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A 3-Step SEO Copywriting Confession

December 8, 2010 By Kelly Watson
4
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Confession: I have inserted misspellings into my own writing.
 
I have rejected really good headlines and great lede sentences for mediocre ones that start with a keyword or phrase.
 
I have stifled the urge to delete redundancies. I've even added redundancies to get one more keyword into my writing.
 
For a former journalist, this is painful to admit. But for an SEO copywriter, it's all in a day's work.
 
Welcome To My Life
As an SEO copywriter, I often get lumped in with keyword spammers, blog content aggregators and overseas article writers. Even my husband hates the fact that I'm an SEO copywriter. Just yesterday he emailed me an accusatory note with a link to an irrelevant, ad-filled search result:
 
"WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS CRAP?"
 
To which I wrote, "SEO, as a result of top Web marketing companies, is said answer. So how we do achieve this goal? No. 1 Google search result to find more."
 
1. The Secret To Good SEO Copywriting
I'm one of the good guys. Unlike overseas content farms that start with a topic and surround it with as many words as possible, I start with my target audience. I research who they are, what interests them and what's causing them pain. Only when I understand this—when I understand THEM—do I start writing.
 
Sure, I inject keywords and phrases here and there. I make sure they appear in the headline, at the start of the first sentence, in subheads and scattered throughout the text. I also make sure those keywords appear in bold at least once, and in a link description or an image ALT tag.
 
SEO is the easy part. The hard part is capturing readers' attention with writing they actually want to read. In a medium that's notorious for being skimmed, I have to somehow hold that attention long enough to make a compelling pitch.
 
2. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
Joseph Sugarman, in "The Adweek Copywriting Handbook," calls this the slippery slide: "Every element must be so compelling that you find yourself falling down a slippery slide, unable to stop [reading] until you reach the end," he writes. "The sole purpose of the first sentence is to get prospects to read the second sentence, and the sole purpose of the second sentence is to get them to read the third and then the fourth—all while you are building a selling environment for the sale of your product." 
 

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<i>"Despite news to the contrary — especially from the social media space — reports of the death of email are greatly exaggerated. In fact, as your inboxes most likely show, email is growing and becoming even more sophisticated."</i> -- from <i>The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing</i> 

It's true. Email marketing is still going strong, and continues to be one of the most important factors in any marketing campaign. 

From the first six months of 2010 to the first six months of 2011 alone, there was a nearly 21 percent increase in email volume! The average number of emails received per day in the first six months of 2010 was 472, and during the first six months of 2011, the daily average increased to 571. Marketers are having success with their email campaigns and using it more and more.

That being the case, your email marketing campaign needs all the attention it can get, and knowing what works and what doesn't is the best way to start. That's where "The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing" comes in. 

The Guide is brought to you by the email marketing experts at DMIQ and their extensive research into one of the largest email campaign archives in the industry. On top of latest trends, it features 19 best practice chapters from today's email marketing thought leaders. You will learn how to create a relevant email program to nurture leads and drive sales, how to best use call-to-action visuals in your emails, and how to use social email to improve marketing effectiveness.

You’ll also learn:

•	Email Marketing Trends in 2011
•	Best Practices in Writing Subject Lines
•	The Strategy (and Tricks) for Improving Open Rate and Response
•	6 Tests to Improve Email Program Results
•	5 Best Practices for the Gangbusting Email Campaign
•	Best Practices for Improving Email Performance
•	6 Ways to Make Your Emails Mobile-Ready
•	Email Branding — The 16 Most Effective Strategies
•	11 Best Creative Practices for B-to-B Email Marketing
•	The Keys to Developing a Successful E-newsletter
•	How to Determine Your Customers’ Email Content Tolerance
•	How Email Marketers Can Optimize the Social Media Opportunity
•	…Just to name a few!

This comprehensive report also offers three in-depth case studies, so you can see practical examples of how these methods worked for real-life businesses. "The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing" is an essential tool for any business that ever sends an email. 

<b><u>100% Money-Back Guarantee</b></u>

Your order is risk-free. If you are not completely delighted with “The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing,” notify us within 30 days for a complete credit or refund, no questions asked.

<u>About DirectMarketingIQ</u>
The Research Division of the Target Marketing Group, DirectMarketingIQ (www.directmarketingiq.com) is the go-to resource for direct marketers. Publishing books, special reports, case study stockpiles and how-to guides, it opens up a new world for those who seek more information, more ideas and more success stories in order to boost their own marketing efforts. DirectMarketingIQ has unparalleled access to direct marketing data - including the world's most complete library of direct mail as well as a growing library of promotional emails across hundreds of categories - and proudly produces content from the most experienced editors and practitioners in the industry.

Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to read The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing, which is in PDF format. The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing

PDF FORMAT "Despite news to the contrary — especially from the social media space — reports of the death of email are greatly exaggerated. In fact, as your inboxes most likely show, email is growing and becoming even more sophisticated." -- from The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing It's true....

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(PDF Download)

Direct mail, email, mobile, social media, video, search ... the marketing landscape can either be a minefield where mistakes can kill campaigns, or a perfectly integrated mix of channels that maximizes the reach of the message and gives a nonprofit the best chance to capture more donor dollars.  

<b>In <i>"The Art & Science of Multichannel Fundraising" </i> from DirectMarketingIQ, the roadmap to that "perfectly integrated mix" is thoroughly laid out in over 130 pages -- <u>it's specifically created (and priced) for nonprofits</u>. </b>
  
First, 9 chapters from leading fundraisers give you the latest best practices in multichannel fundraising, including how to:  

• Choose the right channels for your campaign 
• Develop creative that works across multiple channels 
• Revitalize the direct mail component of your multichannel mix 
• Make sure email plays its increasingly important role perfectly 
• Seamlessly integrate mobile marketing into the fundraising campaign 
• Boost your online strategy with social media 
• Create a multichannel donor renewal campaign 
• Figure out that you're doing right — via testing and results measurement 
• Use all the pieces of the multichannel puzzle  

Second, in 8 robust case studies, find out the secrets behind multichannel fundraising campaigns that worked.

About DirectMarketingIQ
The Research Division of the Target Marketing Group, DirectMarketingIQ (www.directmarketingiq.com) is the marketers’ go-to resource. Publishing books, special reports, case studies and how-to-guides, it opens up a new world to those who seek more information, more ideas and more success stories in order to boost their own marketing efforts. DirectMarketingIQ has unparalleled access to direct marketing data – including the world’s most complete library of direct mail as well as a massive library of promotional emails across hundreds of categories – and producly produces content from the most experienced editors and practitioners in the industry.

<b>Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to read , The Art & Science of Multichannel Fundraising which is in PDF format.</b> The Art & Science of Multichannel Fundraising

(PDF Download) Direct mail, email, mobile, social media, video, search ... the marketing landscape can either be a minefield where mistakes can kill campaigns, or a perfectly integrated mix of channels that maximizes the reach of the message and gives a nonprofit the best chance to capture more donor dollars....

ORDER NOW

 

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MORE ON MARKETING STRATEGY >>

FROM THE BOOKSTORE

PDF FORMAT

<i>"Despite news to the contrary — especially from the social media space — reports of the death of email are greatly exaggerated. In fact, as your inboxes most likely show, email is growing and becoming even more sophisticated."</i> -- from <i>The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing</i> 

It's true. Email marketing is still going strong, and continues to be one of the most important factors in any marketing campaign. 

From the first six months of 2010 to the first six months of 2011 alone, there was a nearly 21 percent increase in email volume! The average number of emails received per day in the first six months of 2010 was 472, and during the first six months of 2011, the daily average increased to 571. Marketers are having success with their email campaigns and using it more and more.

That being the case, your email marketing campaign needs all the attention it can get, and knowing what works and what doesn't is the best way to start. That's where "The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing" comes in. 

The Guide is brought to you by the email marketing experts at DMIQ and their extensive research into one of the largest email campaign archives in the industry. On top of latest trends, it features 19 best practice chapters from today's email marketing thought leaders. You will learn how to create a relevant email program to nurture leads and drive sales, how to best use call-to-action visuals in your emails, and how to use social email to improve marketing effectiveness.

You’ll also learn:

•	Email Marketing Trends in 2011
•	Best Practices in Writing Subject Lines
•	The Strategy (and Tricks) for Improving Open Rate and Response
•	6 Tests to Improve Email Program Results
•	5 Best Practices for the Gangbusting Email Campaign
•	Best Practices for Improving Email Performance
•	6 Ways to Make Your Emails Mobile-Ready
•	Email Branding — The 16 Most Effective Strategies
•	11 Best Creative Practices for B-to-B Email Marketing
•	The Keys to Developing a Successful E-newsletter
•	How to Determine Your Customers’ Email Content Tolerance
•	How Email Marketers Can Optimize the Social Media Opportunity
•	…Just to name a few!

This comprehensive report also offers three in-depth case studies, so you can see practical examples of how these methods worked for real-life businesses. "The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing" is an essential tool for any business that ever sends an email. 

<b><u>100% Money-Back Guarantee</b></u>

Your order is risk-free. If you are not completely delighted with “The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing,” notify us within 30 days for a complete credit or refund, no questions asked.

