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Website Copy Optimization

September 24, 2005 | Tips for SEO Copy Writing

If you've reached this post by searching Google or Yahoo for tips on optimizing website copy for search engines, then the steps I'm about to present for writing search engine friendly copy must work. If, however, you reached this post some other way, that probably means you're a friend or relative of mine, in which case you should trust me anyway. Regardless, below are the three steps I've developed for website copy optimization.

1. Research Search Engine Friendly Keywords
Before writing anything, you should first use a tool like Wordtracker to research optimal keywords. For example, if you were writing an illustrated web article about tattoos, Wordtracker could tell you whether “Pictures of Tattoos,” “Photos of Tattoos,” or “Images of Tattoos” would drive the most search engine traffic to your site. (Of course, I used “tattoos” as an example because “tattoos” will itself drive more search engine traffic to my site than a word like “spleen” or “vacuum.”) After completing the research, open a Word document and place the two to three best keywords at the top. You will be constantly referring to these keywords in step two.

Note: Before I wrote this post, I assumed that I would be optimizing for “Search Engine Friendly Writing,” but my Wordtracker research revealed that “Website Copy Optimization,” “SEO Copy Writing,” and “SEO Writing” were actually the phrases I most needed to optimize for.

2. Write Your Website Copy Using Keywords
If you haven't already noticed what this requires, then you haven't been paying attention. As you write, you simply need to work as many of the keywords listed at the top of your document into your copy as often as possible. (I've highlighted in light gray all the words and phrases I've included in this post for search engine optimization.) If you can't use a full phrase like “website copy optimization,” go ahead and use “copy optimization.” As long as it's not excessive, the more times you use keywords the better, and, if possible, place the keywords higher rather than lower on the page. Also, feel free to uses variations of the keywords, like “optimize” instead of “optimization,” and to hedge your bet, don't hesitate to include a few relevant words or phrases not in your two to three top keywords. For example, in this post I've used “search engine friendly writing” four times even though it was not one of my top keywords.

For most writers, this approach will be a new paradigm—instead of choosing the word or phrase that reads best, a writer will often have to compromise and choose the word or phrase that will drive the most traffic. That said, continue to write your best prose as naturally as possible and when in doubt, don't be afraid to choose what reads better as well-written copy will always drive more traffic to your website than single instances of a keyword.

3. Apply Structural XHMTL Markup to Your Website Copy
Search engines evaluate keywords based on their structural importance, so words and phrases that appear in headlines are considered more important than those that appear in paragraphs. This means you should cram your headlines with as many keywords as possible, and make sure they're marked h1, h2, or h3, and not with a structurally meaningless tag like <span class="headline">. Finally, make sure your chosen keywords also appear in the title of your web page as search engines consider this the most important information on a page.

Still have questions about website copy optimization? Feel free to leave a comment below and I will do my best to answer it. Digg Furl Reddit StumbleUpon Technorati

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