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10 Things to Expect from Your SEO Copywriter

From the perspective of a business owner, webmaster,
or marketing manager, the change exhibited by the Internet
is profoundly exciting, yet profoundly disturbing. The
information (and misinformation and disinformation)
it offers, the business benefits it promises, and the
rules it is governed by change at such a rapid rate
that it’s almost impossible to keep up.


These changes have led to a growing appreciation of
the value of quality web copy. This appreciation has,
in turn, led to an influx of opportunistic ‘copywriters’
promoting themselves as website copywriters or SEO copywriters.
Don’t get me wrong, there are quite a few excellent
SEO copywriters out there, and you should definitely
shop around. The purpose of this article isn’t
to scare you; it’s to help you find the SEO copywriter
who’ll deliver honest service and excellent results.


So with that in mind, take a look at the following
ten tips. These are the things you have a right to expect
from anyone wearing a name badge that reads “website
copywriter”, “SEO copywriter”, “internet
copywriter”, or “web copywriter”…
(See also 10
Things to Expect From Your Website Copywriter
and
How
to Make the Most of Your Website Copywriter
.)


1) An understanding of SEO


Obviously, your SEO copywriter must have a solid understanding
of the essentials of Search Engine Optimization. They
must know that ranking is essentially the result of
a website’s relevance (i.e. keywords) and importance
(i.e. inbound links). There are a whole lot of other
factors involved, but if your SEO copywriter doesn’t
understand these two basics, you should look elsewhere.
If you’d like to ensure your SEO copywriter knows
a little more than just the basics, take a look at SEO
for CEOs
, Writing
SEO Copy
, SEO
Trade Secrets
, Web
Copy - How Much is Enough?
, and How
to Top Google by Writing Articles
for some clues
as to what you might like to ask in order to assess
their knowledge.


2) Proven experience


The proof is, as they say, in the pudding. It’s
not enough that your SEO copywriter can talk the talk;
they must also be able to walk the walk. Ask to see
some examples of websites for which they’ve obtained
some good rankings. Note that it may be very difficult
to find an SEO copywriter who has actually worked on
both keywords and link generation, so if you find one
who has, and they write well, snap ‘em up! They’ll
have a very broad and useful working knowledge of search
engines.


3) An understanding of how many keywords to use


You don’t want to fill every page up with every
keyword you’re targeting. This simply dilutes your
site’s relevance and reduces readability. Ask your
SEO copywriter how many keywords they would recommend
targeting on each page. Hopefully they’ll suggest
no more than 3, preferably 2. By targeting 2 keyword
phrases per page, you can use them a lot without impacting
readability.


4) Clear agreement on who will provide keywords


Someone needs to perform a keyword analysis in order
to figure out what words you should be trying to rank
highly for. Your SEO copywriter should be able to do
this for you, but it’s quite often more cost-effective
if someone a little closer to the business does it.
Either way, make sure your agreement with your SEO copywriter
makes it very clear who is performing this task. Don’t
assume the SEO copywriter is going to do it, because
they may assume you’re going to do it, and then
you’ll blow your budget.


5) Keywords or keyword phrases


Expect your SEO copywriter to offer some advice regarding
how specific you should be with your keywords. In most
industries, the competition for keywords is so fierce
that you’ll be forced to target very specific keywords
in order to rank – at least at the outset. For
instance, if you’re in IT, you probably wouldn’t
start out by targeting the keyword “IT”. The
competition is immense (at the time of writing, there
were approx 3,240,000,000 results for this search in
Google.com) and the IT giants already dominate the search
engines for this keyword. Instead, try using a more
specific keyword phrase like “IT infrastructure
consulting new york” (at the time of writing, there
were only around 4,000,000 results for this search in
Google.com). The other benefit to targeting more specific
keyword phrases is that you’ll generate more relevant
leads.


6) Agree on word count per page


Always make sure your SEO copywriter gives you an indication
of the number of words they expect to write per web
page. While it’s necessary to have a decent body
of words on most of your web pages, you certainly shouldn’t
have too many. What “too many” is all depends
on your industry, the objective of the page, and the
needs of your audience. It’s always a delicate
balance, but it’s certainly possible to rank highly
with only 100-200 words per page. So don’t be fooled
into paying for copy you don’t need!


7) Density targets & measure


SEO of a web page is NOT guess-work. A good SEO copywriter
will talk about density measures. This is a measure
of the number of time the keyword phrase appears on
the page. It’s expressed as a percentage of the
total word count of the page. So if your page has 200
words, and your keyword phrase appears 10 times, its
density is 5%. As a rule of thumb, your SEO copywriter
should be aiming for a density of approximately 5% for
your primary keyword phrase and 3-5% for your secondary
keyword phrase. If your density measures are much higher
than this, readability will be reduced, and you’ll
risk being perceived as spam by the search engines.
Make sure your SEO copywriter understands keyword density,
is prepared to state the target density for each keyword
phrase, and is also happy to be measured by that standard
(should you decide to measure).


8) Where to place keywords


The question of keyword placement has been the subject
of much debate amongst SEO copywriters. While it is
still unclear how much impact placement has, there is
a general consensus that it has SOME impact. Be sure
that your copywriter is aware of this impact. Popular
opinion has it that keywords are more effective if they
appear in headings, bolded text, links, and generally
toward the beginning of the page.


9) Some comment on structure & links


Websites are generally better indexed by search engines
if their spiders can traverse the entire site using
text links. This means your SEO copywriter should be
linking each page to every other page using text links.
If your site is complex, this may be impractical, so
your SEO copywriter will need to create a hierarchical
structure for your site. First, they should break your
subject material down into categories. Then for each
category, they should write a summary page. These summary
pages should be accessible from higher level pages via
text links. They should also be accessible from each
other. Each summary page should link – using text
links – to a number of pages discussing the finer
details of the category. And each detail page in a particular
category should link to every other detail page in that
category (once again, using text links). This way the
spiders are able to travel from the top of your hierarchy
to the bottom, and from left to right across any level.


10) Don’t believe grand promises


SEO copywriters can play a significant role in increasing
your search engine ranking. But they can’t do it
overnight. By optimizing your site for your target keyword
phrases, an SEO copywriter is simply declaring the relevance
of your site. If you engage an SEO copywriter to write
helpful articles containing a byline with a link back
to your site, you can then submit these articles for
publication on the Internet, and this will steadily
increase your ranking. But if an SEO copywriter tells
you they can dramatically increase your ranking in a
matter of hours or days, be wary. NOTE: Your SEO copywriter
should be able to submit your articles to various submit
sites on the Internet. These sites are closely watched
by hundreds of thousands of publishers of e-newsletters
and article pages from all around the world. High quality
articles are quickly snapped up and published prolifically.
And each time your article is published, you’ve
got another link back to your site, thus increasing
the importance of your site (to the search engines).
If you’d like to submit your own articles, your
SEO copywriter should be able to sell you a list of
50 or more submit sites for as little as USD$99.


Conclusion


An SEO copywriter is a valuable addition to your marketing
function. But you need to make sure you choose wisely.
When you know what questions to ask, the battle is half
won.


Happy hunting!


About the Author

* Glenn Murray is an advertising copywriter and heads copywriting studio Divine Write. He can be contacted on Sydney +612 4334 6222 or at glenn@divinewrite.com. Visit http://www.divinewrite.com for further details or more FREE articles.

Glenn Murray