If you’ve been dabbling around in internet marketing long enough, you would definitely have come across this term Search Engine Optimisation or SEO. To summarise, it is a specific strategy to get a website ranking highly on the search engines (like Google or Yahoo) and attract natural, organic traffic.
Why do business owners value this particular sort of traffic you may ask?
Well, the answer is relatively simple actually.
Type any search phrase or “keyword” into Google and you will notice that there are 2 or more different types of results that appear.
Smack right at the top are a few listings with a small “AD” or “Sponsored” next to them. These types of results are the paid advertisement where an advertiser pays the search engine a certain rate depending on the industry for every click they receive.
Mind you, that is on a click basis.
To give you some context, an industry like plumbing with a cost per click (CPC) of $7 per click would expect to fork out about $7,000 to get 1,000 clicks or visitors to the website. And there’s no guarantee that these visitors would convert into a lead or much more, a paying customer.
Same Type of Traffic But at a Much Lower CPC
Given how quickly a company’s marketing budget could burst with a CPC strategy, more and more business owners choose to turn to SEO as their preferred alternative.
After all, the traffic source is essentially the same – both come from the search engines and from users who are specifically searching for a particular search phrase.
And even better… there’s no “AD” symbol next to these results as the results are appearing there organically based on certain formulas or algorithms determined by the search engines.
Here’s the bad news…
As amazing as organic search traffic sounds, there are several limitations especially for new entrepreneurs and business owners.
- It takes time for the search engines to decide to rank a site, on average a good quality content website could expect to take about 6-9 months before reaching page 1.
- For some sites, even with industry grade article writing, their sites may never reach the first page as their entire SEO strategy was wrong.
- Keeping up with SEO updates can get tiring as the expert opinions changes frequently while the people at Google continue to stay mum about the actual algorithm.
SEO Content as a Strategy
The one thing we’ve learnt from ranking websites over the years is… never chase after the updates. Whether it is a panda, penguin, hummingbird or another pet from Google’s algorithmic zoo, a well-structured SEO site should never need to chase after these updates.
You may hear some “experts” chime that SEO is dead because their websites lost their page 1 ranking after a Google shuffle… but in most cases, these sites were never properly designed to begin with.
Without disclosing our clients’ and our own websites, majority of the sites that we ranked have remained there despite the changes over the years. In fact, our founder’s website hasn’t been touched much yet has managed to retain its first page ranking since 2015.
That’s not to say it won’t ever lose its ranking, especially since we’re in the midst of attempting to outrank it :), but ultimately it all boils down to the strategy we deployed…
A solid SEO content strategy that gives the search engines a website they love.
Write for Humans First. Edit for Robots Later.
As simple as that sounds, most people get it wrong simply because they’re too focused on trying to rank their sites.
And let’s face it…
Even if by some miracle a website ranks quite highly, if it is difficult to read, no human visitor is going to stay for long. And that means your chances of getting a lead or more importantly, a sale is gone.
Which kinda defeats the purpose of even ranking a website to begin with now, doesn’t it.
Instead, whenever we plan a content strategy for clients, we’re thinking of stories and other content ideas that will entertain, educate, and elaborate our values and abilities to our readers.
Once we have our goals and objectives in place, we finally begin the “first step” of SEO… the keyword research.
Keyword Research – Uncovering what Your Prospects are Searching for Online
Go to any traditional business website in Singapore (if they even have one) and you’ll notice their sites are usually ranking for their company name.
Nothing wrong with that except… no one knows who that company is and therefore, will never ever think about searching that particular search phrase.
For us, we prefer to go where our audience is…
By uncovering the keywords they’re typing into Google’s search box and discovering which search words we should focus on. Thankfully, we don’t have to go in blind as Google is generous enough to provide some data on their users’ search queries and behaviour with their keyword planner tool. (You will need to advertise to get the full data though)
With a list of search terms, it gives us a better understanding of what our audience are looking for, how much traffic we can expect, and most importantly, how to structure our website and content strategy.
Bringing SEO Copywriting into the Mix
Just having an excel sheet of keywords isn’t enough when it comes to building a website that Google loves. We need to give meaning, and life, to these phrases.
That’s where SEO copywriting plays a somewhat critical role.
Some experts might tell you that the article or webpage format plays a huge role in ranking, while others might say keyword placement is key.
From our experience, we’ve found neither to be the Be All Or End All when it comes to writing an optimised article. Instead, we prefer to focus on providing quality content.
After all, like former head of Google’s webspam team Matt Cutts said…
Think about what a user is going to typeMatt Cutts, Administrator at U.S. Digital Services (USDS)
By providing the information or content your audience are searching for, your article or web page will naturally become the best resource the search engines want to display.
The rest, like layout or format are secondary as your content is the item that needs to shine.
But just so our writers have a systematic approach to deliver SEO content, we created a SEO content writing template to help them structure their work, which you could adopt as well.
Naturally, you might want to take it another step further by breaking down your content requirements into the best format or content type for the job.
Different SEO Content Types You should Consider Using
The truth is…
At its core, copywriting is about a writer putting a string of text together to form a meaningful set of words. However, what separates a mediocre content from a masterful sales piece is the content type and its purpose.
Here are some common content types:
- Articles: Possibly the most basic type of writing, an article content could come in the form of an interview, an editorial piece, or a feature article like those you would see in a newspaper or magazine.
- Blog Posts: Growing in popularity these days as more companies adopt content marketing as a part of their strategy, blog posts tend to be more conversational and casual as opposed to their traditional counterparts. Depending on the site, you may find a variety of formats such as Lists, Guides, Infographics, or even Slideshows.
- Directory Listings: More commonly used in the past, but since the introduction of Google’s Panda update in 2011, fewer companies create directory listing content as those sites tend to have poorer user experience. That said, many of these sites still have good traffic volume and are great for attracting potential customers.
- Product Description: A major part of any ecommerce website, many online shop owners rely on their manufacturers to provide content. As a result, their product pages contain the same generic product specs and details like every other store on the internet. A pity and a waste as these digital retail owners are leaving a valuable amount of search traffic by ignoring original content.
- Sales Pages: A surprise to many SEO and digital marketing experts, but a well optimised sales page can benefit from organic traffic as well. We like to tell clients, since you’re already paying and driving traffic to those pages… why not leverage on it and attract organic results as well.
- Videos: Finally, we have a medium most users are looking for today. Videos have the advantage of capturing a user’s attention fast as it is both visual and auditory. Plus, by hosting your video content on Youtube, you can tap onto the millions of visitors as another great source of traffic.
Regardless of the content type you choose for your business, ultimately, you want synergy between your articles.
Truth be told…
The actual writing isn’t as important so long as you’ve planned out the content direction you need for each article and how they come together as a group. Because once you do, you can easily outsource your article writing to a content service provider like us who can create quality content at an affordable rate.
What you do need to focus on is the actual SEO copywriting strategy…
Not on a per page basis, but as an overall content marketing strategy for your business for the long term.