Three Steps to Writing Copy that Attracts Search Engines and Gets Rankings

Copywriting for Beginners

The process of creating text to place on the pages of Website is usually referred to as "Website copywriting," "Web copy writing" or simply "copywriting."  There's more to it than writing a description of your business or listing the services or products that you offer.  And though it doesn't have to be mind-blowingly complicated, there are a few things you'll need to keep in mind when you create that text if you want your site and its individual pages to get a decent search engine ranking.

Here, I'll lay it out step by step for you in language that is non-technical and easy to understand.  I'll also define some terms that you'll commonly hear associated with the process of producing text for a Website.

1) Choose your keywords.  "Keywords" are words (or "terms") that you think people are likely to use if they were trying to find the kinds of services or products that you offer when searching for them on a major search engine1, such as Google.  If you are in the business of selling vintage handbags, for example, then you would probably choose "vintage handbags" as one of your keywords.  (Note: Keywords that contain more than one word are sometimes referred to as "keyword phrases.")

You should choose 2-3 keywords for each individual page (URL2).  For your home page, one of your keywords should be the name of your business/Website.  Another keyword you should focus on with your home page is your major product/service (i.e. "vintage handbags").

For later pages you can focus on other keywords, just make sure that they are relevant to what your site is about.  Our vintage handbag seller would be wise to focus on some variations of the keyword phrase "vintage handbags" on her other pages.  "Antique purses" might be one such keyword variation3.

Hint: Need some keyword ideas?  Try Google's Keyword Selector Tool.  Here, you can input your keyword ideas and Google will generate a list of related alternative terms as well as show you how many times those terms were used by people who searched them on Google.

2) Write your text.  Each page should have about 150 to 350 words.  Any less than 150 and there may not be enough words on the page for a search engine to correctly classify.  If you have too many words, you run the risk of confusing search engines and getting your pages indexed under poor keywords.  Plus, human readers tend to get turned off when there is too much text on a page.  If they think there's too much information to take in quickly, they'll navigate away from your page(s).

Make sure that you use your keywords throughout the body of the text.  They should only make up about 1.5 to 3 percent of the total word count of the text.  Otherwise, search engines may classify the text as "spam" and not index it.

Be sure that you use your keywords in strategic locations.  Specifically, use them once near the beginning of the text (within the first paragraph if possible) and once near the end (in the last paragraph, if possible).

3) Upload your text.  When you do, make sure it appears near the top of the page, just under your title tag if possible. 

Don't break up your text on the page.  Otherwise you might confuse search engines and risk not getting indexed for your desired keywords.



What to do when writing's not your

Perhaps you've tried to prepare your own Web copy and you realize you're just not getting it to come out the way it should sound.  Maybe you don't even want to try because you know that writing isn't your best gift.

If you have any qualms at all about preparing your own text for your site's pages, then contract the job out to a professional Web copy writer.  It's usually worth the cost because of the peace of mind it provides.  You can feel confident that you'll have text that says exactly what you want it to convey and that it will be search engine friendly.

SEO friendly Web copy

Website copywriter

Some Important Terms Defined

What in the world does THAT mean?!

Here are a few more terms defined.  You'll hear them used a lot when it comes to preparing any kind of text that is meant to be uploaded to the Internet:

1) Search engine: A search engine uses a complex set of algorithms to help Internet users find pages that contain certain "keywords" that they're looking for.  The user inputs his desired keywords into the search engine's "query field" (usually a little box) and the search engine uses its algorithms to find Web pages that relate to those keywords (also known as "search terms").   Some of the major search engines in use today include Google, Mozilla Firefox, Opera and Bing.

It pulls pages out of its files and displays them to you in a list.  It displays them in order of relevance.  In other words, those returns on the first page are the ones that the search engine believes are the most likely to contain the kind of information that you are looking for.

2) URL: It stands for "uniform resource locator."  Every Website has a unique "address."  Every page on a given Website has its own unique address, or URL, derived from the site's address.

3) Keyword variation: Basically this means a synonym or synonyms of your main keyword or keyword phrase.  If your keyword is "promotional gifts" then some keyword variations of that might be "advertising gifts" or "promotional giveaways."  They're simply different words that mean the same thing.

4) SEO: This stands for "search engine optimization."  It's the idea of creating the various elements of a Web page (text, pictures, tags, etc.) in such a way as to get the best possible search engine ranking for that page (one of the top five or so search returns).  It takes a bit of skill to optimize a Web page.