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Norma Maxwell
Web design, development + strategic online success building.
Minot, North Dakota
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A Simple Guide to Writing Keyword Rich, Compelling Copy

Now that we know how to find the keywords and phrases that will get the right people to our website, we need to talk about what to do with all that intel we’ve worked so hard to gather.
Written Aug 01, 2010, read 5108 times since then.
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Now that we know how to find and select the keywords and phrases that will help get the right people to our website, we need to talk about what to do with all that intel we’ve worked so hard to gather.

There is some disagreement on this topic among seo professionals so take what works, and leave the rest. One of the really great things about the web, is that you can test to see what is and is not working, and adjust accordingly.

You know your business better than anyone else, and as long as you consistently provide value, and communicate that value to your visitors, you will see positive results. Ultimately, the more visitors you make happy, the more they will link back to your website--and that is huge in search.  So, be yourself, do your best--and most of all, have fun!

THE SEARCH IS ON

If I am looking for something specific in search--like “red ostrich feathers” for example--and click on a link that leads to your website, where I then find those red ostrich feathers--guess what?  You just provided me with value! I’m probably going to buy--and if I’m not quite ready, I’m definitely going to remember that you are who you say you are.  That’s a pretty good place to start.

WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THOSE KEYWORDS

You are getting ready to write copy for a page on your website that features red ostrich feathers.  You have your main keyword and phrases selected for the page--now what?

Title Tag  - the most important place to put your main keyword or phrase on the page.  Remember, shoot for 70 characters or less.  For our page about red ostrich feathers we might have a title that looks something like:

Red Ostrich Feathers for Dressmakers, Crafters, and Costume Designers

Meta Description Tag
- displayed by most search engines as the text beneath the link to your website on the search engine results page.  If a word used for search is in the description, it is will show up in bold text on this page. If it stinks, you probably won’t get a click through to your website.  An example of an effective meta description for our page might go something like:

Save on high quality red ostrich feathers in a wide range of sizes and colors for all of your costume, crafting, and design projects.

Meta Heading Tags - use your main keyword/phrase in your heading tag.  Something simple and descriptive like this would work well for our page:

Premium Red Ostrich Feathers for Your Next Project

Link Text - if you have links to articles or other information on your website, you can link to them using your keyword/phrase in the anchor text, but, you want to remember that you want this page optimized for that particular keyword/phrase.  Why water down its relevance by pointing to another page thereby making that page compete with the page you are currently optimizing?

Links can add value for your visitor, and definitely do add value to the page to which you are linking, so think about that in terms of linking to the other page and for what keyword/phrase that page is optimized--that should be the anchor text you use.

You can place links to information and resources pertaining ostrich feathers outside your website--but ask yourself if the value is worth sending your visitor off your website.  If you think it is, ask that website owner to link back to your page--using the keyword/phrase for which you have optimized it--there is a lot of value in having outside links back to your page that contain your keyword/phrase for which the page is optimized.  

Here is an example of how you might link to a page on your own website:

Read all about Exotic Ostrich Feathers in our latest blog post!

Website Copy - this is the meat and potatoes of your page, so make it yummy.  At the same time, not too filling because people scan web pages for the information they want.  Unless they are hunkered down to read an article on your blog or newspaper website, give them clear concise bits of information and crystal clear calls-to-action.

If you have a reason to write a 300-500 word article about red ostrich feathers, by all means include it on this page--but for most of us, that is not reality.

You should, however, be able to write a good description of your product or service, and explain what benefits will be theirs if your visitor should choose to make a purchase using your keyword/phrase fairly easily.  So for us, the copy might go something like this:


Our premium red ostrich feathers are carefully hand selected, and blemish free.  Select from a vast array of shapes and sizes to fit your unique project needs.  Buy red ostrich feathers (or choose another color) in bulk and receive free shipping and handling. All of our feathers come with a 100% satisfaction or our money back guarantee.

Don't forget to visit our gallery of designer gowns made with ostrich feathers, and check out our latest video featuring our “Go Red” event to see amazing costumes and crafts made with red ostrich feathers.

For ideas on how to use our plumes in your next project, visit our arts and crafts page.  Gain more inspiration by reading Joe Smith’s recent article, Ostrich Feather Artistry, in which he highlights works created by regional artisans using red ostrich feathers.

