those precious few moments for myself I enjoy paintball.  I also like to relax with a little mindless video game playing like Call of Duty.

Oh… And I love to cook – I can make a homemade pizza that puts the big name chains to shame.

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

There’s a lot of junk on the internet that will lead you in the wrong direction when it comes to writing good copy, marketing content properly and doing right by your clients.  To provide the most benefit to the people you work for – whether you have clients or you’re an in-house marketer/writer – you need to take this course.   You will research better, write better and deliver better results for your clients.

We talk until we’re blue in the face about clients investing in their content to get a bigger return on their investment.  Don’t you think it’s a good idea to lead by example and invest in your own business?

What Is SEO Copywriting and Why Is It Important?

 

Wondering what SEO copywriting is  — and if it’s important for your site?

SEO copywriting is a specialized form of online writing that:

  1. Contains keyphrases — words your target reader types into a search box to find the information she wants.
  2. Helps online content rank higher in search results (such as Google.)
  3. Drives qualified traffic.

SEO copywriting is quality writing. Period. The keyphrases shouldn’t make the writing hard-to-read, sound repetitive, or lose its conversion focus.

 

Want to learn more about the definition of SEO copywriting? View the video below — or read the modified transcript.

How is SEO writing different from traditional copywriting?

The main difference is: SEO writing contains keyphrases. For instance [blue cashmere sweaters] is a keyphrase.

Typing keyphrases into Google is what we do every day, right? We type words into Google’s search box to get answers to our questions.

But the thing is, SEO copywriting is much more than just inserting keyphrases into content: Google also wants to see authoritative content that fully answers your readers’ questions and stands out from competing content.

Some people believe you can shove a bunch of keyphrases into the content and still get a high ranking (commonly known as “keyphrase stuffing.”)

Not anymore.

SEO copywriting serves two masters

Google has gotten smarter, and things have changed. Now your content needs to be high-quality content for Google to position it in the top spots.

So in actuality, your content satisfies two masters.

On the one hand, your readers need to love it. Your content needs to be relevant and a resource your readers enjoy — something that educates, entertains or enlightens them.

On the other hand, Google needs to see the content written in a certain way to understand what the page is about. Understanding how to make this happen helps your content “compete” with other pages for rankings.

This is where SEO copywriting best practices come into play.

What helps content rank in search results?

There are many factors that influence search engine rank (how a page positions in Google’s search results.)

If you look at the periodic table (which you can find on Search Engine Land), you’ll see that most of the elements on the left-hand side focus on the quality of the content.

The research, the words and the freshness of content are all important to your SEO success.

So if you’re concerned that…

  • Your pages aren’t showing in Google
  • Your pages aren’t converting
  • Your content is outdated and you never really liked it, anyway
  • Your content was never optimized, and now you think it is time to do so

The good news is that SEO copywriting could represent a huge opportunity for you!

After all, as Seth Godin said, “The best SEO is great content.”

If you can create content that grabs your readers attention, answers their questions and drives incoming links, you can finally start seeing some tasty search engine positions.

And that is a very cool thing.

Want to learn more about SEO writing? Sign up for my weekly newsletter!

Are You Ignoring the Obvious?

Do you have a viable (and probably highly profitable) marketing opportunity right in front of your nose — but you just can’t see it?

This exact scenario cropped up just the other week. I was chatting with a prospect who was in an enviable position – his site rankings were strong for a highly competitive vertical and his conversion rates were good. His concern was how to make everything better – better rankings, better sales, better conversions.

Seeing the newsletter sign-up form on his site, I figured his newsletter would be another success story that he’d want to make “better.” “We have about 13,000 subscribers who have opted-in,” he said.  “Plus, we have about 7,500 customers who have agreed for us to send them email offers.”

Wow, you can drive a lot of highly targeted Web traffic with a 20,000 + subscriber list. Then, I asked him about his email marketing campaign.

“Well, we don’t do any email marketing. We haven’t for a long time. We did it for awhile…and just stopped.”

I was amazed. Here’s a guy with an incredible mailing list – and he’s not doing a thing with it. I thought of the thousands of dollars he was throwing out the window each and every month. And I told him so, too, in almost those exact words (those who know me know that I can be a tad…blunt.)

I could only imagine his “deer in the headlights” moment as what I was saying slowly sunk in. The prospect was so concerned with chasing a slightly higher search engine position that he completely overlooked the obvious: His mailing list. Here he had an almost guaranteed way to sell more product to people who voluntarily subscribed to his newsletter – and he didn’t even see it.

