“Pretend… that a single visitor could make the difference between success and failure for your business. She has no time to waste poking around your site trying to figure out what you’re all about…
What do you tell her? You’d likely explain by giving her the essential information about how you can help, and why you perfectly meet her needs, right?
And I’m betting you’d want to explain it in the most compelling fashion you could, given what’s riding on the deal. In a nutshell, that’s what Google wants you to do with the content on your site.”
Brian Clark – Copyblogger.com
Copywriting for SEO is evolving into a highly skilled talent that goes way beyond just blindly stuffing your pages full of keywords.
Readers are expecting more, it’s becoming harder to attract readers and the search engines are getting smarter; they know when they spider pages if it’s properly written and if it “reads” appropriately.
Most importantly, search engines like links. Without highly useful, compelling, relevant content, you simply won’t get links; you simply won’t rank in the search engines.
Because of this we need to know how to effectively write for SEO. Today I would almost suggest that the business of SEO is copywriting. Without a talent for writing your site will simply die. Period.
Back in the day, all you had to do when creating a new page on your website was to stuff it full of keywords.
If you wanted to rank well for the words “video game”, you simply repeated these words as many times as possible on the the page and in your HTML code.
For obvious reasons the search engines quickly changed their algorithms to become more intelligent.
In the beginning it was easy to fool the search engines with “black hat” tactics and tricks because they were downright ignorant.
The architects of early search engines had the difficult task of trying to teach a computer to decide what’s relevant and what wasn’t.
Words were everything in the beginning but the landscape was soon to change.
Copywriting soon began to evolve and search engines required more by introducing the value of the link.
Google was the pioneer with this requirement and it became the cornerstone of their algorithm; it still is.
It was no longer acceptable to just “stuff” your page with your keywords–in fact–Google started penalizing sites for repeating the same words too many times and in too many places.
To the Googlebot this tactic was potential spam and not to be trusted.
As mentioned, Google realized the value of the link. A link was essentially a “vote” for your content and–coupled with the proper keywords–the more links you had from related, high quality sites, the more Google had confidence that you were providing relevant content.
This was a groundbreaking discovery and it helped the ignorant computers at Google become much smarter.
Through this tactic, Google forced copywriters to actually create valuable content that was useful to humans.
Alas, as humans quickly discovered the value of the link, we started to go down the road of more black hat tricks.
Link farms, link exchanges, link building software, sites devoted to linking on a massive scale, spam attacks on forums and blogs, and hundreds of additional techniques took hold of the landscape.
The practice of getting links became all the rage and it degraded Google’s brilliant maneuver to put a human in the position of content judge.
Today we’re at a turning point for SEO copywriters.
Long gone are the days of stuffing your page with keywords. Long gone are terms like “keyword density” and “link exchanges” (Just to name a few).
Google is a lean, mean and smart animal and it demands quality.
Today Google knows if a page “reads” like a human wrote it.
It knows if the sentence structure is proper. It knows if your words are spelled correctly and it definitely knows if you are writing for humans instead of just stuffing your pages with keywords.
What’s important to note with SEO copywriting 3.0 is to realize that your job is not JUST about writing.
It’s about having the talent to create compelling content that people want to read, share, link to, quote and admire.
This is important because–in addition to creating something useful– the goal of an SEO copywriter these days is ultimately ALL about getting the elusive link.
It’s easy to write content with the appropriate keywords and this is still important–but what’s hard, is getting links (the votes) from well respected sites.
For the most part, getting links is the hardest part of SEO and without a doubt, the job is mostly left to the SEO copywriter to get the job done.
It takes talent and it’s hard work getting those links.
Your content has to be GREAT to stand out in the crowd and get links; especially from other high quality sites.
This is what Google wants because–in the end–their search results will ultimately be filled with highly relevant and useful content.
In my next post I’ll publish a list of the 10 golden rules of SEO copywriting 3.0.
We’ll obviously touch on some of the “classic” requirements and then move on to discuss some of the more recent concepts you should understand to effectively write for SEO.