 

OTHER THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

Keep your copy focused on how the needs/desires of your visitor can be satisfied:

  • Solve their problem
  • Inform them
  • Inspire them
  • Entertain them

Ask your visitor to interact with you Invite them to sign-up for your newsletter:

  • Ask them to make a purchase
  • Offer them a freebie for their name and email
  • Ask them to enter a contest
  • Invite them to write a review
  • Invite them to share your page with their friends
  • Invite them to share pictures of their project

 

Use bold or italics on keywords/phrases when appropriate.

Include pictures of your product/service and utilize the image alt tag to identify them for search.

Use the keyword/phrase in your inbound link text from other areas of your website or on the web.

The more audience focused your page, the better--for you, for search, and most importantly, for your visitor. Make your content unique, interesting, engaging, and respectful (as brief as possible with a link to more detailed information).  Make it easy for them to find what they want.  Remember they are looking for bite-sized pieces of information that will satisfy their needs and solve their problems.  If you can do that, they will be back!

Learn more about the author, Norma Maxwell.

Comment on this article

  • Practical Marketing Expert, Business Lifestyle Architect, Speaker, Author 
Seattle, Washington 
Stacy Karacostas
    Posted by Stacy Karacostas, Seattle, Washington | Aug 02, 2010

    Great article Norma! So many people are confused about how to use their keywords and this is a nice, clear explanation.

    Here are a couple more helpful tips...When it comes to adding keywords to your page content, do your best to use them in the very first, and very last, text the search engines spiders will see on the page, as well as in headlines and subheads. Always add them in right after the copyright at the bottom of the page too.

    Ideally you want to include keywords in a way that doesn't make your page sound odd or nonsensical to the reader, of course. But if you can get those keywords in there and your copy still reads well, all the better for your rankings.

    Warmest, Stacy

  • SEO / SMO Senior Consultant 
Troy, Michigan 
Guy Siverson
    Posted by Guy Siverson, Troy, Michigan | Aug 02, 2010

    Hi Norma

    Great article, but that's what they all say. Rarely do I read a comment that says your article stunk so perhaps knowing that I'm responding is enough evidence of a job well done.

    Ah, well, I digress.

    I must say that I do disagree with your point about linking wanna know why?

    Here's why...

    Reciprocal links are no longer valued the way they once were. One way links certainly are as are outbound links to highly relevant PR rich sites.

    It's easy to make this happen.

    First, give outbound links away to PR4 and above sites but include the following within your A HREF tag [target="blank"], then people get to visit the other site and once done they return to your site with much more respect for what you have to say.

    As for the inbound links that is easy to make happen too using social networking blog platforms like:

    • Blogger
    • WordPress
    • Squidoo

    Just be sure to point back at your main Website and preferably a focused article.

    Now you have one way links coming in and one way links going out. Search engines rank these type of links much higher.

    Here are 3 more articles you may want to read written by some strange bald guy sitting at his desk.

    1. How To Increase SEO results in articles.

    2. How To Rank Organically For Keyword Phrases Like “Saving On Utility Bills.”

    3. SEO Hot Points Guide.

  • IT Consulting, IT Support 
Seattle, Washington 
James Murray
    Posted by James Murray, Seattle, Washington | Aug 02, 2010

    Norma

    I think you've hit on another good topic.

    Understanding the basic layers and connection between those layers (i.e. copy and meta data information) is a good subject.

    I think the most important thing you bring out is writing good copy that follows the flow of your keywords... then at the same time recognize how that copy is supported by the meta data and by linking.

    I think that most readers would get lost if you described to specifically the code itself. I think that the details behind linking and meta data are probably articles of thier own.

    I think ultimately though your last point about writing strong copy that describes, explains, intrigues and encourages your audience to buy... while maintaining the integrity of your copy is the most important aspect of writing compellying keyword rich copy.

