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Tuesday, Jun. 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm

SEO Workshop Part 4: Body Copy

By Mariel Bacci
June 19th, 2012

Content For Your Web Pages

Welcome to the forth installment of our SEO workshop series.  Today we will guide you through the world of writing good body copy in order to both satisfy your visitors and the Search Engine Crawlers you are viaing for the attention of.  Before you start working on your body copy make sure your site is first optimized for the human experience, you have your most important keywords in hand, and you have dedicated your most gallant effort in prose to the headlines of your page.

Writing Body Copy For Humans

In the online world, the selling process and buying process must be integrated. In order to be successful, you must sell in the same manner that the visitor is buying.

Although the Internet is the most common place people go looking for information, you must not overwhelm your visitor with content. The valuable information you are offering your visitors must also have a persuasive purpose. One of the biggest mistakes web sites make online today is that they introduce their products/services through ‘we-we’ copy. How many times have you heard a service touted as ‘the best in the business.’  What does that really mean and why should you care?

Visitors do not want to hear about how you’re ranked number one in your field, they want to know how you can make a difference in their lives! Focus less on make yourself look good and more on how your product or service will make your visitor look/feel/be good—it’s about the customer’s needs and wants. Answer the “What’s in it for me,” question that every visitor asks when arriving at a new page. This isn’t always easy, so refresh your copywriting knowledge before you dive in.

Develop a consistent personality throughout your web site. This will generate trust with your customer, as this will help them develop a coherent image of who you are and what you represent.

How long should a page be? As long as you need it to be! Unlike your home page, which is best at 3-6 paragraphs, your Keyword-Focused Content Pages are flexible works of “word-art.” Paint a masterpiece! As you write content and you find you are moving away from the topic of focus, develop another page for new content. This strategy will help expand your web site with very acute content on every page for the benefit of your guest, as well as your search engine rankings.

Write conversationally but with a purpose. Determine the goal of each specific page and write to that purpose. Whether you want someone to make a purchase, sign-up for a newsletter or download a white paper, make sure your content is aimed at the pages specific conversion event.  If you are selling software that identifies birds by uploading images, one of your goals might be to get someone to participate in a free trial of your software, an event in which your visitor gets to have one bird image identified for free. You can create a content page that expounds on how to differentiate between different humming birds.  Someones keyword to get to your content page may have been, ‘what kind of hummingbird has a green throat?‘ Your page should discuss how to identify different hummingbirds by how they look and encourage the visitor to upload a hummingbird image for free to confirm its identification.

If a page has a different most wanted response, then write according to that.

Paragraphs should be no more than 2 – 4 sentences. White space is good.

Writing Body Copy For Search Engines

Think like a Search Engine. The nearer your specific keyword is to the beginning of your content, the higher the engine scores it. So include your primary keyword in the opening sentence of your opening paragraph. Use your primary keyword a bit more, too, early in your body copy… and also in the closing paragraph of your page.

Your “scatter pattern” should look like an hourglass… bigger (i.e., more frequent) on the top and bottom, and less (but still present) in the middle of the page.

Weave your primary keyword (the keyword that this page specifically focuses upon) throughout all your text, but not to the point that is beyond reason. The engines look for excessive use as a sign of “keyword spammers”.

Include your primary keyword a bit more than “good writing” might normally dictate. In other words, look for ways to repeat it slightly more often than you would ordinarily.

Start blending in your primary keywords, so that you can score for Word Combos. A Word Combo happens when a searcher enters both a primary keyword and a General Keyword for a search.  For example you could have a keyword combo if you combined the keywords What kind of hummingbird has a green throat? and Identify Hummingbird to get a great SEO combo: Identify what kind of hummingbird has a green throat.

You’ll never win the Search Engine war for General Keywords by themselves — you don’t really want such non-specific traffic anyway. You will score big for Word Combos that contain your specific primary and general keywords. Your combos will bring excellent, highly targeted visitors.

Stick to the theme of the page. Do not, ever, get off-target. Keep each page focused on material related to your Primary Keyword. Never, never, NEVER introduce a second theme to a page — NO mixed messages. Each page focuses purely on its “primary keyword topic”. The more you laser-beam on a single theme, the better you’ll do with the Search Engines.

One final tip… Change your approach somewhat from page to page. Experiment with different numbers, frequencies and patterns of keywords until you find what works best for you.  If you get a chance, share your strategies for SEO body copy with us, or see how we can help you develop a money making SEO blueprint.

Add Your Comments

Comments (37)

  1. wow, concise, widely applicable and very helpful. Thank you for the great advice!

  2. Excellent article. Everyone should follow these tips.writing content targeting keywords is the good way to get more hits.

  3. Which paragraph placement for main keyword?

  4. Excellent article. Everyone should follow these tips.writing content targeting keywords is the good way to get more hits.

  5. Mariel,
    Thanks for the information that you provided in the article. I like the single theme idea, too.

  6. Hey Mariel,
    Awesome Work about SEO.
    All the parts are great and yeah interesting too.
    Now I understand how to use SEO.
    A great article and that body part is most important in the blog/website. It has to be perfect.
    Thanks for this marvelous article.
    Regards,
    Sohil Memon.

