» The Art of Website Copywriting
Forget everything you’ve ever read, heard or seen about web marketing. Forget the marketing gurus and poo-bahs who tout the need for SEO (search engine optimized) text. The information upon which you’ve based your on-line marketing strategy is outdated. It is soooo last millennium.
Good site text, written by a professional, Internet copywriter, is engaging, informational, welcoming, even intriguing. It appeals to human emotions and interests — family, wealth, professional success, health, happiness and so on. Top-notch copywriting is what identifies your website — your on-line business. It’s also an important aspect of SEO.
But, the fine art of Internet copywriting is still evolving. That’s why you go for the best web design firm you can afford — one that understands the synergies of content and site design.
The Curse of Keyword Density
To rank individual sites by their relevance to a user’s query, early search engines relied heavily on keywords — words that appeared in headings and site text.
These early spiders didn’t do much except count the number of times keywords appeared within the corpus. The higher the frequency, the more relevant the site. And thus was born SEO text.
Murphy’s Olde Time Canoes are all hand made. You won’t find a better hand-made canoe than a Murphy’s Olde Time Canoe. When it comes to hand-made canoes, Murphy’s Old Time Canoes deliver more canoe bang for your canoe buck.
Gibberish. Words written for a machine, not for humans. An SE bot that spidered Murphy’s website would have no trouble determining what the company sold. Unfortunately, to any literate carbon-based life form, this was hardly the stuff of which sales were made.
The Quality of SERPs
Search engines live or die based on the quality of their search results. That’s the whole raison d’etre for a search engine — to find the search engine results pages (SERPs) that list the most useful sites.
Google, Yahoo and other SEs spend a bundle tweaking the rating mechanisms used to assess and rank a site. These complex, algorithmic formulas are top secret, eyes only information. In fact, Google’s search algorithm is its most valuable asset. It’s the product it sells to all of us who use it everyday.
Search results must be accurate. That requires an iron-clad collaboration between the copywriter and the site designer to maximize the best of both. Integrated text in the ideal site design — that’s your goal.
So What Does Good Copywriting Do For Sales?
Good copywriting first captures the visitor with an interesting headline. Maybe two or three headlines.
But then, good copy keeps the reader’s interest. In other words, your copywriter should develop text that engages the reader. Warm, friendly, helpful, conversational — all key elements of well-written website copy.
Your copywriter will serve as the guide for visitors, describing where visitors are within the site (landing pages, et al) and how to get from here to there, i.e. navigation.
Finally, professionally written copy produces the MDA — the most desired action — on the part of the visitor. Buy something, complete a form, request additional information, pick up the phone — your site copy should hone in with laser precision on compelling that MDA.
And What Does Professional Copywriting Do For Your PR?
With each tweak of the algorithm, spiders became more sophisticated at determining the usefulness and helpfulness of a given site. Oh sure, keyword count still matters. So does the placement of keywords. But SEs are smart enough to detect SEO-keyword-stuffed-text. And they don’t much like it.
Instead, the sophisticated SEs employed by Google and Yahoo (the two biggies) want more than keyword density. A lot more.
Keep It Fresh
Google spiders at least once every two weeks. Yahoo makes the rounds every 48 hours. When a spider visits, it takes a snapshot of the site. When you do a Google search, simply click on ‘cache’ to see the site as it was when last indexed.
Now, when that spider comes back a few days or weeks later, it compares the cache with the current site looking for new content. Search engines like new content. No new content, you may lose a few points in the PR race.
Keep It Informational
SEs want to deliver quality results. Part of that means delivering good, useful information. Not sales hype. Quality content that visitors can read and use. Of course, because it’s your site, a good copywriter will provide text that’s informational and sells the product.
Is The Copy Helpful?
Is your site copy helpful to the visitor? Does it offer useful product information? Does it offer resources, alternatives and unbiased information? Will visitors feel that this is a site worth a bookmark? If so, that return traffic is gold.
How To Make Your Site Attractive to SEs and Humans
There are two layers to your site: the ‘presentation layer’ and the ‘behind the curtain’ layer. The new key to truly successful on-line marketing is to use both layers in a solid, licit, unified marketing strategy.
The Presentation Layer
Hire a professional copywriter with extensive experience in SEO and marketing to develop the text for your on-line business. Professional copywriting can adapt to your marketing needs.
Low and soft:
Are You Ready to Change Your Life?
or a rockhard pitch:
Do You Want to Earn $1 Million
In Just 21 Days?
Some Suggestions for Your Copywriter
Assume some intelligence on the part of the visitor. Sure, push the business and the goods. They’re the ‘best, cheapest, greatest, lightest, biggest’ in the world. No problem selling. Just be sure to include some informational content about the product.
Use a two- or three-column layout on your site’s home page. This allows for numerous headlines “above the fold” where spiders will easily pick them up. Good for SEO.
Break text up into small blocks. Also good for SEO.
Write like you talk. Good for humans.
Add pictures and graphics for eye appeal. SEs don’t spider graphics, so this is for humans only.
Behind the Curtain
If you don’t know a Meta Tag from a dog tag, call a designer or SEO expert. There are numerous ‘black hat’ tactics that can be employed to ‘fool’ search engines. Pure, 100% SE poison.
Example? Invisible text. Display white text on a white background and voila — it’s disappeared! Well, maybe to your eyes, but spiders read this text. So, while you’re reading about gift baskets on the home page, the company is also selling marijuana grow lights out the back door. SEs hate black (or gray) hat tactics. Because it’s deceitful, it diminishes the quality of the SERPs.
So, if you don’t know how to maximize your ‘behind the curtain’ marketing, talk to a site design pro. And if you’ve forgotten your 8th grade rules of grammar, punctuation and spelling, hire a genuine, dyed-in-the-wool, Internet copywriter.
These professionals more than pay for themselves by designing sites that appeal to human sensibilities and SE bots alike.
The cyber landscape has changed and for the better. As site owners, we can develop site copy that appeals to humans — their wants, needs and desires. Real marketing and sales copy that compels human action. We’ve been liberated from keyword counts.
It’s quality that counts today.