How to Create Content That Ranks Well in Search Engines

SEO Copywriting 2.0Once upon a time, there was something called SEO copywriting.

These SEO copywriters seemed to have magical word skills that allowed them to place just the right keywords in just the right places and amounts, and even in the densities that were just right for miraculous top rankings. And that’s all you needed… or at least that’s what was (and still is) advertised.

There’s no doubt that keywords still matter, especially in titles. Search engines generally prefer to key in on the words people are looking for. But as SEO pro Rand Fishkin will tell you, “measurements like keyword density are useless, although general frequency can help rankings.”

Here’s the deal… most of what determines the ranking position of any particular page is due to what happens off the page, in the form of links from other sites. Getting those links naturally has become the hardest part of SEO, which is why 2006 saw the strong emergence of social media marketing as a way to attract links with compelling content.

That’s why any true SEO copywriter is simply a writer who has a knack for tuning in to the needs and desires of the target audience. And due to the pursuit of links, those needs and desires have to be nailed well before you’ll ever show up in the search engines.

As I’ve said before, the same emotional forces that prompt us to buy can also cause us to link, bookmark, vote, and retweet. The context is different, as are the nuances, but it’s still a matter of providing compelling benefits in the form of content.

“Ask yourself what creates value for your users,” sayeth Google. As those brainy engineers continue to diligently create better algorithms, combined with people-powered social media sharing and blog-driven links, copywriters with a flair for prompting link response and conversions will become vital members of any search engine marketing effort.

To me, optimization (at least of the white hat variety) is the page tweaking that can be done after you’ve managed to attract a healthy amount of quality links that demonstrate the value of the content. Little things can make a big difference when you’re trying to move from the third page of the Google results to the first, or from position 7 to 3, 2 or 1.

Of course the critical components of a search-friendly site should be in place. But beyond that, tweaking a page for higher rankings before you’ve established that the content is compelling to people is a little like putting on your prom dress to stay home alone and watch Desperate Housewives.

This is an excerpt from a free 28-page report called How to Create Content that Ranks Well in Search Engines. To get the whole story, head over to the SEO Copywriting Made Simple page to instantly download the full updated PDF.

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Comments

  1. I’m not sure if/when Matt Cutts chimes in with his “amen”, but I will — although the phrase “SEO copywriting/copywriter” still has some life yet.

  2. the phrase “SEO copywriting/copywriter” still has some life yet.

    No argument there, Roberta. Just a bit of semantics to make a point, and to also distinguish quality SEO copywriters like yourself from the many charlatans out there.

  3. “… to also distinguish quality SEO copywriters like yourself from the many charlatans out there.”

    I’ll give a big amen to that, too! :=)

  4. Wow.. I wrote a blog post not so long ago.. and popped here to read your blog..and hey presto…

    Proof of what are you talking about Brian..
    Mind me sharing it with you here?

    http://robsellen.com/2007/01/interesting-yet-suprisingand-ironic.html

    I was …suprised to say the least. ;)

    Thanks for that good timed post.

    Happy new year to you too.

    Rob

  5. Brian,

    Great post to start the new year, looking forward to the rest of the serie..

    When I read this statement:
    “That’s why any true SEO copywriter is simply a writer who has a knack for tuning in to the needs and desires of the target audience.”

    I immediately thought of:
    “pathos, the ability to connect with the emotions, desires, fears, and passions of the audience.”

    Coming of course from one of your previous posts, which set me of to really start blogging the right way (I hope)

    Thank you for reminding me what is that makes great content…

  6. I can vouch for what you’re saying! I blogged for fun till I found your blog Brian, then I got caught up in all the tweaks… and that left me, and my blog empty, then I started (and still am) tweaking the content. And I’m getting a few readers.

    slow and steady huh?

    My 2 cents indirect SEO tip… Read alot more than you post.

  7. Well, Seo has changed in the mean time along with the algorith of search engines, we have make a note of innovations at every point of time.Updation is one of the main characteristics of this field.

  8. SEO copywriting (I offer it to my clients, and they ask for it :-) ) I believe means writing the right thing about a product or a service. Now, you cannot make many people link to a page that talks about your plumbing services or filling machines (I know, I know, as a writer I would say this too can be done). You can actually get a good ranking if you do some SEO copywriting. Recently a company hired me to write “seo articles” and they’ve already begun appearing on the first page of Google and they are quite happy.

    Although I don’t under-estimate the importance of getting linked to, and I feel too that it should be a good gauge of how good your website is, I think this thing gets way too overhyped. In reality, what works is, relevant, focused writing. If your writing is focused, you automatically use the right words with right “density”.

  9. hallelujah!

  10. Content drives the Web. Always has and always will.

    Every trick in the book is out there, but at the end of the day create good content and they will come.

  11. Thank you for continuing to help all of us newbies! So much information, so little time though…

  12. “But beyond that, tweaking a page for higher rankings before you’ve established that the content is compelling to people is a little like putting on your prom dress to stay home alone and watch”

    I really like this metaphor! Of course, everything is a matter of goal, but this assumption is generally true

  13. Thanks for the grounding in reality Brian. You can’t run a marathon if your shoelaces aren’t tied.

  14. I totaly agree this is amazing

  15. Very good stuff . . . I’m putting together a post on excellent quotes from bloggers, and I used a line from this post.

