By Heather Lloyd-Martin
We’re delighted to share this guest post from Heather Lloyd-Martin, CEO of SEOCopywriting.com who makes great writing look easy. Learn these skills and your website results will kick-butt. Needless to say, she’s a content marketing fanatic, too.
One of the most common questions I hear from small business owners is, "Can I write my own Web copy?"
Short answer: Heck yes! I’ve seen many small business owners write Web copy that gets great Google rankings, drives traffic and makes sales. In fact, small business owners often write the best, kick-butt Web copy – their passion and personal touch makes every page a compelling delight.
However, learning how to "write for Google" takes time. To do it right, you’ll need to learn how to satisfy two masters with your writing – the search engines and your prospects. For instance, writing for the search engines means knowing how to research, strategize and include keyphrases (the words people type into a search box to find your products or services.) You’ll also need to learn a little bit of HTML code.
However, SEO copywriting is more than research and geek-speak. You’ll want to take those keyphrases and weave them into well-written Web pages that your prospects want to read and helps them take action (such as calling you for information, downloading a white paper or buying your product.) If you do this part right, you’ll make a lot of money.
This one-two Web writing approach means you’ll have a little bit of a learning curve – but once you master SEO copywriting, you’ll have the key to a profitable Website. Ready to get started?
Here are the top six things you need to know:
1. How to answer the question, "What’s in it for me?" Ever notice that you tend to listen a little more closely when someone is discussing how their product or service will specifically benefit you? You bet! Psychology tells us that we pay more attention – and we’re more apt to convert – when we specifically know "what’s in it for us." Ask yourself how your product or service will:
- Save your customer money
- Make them feel more attractive
- Save them time
- Make them look good to their boss
The better your Web copy benefit statements, the more you’ll sell – so it’s important to get this part right. Take some time to perfect this point and showcase how you really make your customers lives easier.
2. Who is your "perfect customer" and how does she/he make buy decisions? A common DIY mistake is figuring that your target audience is "everyone" (such as, "Everyone needs to save money! We help them do that!") However, your product or service probably appeals to a specific type of person. Maybe she’s a woman between 35-50 who works as an executive, has disposable income and spends her vacation at destination spas. Or maybe your site appeals to men between the ages of 18-25 who enjoy late nights, are just starting their careers and love the latest music. Writing precisely-targeted content can increase your conversion rates and help your reader feel like you understand exactly what they need.
3. What keyphrases will propel your site to the top of the search engine charts. Making the right keyphrase choice is crucial. Good things happen when you focus your Web copy around the right keyphrases. You’ll drive highly targeted Web traffic. You’ll see prime search engine positions. You’ll capture clicks across the buy cycle. Unfortunately, if you choose the wrong keyphrases, your entire campaign suffers – and you won’t see much Web traffic. Take some time to learn about the art and science of keyphrase research, and consider tools like WordStream, KeywordDiscovery or Wordtracker.
4. How to skillfully sprinkle keyphrases throughout your copy. Yes, you want to include keyphrases in your Web copy. That’s important. What’s also important is creating compelling Web copy that people actually want (heck, even love) to read. If your copy sounds keyphrase-stuffed ("Our Portland, OR printing company offers premier printing company services for your printing needs,) people won’t read it. They won’t even stay on your site. Spend some time learning how to weave benefit statements and keyphrases together into high-converting copy. Remember, it’s the copy that will "sell" your product or service online, so spend some time making it perfect.
5. How to create tantalizing Titles. The Title (which is part of the code and appears as the clickable link on the search engines results page) is highly important. From an SEO perspective, a keyphrase-rich Title can help you gain better search engine positions. And from a conversion perspective, a well-written, "clickable" Title can tempt people to click on your site over another listing on the search engine results page. A default Title like "page one," or "Welcome to XYZ company" can render you invisible in the search engines – so pay attention to best practices and include your keyphrases.
6. How to know if your Web copy is working. You may think that you wrote a Web page masterpiece. Your prospects may have an entirely different opinion. Fortunately, analytics (such as Google Analytics) help us learn what keyphrases are driving our Web traffic, how long people are staying on our pages and what pages have the highest bounce rate. Knowledge is power – and the more you understand your site’s analytics, the better you can fine-tune your message for your audience.
Yes, it is possible for a small business owner to write her own Web copy (and once you get into it, writing copy can be pretty fun, too!) Once you master some of the SEO and direct response copywriting fundamentals, you’ll be on your way to spectacular Web copy that gets spectacular search engine rankings – and converts like crazy.
Note from Newt: Heather really knows what she’s talking about. For over 12 years, her firm, SuccessWorks, has been training corporate in-house SEO copywriters and creating revenue-driving Web site content campaigns.
Companies of all sizes, from Fortune 50 retailers, search engines and publishers to financial services and travel destination sites, are among SuccessWorks’ client base.
And, darn it, she’s a fun writer, too. Check out her SEO Copywriting blog to see what I mean.
Need to Develop Serious SEO Copywriting Skills? Spend Quality Training Time with Heather in Orlando in January
I’m delighted to volunteer a plug for a can’t miss training session that Heather will be delivering in Orlando, FL, January 6, 2011. If you run a small business or manage the marketing side of a business, you’ll come away with the knowledge you need to build a content rich, SEO-friendly website that generates traffic, leads, and sales.