Once upon a time, there was something called SEO copywriting.
These SEO copywriters seemed to have magical word skills that allowed them to place just the right keywords in just the right places and amounts, and even in the densities that were just right for miraculous top rankings. And that’s all you needed… or at least that’s what was (and still is) advertised.
There’s no doubt that keywords still matter, especially in titles. Search engines generally prefer to key in on the words people are looking for. But as SEO pro Rand Fishkin will tell you, “measurements like keyword density are useless, although general frequency can help rankings.”
Here’s the deal… most of what determines the ranking position of any particular page is due to what happens off the page, in the form of links from other sites. Getting those links naturally has become the hardest part of off-page SEO, which is why 2006 saw the strong emergence of social media marketing as a way to attract links with compelling content.
That’s why any true SEO copywriter is simply a writer who has a knack for tuning in to the needs and desires of the target audience. And due to the pursuit of links, those needs and desires have to be nailed well before you’ll ever show up in the search engines.
As I’ve said before, the same emotional forces that prompt us to buy can also cause us to link, bookmark, vote, and retweet. The context is different, as are the nuances, but it’s still a matter of providing compelling benefits in the form of content.
“Ask yourself what creates value for your users,” sayeth Google. As those brainy engineers continue to diligently create better algorithms, combined with people-powered social media sharing and blog-driven links, copywriters with a flair for prompting link response and conversions will become vital members of any search engine marketing effort.
To me, optimization (at least of the white hat variety) is the page tweaking that can be done after you’ve managed to attract a healthy amount of quality links that demonstrate the value of the content. Little things can make a big difference when you’re trying to move from the third page of the Google results to the first, or from position 7 to 3, 2 or 1.
Of course the critical components of a search-friendly site should be in place. But beyond that, tweaking a page for higher rankings before you’ve established that the content is compelling to people is a little like putting on your prom dress to stay home alone and watch Desperate Housewives.
This is an excerpt from a free 28-page report called How to Create Content that Ranks Well in Search Engines. To get the whole story, head over to the SEO Copywriting Made Simple page to instantly download the full updated PDF.