Rob Stoubos, SEO Manager at ClickThrough, shares some important tips on writing good copy, with SEO and link building potential, for the web.

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When writing good SEO copy it is important to find a balance between incorporating your keyphrases and readability for your readership.  Visitors are more likely to stay on your website, redistribute or link to copy which is useful or informative.

With this in mind, I’ve put together some key do’s and don’t’s to consider when creating content for distribution on the web:

  • Keep in mind what search terms you want to include (or those most relevant to your business if you havn’t done extensive keyword research.
  • Before you set off on writing new content, find out if any pages on your site rank already in the SERPS for the search terms you want. You might be pleasantly surprised.
  • If you don’t have pages ranking for certain terms then you need to choose a relevant page to focus your attention upon. If you don’t have pages already that you can re-optimise to feature your target keywords then you will need to write additional new content.
  • When writing new content, or re-optimising content on your site, always write with the reader in mind. Although you need to ensure you use your target keywords in your copy, you need to make writing something interesting for your visitors the starting point for any copywriting – and remember that good website copy can be a great salesperson, 24/7.
  • Make sure that any content written reads well and isn’t spammy. Avoid overloading  it with your key words – including your keywords 2-4 times in a page of content can be enough.
  • Think about secondary related words to include. For example, if you are writing an article about broadband, include terms such as ‘internet’ and ‘web’ terms as well. Use the Google Wonder Wheel, Query Cat and ‘Search Related’ search words links at the bottom of search results to find out what other terms people use to search around a subject.
  • Make sure that you define your Titles, meta-descriptions and meta-keyword tags to reflect what the new/existing page is about.
  • It’s good practice to incorporate your keywords into the title of your article/web page. A good way to incorporate these is to create ‘How-to’, ‘5 tips’, ‘advantages of’ or ‘pros and cons’ content.
  • Try to incorporate good semantic mark-up – images with ALT tags, <H1>,<H2> headers with keywords etc.
  • Use anchor links (text links) which point to the web pages you want to rank on the search engines.
  • If you’re writing article content, include a footer with some information on your business, and keywords with links. If webmasters decide to include your article on their site, there is more chance they will keep the links pointing back to your website.

If you are writing content yourself, follow these tips to get the best results. If you work with an SEO agency or PR agency, make sure that they are considering these factors when advising on content for your website,  or for online distribution.

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About the author:

John Newton has 14 years of strategic marketing experience across Online Display, Search Marketing and TV and Outdoor Advertising, in companies which include Yahoo!, ITV and TNS Global. John has written on blog monetisation for Web Designer magazine and was the editor of ClickThrough’s two books. John is a CIM Chartered Marketer.