<u>About DirectMarketingIQ</u>
The Research Division of the Target Marketing Group, DirectMarketingIQ (www.directmarketingiq.com) is the go-to resource for direct marketers. Publishing books, special reports, case study stockpiles and how-to guides, it opens up a new world for those who seek more information, more ideas and more success stories in order to boost their own marketing efforts. DirectMarketingIQ has unparalleled access to direct marketing data - including the world's most complete library of direct mail as well as a growing library of promotional emails across hundreds of categories - and proudly produces content from the most experienced editors and practitioners in the industry.

Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to read The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing, which is in PDF format. The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing

PDF FORMAT "Despite news to the contrary — especially from the social media space — reports of the death of email are greatly exaggerated. In fact, as your inboxes most likely show, email is growing and becoming even more sophisticated." -- from The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing It's true....

ORDER NOW

(PDF Download)

Direct mail, email, mobile, social media, video, search ... the marketing landscape can either be a minefield where mistakes can kill campaigns, or a perfectly integrated mix of channels that maximizes the reach of the message and gives a nonprofit the best chance to capture more donor dollars.  

<b>In <i>"The Art & Science of Multichannel Fundraising" </i> from DirectMarketingIQ, the roadmap to that "perfectly integrated mix" is thoroughly laid out in over 130 pages -- <u>it's specifically created (and priced) for nonprofits</u>. </b>
  
First, 9 chapters from leading fundraisers give you the latest best practices in multichannel fundraising, including how to:  

• Choose the right channels for your campaign 
• Develop creative that works across multiple channels 
• Revitalize the direct mail component of your multichannel mix 
• Make sure email plays its increasingly important role perfectly 
• Seamlessly integrate mobile marketing into the fundraising campaign 
• Boost your online strategy with social media 
• Create a multichannel donor renewal campaign 
• Figure out that you're doing right — via testing and results measurement 
• Use all the pieces of the multichannel puzzle  

Second, in 8 robust case studies, find out the secrets behind multichannel fundraising campaigns that worked.

About DirectMarketingIQ
The Research Division of the Target Marketing Group, DirectMarketingIQ (www.directmarketingiq.com) is the marketers’ go-to resource. Publishing books, special reports, case studies and how-to-guides, it opens up a new world to those who seek more information, more ideas and more success stories in order to boost their own marketing efforts. DirectMarketingIQ has unparalleled access to direct marketing data – including the world’s most complete library of direct mail as well as a massive library of promotional emails across hundreds of categories – and producly produces content from the most experienced editors and practitioners in the industry.

<b>Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to read , The Art & Science of Multichannel Fundraising which is in PDF format.</b> The Art & Science of Multichannel Fundraising

(PDF Download) Direct mail, email, mobile, social media, video, search ... the marketing landscape can either be a minefield where mistakes can kill campaigns, or a perfectly integrated mix of channels that maximizes the reach of the message and gives a nonprofit the best chance to capture more donor dollars....

ORDER NOW

 

SPONSORED CONTENT

MORE ON SEARCH >>

FROM THE BOOKSTORE

(PDF Download)

Direct mail, email, mobile, social media, video, search ... the marketing landscape can either be a minefield where mistakes can kill campaigns, or a perfectly integrated mix of channels that maximizes the reach of the message and gives a nonprofit the best chance to capture more donor dollars.  

<b>In <i>"The Art & Science of Multichannel Fundraising" </i> from DirectMarketingIQ, the roadmap to that "perfectly integrated mix" is thoroughly laid out in over 130 pages -- <u>it's specifically created (and priced) for nonprofits</u>. </b>
  
First, 9 chapters from leading fundraisers give you the latest best practices in multichannel fundraising, including how to:  

• Choose the right channels for your campaign 
• Develop creative that works across multiple channels 
• Revitalize the direct mail component of your multichannel mix 
• Make sure email plays its increasingly important role perfectly 
• Seamlessly integrate mobile marketing into the fundraising campaign 
• Boost your online strategy with social media 
• Create a multichannel donor renewal campaign 
• Figure out that you're doing right — via testing and results measurement 
• Use all the pieces of the multichannel puzzle  

Second, in 8 robust case studies, find out the secrets behind multichannel fundraising campaigns that worked.

About DirectMarketingIQ
The Research Division of the Target Marketing Group, DirectMarketingIQ (www.directmarketingiq.com) is the marketers’ go-to resource. Publishing books, special reports, case studies and how-to-guides, it opens up a new world to those who seek more information, more ideas and more success stories in order to boost their own marketing efforts. DirectMarketingIQ has unparalleled access to direct marketing data – including the world’s most complete library of direct mail as well as a massive library of promotional emails across hundreds of categories – and producly produces content from the most experienced editors and practitioners in the industry.

