WRITING OPTIMIZED CONTENT THAT ROCKS
<ul><li>About Me </li></ul><ul><li>Graduate, Iowa Writers Workshop </li></ul><ul><li>Former magazine editor </li></ul><ul>...
TRUE or FALSE? Keyword Density of 3-10% is essential for content to perform in search engines.
<ul><li>FALSE! </li></ul><ul><li>Per a Google Webmaster Chat, October 2008: “There is no recommended &quot;keyword density...
TRUE or FALSE? By putting the keywords you want to rank for in  bold  or  italic , the search engines will pay more attent...
<ul><li>FALSE! </li></ul><ul><li>While this was mentioned in a Stanford paper written by Google’s founders, that paper is ...
TRUE or FALSE? Content is the single most important ranking factor for search engines.
<ul><li>FALSE! </li></ul><ul><li>Consensus in the  2009 SEO Ranking Factors Survey put on-page keyword use at 15% of the o...
<ul><li>Top Myths of SEO Copywriting </li></ul><ul><li>Write to keyword density of 3-8% </li></ul><ul><li>Bold/Italicize y...
Myths in Action Actual 'paragraph' from a real site: This site is about:  Phoenix Bankruptcy, Bankruptcy Phoenix, Arizona ...
Myths in Action ANOTHER actual paragraph from a real site: Yahoo  has therefore brought and continues to bring a world of ...
<ul><li>SEO Copywriting Myths: The Truth </li></ul><ul><li>They limit your content's potential to reach an audience. </li>...
<ul><li>So Why Are These Myths Widely Touted? </li></ul><ul><li>Many were true in the early days of search </li></ul><ul><...
<ul><li>SEO: The Truth </li></ul><ul><li>Your customer is not an algorithm </li></ul><ul><li>Content drives nearly every o...
<ul><li>How To Succeed Copywriting For SEO (Without Demeaning Yourself or Your Visitor) </li></ul><ul><li>Create a coheren...
<ul><li>Benefits of Content Done Right For Search </li></ul><ul><li>A strong site map with a good content hierarchy suppor...
 
<ul><li>Page Focus </li></ul><ul><li>Pages need to focus on single- or limited core concepts </li></ul><ul><li>Focus helps...
<ul><li>Keyword Phrase Selection </li></ul><ul><li>Good keyword phrases describe what you’re offering – in the terms your ...
<ul><li>The Long Tail </li></ul><ul><li>30-40% of all searches are unique </li></ul><ul><li>Research on long-tail keywords...
<ul><li>Keyword Phrase Selection: Core Terms </li></ul><ul><li>Your first goal: Finding the keyword  most relevant  to eac...
<ul><li>When Keywords Are Selected For You </li></ul><ul><li>Ask: </li></ul><ul><li>Who made the call on what  terms to ta...
<ul><li>Pushing Back  </li></ul><ul><li>Headlines  – Great headings pull people’s attention while communicating page topic...
<ul><li>Using Your Key Phrases in Content  </li></ul><ul><li>Headlines  – Great headings pull people’s attention while com...
<ul><li>Special Content & Key Phrases </li></ul><ul><li>Copywriters sometimes inherit responsibility for  special componen...
<ul><li>Synonyms & The Long Tail </li></ul><ul><li>Use thematic words along with your keyword phrase: </li></ul><ul><li>Ca...
Misspellings Search engines can figure it out.
<ul><li>Using Awkward Phrases </li></ul><ul><li>Awkward phrases need not be used intact </li></ul><ul><li>Use conjunctions...
<ul><li>Partnerships </li></ul><ul><li>Design & Development are your friends! </li></ul><ul><li>A few tips: </li></ul><ul>...
<ul><li>Big Finish </li></ul><ul><li>A bullet </li></ul><ul><li>Another one </li></ul><ul><li>And another </li></ul>data
<ul><li>Q&A/Contact Slide </li></ul><ul><li>A bullet </li></ul><ul><li>Another one </li></ul><ul><li>And another </li></ul...
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SEO Copywriting that Rocks - MinneWebCon 2010

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Myths and truths of writing web content that is optimized for search engines, as presented by Julie Kosbab of Plaudit Design at Minnewebcon 2010.

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  • People like formulas - Formulas provide a measurement you’re ‘doing the job right.’ But you need to measure the right things. This ain’t it. National Association of Realtors was throwing this one at their members as recently as March 2010.
  • The internet is made up of content. Text is not the only type of content out there. Links, code, images, video… it’s all content. Domain and Link Elements are considered much greater factors for rank than content.
