One of the biggest stumbling blocks for small business web sites is their content. This session, taught by Heather Lloyd-Martin of SuccessWorks Search Marketing Solutions, will reveal why content and copywriting plays such a huge role in the success of your web site. It is designed to show what type of content is essential to include and provides some tips and insight into how the words you use can impact the actions people take once they reach your web site.
Heather begins by stating that content needs to resonate with audience. Small businesses have an advantage in this as they know their business, their customers and don't have all the red tape that large corporations typically do in approving content. So what is the big deal about content? Search engines love content. Users need it as well. It allows you to connect with your audience. Content also helps build your brand, sell things, educate, build trust and so much more.
Heather makes the statement that most everything people know about SEO copywriting is wrong. The reason for this is that most "SEO copywriting" info forgets that content needs to convert. She shows a ridiculous example of copy that is just stuffed with a bunch of keywords. I wrote about this a while back showing an example of how a computer tech shop stuffed content with keywords.
Heather shows a case study where a Amsterdam travel related site got themselves banned from Google for duplicate content, had to spend $4,000 a month on AdWords to get any traffic in the door, but them fixed their duplicate content problems and started creating valuable content on the subject of traveling to Amsterdam. They got back in the Google index, and started to rank very well for many key phrases related to Amsterdam.
An important ingredient in content is that it has to show the user "what's in it for them." The content write needs to understand why people buy and then cater to them with content. Good content needs to include "benefit statements." You can always add keywords to copy or make sure content is focused on specific subject but if you miss the benefit statements, you will be missing out on conversions.
Heather next talks about keyword research which allows you to get inside your user's head to see what they are thinking about. She mentions two tools that allow you to do keyword research - Wordtracker and Keyword Discovery. Some free alternatives include Google's keyword tool. For a more extensive list, check out a list I put together a list awhile back on our company blog.
In doing keyword research, review your own site to see what key phrases match pages that already exist. At the same time, are there new pages you can develop that will allow you to target some of the phrases on your list? heather suggests uses up to three keywords and/or phrases per page to target. Yes you can overlap on other pages but use specific pages to focus on specific key phrases.
Heather next provides some examples of what you can include on your site as far as providing informative content. Examples include FAQ pages, designer/manufacturer information pages, "how-to" pages, articles, product reviews, newsletters and blogs.
Some rules of thumb for content:
Heather shows some real life examples of keyword editing (where you insert
keyword phrases in copy) and shows how simple it is to use keywords and phrases
in copy while the copy remains in a natural language.
She finalizes her session by showing how important it is to properly optimize title tags. She points out how important the SERPs are as a first point of conversion. I'll add here that it is important to include keywords in title tags but at the same time have titles that attract conversions (click-thrus).
Note: These are raw notes taken while live-blogging sessions at the Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference in Columbus, Ohio. Please excuse any spelling or grammar errors.
David Wallace is CEO and founder of SearchRank, an original search engine optimization and marketing firm based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is experienced in search engine optimization and marketing, pay per click and pay for inclusion management, directory submissions and web site design usability. David is a frequent contributor to various search engine related forums, an active editor of popular directories such as GoGuides.org, Joe Ant and Zeal and has had several articles published on industry related sites. Since 1997, David along with his company have helped hundreds of businesses both large and small increase their search engine visibility and customer acquisitions.
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