Search Engine Optimization: Why You Should Care About Effective SEO Copywriting and How to Get the Job Done
By Eric S. Gregory
You’ve heard about it. You’ve been told it’s absolutely essential to your company’s web-based success. You may have even sniffed around potential providers, curious as to what it means exactly, how much it costs, and what you get in exchange for your investment. There are some of you out there who have actually gone ahead and contracted a consulting service with the specific goal of improving and securing your firm’s internet visibility. SEO–I’m talking about Search Engine Optimization, a historically recent internet marketing strategy, designed to optimize your firm’s web presence, ensuring high search results (hopefully top 10), hits, and visits. As with any hot marketing trend just bubbling under mass awareness, the SEO field has quickly become engorged with not only those interested in paying for the service but a dizzying quantity and variety of providers.
So why even utilize a service such as SEO for your company’s website? Simply put—to stay competitive in an age when business is increasingly conducted via online channels. A smart SEO provider can focus and edit your website verbiage, helping you lay out and design your site so as to maximize effective readability by popular web search engines such as Google, Yahoo, AOL, etc. And many claim to do just that—often leveraging hyperbolic guarantees against improbable expectations. But a quickly growing (and confusing) array of SEO providers simply means that your firm needs to go into the provider search armed with knowledge, forethought, and patience.
Excellent SEO service includes close attention to copy editing—scripting SEO keyword verbiage and weaving the keyword text into the site so as to maximize search rankings. So unless you’ve got an in-house copywriter who’s got time to spare and a facility with keyword optimization and follow up writing/editing, you’re going to want an SEO provider that makes SEO copywriting a top priority—and does it well. So if you notice misspelled words, poor grammar, and/or confused syntax in the text of a potential SEO provider’s website, you’d be wise to move on to the next contender. A poor grasp of language is obviously an impediment to confidence. So even if an SEO provider guarantees (and even fulfills) competitive search rankings, those guaranteed “hits” probably won’t turn into return visits if your copy looks and reads like sh*t. This should be obvious, but in an age where txt msgs r cnsdrd aok as means of communication, a gentle reminder that proper grammar still means something can’t hurt. Skillful writing can compel and elicit powerful and sustainable interest.
For those firms with either qualified in-house copywriters or the gumption to try SEO copywriting independently of an external provider, I’ve provided some excellent online resources for how to get the job done well. The links below are not free, but for usually a nominal charge, one gains access to the basics (and typically more) of SEO copywriting 101. Like all human practices, writing takes practice. So once you’ve secured the fundamentals, nothing but trial and error will ensure successful (and well-written!) SEO copy.
* www.successworks.com Heather Lloyd Martin was one of the first SEO copywriters in the field and continues to do premier work, offering training courses through her successworks website.
* www.highrankings.com Jill Whalen offers an expansive array of SEO services, but her special reports (found under the SEO Writing & Editing header) are especially rewarding for the DIY SEO copywriter and editor.
Recommended by Jill Whalen by way of her site’s forum, Karon Thackston’s course covers step by step fundamentals accrued through years of writing professional copy.
If you’re one of those many firms that have neither the time nor interest in writing your SEO copy independently, there are numerous highly qualified national (and quite probably, local) SEO copywriting providers that would be more than happy to take your job on. Below are some pertinent questions you might want answered before you sign on the dotted line.
* How will services be charged? By the page? By the hour? A flat rate?
* Do you have ownership rights to the completed copy? Is it licensed? Can you make your own addendums and corrections?
* Is the copy being generated by a being made of flesh and blood? Or is it simply processed through a computerized copywriting program?
* Will they provide title tags, meta-description tags, meta-keyword tags as well as body copy, saving your firm extensive and costly programming hours?,/li>
* Be sure to review a portfolio of prior copywriting work and check previous client references.