Writing Effective SEO-Optimized Web Copy

Writing SEO-friendly web pages involves more than simply working in your keywords as many times as possible. Google has become sophisticated enough to detect and penalize you for “overstuffing” your page with keywords-and if you don’t write to sell, you can bring in all the traffic in the world and it won’t make you any money. Your web pages have to appeal to search engines and people at the same time. Here are the steps you need to follow to do that.

First, know your keywords. What are the words people use when searching for a business or service such as yours? It’s important to know whether your customers are local or national-local search will get you different results than search on a national level-as well as the words and phrases people use, and the scope of your competition for those words.

Pick a keyword for each page. After you’ve done some keyword research, you’re likely to have a long list of possible keywords to use. The keyword you choose for each page should be the highest priority word that relates to the content of that page. If it’s just a little off, your copy won’t read well and could turn off visitors.

Write the page-then include the keywords. Your page needs to appeal to people first and foremost. So write it to appeal to your target audience. Think about what their pain points are and how your company resolves them. Consider what they need to know about your company in order to make a decision, and why they should choose you over the competition. Work in the appropriate information with compelling subheads that pull their weight. Then sprinkle in the keyword where it sounds natural-don’t overuse it.

Write your tags. Your title, description and keyword tags, together called “metatags,” will do more for your SEO than keywords worked into your body copy.

The title tag is perhaps the most important tag. It’s the title in blue people see when your webpage appears in Google listings. Your title should be compelling enough to get people to click, and also include your relevant keyword and business name. So if you’re a personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia and your relevant search phrase is “personal injury lawyer Philadelphia,” your title tag might be: Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers: Johnson & Smith.

The Description tag usually comes after your Title tag, and it appears as the one- or two-sentence description under your Title tag in the search engine listings. Write it with your readers in mind-think of one or two sentences that sum up your offer and will get readers to click, and include your keyword.

The Keyword tag comes after Descriptions, and it’s where you get to list all the keywords the page is optimized for. Be sure to include the most important keywords first.

Good SEO-optimized copy needs to strike a strong balance between appealing to search engines and appealing to people. It’s not difficult to do both, however—if you have the right skills.

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