  • Lots of this stuff worked back in 1997 to even 2002 or so, but search engines have become considerably more sophisticated, as have web users. They expect more. Some of these old rules are still spouted as gospel – a March 2010 REALTOR newsletter spouted nonsense about keyword density, for instance.
  • Note the lack of verbs, articles, etc. If you need to have a paragraph saying what your site is about and it reads like this, you are not only doing it wrong, but it’s really easily recognizable by an algorithm.
  • Search engines have analyzed millions of web pages and have a linguistic understanding of human language. They know that sentences contain different types of words, and have an idea of how words and topics interrelate. It&apos;s not really about the number of times a keyword is used but the focus of the content. This is an incoherent traffic ploy.
  • If a page can’t be related to other pages in your site, why is it there? You can’t dictate what page a search visitor lands on, and even if you have a great, keyword-focused page, sometimes they’ll still direct to the home page. Consider how the navigation works and how the content creates hubs and silos.
  • To the search engines the content on the page is just a bunch of words. They analyze the words in an attempt to determine what each page is about, using information from other pages they’ve seen to recognize how concepts interrelate. If the web page covers too many different topics then it makes it difficult for the engines to determine what the focus is.
  • I said coherence, not art. In the end, most web copywriting is commercial, and you need to talk for your audience. Sometimes that dictates a style adjustment. I once had to write a brochure on habilitative therapy written to the 2 nd grade level. Not fun, but it was the audience requirement. As you look at core terms, remember to have focus and specificity. Single words can mean a lot of different things – what comes to mind when you hear bag? Could be luggage, could be a lawn mower part.
  • Sometimes your terms come from internal, without research. Sometimes they’re CEO pet phrases. As the writer, hopefully you’re empowered enough you can push back a bit. Use tools and data where possible.
  • If you can’t use your keywords coherently in all of these places, either your keywords aren’t suited to topic, or you’re doing it wrong. When I say from other pages, yes I do mean that keyword use will impact other pages. If you have a page on, say, bicycle parts that is a parent page in your hierarchy to a page on bicycle tires, you want to use the term ‘bicycle tires’ in the link from the parent to the child in the hierarchy. It’s good usability and good SEO.
  • If you can’t use your keywords coherently in all of these places, either your keywords aren’t suited to topic, or you’re doing it wrong. When I say from other pages, yes I do mean that keyword use will impact other pages. If you have a page on, say, bicycle parts that is a parent page in your hierarchy to a page on bicycle tires, you want to use the term ‘bicycle tires’ in the link from the parent to the child in the hierarchy. It’s good usability and good SEO.
  • Title: Strong call to action. Really have to use keyword phrase. If you have a brand as well, unless your brand is killer, usually it goes Keyword Phrase – Brand or Keyword Phrase – Company. It’s also used as a ranking mechanism by search engines. Description: Notpart of rank, but also creates call to action to CLICK THIS RESULT on a result page. Billboard, not novel. Keywords tag: Found in code only, it’s a list of keywords that relate to the content. Google and Bing are on record as saying they pretty much ignore this tag. Some people try to use it as a magic bullet, but it really isn’t.
  • Search engines can generally cope with them, save for certain proper names. Do NOT use misspellings and proper spellings on the same page. Looks dumb.
  • If you can’t use your keywords coherently in all of these places, either your keywords aren’t suited to topic, or you’re doing it wrong. When I say from other pages, yes I do mean that keyword use will impact other pages. If you have a page on, say, bicycle parts that is a parent page in your hierarchy to a page on bicycle tires, you want to use the term ‘bicycle tires’ in the link from the parent to the child in the hierarchy. It’s good usability and good SEO.
  • SEO Copywriting that Rocks - MinneWebCon 2010

    1. 1. WRITING OPTIMIZED CONTENT THAT ROCKS
    2. 2. <ul><li>About Me </li></ul><ul><li>Graduate, Iowa Writers Workshop </li></ul><ul><li>Former magazine editor </li></ul><ul><li>Former professional copywriter </li></ul><ul><li>Search Marketer since 1998 </li></ul><ul><li>Industry experience includes automotive, high tech, medical, legal, retail </li></ul>
    3. 3. TRUE or FALSE? Keyword Density of 3-10% is essential for content to perform in search engines.
    4. 4. <ul><li>FALSE! </li></ul><ul><li>Per a Google Webmaster Chat, October 2008: “There is no recommended &quot;keyword density.&quot; Your content should be high quality and written for users. If you try writing for search engines, the language can become very unnatural, which may end up hurting you more than it helps.” </li></ul><ul><li>Only 25% of SEO practitioners surveyed in the 2009 SEO Ranking Factors Survey considered Keyword Density of even minimal importance to search engine ranking. </li></ul>
    5. 5. TRUE or FALSE? By putting the keywords you want to rank for in bold or italic , the search engines will pay more attention to them.