    Thanks James

  • Web design, development + strategic online success building. 
Minot, North Dakota 
Norma Maxwell
    Posted by Norma Maxwell, Minot, North Dakota | Aug 02, 2010

    Hi Stacy - you add so much value here - thank you! You are absolutely on target with your additional insight to this article--I wish I had you all sitting with me while I write, so I would not leave anything out :) Your point about making sure the content makes sense is so important to remember--what good is all that content if it just confuses the visitor, right :)

    Guy - thanks also for your excellent contribution here. I wasn't trying to make the point about reciprocal linking so much (although I see now how that came across) as much as not using the keywords and phrases your are trying to optimize for to link outside your website (just use other words instead to link out and of course be sure the outside link is worth sending them elsewhere). There is a web standards/usability camp that argues using the target="_blank" tag is not compliant...but I have used it anyway (like the rebel I am ;) at times when I want to be ultra sure they don't lose my page while checking out my outbound links. Generally, though, I don't do that often. I do think people often get confused about using their keywords in outbound link anchor text, when what they really want are those words to be used in the anchor text of the links that are coming in to the page--that was the point I really wanted to make there. I agree that inbound links from your social media and so on are great, but I do think that you can have "reciprocal" (really don't like that word anymore...) links that are strategic in nature and they will also add a lot of value. All of that to say I am pretty much in agreement with you with a few caveats.... lol. Thanks so much for your time, thoughtful feedback, and added value here, Guy!

    James - you too. And I think you are so correct that readers get lost when talking too much about the code. I'm not sure how many articles to break down on these issues before people just get lost and overwhelmed, but my goal is to make this information as accessible as possible for the do-it-yourself entrepreneur. Thanks for your great comments :)

  • SEO / SMO Senior Consultant 
Troy, Michigan 
Guy Siverson
    Posted by Guy Siverson, Troy, Michigan | Aug 02, 2010

    Hi Norma

    I haven't heard of target="title" tags being issues myself, but what I do know is that my projects rank on top after only a couple weeks of work even though I am using such attributes in my designs.

    A good example is:

    ===> Calculate Power Bills

    Where you will find me listed on the front page of Google and the project is barely more than 1 month old.

    Another thing I do is use title tagging within both images and hyperlinks. This produces a little popup when a mouse is over the top. In the title tag I can include my keyword phrase yet again. Anything to generate more link juice.

    Not sure if it will work on the BizNik platform.

    This is the code:

    ===> A HREF=ttp://calculatepower.org/Power-Files/Calculate-Power.htm" title="Calculate Power Bills">Calculate Power Bills

    The above code is deliberately written bad so that you can see how the title tag works.

    This is how the code appears to the user.

    ===> Calculate Power Bills

    If it works right on BizNik you will have a popup appear when you scroll over the link.

  • Web design, development + strategic online success building. 
Minot, North Dakota 
Norma Maxwell
    Posted by Norma Maxwell, Minot, North Dakota | Aug 02, 2010

    Hi Guy - yes - you are right on that for sure! I meant the target="_blank" tag - and the web standards camp thinks this is bad usability-wise. But again, I say, sometimes you have to do what you have to do :) You are such a wealth of good info--I'm so glad to have made your acquaintance...please keep all your great comments and added info coming! Cheers ~Norma

  • SEO / SMO Senior Consultant 
Troy, Michigan 
Guy Siverson
    Posted by Guy Siverson, Troy, Michigan | Aug 02, 2010

    Hi Norma

    I'll be glad to. Also - If you haven't yet done so connect up with Irene Siverson. Strangely enough she writes just like me. ;)

    I did know you were talking about "blank" but since we were delving deep I thought I'd bring up the "title" attribute too as most people forget all about that little resource of plenty.

  • Internet Marketing Consultant 
Seattle, Washington 
Gregor Schmidt
    Posted by Gregor Schmidt, Seattle, Washington | Aug 03, 2010

    Hi Norma,

    once again an insightful article.

    Keywords, their use and placement, and how to determine what works best are major stumbling blocks for many of our clients, which makes things a little difficult for us at times!

    We are currently working on a number of web design projects, so I took the liberty of sending your article to the respective clients for "inspiration".

    And since you mention the use of alt image tags I should point out that using the term "Image" in the text is very helpful to your friendly neighborhood searchbot. For example, instead of saying "The view from my window" it is better to say "Image of the view from my window". You can use this trick with slideshows and other animations as well.

    I look forward to the next article already. Keep up the good work!

    Gregor & Pixel

  • Web design, development + strategic online success building. 
Minot, North Dakota 
Norma Maxwell
    Posted by Norma Maxwell, Minot, North Dakota | Aug 03, 2010

    Thanks Gregor (and of course Pixel ;) That is such a good point - it does make a big difference to use the work image in your image alt tag description - thanks for adding that point!

