No matter how advanced the field of online marketing gets, there will always be a vital role for copywriting. Your web pages are nothing without content and in order to get content you have to write it or have it written. You want your pages to be easy to find and that means engaging in some SEO (search engine optimization).
Stop Mining The Surface
Back when people started optimizing for search engine performance, it was mostly a numbers game. The page that had the most repetitions of a keyword sprinkled in all the right places was going to win the war for position on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). The search engines noticed that this kind of optimization did not produce content that users found relevant or helpful so they made their algorithms a lot smarter.
Today the sheer density of keywords in your written copy matters less than ever. Position is still a little bit useful. You need to get keyword phrases to show up in page titles and heading tags. It is much better to provide some real insight into your subject than to skim the surface spouting keywords like a spambot. Long tail keywords are the easiest to rank for. They consist of 5 or more words in the phrase and rank first most often (vs. a single keyword).
A longer piece of copy with some juicy, relevant ideas will be far more attractive to the readers that you are trying to attract. Surprisingly, it will also do some heavy lifting for you when it comes to SEO. Why? Because of latent semantic indexing or LSI.
The Magic Of LSI
If you ever asked yourself how the search engines made their algorithms smarter, it is by implementing what is known as latent semantic indexing (LSI). LSI is just one of the advanced techniques search engines use to zero in on relevant content nowadays. Other techniques like looking at structured data can also be useful for optimization, but LSI is particularly important when it comes to writing copy.
Why Is It Important?
Instead of just looking for a user’s search term in the content of your page, a search engine now expands its net to look for words and phrases that are closely associated with the term. Pages with a broad range of highly relevant terms are likely to rank better than those that repeat a single term over and over. For example, when someone searches for “doctor,” a page that includes the words “doctor,” “physician,” and “medical practice” is likely to score better than one that simply repeats the word “doctor” ten times.
This search for synonyms and associated phrases is a lot more complex than just running searches through a digital thesaurus. Search engines build up a lot of data by indexing pages and learning about common associations. This lets them make educated guesses about a user’s intent. This is why searching for “Apple MacBook” will find you a computer review instead of a blog about apple-picking that happens to mention the blogger’s favorite laptop.
Pick Your Keyword Phrases Wisely
While you don’t need to agonize over keyword density and other statistics anymore, you should not stop investing time in keyword research. What you want to find out about your keywords is a little bit different. Keyword research is now bleeding into market research. You want to put yourself in your audience’s shoes and ask yourself what they are REALLY looking for when they plug your keyword phrase into a search engine.
One really great way to shape your copy while doing SEO work is to start thinking about your keywords in terms of questions. They don’t have to be exact matches (although picking a plain-English question as a long-tail keyword isn’t a bad idea), but thinking about the questions behind the searches will get you thinking about your copywriting in the right way.
Do your best to fully explore the questions you believe your visitors will have and then, answer them with expertise and you will be well on your way to crafting an excellent piece of content. Your chosen keyword phrase and the all-important synonyms/phrases associated with it will happen organically when you do this.
Search engine optimization has come a long way in just a few years. You should have SEO on your mind when you are writing online copy, but you do not need to think about density and exact phrase matching anymore. Concentrate on going deep and getting insightful. The search engines have finally gotten smart enough to pick up on this strategy and today, quality copywriting will satisfy both human visitors and automated algorithms.
Are you making your copy something that your readers will genuinely find useful? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below because I’d love to hear from you. Thanks a million!
About guest blogger, Sparky Parker: Sparky has more than 35 years of related experience in marketing, internet sales and engineering. He owns and operates FrontRangeMarketeer.com, which helps local businesses generate more leads and attract new customers.