    6. 6. <ul><li>FALSE! </li></ul><ul><li>While this was mentioned in a Stanford paper written by Google’s founders, that paper is now more than 10 years old. </li></ul><ul><li>Only about one quarter of SEOs surveyed for the 2009 SEO Ranking Factors Survey believe either bold or italic has even minimal impact on rank. </li></ul>
    7. 7. TRUE or FALSE? Content is the single most important ranking factor for search engines.
    8. 8. <ul><li>FALSE! </li></ul><ul><li>Consensus in the 2009 SEO Ranking Factors Survey put on-page keyword use at 15% of the overall ranking algorithm </li></ul><ul><li>Off-page factors relating to domain (29%) and links (42%) are considered to have considerably more weight. </li></ul>Source: 2009 SEO Ranking Factors Survey
    9. 9. <ul><li>Top Myths of SEO Copywriting </li></ul><ul><li>Write to keyword density of 3-8% </li></ul><ul><li>Bold/Italicize your target terms in text </li></ul><ul><li>Use a single phrase on repeat throughout your page </li></ul><ul><li>Use whatever people are searching for, intact, in text </li></ul>
    10. 10. Myths in Action Actual 'paragraph' from a real site: This site is about: Phoenix Bankruptcy, Bankruptcy Phoenix, Arizona Bankruptcy Attorney, Arizona Bankruptcy Lawyer, Phoenix Bankruptcy Attorney, Bankruptcy Phoenix AZ, Bankruptcy Attorneys Arizona, Bankruptcy Phoenix Arizona, Phoenix Bankruptcy Lawyer, Bankruptcy Attorneys Phoenix
    11. 11. Myths in Action ANOTHER actual paragraph from a real site: Yahoo has therefore brought and continues to bring a world of difference by providing the free services. Through domain yahoo you will get to see all the products that provided and above the mentioned products are yahoo widgets, yahoo travel, yahoo tool bar, yahoo small business, yahoo shopping, yahoo search, yahoo real estate, yahoo photos, yahoo music, yahoo mobile, yahoo message board, yahoo local, yahoo groups, yahoo finance, yahoo bookmarks, yahoo autos, yahoo 360 and so many other products. Yahoo also provides another vital service pertaining to domains . Domai n locking is the prevention of unauthorized transfers to another registrar. Domains that are registered through yahoo can access this service.
    12. 12. <ul><li>SEO Copywriting Myths: The Truth </li></ul><ul><li>They limit your content's potential to reach an audience. </li></ul><ul><li>They make you and your brand sound ridiculous. </li></ul><ul><li>Search engines are more advanced than these myths give them credit for. </li></ul>
    13. 13. <ul><li>So Why Are These Myths Widely Touted? </li></ul><ul><li>Many were true in the early days of search </li></ul><ul><li>Many old sites still display some of these characteristics, but may rank for other reasons (domain and linking factors) </li></ul><ul><li>Lots of outdated information is online and in print </li></ul><ul><li>The most enduring myths provide a formula </li></ul>
    14. 14. <ul><li>SEO: The Truth </li></ul><ul><li>Your customer is not an algorithm </li></ul><ul><li>Content drives nearly every other element of search </li></ul><ul><li>SEO is not a strategy – it is a tactic to connect audiences to content </li></ul><ul><li>Audiences want good content </li></ul><ul><li>Search engines want to deliver the people what they want </li></ul>
    15. 15. <ul><li>How To Succeed Copywriting For SEO (Without Demeaning Yourself or Your Visitor) </li></ul><ul><li>Create a coherent site map with an interlinked hierarchy of content and topics </li></ul><ul><li>Tightly focus each page's topic </li></ul><ul><li>Select appropriate keywords that express that focus in your visitor’s own words </li></ul><ul><li>Use your keywords coherently as you write your content </li></ul><ul><li>Partner with design and development as possible to give your content a good framework </li></ul>
    16. 16. <ul><li>Benefits of Content Done Right For Search </li></ul><ul><li>A strong site map with a good content hierarchy supports search engines indexing your site </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriate keywords in well-written content support linking and ranking </li></ul><ul><li>Content can help convert visitors to participants </li></ul>
    17. 18. <ul><li>Page Focus </li></ul><ul><li>Pages need to focus on single- or limited core concepts </li></ul><ul><li>Focus helps control the user experience and search experience </li></ul>
