This is the first post in a series of articles on the topic ‘Writing for online’. The posts will guide you on how to think and how to create texts that will be found, read and shared. So, let’s start with the essence of any web text: the keywords.
Inbound is a marketing methodology that aims to provide answers and solutions to people’s questions and problems. To understand your own audience better, try developing personas. Those personalities will give you a better understanding of what words they likely type into their search queries.
Finding the right words to work with
There are several ways to perform keyword analysis, Google’s Keyword Planner and Moz provide some tools that are great to use, especially in combination with each other.
How to work with those in an efficient way would need a post on its own so I will not dig into that this time. Instead, I will presume that you have your analysis in place, with your keywords assorted into topics. And that your findings reveals what words are worth your focus based on search frequencies, difficulty scores and, of course, on your personas.
There is no such thing as ‘one’ Google (or Yandex or Baidu) anymore
Before we go in to the details of how to compose appealing content it is important to mention that search results are individual. Those are based on your browser’s cookie record i.e. your queries and your page history, plus several other personal aspects.
Consequently it is impossible to claim that ranking on the first search engine result page (SERP) is guaranteed. Subsequently individual keyword rankings are no longer a good measure of your optimisation efforts.
‘SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a webpage in a search engine's natural or un-paid (organic) search results.’
Yet, organic search engine optimisaton (SEO) matters. Just look at the evaluation of the UK search landscape. It shows that 94%—the vast majority—of 1.8 billion successful search queries, chooses to click on the natural results instead of the paid results.
Still, you do want your pages to top-rank whenever those are relevant to your personas.
So, how does Google work?
Much of what determines the ranking position of any particular page is due to what happens off that page. That is for example how many outside domains are linking to that page, how many times that page is shared and liked on offsite communities (a.k.a. social media), and so on.
On-page SEO is actually only impacting your ranking with about 15%. Still, it is your content that will boost your off-page SEO in the long run…
Google ranks webpages based on two primarily factors:
- That the page really discusses the subject a user search for.
- That the site is frequently updated.
- That other people trust the site: that users visit it, find value in its content and reference the content as authoritative (i.e. share the specific page and create inbound links.
On-page and off-page optimisation
Let’s take a closer look at what this means. The factors that determine how a page ranks in search engines are based on the page itself—and the things that happen off that page.
The on-page ranking factors are the elements that are under your direct control:
The off-page ranking factors are the elements that are influenced by others—and the factors that mainly matter to Google (as those reflect the experience of that specific page):
- Quality .coms / .xxs
- Hypertext / text links
- Reputation of individuals
- Country / locality
- Social (favoured by friends)
‘Put simply: if your content isn’t good enough to attract good, natural links, it doesn’t matter how “optimised” that content is.’
Search optimised copywriting in 2016
Finally, time for content creation. Fundamentally, search engine optimisation is no longer what it used to be. Repeating keyword phrases in a certain frequency is history, new is the benefits of working with synonyms.
A good start is to pick a topic and decide which keywords, synonyms and related words you want to use for your text. Write a synopsis from the questions you want to answer and use the terms that your target audience types into the search field.
Remember that we search for solutions to our problems, or for information about things. Today we actually complete 57% of the buying process through googling; and this states the importance of providing relevant information online.
A good text doesn’t repeat words, it varies them. And search engines like what we users like. Nowadays, major players like Google and Bing even incorporate elements of semantic search.
Composing texts upon your primary keyword as well as its relevant synonyms will make reading dynamic and interesting. It will help Google understand what you are talking about. And it will increase the size of your clout; if your text contains the words people search for—and is written in a compelling fashion—it will be:
Would you like more advices on how to give your website the best prerequisites for being found, read and shared?
The next post in this series will guide you on how to structure online texts so that those facilitate reading—and make the visitor read further…