As a copywriter, I'd love to tell you that every site on the Web needs tons of copy. However, the simple truth is not all do. Many sites simply produce better sales when they use more graphics than words. Since search engines are hungry for words, you simply have to use copy if you plan to get ranked high. Quite a dilemma, isn't it?
So what do you do if you're a graphic designer, if you sell jewelry, or if you have another site that needs more pictures than copy? Don't despair. There are some strategies that can help you reach a happy medium satisfying both your visitors and the engines.
1. Use Descriptions
- Place keyworded descriptions under each graphic on your pages. Just a sentence or two for each one can add up and give you enough room to achieve good keyword saturation.
2. Break the Copy Into Sections
- Instead of having all 250-350 words of copy in one place, break your copy into small sections. For example, place a headline and three sentences at the top of the page, a few words under your bottom navigation bar, and a short paragraph above your "Order Now" link. The engines will find the words regardless of where on the page they are, but your visitors won't be overwhelmed by seeing all the copy in one place.
3. Don't Neglect ALT Tags
- Don't abuse them, either! ALT tags (technically known as image alt attributes) are designed to give short descriptions of graphics on your page. They are read to those who can't see well (when they use special text-to-speech software). Abusing ALT tags by stuffing them full of arbitrary keywords or extremely long descriptions is frowned upon by the engines. However, feel free to assign a short keyword phrase that describes each graphic you have.
4. Go Below the Fold
- Copy can always be placed "below the fold." This term is used to describe the section of your index page that is not visible when the page first loads. In order to see it, the visitor would have to scroll vertically. If you've designed your index page to be fully visible without scrolling, consider using the space below the design to insert your copy.
5. Use the Sidebar
- If your site design uses a sidebar for the navigation links, use the empty space for short bits of copy. Even the statement "Order ________ Now" will give you one more instance of keyword placement.
6. Create Bulleted Lists
- Many people don't perceive lists as copy. For this reason, you can use bulleted lists (or numbered lists) where traditional "sentence" copy wouldn't work. Tip: Instead of creating a list that reads:
We meet all your ____ needs by:
- offering the lowest price.
- providing first-rate service.
- shipping your order in just 24 hours.
Create a list that reads like this:
At ABC Company, we offer you:
- the lowest price on ______.
- first-rate service. Ask us any questions you have about ____.
- shipping of your _____ in just 24 hours.
See the difference? More keywords in the same amount of copy.
If you use a little creativity, you can get enough keyword saturation in your copy without it cluttering up your site. This is sure to please both the search engines and your site visitors.
January 27, 2004
Karon Thackston is owner of Marketing Words, Inc. a full-service copywriting company specializing in search engine copywriting. She is also publisher of the long-standing free ezine, Business Essentials. Karon is author and publisher of the popular Step-by-Step Copywriting Course, an e-course designed to teach sound and highly-effective copywriting techniques - including search engine copywriting techniques. With over 20 years of copywriting experience, Karon has contributed to the search engine and sales success of companies large and small including Gortons Seafood, Third Sphere Hosting and more.