  • Social Entrepreneur, Life Skills Educator 
Encinitas, California 
Marlaine Cover
    Posted by Marlaine Cover, Encinitas, California | Aug 03, 2010

    Thank you Norma! Help though I know my confession does not the reputation of blondes, your aim for simplicity and compassion for beginners is much appreciated by me. Given the popularity of blogging, and the ease with which anyone can now create their own site, I think web illiterates do constitute an enormous marketing opportunity for advisors. The challenge - as you concede - is knowing how far to break it down so newbies comprehend. A high number of articles and tutorials fail in their efforts because the experts composing them assume reader familiarity with basic terms. I much appreciated, therefore, your first paragraphs regarding Key Words and your concluding recommendations. Confess, however, the discussion of "Links" lost me at the gate. Would love to read any other article you may have which dummies them down even further. Hugs!!

  • Web design, development + strategic online success building. 
Minot, North Dakota 
Norma Maxwell
    Posted by Norma Maxwell, Minot, North Dakota | Aug 03, 2010

    Thanks Marlaine - I so appreciate your feedback and I will definitely keep that in mind. If you have a specific question I can answer for you, feel free to email me at norma@normamaxwell.com and I'll try to help. Have a great evening :) Cheers ~Norma

  • marketing communications 
chicago, Illinois 
rickey gold
    Posted by rickey gold, chicago, Illinois | Aug 04, 2010

    Lots of good smart information in this article, Norma. I love that you write the same way you suggest -- breaking up points into little bite size pieces so readers can scan to get info. However, if they want to learn something, they'll go back and read it word for word.

  • Web design, development + strategic online success building. 
Minot, North Dakota 
Norma Maxwell
    Posted by Norma Maxwell, Minot, North Dakota | Aug 04, 2010

    Thanks Rickey - you write so well yourself, it's especially nice to have a compliment like that from you :)

  • Pet Food Delivery  
Edmonds, Washington 
Craig Weindling
    Posted by Craig Weindling, Edmonds, Washington | Aug 05, 2010

    Thanks for this, Norma-

    This is the clearest explanation and refresher of a simple approach for using keywords I've seen in a while. It's something many of us get confused with, rush thru, or ignore when time is tight.

    Seems good results come from great content, made even better by including keywords in the text. I look forward to seeing what improvements may show up by experimenting with the suggestions you list, particularly with tags.

    I've posted a link to your article in a discussion on this topic in one of the groups on LinkedIn. Hopefully it help those folks as well and extend your reach!

  • Web design, development + strategic online success building. 
Minot, North Dakota 
Norma Maxwell
    Posted by Norma Maxwell, Minot, North Dakota | Aug 05, 2010

    Thank you, Craig. It is definitely one of those things that seems to mystify a lot of people and I have been surprised at the interest this topic has generated. It lets me know that there are a number of entrepreneurs out there that want to know what they can do and have not been sure where to start. I'm glad to be able to help with that if just a bit :) Cheers ~Norma

  • Owner 
Los Angeles, California 
Jon Wyderka
    Posted by Jon Wyderka, Los Angeles, California | Aug 05, 2010

    A good article. You can do all the items listed and if you are in a competitive situation for your key word phrases (who isn't?), you will not rank in Google search results. A strategic inbound linking program with links from sites that are highly valued by Google and well indexed is crucial in order to obtain high consistent organic rankings. Look for a professional SEO company that knows from experience how to get you ranked through strategic inbound linking. There are now more than a Trillion web sites indexed by Google. You have to rank in the top 10 results (and more importantly, the top 5) for your key words to achieve success. More than 90% of companies will never attain a high search engine rank without professional help regardless of what they do on their own. - Jon Wyderka -

  • Web design, development + strategic online success building. 
Minot, North Dakota 
Norma Maxwell
    Posted by Norma Maxwell, Minot, North Dakota | Aug 05, 2010

    Hey Jon - success is defined in different ways - being #1 in Google search is not the holy grail that seo companies would like you to believe. Many seo companies hire writers from all over the world who can not write or spell to write articles and submit them all over the web to link back to the client's website - even though the articles are junk. This might get you to #1 in Google (and you will have spent a fortune with and seo company to get there), but it most certainly will not convert visitors - they will bounce, they will not buy, and ultimately they will not respect your business. There is so much more to having a powerful and meaningful presence on the web and having a successful business than ranking on the first page of Google.