    18. 19. <ul><li>Keyword Phrase Selection </li></ul><ul><li>Good keyword phrases describe what you’re offering – in the terms your audience might use </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Longer phrases are more precise and have higher ROI, but often have lower volumes </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Phrases get longer and more precise through the buying cycle as people go from interest to research to buying mode </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Longer phrases will attract traffic more quickly </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    19. 20. <ul><li>The Long Tail </li></ul><ul><li>30-40% of all searches are unique </li></ul><ul><li>Research on long-tail keywords suggest they exhibit a higher conversion rate by up to 200% over ‘generic’ terms </li></ul><ul><li>Content can perform for the long-tail with fewer domain or link factors in place </li></ul>
    20. 21. <ul><li>Keyword Phrase Selection: Core Terms </li></ul><ul><li>Your first goal: Finding the keyword most relevant to each page you will be writing </li></ul><ul><li>Volume is secondary to appropriateness </li></ul><ul><li>Be flexible as a writer – speak the language of your audience </li></ul><ul><li>Core phrases map one to a page </li></ul>Core Terms: 2-5 words in length Not overly broad Represent page focus Are searched by web users Research Tools: Google AdWords Keyword Tool, WordTracker, Keyword Discovery, Existing Site Traffic Logs
    21. 22. <ul><li>When Keywords Are Selected For You </li></ul><ul><li>Ask: </li></ul><ul><li>Who made the call on what terms to target? </li></ul><ul><li>Are they backed up with research? </li></ul><ul><li>Do they fit the topic/company/ web page purpose? </li></ul><ul><li>Are you empowered enough to push back? </li></ul>
    22. 23. <ul><li>Pushing Back </li></ul><ul><li>Headlines – Great headings pull people’s attention while communicating page topic </li></ul><ul><li>Subheads – Help to break up page text </li></ul><ul><li>Body content – be sure to make content scannable, use bullets, and take advantage of bold and italics to draw the eye </li></ul><ul><li>Link text – if linking to another page, try to use the OTHER page’s key phrase as the text in the link </li></ul>
    23. 24. <ul><li>Using Your Key Phrases in Content </li></ul><ul><li>Headlines – Great headings pull people’s attention while communicating page topic </li></ul><ul><li>Subheads – Help to break up page text </li></ul><ul><li>Body content – be sure to make content scannable, use bullets, and take advantage of bold and italics to draw the eye </li></ul><ul><li>Link text – if linking to another page, try to use the OTHER page’s key phrase as the text in the link </li></ul>
    24. 25. <ul><li>Special Content & Key Phrases </li></ul><ul><li>Copywriters sometimes inherit responsibility for special components of the code: </li></ul><ul><li>Title Tag – 50-85 characters, appears at top of browser, as link on search results page & default bookmark. </li></ul><ul><li>Description Tag – 130-160 characters, appears only as description on search result page. </li></ul><ul><li>Keywords Tag – Obsolete code-only series of comma-delimited keywords. Keep it short and sweet – Google & Bing give no weight to this tag! </li></ul>
    25. 26. <ul><li>Synonyms & The Long Tail </li></ul><ul><li>Use thematic words along with your keyword phrase: </li></ul><ul><li>Car accident, auto accident, car crash, traffic accident </li></ul><ul><li>Soda, pop, seltzer </li></ul><ul><li>Search engines are very good at handling synonyms, and having separate pages on the same ‘theme’ but using different terms can be confusing for users </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t overdo it – validate your synonyms with a little keyword research </li></ul><ul><li>Car accident vs. vehicular tort </li></ul>
    26. 27. Misspellings Search engines can figure it out.
    27. 28. <ul><li>Using Awkward Phrases </li></ul><ul><li>Awkward phrases need not be used intact </li></ul><ul><li>Use conjunctions, punctuation, formatting to break up words while keeping them together </li></ul><ul><li>Use each component word in the vicinity of the others </li></ul>Example here – I know I have one on drive
    28. 29. <ul><li>Partnerships </li></ul><ul><li>Design & Development are your friends! </li></ul><ul><li>A few tips: </li></ul><ul><li>File paths using key phrases look awesome in a search result </li></ul><ul><li>Text needs to be text, not images or Flash, for best search engine pickup </li></ul><ul><li>Header coding should go on your headlines, NOT a web site logo or other graphic </li></ul>
    29. 30. <ul><li>Big Finish </li></ul><ul><li>A bullet </li></ul><ul><li>Another one </li></ul><ul><li>And another </li></ul>data
    30. 31. <ul><li>Q&A/Contact Slide </li></ul><ul><li>A bullet </li></ul><ul><li>Another one </li></ul><ul><li>And another </li></ul>data

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