Feb. 23, 2011. April 24, 2012. Aug. 20, 2013. Do you have any idea what happened on these dates in SEO history? Maybe not, but the impact of these three monumental changes have collectively ushered website owners into a new Google era. If you’re still writing SEO copy the way you did in 2010 or before, I can honestly say, you’re in trouble.
From the beginning of search engine time (around 1999), there has been one core SEO copywriting strategy: match the keyphrases searchers type into the Google query box exactly and put them on your Web pages.
“The more the better!” was the common cry of copywriters and do-it-yourself website owners and that worked fine… for a while. But, since the release of all the animals in the Google zoo (Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird), SEO copywriting has made a 180-degree shift.
For the last four years, the Google has been heavily pushing the limits of understanding natural language. Yes, you still need to use keyphrases when you write copy, but we’ve gone far beyond that now. The “balance” that SEO copywriters have always talked about has taken a hard dip down in favor of the customers/searchers. So much so, in fact, that those still using outdated keyword optimization strategies are probably seeing some decreased rankings at this point. Are you?
There have been a lot of adjustments thus far. We don’t have room to mention everything in a simple blog post, but here are the primary transformations that have taken place.
- Shoving keywords/phrases into every possible placeon your Web page or blog post should be replaced with using exact-match keyphrases sparingly. In place of the old method, use the individual keywords within the phrases throughout your copy.
- Write for customers with a sprinkling of keywords and phrases.Google does a much better job these days of understanding what pages are about with just a little nudge to point them in the right direction.
- Optimizing for keywords/phrases only is a thing of the past.With Google’s ability to relate copy and keywords to synonyms, they have become a vital part of SEO copywriting.
Who’s Doing What?
Here are some great examples of updated SEO copywriting.
RED Arrow = exact-match keyphrase
GREEN Arrow = use of individual word from keyphrase
BLACK Arrow = synonym
As you can see, this website uses the exact-match keyphrase “learn French” three times. The rest of the time it uses individual words (just French or just learn) plus synonyms.
The site above uses the exact-match, primary keyphrase twice (eco dry highlighter) then makes use of single keywords “highlighter” and “eco” on their own. In addition to the synonyms of “no plastics, no ink solvents and no volatile organic compounds” this page could have also used “earth-friendly” or “environmentally friendly” in the copy.
This bird feeder site did a good job with its wind spinner page. The phrase “animated dragonfly wind spinner” was used three times (I would have only used it twice myself). Then the words “dragonfly” and “spinner” were worked in. The synonym “décor” was added for good measure.
That gives you a few examples of how these basics are being successfully implemented. This is what Google is looking for these days as far as search engine content goes.
If you’re still using outdated SEO copywriting techniques, you could be harming your chances of ranking high. Unfortunately, this is a practice I see almost every day.
The process of getting your content up-to-date with the latest SEO copywriting techniques isn’t complicated or time-consuming. In fact, the more sophisticated Google’s algorithm becomes, the easier it is to write great keyword-optimized copy.
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