  16. anyone have the formula for what is the right number of keywords you should use per page or is their a magical percentage?

  17. Quote

    “entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem”

    All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best.

    Don’t write anything…
    … unless you know the following:
    Exactly why you’re writing it.
    What you want to get across.
    Who is going to read it.

    Then, with this firmly set in your mind, write a first draft and don’t edit it until you’ve finished that section and any others that are closely related.
    Why not edit it as you go? Because you’ll end-up strangling it and twisting it out of shape – especially if you do it in isolation. First write it 100% naturally and make sure you get across what you wanted to say. Then begins the fun of editing!

  18. Great article! I can use all of the SEO advice I can get. I’m a newbie blogger who started in January 2008. Oh! Boy. I did not realize all the intricacies that go into blogging. Thank you for the advice. I am working on increasing my unique hits to my website and have been researching day and night on how to do that.

  19. As a copywriter I loved this post. It is always a great thing to refresh your knowledge of SEO practices. Even copywriters sometimes forget the need for good keyword density.

  20. This post makes a lot of sense on how to rank high on keywords like Zrii or Amalaki. I like the part about puting on a prom dress to just stay at home to watch desperate housewives.

  21. Social Media is a great way to get links, but it’s VERY time consuming.

    The best way to get links is hands down, through PR. If you offer something of value to this “cess pool” called the internet, you can get major media outlets to talk about you. Once they do, all the little blogs will pick it up.

  22. I watched a Youtube video about using every the power of creating back links through Youtube, HubPages, Squeedo, Tehcnoriti and the many other place that are available to us.

    After I saw it I began to build the social media buz around my site. It really works and does take some work but it is also a lot of fun and challanging.

  23. Write for people and you’re writing for search engines – this is very true.

    Gone are the keyword stuffing days – as search engines have evolved they have become more intelligent and in line with what people want to read.

    There are many SEO tricks out there, but if you stick to the fundamental principle of giving people compelling and interesting content, your efforts will succeed. Organic linking and search engine ranking will naturally follow on from this.

  24. Fantastic post. Bookmarked your site. Wish I was reading this stuff before starting my online merchant services business. Thank you for making this post simple to understand. There is so much to learn. Too much to learn. I know that I have to learn this stuff so that I don’t go bankrupt using adwords.

  25. Thank you very much! Let’s get to work.

  26. Many of the “write for people” camp will want to kill me, but I am still writing for the search engines (and especially for google) because that’s how I get my visitors (I am currently at around 50% organic, 40% referral, and 10% direct).
    Now, you will say that having 40% of referral traffic means I am being linked by satisfied readers, but that’s not right, 90% of this referring traffic comes from a single link I had posted myself as a comment in a popular blog in my niche!
    People who are looking for (in my case) barely know (most of them) what a website is, there is no chance they will link to me.

  27. Not long ago i had written a similar post (well almost!) but then working with some specific clients i realized that its easier said than done. i mean wat do you do with businesses that are so mundane and so usual that there is not much to make a COMPELLING copy!

    while there are other techniques but not so much with the content of the website. any ideas?

  28. Very Well Done. We see results with a marketing mix and fresh blog posts as well. Its all about the content and the delivery.

  29. Woa where did this blog come from. This is good stuff, especially for me trying to figure out how to make my blogs useful vs another grueling waste of time.

    Does anyone here try to book mark every post?

    Cool i just signed up for your email alerts.

    Good point on the emotional triggers to bookmarking and signing up for a list. It’s true. We may feel like we are ‘hyping all the time’ but if we want the results we need to trigger the emotions. A similar principle works in trading swings of the markets come to think of it where we want to enter at the emotional trigger points. Huh. I’ve gotta go write that down!
    Tony

  30. Interesting ideas, Roberta. It takes more than a WordPress install to make up a blog successful.

  31. very helpful comments. don’t you think that a good web design company is important to help keep a customer’s strategy and purpose in mind at all times? Its hard to do all that on your own. Content writing, along with the other 1000 things that must be done on a site can get overwhelming. I personally think every small business needs a good web company to help them through the process unless they have a huge in house staff of experts.

  32. Thanks for sharing. I’ve began applying a lot of this SEO stuff already. I’d like to know more details like how long before you can notice a significant difference in your SEO rank.

  33. Here are the questions we all need to answer if we hope to have effective websites or blogs:

    Who am I writing to?
    Which of their needs/challenges am I addressing/solving?
    What language do they use in talking about these?
    What response do I most want to elicit from them?

    Great article.

  34. This is a great article. SEO optimization truly lies in great copywriting. We had some similar findings.

  35. I Love your article. I Will learn more about SEO. well see how the results of increasing my website ranking. thanks.

  36. I never heard “social graph metrics”. What is this? I could not find infos in your pdf. I will google for it ;)

  37. Great article on creating content for search engines..like it :)

  38. Having a blogging pattern is very important to come up with good articles and this post tells exactly that! Cheers