Beginners Guide to SEO CopywritingPosted 2 November 2012 by Sandy Cosser
Writing copy for websites can be tricky because writers have to please picky visitors and picky search engines – and it’s a toss-up which is pickier. You’ll often find that website owners get hold of a couple of articles on the importance of keywords and then use them with great determination. You get paragraphs that look like this:
Super Bob’s Super Plumbers service is a plumbing company that offers plumbing services to meet all plumbing needs in Fish Hoek, Cape Town, South Africa, 7975. If you have a plumbing emergency then you need to call Super Bob’s Super Plumbers. Our plumbing services are available 24/7. Our plumbers offer plumbing services that include blocked toilets, burst geysers and burst pipes. Super Bob’s Super Plumbers use only the best plumbing equipment in Fish Hoek, Cape Town, South Africa.
For cheap plumbing services call Super Bob’s Super Plumbers in Fish Hoek, Cape Town, South Africa.
It’s not pretty. What’s worse is that you’ll find some ‘professionals’ doling out writing like this because it’s easy. The thing is that search engines don’t like this kind of copy anymore. Google, in particular, has cracked down on spammy writing and now penalises websites that indulge in keyword stuffing.
So, how can we make it better?
What’s the theme?
Obviously, in Super Bob’s case, the theme is plumbing. It’s plumbing in a very specific area in Cape Town’s south peninsula.
What are the services?
Super Bob offers a whole smorgasbord of services.
What’s the tone?
Some companies adopt a very formal tone, while others are quite happy to be light and jovial. Some companies want to change from formal to jovial and some want to become more serious. This is something you’ll have to find out from the client. For argument’s sake, let’s say that Super Bob is an informal kind of guy.
How many pages are required and what will their topics be?
The number of landing pages and their topics will dictate your keyword research. Based on your company’s recommendations, Super Bob is going to have a landing page for each of his services, so separate keyword research will need to be done for burst geysers, blocked toilets and burst pipes.
Now, you might have to do some keyword research based on a general topic, or the strategists might research some important keywords for you to target. Pretend that you just have to do a general dig for the home page. You need a keyword research tool. One of the most common, and perhaps the easiest to use, is Google Adwords. You don’t need an account for basic keywords digs, so it’s as simple as going to the Adwords page, which looks like this:
Don’t worry about all the frills; all you need to do is type in your word or phrase, select your location, decipher the letters and click search. Sometimes the letters are indecipherable. You’ll get lots of chances, so you needn’t panic.
We’ve gone very general indeed, with ‘plumbing services cape town’. And we’ve set the location as South Africa. Click search and you’ll get a string of results.
Download the results as CSV for Excel and then sort them as you like and weed out the ones you don’t want. We’re going to use:
- plumbers cape town
- plumbing cape town
- plumber cape town
- plumbing pipes
- geyser installation
- plumbing services
- plumbing service
- emergency plumbers
- emergency plumber
- plumbing prices
- plumbing services cape town
- plumbing companies in cape town
- 24 hour plumber cape town
The general rules are:
1) Use a keyword in your heading.
2) Use the primary keyword in the first 50 words of the text.
3) Use the primary keyword three times throughout the text.
4) Insert longtail where appropriate.
Now, it’s very important to remember that you are writing for readers. Yes, you need to remember the search engines and use the terms where you can, but if it makes the writing sound too clunky, don’t do it. You want search traffic, but you also want your visitors to convert and they won’t do that if your copy is forced and repetitive.
It’s also important that you focus on the visitor and not on you. Don’t make it all “we” and “our”; instead, favour “you” and “your”. Save the we, we, we for the About Us page.
Getting down to it
Plumbing Doesn’t Get Much Better than Super Bob’s Super Plumbers
When your plumbing goes down the drain, you need help and you need it fast. Super Bob’s Super Plumbers has you covered with 24-hour emergency plumbing services in Cape Town.
Household emergencies don’t come quite as distressing as waking up on a Sunday morning to find a dripping ceiling as your geyser divests itself of its contents, or having a toilet that won’t flush at 11pm on a Saturday night. Unless your emergency is very dire, most plumbers will keep you waiting until they have a gap in their schedule. Super Bob’s Super Plumbers dispatches a plumbing team as soon as your call arrives, so that you won’t have to wait a minute longer than is necessary.
Cape Town is a big city with plenty of plumbing services to choose from. The trick is finding one with the right expertise in your area. We’re based in Fish Hoek, but we have a number of plumbing teams that offer services to surrounding areas in the south peninsula, including Simon’s Town, Noordhoek and Kalk Bay.
Our range of plumbing services include everything from solar geyser installations and unblocking toilets to replacing pipes that have become rusted in the salty Cape Town air.
You might expect to pay an arm and a leg for emergency plumbing but our prices are set at a fixed rate, no matter what time of the day or night you call.
Don’t let plumbing disasters get your down, call Super Bob’s Super Plumbers and we’ll see you right in no time.
Breaking it down
- We’ve got plumbing and plumbers in the heading.
- We’ve got plumbing services as a whole in the first 50 words.
- We have plumbing services three times throughout the text. Note that the phrase still counts even if it’s broken up.
- We have longtail scattered throughout the text.
- We’ve addressed problems from a visitor’s perspective.
- We’ve not gone on about how wonderful we are.
- It’s brief and to the point. It doesn’t waffle on and on, but, it’s still long enough for search engines to pay it some attention.
- We mention some of our services but we’ve left the details to the dedicated landing pages.
Note also that the bolding is removed when the copy is sent to the client. You might leave one bolded term if you absolutely have to, but randomly bolded terms look fake to visitors – like you’re trying too hard. They know you offer plumbing services, that’s why they’re on your site.
Writing website copy is a balancing act. You have to balance your client’s needs with visitors’ needs (and their two second attention spans) and search engine requirements. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s quite an art. But if you have an intuitive grasp of public writing, you should catch on quite quickly.
Image credit: author’s own