Have you received an arcane email from an SEO company lately?
Was it packed full of suggestions that made you feel like they were speaking in tongues?
I get them fairly regularly. So do my clients.
In fact, a client of mine received a long-winded email talking about Panda and keyword density just the other day.
My client was utterly confused. She was under the impression that pandas were cuddly creatures native to China.
I explained to her that Google likes to use cute and intriguing creatures to classify changes to their algorithms (a set of rules search engines use to rank search results).
I was half tempted to email the company that contacted her to ask them if perhaps they missed the memo that keyword density is now obsolete.
Now, don't get me wrong, there are some really good SEO companies out there that know what they're doing and would never send you puzzling, spammy style emails with incorrect information. And depending on the size and type of your business, you may very well need to hire one. But you want to make sure you choose one better than the one previously mentioned by educating yourself.
If you're a small, local business with some time to dedicate to SEO, search rank success is likely something you can achieve yourself.
SEO isn't as mystifying as you may have imagined. It's an art. It takes perseverance and online marketing savvy, but it's doable.
And really, the secret to successful SEO lies in your content. If you focus on putting out high-grade stuff and promoting it effectively, you'll be ahead of the game.
If you want to have the kind of web content Google covets, you need to think more like an SEO copywriter. Here are nine SEO copywriting tips to improve your Google rank:
Identify your keywords. Use them. But don't overuse them.
Google is trying to get people to steer away from writing for search engines. They want you to write for people.
It's hard to do that when you're trying to make a certain keyword fit into every other sentence. Stop worrying about how many times your keyword shows up. Google penalizes for keyword stuffing.
On the other hand, not having the right keywords on your page isn't in your best interest either.
Google claims individual keywords matter less and that it's more about the collective meaning of your content, but as of right now, having the right keywords in your content still seems to matter.
You can figure out what keywords are relevant for your industry by using a tool such as ubersuggest or Google Keyword Planner - you have to have an Adwords account and must be logged in.
Use long tail keywords.
Since the advent of Google Hummingbird, the focus has been placed on long-tail keywords (more specific search terms with lower search volumes).
Google is trying to accommodate the many people who search in a conversational manner or by typing in questions. Blogging is a good way to target these long-tail keywords.
Put keywords in headlines, italics and bullet points.
Keywords have more weight when they are toward the top of your copy and are in headlines, italics, bold or bullet points.
This isn't something to obsess over, you want your content to read naturally, but if you can make your keywords work well in these formats, do so.
Write an irresistible title tag and meta description.
Title tags and meta descriptions are extremely important for SEO.
Theses terms sound intimidating to people, but your title tag is just the title that shows up for a particular website when someone does a search. The meta description is the short, two sentence description that shows up underneath it.
Not only should these include your keywords, they should also be written in a way that entices people to click on the site.
Your title tag should be 70 characters or less and your meta description should be 160 characters or less.
Your web designer can put these in for you, but if you have a WordPress site, you can get an SEO plugin that makes it easy to put in title tags and meta descriptions yourself.
Write more in-depth content.
Google favors in-depth content - 500 words or more.
Longer content doesn't mean you need to be boring. It means you have the opportunity to provide an abundance of helpful information, the kind people are likely to share.
Make sure to break up written content with headlines, short paragraphs, bullet points, photos and videos.
Concentrate on creating cohesive, well-written, well-organized, highly informative content.
Your content should be authentic, devoid of grammatical errors and read clearly. Once you write it, make sure to read it, re-read it, and then have someone else do the same. You may even want to recruit a proofreader.
Poorly written content could potentially evoke the wrath of Google Panda, the algorithm Google implemented to snuff out article spinning, duplicate content and low quality content.
Avoid possible ramifications at all costs by putting out respectable stuff.
Your content should be well focused, rather than all over the place. Get really clear on what you want to talk about before you start writing. Creating an outline helps.
Your content needs to be easy to grasp, since you're writing for humans and all. Not to mention that most of the visitors to your site will be scanners.
Google wants you to make creating a good user experience a top priority. Be a beacon for your clients. Enlighten them, show them the way.
Offer lots of helpful content that eases their worries and makes them feel empowered. Along with this improving your bottom line, Google will reward you kindly.
Add calls to action.
What good is coming up in the top search results if your site isn't bringing in customers?
If you want people to buy your product or contact you to discuss your service, you need to direct them to the appropriate action on every page. Examples are "Shop now," "Download our free report," "Click here to sign up now," or "Click here to get started for free."
Buddy up with Google Plus.
Your activity on Google + has the most bearing on your SEO results.
You want to make sure you have an account and are posting regularly. You also want to make sure that you have a prominently placed Google Plus share button on your site and are encouraging people to click on it.
And even more importantly, you want to make sure you're publishing your blog posts using Google Authorship. Here's how: http://blog.kissmetrics.com/google-authorship/.
If you show Google love, they'll reciprocate.
Once you've created content worth sharing, add share buttons.
Share buttons need to be pervasive on your site, especially on your blog.
Although Google + is the most important, how much the content on your website is getting shared by the other major social media platforms is something Google factors in highly when determining where to rank your site.
The more people sharing your content, the better your search rank. You can use ShareThis.com or AddThis.com to set up your share buttons. Using Click to Tweet within your content is a great way to get people to share your content via Twitter.
Share your content everywhere.
Here's the caveat to my previous tip: you can't just put up share buttons and hope for the best.
You need to be actively promoting everything you publish on all the major social media platforms. This will drive people to your site who are likely to "like," tweet, +1, and share your content - assuming you're putting out good stuff.
Want more information on how to write fabulous web content Google is likely to dig? Click here: How To Write Effective Website Content
Questions? Would love to hear from you. Please comment below.
Subscribe to the Copy to Cash Blog
By Sabrina Gaffney
From blogging to bios, freelance website copywriter Sabrina Gaffney, a.k.a the Cagey Copywriter, offers a powerful profusion of web copywriting tips that bring in the moola! Connect on LinkedIn.