<b>Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to read , The Art & Science of Multichannel Fundraising which is in PDF format.</b> The Art & Science of Multichannel Fundraising

(PDF Download) Direct mail, email, mobile, social media, video, search ... the marketing landscape can either be a minefield where mistakes can kill campaigns, or a perfectly integrated mix of channels that maximizes the reach of the message and gives a nonprofit the best chance to capture more donor dollars....

ORDER NOW

 

COMMENTS

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Most Recent Comments:
Cindy Neky - Posted on December 08, 2010
Kelly, Love your sprinkling of keywords like Google, Lady Gaga, etc. Hilarious.

It gets tougher and tougher to do the right thing with online copywriting. Glad to see someone else sometimes finds it hard.
Amy Teeple - Posted on December 08, 2010
Thanks for this article Kelly!

I feel like I have to constantly explain why my rate (much more than a few dollars an article/page) is actually a cost savings/money maker compared to those "cheap SEO copywriters" - thought I'd throw you another keyword. ;-)

I agree with Heather, I do not like to include misspellings. However, if my client's name is something that is often spelled incorrectly (i.e. people search for Dr. Thom Smyth as "Dr. Tom Smith"), I might make a note somewhere - maybe lower on the sidebar - of the common name misspellings. I won't, however, purposely spell something incorrectly in the main text. That might just look sloppy.

Thanks again for a great article.
Heather Lloyd-Martin - Posted on December 08, 2010
Kelly, hi!

This is a great article. And you are SO right - SEO is really the easy part. The hard part is writing really good copy that converts. Thanks for writing it.

I did cringe a little bit when I read that you've "inserted misspellings" and "included redundancies just to get one more keyword into your writing."

I know what you mean - but there are others who may think, "Aha, I knew that SEO copy was just a bunch of misspelled keywords strung together." I just hope those folks read your great post a little further to really understand what SEO copywriting brings to the table.

(And I hope that your husband learns to love your SEO copywriting profession! :)

Pam Foster - Posted on December 08, 2010
Hi Kelly,
Thanks so much for explaining how SEO Copywriting is a masterful balance of keyword best practices and clear, customer-focused sales copy that triggers action. So few website owners value this balance until they see the results! As a Certified SEO Copywriter, I enjoy the fun mission of bringing clients around to that AHA! moment when it all comes together. To paraphrase a line from Eddie and The Cruisers: "We need each other man... keywords and sales copy."

Pam Foster www.ContentClear.com
Click here to view archived comments...
Archived Comments:
Cindy Neky - Posted on December 08, 2010
Kelly, Love your sprinkling of keywords like Google, Lady Gaga, etc. Hilarious.

It gets tougher and tougher to do the right thing with online copywriting. Glad to see someone else sometimes finds it hard.
Amy Teeple - Posted on December 08, 2010
Thanks for this article Kelly!

I feel like I have to constantly explain why my rate (much more than a few dollars an article/page) is actually a cost savings/money maker compared to those "cheap SEO copywriters" - thought I'd throw you another keyword. ;-)

I agree with Heather, I do not like to include misspellings. However, if my client's name is something that is often spelled incorrectly (i.e. people search for Dr. Thom Smyth as "Dr. Tom Smith"), I might make a note somewhere - maybe lower on the sidebar - of the common name misspellings. I won't, however, purposely spell something incorrectly in the main text. That might just look sloppy.

Thanks again for a great article.
Heather Lloyd-Martin - Posted on December 08, 2010
Kelly, hi!

This is a great article. And you are SO right - SEO is really the easy part. The hard part is writing really good copy that converts. Thanks for writing it.

I did cringe a little bit when I read that you've "inserted misspellings" and "included redundancies just to get one more keyword into your writing."

I know what you mean - but there are others who may think, "Aha, I knew that SEO copy was just a bunch of misspelled keywords strung together." I just hope those folks read your great post a little further to really understand what SEO copywriting brings to the table.

(And I hope that your husband learns to love your SEO copywriting profession! :)

Pam Foster - Posted on December 08, 2010
Hi Kelly,
Thanks so much for explaining how SEO Copywriting is a masterful balance of keyword best practices and clear, customer-focused sales copy that triggers action. So few website owners value this balance until they see the results! As a Certified SEO Copywriter, I enjoy the fun mission of bringing clients around to that AHA! moment when it all comes together. To paraphrase a line from Eddie and The Cruisers: "We need each other man... keywords and sales copy."

Pam Foster www.ContentClear.com