  7. One thing that is also worth mentioning is that if you want to attract visitors coming from a certain keyword you need enough text on the landing page to give the search engine something to work with. This specifically applies to pages with little text (i.e. online shops or sites with many pictures). I have personally made the experience that this visibly improves the ranking of pages for specific long tail keywords.

  8. Excellent article. I agree I think many people these days focus too much on over optimizing for keywords instead of providing the visitor with high quality, relevant informative content on the chosen topic.

  9. Great Article Good Infomation always learning for with good SEO tips

  10. Great article. I think the order of your descriptions is relevant – write for humans first and then check it does the job for search engines. If you approach things the other way around your content will read so poorly and have terrible structure.

  11. I didn’t know about “Body Copy” before read this.
    Thanks for the article.
    I’ll learn it.
    :-)

  12. Thanks for this article. I already knew few of these things. What I have learned here is Word Combo. I will use it in the future. Thanks.

  13. Interesting! I never heard about the Your “scatter pattern” before. Thanks.

  14. Thanks for this article. I already knew few of these things. What I have learned here is Word Combo. I will use it in the future. Thanks.

  15. Another practice to write good content for SEO is to optimize the structure of the text by using H1, H2 anchor etc…

    Then puting some keyword in bold is also a good practice.

    Thanks for your article !

    Ben.

  16. I really enjoyed reading this article. I agress with Gary, write to the visitor first, and then look at the search engines.

  17. Great post. As google hounds on off-page SEO, on-page SEO and having great content becomes more and more important.

  18. Writing Body Copy For Search Engines is really important. If you don’t have any idea about this, you need to do a lot research about SEO related field. If you have limited time to do research, then you must seek for a help of an expert in this field.

    Thanks for this awesome article!

  19. Yea, instead of writing for humans, most of us are thrown to the worst situation of writing for bots

  20. Body copy needs to be well written for both SEO but also to convert visitors. You can’t ignore one or the other

  21. I Agree ! ! !
    I agree I think many people these days focus too much on over optimizing for keywords instead of providing the visitor with high quality, relevant informative content on the chosen topic.

  22. Great post Mariel, I want to talk about something important that you touched upon. You mentioned “Develop a consistent personality throughout your web site”, that is so true but an important part of that is to make sure that your website matches your brand. We brand each other every day on our social media sites and those brands, should match with our blogs.

  23. Interesting! I never heard about the Your “scatter pattern” before. Thanks.

  24. I am a blog and web content editor. I have a question regarding your last paragraph. Obviously no one thing is a deal breaker or maker but when you insist that each page should have one them — what do you recommend for the homepage? Most of my clients would have a summary of services on their homepage including their primary 2-4 keywords. Are you against this?

  25. I am a blog and web content editor. I have a question regarding your last paragraph. Obviously, no one thing is a deal breaker or maker but when you insist that each page should have one theme — what do you recommend for the homepage? Most of my clients would have a summary of services on their homepage including their primary 2-4 keywords. Are you against this?

  26. Interesting! I never heard about the Your “scatter pattern” before. Thanks.

  27. and one important thing… probably most important is to have unique content

  28. Hi
    When I am writing my articles I just write as I want it to come across – I don’t try and tweak it necessarily for the search engines by say having my keywords strategically placed. Maybe that isn’t the ‘right’ thing to do, but I like my articles to be authentic and I am dealing with very personal issues on Life, Love and Relationships to help others.

    If you take a look – feel free to leave a comment.

    Have a good day.

  29. The homepage should exist to help funnel people into whatever part of your site they are searching for. As far as SEO is concerned, you should make your brand or company name the primary keyword on the page. You can also work with 1-2 broader keywords on your homepage that describe exactly what you are offering. The homepage is not for content, so you are right, SEO is harder to work with. Make sure your homepage functions to help people find what they need first and foremost.

  30. @ Kendall
    The homepage should exist to help funnel people into whatever part of your site they are searching for. As far as SEO is concerned, you should make your brand or company name the primary keyword on the page. You can also work with 1-2 broader keywords on your homepage that describe exactly what you are offering. The homepage is not for content, so you are right, SEO is harder to work with. Make sure your homepage functions to help people find what they need first and foremost.

  31. Awesome post ! Shows very well that SEO has changed (so much) over the past years. Wording can be quite challenging, it’s always good to keep in mind major guideline, content is always king !

  32. Awesome post ! It’s quite true that Bot-oriented content can be annoying for users, natural-writing will become the rule in the future, I guess, and, ironically, we’ll end up writing for humans to please bots…

  33. Content is the key, definitly.
    The other parts are less important for sure.

  34. I sent my website around various friends and friends of friends etc and came back with varies interesting points on how the customer sees the website and how you the designer see’s it. The general public seem to scan read until they find what they want to read. I sell car detailing services and most people came back with there were no prices, which there was, I’ve now re-designed the site for the consumer

  35. Interesting! I never heard about the Your “scatter pattern” before. Thanks.

  36. and one important thing… probably most important is to have unique content

  37. Interesting! I never heard about the Your “scatter pattern” before. Thanks.

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Mariel is a GA certified analyst at FutureNow, Inc.

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