The thing is, this scenario is incredibly common. I’ve gone through it. I bet you have, too. It’s like you suffer from marketing tunnel vision and you see only one path to your main goal. Instead of taking a step back and reevaluating your entire situation, you focus on what you already know (PPC? SEO?) and forget about your other options (Article marketing? Email lists?).

If you feel like things are stagnant, I highly recommend getting a breath of fresh marketing air. Sometimes, the best thing to do is get on a plane and fly to the nearest marketing conference. The break in routine, new locale and networking opportunities can spark some great ideas. I actually build a day into my business travel schedule for “return brainstorming time.” My best creative ideas always spark the first day I’m back – and I want to capture every one.

If you can’t afford a conference, then hiring a consultant is your best “breathe of fresh air” bet. A consultant can help you “see” opportunities you can’t see yourself.  You may stress that you “don’t have the money for a consultant” and it’s not a high priority expense. But think about this: Would you spent $500 for a brainstorming session to drive $5,000 more income? Of course you would. The long-term gain outweighs the short-term money hit.

No matter what scenario you choose, the important thing is to plan something. Consider upcoming search marketing conferences like PubCon. Contact a consultant and see if he’ll work with you for just an hour.

The faster you get moving, the faster you’ll find those “hidden” profit centers that you didn’t know existed.

Leverage Your Online Writing for Optimization and Conversions!

Welcome!  Glad you’re here, because today, with all the research behind us and our per-page keyphrase strategy in place, we’re ready to move on to optimizing our online writing to drive traffic to our business site and convert those visitors with compelling content!

The question that inevitably arises is: where on the web page should I put my keyphrases? A general guideline is to focus each web page around the two to three keyphrases you’ve chosen for that page, and place them:

  • In your headlines
  • In your sub-headlines
  • In your hyperlinks
  • Then all throughout your copy

For the record, it bears repeating that there is no magic formula for the ideal number of times you should use your keyphrases in your content, no matter what shameless, self-proclaimed “experts” and “gurus” preach! Suffice it to say that “keyword density” is a tired and outmoded concept from pre-Google days (i.e., over 10 years’ ago).

But while most everyone does seem to agree that keyword “stuffing” — jamming your keyphrases into your copy — is bad, both for your readers and for your search engine ranking (think “spam”), this painful obsession with the number of times the keyphrases should appear in web copy persists”

So let’s leave it with this most general rule of thumb: use each keyphrase more than once, of course, per web page (some would advise trying for three times each), but ultimately you should trust your own inner writer’s voice and work in your keyphrases where they fit best, and flow smoothly with your writing. Make sense? It really is that simple!

Original Online Writing versus Editing Content for Keyphrases

Having matched your keyphrases to your web pages, it’s now a matter of the best way to optimize your content both for reader engagement and ultimately, conversions.  Ask yourself:

  • Is the page already informative and well written?
  • Does the overall tone and feel of the writing work well?
  • Is the length right? If so, it may just need a bit of editing to achieve keyphrase relevancy. If not, the page may need to be rewritten altogether. (And of course, if you’re starting your online writing from scratch, this evaluation is entirely moot)!

Some pages, by their nature, easily lend themselves to keyphrase editing. These tend to be the longer (over 500 words) pages that aren’t “major players” in marketing your business online, or otherwise crucial to sales/conversions.  These pages include:

  • FAQ pages
  • About us pages
  • Some category/subcategory pages
  • White papers
  • Older blog posts

Pages that are most likely to require a major overhaul/rewrite for keyphrase optimization are those with online content marketing and conversions value, such as:

  • Your home page
  • Any essential sales/landing pages
  • Top product/service pages
  • Current articles/blog posts

Finding Your Per-Page Copywriting Focus:  A Brainstorming Exercise

Try this exercise to find your focus when re-writing copy for search engine optimization, or otherwise starting from scratch: grab a piece of paper, and set a timer for five minutes.  Then ask yourself questions such as:

  • What are the benefits most important to my perfect prospect?
  • What objections do I need to overcome? How do I best express my value?
  • What is the likely emotional state of my target visitor? What are the hot buttons or triggers that should be addressed?

By the end of five minutes, you should find that you’ve most of the essential content you need for writing your web page!  Not only that, but you may well have discovered true gems of copywriting brilliance, as well as that easy, conversational tone elemental to successful direct response copywriting!