I-Search #128: SEO Copywriting Part One

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             "Understanding Internet Search Technology"
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Disa Johnson                                       SearchReturn
May 01, 2007                              SearchReturn Issue #128
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                   .....IN THIS DIGEST.....


             "SEO Copywriting, Part One"
                         ~ Heather Lloyd-Martin




==> SEO Copywriting, Part One

SearchReturn:  A number of our members have provided feedback
that interviews would be great and add value to the list.  The
first person we contacted for our interview series is Heather
Lloyd-Martin.  Thank you Heather!

Heather is credited with starting the discipline of Search
Engine Writing, a focus area of hers since the early days and
why we can rely on her for answers that reach from pertinent old
school to today's hottest tips.  In the next installment, we'll
reveal one of those hot tips that originated with Heather and
very few really have it.  In the meantime, enjoy!

If you'd like to throw your hat in the ring and be interviewed in
SearchReturn as part of our series, send an email request for an
interview using the following:


Interview with Heather Lloyd-Martin
Part One

1.  In the old days, we saw a lot of company websites launch with
what amounted to not much more than an online brochure.  In fact,
many simply took brochure creative work and duplicated it on the
Web.  I recall labeling such sites "brochureware," a phenomenon
that exists still today.

There are lots of things wrong with that approach including
completely missing out on search engine listings.  Forget search
engines for a moment.  I want to ask you about the important
differences in offline versus online writing style that
brochureware completely misses and if you see sites of today
making similar mistakes.

Answer:  Oh yeah, I see some of the same things with catalogers
who make the move to online.  They typically want their readers
to have the same experience as the offline catalog.  So, they
just take their catalog creative and upload it to the Web.  It
makes perfect sense from a branding perspective (as well as a
content creation perspective - they just have to write the
content once.)  From a search engine perspective, it doesn't

In the B2B space, companies may upload their brochure because
they don't have any copywriters on staff, or they aren't aware
how crucial SEO copywriting can be for their site rankings (and
conversions, too!).  For companies new to online copywriting,
they're often surprised that SEO copywriting can actually improve
their site conversions - it's not just about sticking keyphrases
into the copy.

Unfortunately, material that is written for brochures (or
catalogs) is not the kind of text that is optimized for search
engines at all.  Catalog copy, for example, is typically too
short, running 25-50 words per product description.  This
approach works great for print.  Chances are, though, the copy
doesn't contain any keywords.  And why would it?  It was
originally written for a print medium.

Sadly, without keywords, the text isn't leveraged for search
engine rankings.  And many times, the company isn't seeing the
natural positions they want.

2.  What are some specific things that make writing for search
engines stand out from writing for the Web?

Answer:  The main difference is that SEO copywriting weaves
keywords into direct response copywriting.  It's not stuffing a
page with keywords.  It's not about losing the conversion flow or
sacrificing the tone and feel.  It's simply about transforming
powerful marketing copy into copy that has a better chance of
positioning well.

"Regular" online copywriting certainly has a place.  For
instance, online direct response letters (the ones that are one
long, scrolling page) or lead response forms probably won't
benefit from SEO copywriting.  That is, a one-page site probably
won't position - and adding "extra" copy to a lead response form
may hurt conversions.

Even if SEO strategies wouldn't apply in these cases, folks would
still want to create a strong online copywriting strategy.  After
all, if you want to get people to buy a product - or give you
their email address - you have to build trust, demonstrate your
unique benefits and entice your prospects into taking your
desired conversion step.  And that's exactly what good
copywriting does.

Heather Lloyd-Martin
Chair Search Engine Marketing Council, The DMA
CEO SuccessWorks Intl.

Stay Tuned.

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