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March 14, 2012

Strategic Website Copywriting – Feel Your Online Pulse (Part 2) – A SPN Exclusive Article

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When it comes to all the issues surrounding website copywriting – such as search engine optimization (SEO); link building; and creating original, quality content – no single copywriter can hope to do justice to the number of options available. To ram home the point: for a website to see higher search engine rankings; generate respectable levels of visitor traffic; and benefit from effective landing pages that deliver high rates of sales conversions – a new strategic approach to online copywriting is called for.

Website copywriting is a broad term encompassing the content of a website page and the meta tags hidden in the HTML coding which are not visible to website visitors. It also includes those elements which generate inbound links back to the site and therefore improve the rankings of the various pages on a website. We’re talking here about things like articles, news releases, blog posts and so on, all of which link back directly to a specific website which could also be described as an ‘online hub’ for a particular company or organization.

To maximize the number of links going back to the central website (or hub), it’s important that the various ‘off -page’ copywriting activities are optimized with the necessary keywords to generate relevant links. The better the quality of the article, news release and so on – and the better they are promoted – the more links will be generated. Search engines see links as ‘votes of confidence’ in the perceived importance and quality of a web page. This will be rewarded accordingly with higher rankings on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

You will notice already that the range of copywriting skills required to write pieces as diverse as blogs, articles, social media posts, news releases and high quality web pages is immense. To maximize the impact of each of these ‘link generators’ calls for copywriting versatility of the highest order. To undertake this level of copywriting output on the scale required to impact on page rankings requires coordinated (and some might say, automated) activity that in many cases can be handled only by specialist copywriting agencies.

Whichever way you look at it, this is a strategic exercise in SEO copywriting. It doesn’t supplant mainstream SEO, but it does complement some of the essential link building activities that are central to SEO in 2012.

For SEO – Words ARE the Web!

Given that words are the warp and weft of the web, in order to succeed online it is no longer an option to look at each copywriting element in isolation. Online commerce, information services and corporate marketing are evolving at a phenomenal rate.

As we all know, Google is the dominant search engine that millions of people use to source the information they need online. The commercial imperative to rank highly on the SERPs pages has spawned a massive search engine optimization (SEO) industry dedicated to applying a range of techniques that are designed to meet Google’s criteria for providing the kind of high quality search experience its users expect.

Google is constantly refining its search ‘algorithms’ to continually improve the search experience it offers users; to keep competitors at bay; and to prevent black-hat SEO types from second-guessing its ranking procedures. As everything that Google does is strictly confidential, the SEO industry is in a perpetual state of flux in trying to assess which SEO techniques will deliver the best results on behalf of their clients.

This ongoing ‘dance’ means that SEO is permanently evolving – a situation which has become more frenzied and complicated with every passing year. Achieving Page One rankings on Google for important pages on their websites has become the Holy Grail for webmasters and their SEO cohorts. A first-page presence can be worth millions of dollars/pounds to those who can achieve it. It’s clear why these same organizations are prepared to spend big money on SEO experts who can help them achieve coveted top-table rankings.

In Case You Were Wondering

It just so happens that copywriting skills are a major part of these SEO activities. Over the past year (in the wake of Google’s ‘Panda Update’), copywriting and ‘content writing’ has become central to achieving higher online rankings.

That’s because Panda moved the goalposts when it came to ranking criteria and achieving ranking success on Google. The emphasis shifted away from keywords to providing users with ‘quality content’. That’s not to say that keywords are no longer important. They are. What appears to matter more now, however, is the number and quality of inbound links that specific web pages have attracted.

The challenge faced by most organizations is how to identify and co-ordinate the disparate copywriting tools that will help to achieve success. A major assumption here is that people within these organizations appreciate the scope and extent of what’s required, and how it can all be brought together in a systematic and strategic way.

On the face of it, this should be where SEO companies step in – and many do. They leverage the various types of online content that a company can generate (articles, press release and so on), often by making extensive use of SEO software.

Not only does this speed up the process of information dissemination. It also vastly increases the ‘reach’ or exposure of the content. The potential drawback here is that Google is ‘on the case’ when it comes to identifying duplicate content, as well as in preventing the illegitimate acquisition of links from dubious sources across the web.

Strategic copywriting specialists are probably better placed than most to focus on the range of copywriting skills that can be combined and leveraged in optimal ways. This involves a judicious mix of contained online submissions of articles and news releases. It can also include harnessing the power of re-purposing content for blogs, social media sites and much more.

Everything comes back to the organization’s central website or hub, and the rankings of its most important pages with search engines. This is where the profit resides, where the scope for influencing commercial outcomes is at its most intense. To use the term ‘website copywriting’ makes more sense than any other umbrella term because all other online activity is supplementary to the main event – namely, the company website.


Mike Beeson is a UK freelance copywriter, journalist and PR consultant specializing in website and SEO copywriting. Mike’s company, Buzzwords Limited, was established over 20 years ago and is located in Knutsford, Cheshire (south Manchester). For more information, visit: http://www.buzzwords.ltd.uk/website_copywriting.htm or e-mail open@buzzwords.ltd.uk

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