seo – How to Write Effective SEO Copy for Websites by Laurence James

January 31st, 2011

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All websites want to be listed at the top of the best known search engines. Website developers and business owners alike understand that an effective site involves more than simply spending time and money on a good design. The overall goal is to get visitors to the website and then make it ‘sticky’, using good, solid content to keep them there. In this context, design is only used as a tool to make the content visually appealing to the target audience.

Boosting a company’s web presence is a crucial aspect of any good marketing campaign, and search engine optimization (SEO) is how successful websites get visitors, and keep them. Search engine optimization is the art of striking a balance between the words and phrases visitors use in search engines when looking for information, with website content that is written to appeal to site visitors.

The first step in creating effective SEO copy is to determine what keywords or terms site visitors are using to find your website and/or your competition. By using tools such as Hitwise or the less expensive alternative, WordTracker, you can find common terms and phrases your content should be built around.

The top search engines, Google and Yahoo, also have their own useful tools for determining which keywords are being searched on, and how much traffic you can expect to get for certain keywords and phrases. It’s often best to be very specific when selecting your search terms too, choosing multiple word keyphrases instead of single words. For example, ‘SEO copywriting’ instead of just ‘copywriting’.

Once your keywords and/or keyphrases have been identified, the next step is to build effective copy around those terms. Building naturally flowing content around specific terms and phrases may take some getting use to, especially if the phrases are a bit awkward. Despite these limitations, try and produce quality sentences. The general rule of thumb is to always write the content that appeals to and caters to your site visitors, even if it’s not perfect for the engines.

Discovering which keywords your site visitors are looking for is the first step in writing SEO copy. Writing copy that motivates and interests your readers, while keeping focused on the purpose of the website (based on these terms) is next. Writing effective SEO copy takes time and practice, but the end result is a major boost in both your site’s appeal to visitors and its overall search engine rank.

About The Author

An English graduate from the University of Birmingham and professionally trained journalist at postgraduate level, Laurence James has been copywriting for over ten years. A Member of The Institute of Direct Marketing, he is also founder of The Copy Box –

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