Website Copywriting Makes The Link With Content Marketing

‘COPYWRITING SHORTS’  #104 With ‘content marketing’ being the catch-all phrase of the moment, it’s hardly surprising that website copywriting is right up there, riding in the slipstream. As a highly experienced copywriter, creating ‘content’ is what I’ve always done.  The trick nowadays is to align your content with a meaningful marketing strategy – and therein lies the challenge. The optimal starting point has to be with your website.  This is the home of your online content, the hub to which everything else you do is linked.  The ‘content’ we’re talking about here includes what goes on your web pages, what goes into your blog, and what external content you choose to provide or engage with. These building blocks of your online content marketing strategy can be brought together brilliantly by social sharing on the sites of the usual suspects – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn et al.  In case you’re not sure, ‘social sharing’ has become the go-to skill-set for post-Hummingbird SEO. How your content marketing strategy dovetails with the totality of your online marketing activities is a topic for another post.  In the meantime, you can find an introduction to copywriting techniques for your website and SEO by visiting the following Buzzwords’ pages: Web copy: www.buzzwords.ltd.uk/website-copywriter SEO:... Read more...

Is Everyone On Holiday – EXCEPT YOU?!

It’s that seasonal thing – a bit like Christmas, but a lot less predictable.  When your key suppliers jet off to the sun (and don’t bother telling you!), that can be mighty frustrating. August of course is the peak period, when travel companies and ice-cream men double their prices.  Because they can.  Take a closer look and you might spot your printer sunning himself on a Greek beach, or your web designer licking lollies with his wife and kids in Cornwall. Yes, holidays are A GOOD THING – unless you’re the one left behind in rainy Blighty, tearing your hair out trying to find a photographer, copywriter or some other supplier who isn’t already booked up in the sunshine way. Speaking as a copywriter, I’m in the fortunate position of being able to take my holidays off-peak.  May in Marrakesh or September in Side aren’t packed to the gunnels with the August crowd – and the prices are more agreeable too. It also means I’m available for projects when the rest of the world and his wife have thrown caution to the wind.  That’s not to say there aren’t frustrations… Chief among these are projects being shelved or put on the back burner.  Admittedly, that’s looking down the opposite end of the telescope from clients left in the lurch by suppliers who are  ‘en vacances’ but I suppose summer holidays are a cross we all have to bear in our different ways – until it’s our turn for the airport taxi to come knocking! If your copywriter has gone AWOL – or you’re looking for some fresh copywriting inspiration... Read more...

Seismic Shifts In Search: Google’s ‘Land-Grab’ For Online Revenues

Website copywriting is something I’ve been doing for over ten years.  During that time, changes have been many and far-reaching.  The techniques that drive and define online ‘success’ today are vastly different to what they were, even two or three years ago. Anyone who follows this industry will know that Google has been exercising its SEO muscle.  They’ve been hard at work driving out the ‘black hat’ SEO merchants who’ve used every trick in the book to help their clients achieve top search engine rankings for the most lucrative keywords in their industry. To be fair to Google, I’d say their actions are long overdue.  On the other hand, a major flaw in the search engine’s modus operandi has always been that the companies which achieve top rankings on search page listings (SERPs) are not necessarily the best at what they do.  They are top of the pile because their SEO is better than the next man’s. An attempt to change that came with Google’s Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates to the many criteria that go into creating what they call their ‘algorithms’.  Unfortunately, in driving out the ‘black hat’ SEO people, Google has also made it difficult for those who play by the rules to implement workable techniques. Rich Promise One by one, Google has all but trashed the techniques which have hitherto delivered on their promise of higher rankings.  Examples include keyword placement in meta tags and on-page copy; link building; online PR – and many others. Aspects of these criteria are still valid of course.  Keywords will always have a degree of significance (or how else... Read more...

Are Synonyms the New SEO?

Until recently, keyword research had been about what DIFFERENTIATES the meaning of words.  Hence the SEO obsession with targeting long-tail keywords.  In the wake of Google’s algorithm updates – Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird – a new and more subtle approach may be needed to accommodate more clearly what UNITES the meaning of words… and thereby extend the DEPTH OF REACH of SEO copy. For more effective SEO copywriting, we should be looking at using keywords or phrases that are broadly synonymous – as semantic ‘alternatives’ rather than ‘options’.  This observation was prompted by a recent article on Wordtracker’s blog – but also by my own vast experience as a website and SEO copywriter. The difference between ‘alternative’ and ‘optional’ may not be immediately apparent, but consider this nugget from a 2011 Google patent (that was also quoted in the Wordtracker article): ‘A search query for a search engine may be improved by incorporating alternate terms … that are semantically similar to the terms of the search query.’ Now this can obviously be open to interpretation – especially what looks like the mis-use of the word ‘alternate’ – but here’s how I see it from a copywriting perspective… The best copywriting response to a ‘search query’ (as Google describes it) is obviously a keyword-based solution.  If Google then says that a specific search approach can be ‘improved’ by including ‘alternate terms’, it obviously places a totally different onus on the copywriting response! Setting language free… Long before Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird, I had often felt that optimising web pages for a narrow keyword range was somehow missing the point in... Read more...

Whither Website Copywriting?

Website copywriting has changed.  Most people in the industry would recognise that.  Although keywords still count for something in the great Google casino, the SEO emphasis has shifted to off-page link building when it comes to significant ranking criteria.  Keywords remain important for inclusion in headline and title tags (after all, the search engine robots need to use something when matching the words typed into a search query).  The function of keywords is now more about providing signposts along the way when it comes to setting out immediately what a web page is all about. There’s a world of difference between what pertains now and what the keywords ‘norm’ was as recently as 12 months ago.  Even to say ‘use keywords judiciously’ may be over-egging things as far as Google is concerned.  It’s now more about achieving a natural flow of copy in an informative piece that is highly focused around a central theme as hinted at in the title and headline tags. With omni-present social media sharing options featuring on most web pages nowadays, it suggests that web page copy should be written in a more engaging style that will encourage comment – more in the style of a blog post. The page content can be made even more attractive by using visual images such as photos and charts, videos, infographics and many other aspects of content marketing that people use nowadays.  One of the best exponents of this approach can be seen on the Social Media Examiner website where every page manages to combine multiple visuals in an interactive format. This isn’t necessarily revolutionary, simply because the... Read more...

After Website Copywriting – Think ‘Content’… and Think ‘SEO’

As a highly experienced website copywriter who’s written hundreds of websites for clients, it may come as a surprise when I say that very few want to follow-on with supporting content to boost their link building and SEO.  “We just want a brochure website,” is a typical cry.  “Our industry is too competitive to bother with SEO – it would be a waste of time and money,” is another common line. Oh dear!  These are wasted opportunities to dramatically improve the returns on what are often substantial investments in design and copywriting.  I do point out to them that a completed website is just the beginning of making a real impact with a business’ online marketing. In some cases, of course, the client has obviously pushed the boat out financially, so the last thing they want to talk about is spending more money – especially if it’s a regular monthly retainer fee. What many people don’t realise is that supporting content in the shape of articles, regular blog posts and online news releases (to name just a few!) are all skill-sets that fall within a website copywriter’s domain. Regular, well-written blog posts, for instance – on your own website or as a guest post on another site – will not only build up a regular following of readers who will keep returning to your website. The original and industry-relevant content will also provide Google with exactly the kind of quality content it needs for its search strategy.  This content will, in turn, be rewarded with higher rankings for the web pages and key phrases concerned. Surely, this is what investing in... Read more...