  • Photo Retoucher 
Evanston, Illinois 
Eric Basir
    Posted by Eric Basir, Evanston, Illinois | Aug 05, 2010

    Thanks, but it all seems to be a mysterious crap shoot. With all the folks trying to get a piece of my marketing budget to do it and the software and analytics (often free), I have no idea if any of this stuff works. It's an SEO jungle out here.

  • Web design, development + strategic online success building. 
Minot, North Dakota 
Norma Maxwell
    Posted by Norma Maxwell, Minot, North Dakota | Aug 05, 2010

    Hi Eric - I know how you feel. There are a lot of things you can do on your own in which you don't have to hire someone. That's why I wrote these articles, to help make it understandable. As long as you put the time in and are willing to learn, you can do it. It definitely makes a big difference. Hang in there. :)

  • Alcohol and/or Food, Life Coach Support Women 
Portland, Oregon 
Teresa Rodden
    Posted by Teresa Rodden, Portland, Oregon | Aug 05, 2010

    Norma, I'm a little slow to read, but I knew it would be worth coming back to when I had a minute.

    Great information and much needed at this point and time.

    I will need to print and re-read some of your suggestions as they slipped off my brain like a worm in oil for sure:)

    What a great gift you are to those of us who are on a shoe string budget and out of necessity are forced to be our entire creative and technical staff.

    Yours truly,

    Teresa

  • Brand Consultant 
Phoenix, Arizona 
Ken Peters
    Posted by Ken Peters, Phoenix, Arizona | Aug 05, 2010

    Norma

    Great post. Clear, concise and helpful… as always :-)

  • Web design, development + strategic online success building. 
Minot, North Dakota 
Norma Maxwell
    Posted by Norma Maxwell, Minot, North Dakota | Aug 05, 2010

    Theresa and Ken - thanks to both of you. I really appreciate the positive feedback. You guys rock! :)

  • SEO copywriter, Marketing Consultant 
San Rafael, California 
Lanny Udell
    Posted by Lanny Udell, San Rafael, California | Aug 06, 2010

    Hi Norma,

    Lots of good tips in your article. Thanks! I'd like to add one more--add location to your keyword phrase if you are marketing to customers within a certain geographic area. For example, Red Ostrich Feathers Phoenix if you're targeting craftspeople, seamstresses, designers in that locale. That way you're not competing with ostrich feather vendors nation-wide.

    Best, Lanny

  • Web design, development + strategic online success building. 
Minot, North Dakota 
Norma Maxwell
    Posted by Norma Maxwell, Minot, North Dakota | Aug 06, 2010

    Lanny - great additional point! Thank you. Also submitting your website to Google Places is a must too if you want to reach those in your geographic area. Thanks for the added value, Lanny :)

  • Fine Artist | Social Media Strategist 
Cary, North Carolina 
L Diane Johnson
    Posted by L Diane Johnson, Cary, North Carolina | Aug 10, 2010

    Great feature Norma. For folks who have gotten away from or never heard of Meta tags and using Keywords, they ARE still of value and important for any Web site, blog, whatever. Thanks for keeping things clear and easy to understand, and for the fact that you gave a great example of how to use the tags and descriptions. This is one thing most writers leave out and something we all need - examples. No help knowing the concepts but how to use them is really beneficial. Thanks!

  • Web design, development + strategic online success building. 
Minot, North Dakota 
Norma Maxwell
    Posted by Norma Maxwell, Minot, North Dakota | Aug 14, 2010

    Thanks L Diane - I am really glad to hear this info is helping out. This article will rank for red ostrich feathers and not seo copywriting--lol! But, I thought it was worth it to be able to illustrate what I was talking about :) Cheers ~Norma

  • Professional Organizer 
Missouri City, Texas 
Lisa Giesler
    Posted by Lisa Giesler, Missouri City, Texas | Aug 19, 2010

    Always glad to hear the latest SEO tips for my website. Information and knowledge is so important and even a thanks to all the other people who added content to your article by adding comments, Thanks, Lisa

  • Web design, development + strategic online success building. 
Minot, North Dakota 
Norma Maxwell
    Posted by Norma Maxwell, Minot, North Dakota | Aug 19, 2010

    Thanks Lisa!

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