How to improve your SEO (or "How to write for websites")

E-Strands Team - Monday, May 09, 2016

www.toruscopywriting.com

"Following on from my article "What is SEO and why businesses need to tune in?", once again I'm pitching this article to business or website owners who have a very limited knowledge of this subject in order to improve their online marketing. I'm not going to baffle you or presume you have any preconception of what's being discussed." Carl


"Hang up the jacket. Take it down. Put it on."


Maintaining a website can be a time consuming and soul destroying task for business owners. Many small business owners I've spoken to, quickly become disillusioned with the whole concept of online marketing. 

Why? Well usually because - 

  • there isn't a quick fix 
  • there's no visible and significant change to their search engine status. 
  • business owners lack the time or inclination to keep a website up-to-date. 
  • there's no suitable staff available to update the website.
  • there's no priority to improve the business website.
  • there's no revenue available to work on the website.
  • And most importantly - there's no obvious signs that it brought in new customers.


So what's the point?

Businesses who developed a website did so initially to promote their business. They recognised the advertising potential for their products or services online, so spent money on this. What they didn't consider was keeping the website active. Even if they did they quickly tired of it. They forgot the original purpose because they saw little reward.

What business owners rarely do is maintain and promote their website, thus rendering it - invisible.

The main reason your business has a website is so customers have a visual access to your wares and to attract new business. This is your showcase. Paying for a website, writing the content, overloading it with keywords and then forgetting about it is futile. Nay - damaging!

And consider this. Unintentionally, hanging your business out to dry in the depths of the internet wilderness can harm your business more than not having a website at all!


Nothing turns off online consumers more than an out-of-date website.

Consider your own behaviour and attitude when trawling the internet. When you're searching - particularly for locally supplied produce, or for specialist or bespoke services - how long do you remain on a website that's -

  • visually barren 
  • has broken links 
  • is woefully out-of-date
  • is badly written
  • is crammed with the same words
  • showing content irrelevant to that page
  • or is grammatically poor? 

How likely are you going to purchase from that company? It makes you wonder if the owner even read through the work representative of their company.


www.toruscopywriting.com

If your website content is poorly thought out, it informs the consumer that this is how you conduct your business. Your authority over what you do or what you're selling is questionable.

Business is a contract of trust. If your website has been neglected, badly written or inappropriately represented how can you expect potential customers to trust in your services?

Customers want to be wowed. They want a shop window that'll encourage them to walk in and look around. 


www.toruscopywriting.com

Writing IS the first lesson in SEO. 

Okay that's over 500 words and not a word about SEO? So what's going on here?!! 

Well what you have read so far, is indicative for creating good SEO

Whether you have an existing website or you're planning on creating your own, through template services (referred to as WYSIWYG- 'what you see is what you get' sites) or a professionally recognised web design company, your initial step to SEO should always be the same - 

GOOD CONTENT (capitalised, bold and in italics because it cannot be stressed enough).


How do I write good content that affects SEO?

Before you need to concern yourself with the elements of SEO such as keywords, key phrases, meta tags, H1 and H2 titles, alt image, descriptions, social media, back-links, directories and categories etc., you must concentrate on the basics. 

To achieve a good chance of a high ranking and online visibility right from the offset, it must begin with well thought out and informative content. Links, keywording and website activity is important, as is reviewing analytics and revising landing pages. But not yet!

Considering SEO elements when writing, will only harm your thought process and is like writing a book backwards. If you're not used to writing, particular for the internet, but are determined to write your own website content, my advice to you is this.

Write!


www.toruscopywriting.com


Sit down open up the notepad on your PC (or get a piece of paper and a pencil) and write about your business. No frills, no beginning, no format. Start with whatever is in your head regardless of what that topic covers. Don't worry about a start point or the ending. Find some quiet time and sit and write... and write...and write and don't stop. 


www.toruscopywriting.com

Why notepad and not Microsoft Word or direct to the website?

Well, if you write on a documented word processor such as Microsoft Word, the chances are you will continually stunt your progress. You'll either keep fiddling about with formatting or checking your spelling and grammar. 

Writing on a website dashboard also has the added worry of freezing or refreshing and not saving your progress. Plus one false move and you can mess up or lose everything!

Write unabated on a blank canvas. It will save you hours in editing if you leave it alone until you've finished.

Cover everything you do. Think about your topics. Depending on your business model, size and what you consider appropriate consider – 

  • What you do 
  • Where you work from 
  • Who your customers are 
  • What you produce
  • Your personal experiences
  • How you got into your work  
  • What your plans for the future are 

Keep it interesting and if your business isn't technical – don’t write technically.


www.toruscopywriting.com

Research competitors similar to your business.

Go to a search engine, preferably Google* and type in 2 - 4 keywords that you would expect to find your category of business under. These are keywords you should adopt within your own content. What other keywords and content is relevant to what you do?

DO NOT COPY THEIR WORK.

Do use relevant information to provide you with your own ideas and thoughts. When you've exhausted yourself - stop.

Once you have your first draft 'copy', move it by cutting and pasting it into a processor like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, etc. 

Now you can edit and format in preparation for your website. Grab portions of text and marry them with other parts that seemingly belong together. Consider your directories, sub-directories and how you wish to divide up your topics. From here you should be able to develop titles (Again, get examples elsewhere if it helps). 

(*See:http://www.torusdigitalmarketing.com/torus-blog/what-is-seo-and-why-businesses-need-to-tune-in)


www.toruscopywriting.com

Proof your work

Find up to three 'literate' people to proof read your work. Regardless of how good your English is you will miss errors and perspective. Remember this work will represent your business. How important is it to you? Can it be easily read and is it without error? 

