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SEO Copywriting for Visitors and Search Engines

There is a whole sub-specialty of copywriting for search engine optimization. That is, writing the text of a page so it specifically ranks higher in search engines.

One way to look at trying to meet ‘both’ audiences of Search engine and your visitors, is to clearly write the objective being met by each page.  If that is not clear, at least to yourself, then it probably will not be clear to your visitors. The search engines will have a better chance of getting it wrong as well.

One of the big challenges many web designers have is looking at the site from a visitor perspective.  It becomes too easy to focus on the bells and whistles, the hits and graphics.  The old saying -‘ the customer is always right’ still applies here and in essence is the golden rule.

Sometimes the visitor perspective is taken, but only from the point of view of someone looking at the entire site,  as if each visitor is going to do a formal audit of the site. But the truth is, most visitors pass judgement in seconds of when they 1st see anything on your site.  And part of the challange (and great benefit) of the web is that you have a vast number of doors to your site. Not just your front door. So you cannot just make your entry way/lobby beautiful. Your fire exit, your sliding door, the door to the inside of the mall, the side door, the dock door, the hatch to the roof – all those entrances need to look inviting and well designed as entry ways to your business or site.

The easiest way to accomplish that is to look at each page as a stand alone site.  Does each page convey a clear sense of purpose to the visitor, and allow them to continue on to the rest of the site?  Does the page make sense by itself, or is like turning to page 72 of an Agatha Christie mystery? Does this page answer a question or does it seem like the middle of an index without the title INDEX at the top? Does the page provide details or does it feel like you dropped onto page 916 of the federal statutes?

If you can create a breadcrumb trail (list of pages that naturally would lead you to this page from the front door/home page), that is great.  But you still need enough context on the page to make sense.  This will also let the search engines make sense of the page as well.

When you are laying out your site (possibly doing a wireframe or other methodology to be covered in other posts), be sure to define what is the objective of each page. Then review the pages after they are created to see if they met those objectives.  Try to minimize the objectives for each page – do not try to ‘stuff’ too much into each page. And ask an independent party to review each page to see if they consider it meeting the pages objectives.  Then after all page objectives have been met, test to see if you have met the site’s objectives.

An objective that may often be forgotten on many pages is – speak in the visitors language.  Most people are not looking for blackwater remediation, they are looking for sewer backup flood cleanup. Most people are not looking for polyamidoamine dendrimers (PAMAMs) they are looking for nanoparticles.  Speak in the language of your visitors and the search engines will understand your site in the language of your visitors.

Finally, see if your copy meets the overall objectives of your site. It is hard to work in a vacuum, so use Google analytics and real visitors to find out how your site is really viewed.

June 16, 2009 Posted by | copywriting, How To | , , , , , | Leave a comment