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How to SEO your web copy

23 Jun

If you have a website, you want to make sure people can find it on the web.  SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation or Search Engine Optimise and is about making your website more easily found than other websites containing similar information to yours (ie your competitors).

There are lots of ways to make your website more searchable, but you need to know that search engines love words.  That means the copy on your website needs to be easily read by the search engines so that it can place you in the search results according to your relevance to the search terms typed in to the search box.

For example, if you have a women’s clothing company, you’ll want to be in the search results listings on Google (we’ll use Google as it’s the biggest search engine) when people type in ‘women’s clothing’.  (These words alone won’t get you far, but it’s a start).

That means you need to include words in your copy that people are looking for.  The more specific you can be with your keywords as they relate to what people are searching for, the better.

In short, your copy has to:

  • Be relevant:  It has to make sense to the reader and actually be about what you are selling
  • Contain keywords: The copy needs to include the words people are looking for (not what you think they are looking for!)

That doesn’t mean chucking in the words ‘Justin Beiber’ simply because everyone is searching for his name.  Besides, you’ll be up against more relevant websites to his name.  It also doesn’t mean writing lists of keywords – Google looks for relevant content that makes sense to real humans, so your site is likely to be rejected for overstuffing keywords.

What it means is that when people search for specific terms, your copy is relevant to their search because it contains those keywords to the extent it still makes sense to readers.  Therefore, your site is more likely to be offered up in the Goolge search results.

It’s not just the words, it’s how you express them on the page

Where you place the keywords and in what format also helps Google recognise that these keywords are relevant to the page and tells it what the page is about.  This way Google can provide relevant search results to its users. 

Therefore, as well as throughout the copy, try to get your keywords into the following:

  • Headlines:  The higher up the keywords sit in the copy, the more relevant Google treats them
  • Bulleted lists:  Google takes notice of lists as it shows you have highlighted these words to stand out from the copy
  • Bold and Italic:  The same goes for words in bold and italic – they are seen as more relevant.
  • Links:  When you place internal or external links, try to include your keywords in the link sentence.  Don’t just use click here.  For example for your clothing site write:  Find out more about our dresses for petite women.  Google will take note of the whole sentence and when people type in ‘dresses for petite women’ into the Google search box, your site is more likely to be one they find in the results.  

Not only do these methods help with your website’s SEO, they are also better for readability – making your copy easier and more interesting for people to read.

How do you know what keywords people are searching for?

You have to include keywords people are using, not what you think they are using.  Find out what people are looking for with the Google Keyword Tool.  It will tell you how many people are looking for those keywords so you can choose the best ones for your copy.

Writing copy for SEO is only one method, so don’t expect over night results unless you are the only person or one of very few people with those particular search terms.  There’s more you can do using keywords in your HTML code (the code used to actually write the website), but that’s beyond the remit of this blog. 

I recommend reading ’50 Ways To Make Google Love Your Website’  by Johnston and Mcgee for more easily-digestable info on SEO.