(There's also a useful function on Microsoft Word called the Flesch readability score. Follow this link to find it. http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word-help/test-your-document-s-readability-HP010148506.aspx. Also see my Proof Reading page

As I continue with this series, the articles on this subject will progress. I will move onto tips, tricks and techniques and much more advanced SEO that'll help you rise up the search engine ranking system. In the meantime -


www.toruscopywriting.com

- Bear this in mind  

  • SERP (Search Engine Ranking Performance) dominance is not achieved overnight. In fact, you must accept that certain keywords used to achieve a high search engine ranking can take months to achieve. Being No.1 or even on page one is not guaranteed or always achieved. 
  • Google has made it markedly more difficult to rank highly, as they're focussing more on revenue through Adsense when populating top ranking than traffic and keywords.
  • Traffic could be misdirected onto your site and therefore not there to "do business" with you.
  • Your ranking is not the only reason for having an active and attractive website
  • Your goal should be an informative and readable website to assist existing and new customers, to enhance your reputation and to fulfil your own sense of achievement.

Links: http://www.torusdigitalmarketing.com/torus-blog/what-is-seo-and-why-businesses-need-to-tune-in

For more tips on writing try this blog: http://www.dailywritingtips.com/how-to-start-writing-when-you-dont-feel-like-it/


What is SEO and why businesses need to tune in?

E-Strands Team - Monday, May 09, 2016

SEO MEN - What is SEO? -TORUS Copywriting Services include Blogging and Social Media Networking

"What does the SEO stand for?"

This is the number one question I am asked whenever I am networking and when I'm discussing my work as an SEO Copywriter. The lack of understanding of SEO is actually much deeper than this. In truth most business owners who ask this question do not own a website and in some cases have no email address. This includes business owners who do use the internet and have personal email and use social media.

Explaining SEO can be a pointless conversation. Amazingly over 31% of businesses worldwide and  46% of the UK’s smallest businesses have no website in place. Of those surveyed, 41% agreed that a website could increase their sales but are put off by the time and cost involved. Even more surprising to me is that many experienced businesses that do own websites and do have an understanding of SEO, do not make the necessary edits to their content to ensure 'localised optimisation' is achieved. Let's face it what use is a plumber in Newcastle to an audience in New York or New Delhi.

Bearing this in mind I'm going to keep this very basic and am not going to bombard you with lots of information regarding HTML, algorithms and meta-tags etc. If you are reading this the chances are you are looking for the basics. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation (Optimization if you are in the US - I'll come back to this). In basic terms when you create a website, whether it is a one page brochure site or a multi-paged e-commerce website (an internet retail catalogue of products purchasable direct from the website) you would expect it to be visible to anyone who accesses the internet. However, with your website being one of 644,275,754 (and that was back in May with 30million+ new sites each month), how can you hope to achieve that.

SEO MEN - Top Dog! - TORUS Copywriting Services include Blogging and Social Media Networking

Your website in basic terms is a company brochure. It is the digital equivalent to the promotional publications and leaflets that you may put out about your business. However, the advantages are that your website is always available for viewing, can be constantly updated and can provide a much larger amount of content than a brochure could ever hope to achieve. An advertising space that remains constantly available. And yet like a brochure, it doesn't matter how glossy it is, how well presented it is or how sensational the images are if you aren't promoting it, if you aren't physically 'handing it out', your website will be the brochures you left collecting dust in the filing cabinet.

This is where SEO comes in. This is what SEO is all about. It is carrying out the necessary steps in order to increase your website's visibility through the 'search engines' amongst the millions of other sites out there. Search engines list specific websites in connection to related search terms being entered. Effective SEO of your website will see your website on the front page. This is vital if you want your site to be visible to your target audience. So here is an exercise for you. Go to any search engine of your choice and type in (a) What you do for a business (e.g. plumber) and (b) your home town. If you don't see your website listed keep scrolling until you reach page 10 and then come back here. I'll wait for you to get back.

SEO MEN - Teaching a lesson - TORUS Copywriting Services include Blogging and Social Media Networking

That very simple exercise is a perfect example of what your potential customers will do to find your business. If you are not on the first page of a search engine, your chances of being found are slim to none. The chart below illustrates that if you are the top website of a Google search then on balance over 40% of potential customers will go to you first. Being on page 3 therefore leaves you virtually invisible.

Percentages for SEO ranking with Google -TORUS Copywriting Services include Blogging and Social Media Networking

http://www.curve-interactive.com/what-is-it-worth-for-you-to-be-ranked-1-on-google/

There is also a very good reason to use Google search pages over and above all others. Below are two charts, one for the UK and one for the US, to provide you with a quick visual of Google's market share.

Market share of search engines for Google - TORUS Copywriting Services include Blogging and Social Media Networking

Google market share for search engines in US - TORUS Copywriting Services include Blogging and Social Media Networking

http://theeword.co.uk/seo-manchester/google_starts_2012_top_of_search_engine_market.html

So what is the second biggest question I am asked as a SEO Copywriter? "How do I improve my SEO?"

When you understand what your target audience's search engine preferences are, you can optimise your website content to concentrate on those 'keywords'. Note if your audience is international you also need to consider phrases and spelling therefore optimi "Z" ing becomes a real consideration. And don't think that swamping your content with keywords is a sure fire way of getting to the top of Google's search engine either. Google have a clever program that penalises this...

...but that's a whole different blog and one I'll be sharing in my next update on this series. Next time I will look at how to incease your visibility - and it 'ain't pretty'.

I will be providing links to other articles as I write them so stay tuned.

Credits:

http://news.netcraft.com/archives/2012/03/05/march-2012-web-server-survey.html

http://theeword.co.uk/seo-manchester/google_starts_2012_top_of_search_engine_market.html

http://www.curve-interactive.com/what-is-it-worth-for-you-to-be-ranked-1-on-google/