If you run a small business website, it’s likely you’ll write a lot of your own copy (words). But are you making the most of the opportunity to get found in the search engines?
Here’s some top tips on writing with SEO (search engine optimisation) in mind. And it’s not as hard as you’d think.
Use your customers’ words
Before you write or rewrite a web page, do some research to find out what words your customers are using. You might call a spade a spade. But they might call it a shovel.
Ask current customers, see what words your competitors are using, and take advantage of Google tools like the Keyword Tool and Insights to compare search volumes and get ideas on alternative words and spellings.
There’s nothing worse than a web page stuffed full of keywords so it doesn’t make sense to humans – and the search engines know that.
So write naturally with your customers – not the search engines – in mind. By all means, mention your keywords when you have to. And use plurals and synonyms to attract searches on variations of your keywords.
As the copywriter, you don’t just need to think about the words on the page – you also need to write your web page title tags.
The title (also known as the title tag) appears between the <title> and </title> in the source code of your page (try right-clicking on any web page and selecting ‘view source’). In most web browsers you’ll then see this title in the very top of your browser (in the grey bar in Internet Explorer 7).
The title is also the link to your site in the search engines results pages (SERPs). So make sure it describes your page and entices potential customers to click through to the page.
The title of a page is probably the most important on-page (i.e. within your control) factor that search engines take into account when deciding if a page is relevant to a search query. So make sure it includes important keywords and is unique.
The meta-description lives between the second set of speech marks in the <meta name=”description” content=”This is your meta-description”/> part of your page’s source code.
Most search engines don’t use it as a ranking factor. But they’ll show it in the SERPs if they think it’s relevant to a particular search query. So spend some time writing a good meta-description that includes variations of your keywords and other information that will entice users to click through. But don’t make it too long – 2 sentences is usually enough.
Add content regularly
Regularly adding new content to your site is a great way to get ahead of your competitors in the search rankings.
Each time you add a new content-rich page to your site, you are increasing the chances of your site being found by new variations of keyword and key phrases.
For example, in the last few weeks this site has been found by these key phrases in Google:
- Overuse of capital letters
- Can search engines read capital letters
- DIY SEO Google Maps
Now, these are not keywords I have targeted when writing content for the site. But by regularly adding content, I’ve been found by these and many other ‘long tail’ phrases.
Each phrase may only amount to 1 or 2 visits. But times that by all the other variations of keywords and phrases, and it can add up to a lot of search traffic.
Regularly adding new content also tells the search engines to come back and crawl your site more often. This then leads to more authority, when they see fresh relevant content added on a regular basis.
Be an authority figure
If you run your own business, you’re probably an expert in your field. So share your knowledge on your website.
Not only will you get known as an authority in your industry. Good useful content will also attract inbound links from other websites – ‘votes’ for your website in the search engines’ eyes.
Or offer to write guest articles on other relevant blogs and websites in exchange for a link back to your site in the article. Another great way to get good inbound links to your site.