An SEO Copywriting Makeover - Turning “Not” Into “Hot”


by Karon Thackston

I recently took on a project for a Web site that sells gas logs that I thought would make an interesting case study. As many people ask me what goes through my mind when I write search engine optimized copy, I took this opportunity to make notes as I wrote. I'll now share that information with you so you can make the necessary changes to your own copy.

The site had a lot of potential, but in its current state the sales orientation of the index (home) page and the keyword saturation were causing less-than-stellar results for the client. My job was to rewrite the index page (from scratch) in order to boost SE rankings.

The Assessment

When I first viewed the index page of http://www.eiklorflames.com my first impression was one of curiosity. I wondered why certain approaches were taken. Rather than draw the site visitor in, it gave me the feeling of being pushed away. I also questioned the use of features and benefits on the page. While features were mentioned, they were conveyed through industry jargon with no explanations. (See the original copy at http://www.copywritingcourse.com/Eiklor/EiklorFlames.html.)

The product was great, the client obviously understood their target audience (proven from the target audience analysis they completed), and other pages within the site were well written - warm and inviting. However the index page needed some help in order to achieve higher sales percentages and search engine rankings.

When I visited Google to check on current search engine positioning for the site, I found Eiklor Flames at number 48. It would take an upward movement of 38 positions to get them into the coveted top 10. So, I set out to complete the task before me.

What To Do?

During projects where copy already exists I always like to take a mental tour of what's currently on the site before I begin to rewrite copy from scratch. As I reviewed Eiklor's current copy, I made the following notes of things I wanted to approach differently.

  1. Make the copy search engine compatible.
  2. Make the copy more inviting.
  3. Draw the visitor into the fireplace experience.
  4. Make the sale before sending them to the dealer.
  5. Don't just give features. . . give benefits, too.

How To Do It?

To implement the changes above, I worked with the copy in sections/phases.

1. Make the copy search engine compatible. This is always in the forefront of my mind when I write SEO copy. Because I want the keywords/phrases to appear in several strategic places, and throughout the body copy, I have to keep keywords in my mind the entire time I'm writing. For this project, the keywords/phrases were: gas logs, and fireplace. While the keyword research was done by an SEO firm, I agreed that only two or three keywords should be used. I'm of the opinion that when you try to work in five or six keywords/phrases per page, you lose your saturation and your focus.

To start, I always try to work a key phrase into the headline if at all possible. While it is not mandatory, you do get a few extra brownie points for having key phrases within header tags (<H_> tags).

Rather than the simple headline of "Gas Logs by Eiklor Flames" that previously existed, I wanted to use a benefit-oriented headline. While the subheads of "The Crème de la Crème of Gas Logs. The 'Standard' by which you can judge the rest" were not "bad" lines, they didn't actually tell me anything about gas logs.

Being unsure of the various personality types of all those that would come to the site, I had to write to accommodate everyone (as much as possible). Headlines that give benefits are always winners, so that strategy was a safe bet.

I also drew on my own experience as someone who owns gas logs. I thought back to how I went through the buying process. I remembered the information that was important from my buying experience and applied that to the copy and headline.

The new headline became: "Eiklor Flames' Gas Logs - Beautiful. . . Affordable. . . Energy Efficient."

It gives benefits, it speaks to the primary reasons people buy gas logs, and it includes the key phrase "gas logs."

The remaining items on my "to do" list include:

  1. Make the copy more inviting.
  2. Draw visitors into the fireplace experience.
  3. Don't just give features. . . give benefits, too.
  4. Make the sale before sending them to the dealer.

Make the Copy More Inviting and Draw Visitors Into the Fireplace Experience

The current copy actually only consisted of one short paragraph that basically instructed the visitors to imagine their homes with Eiklor gas logs, told them that this site couldn't give them the true experience of gas logs, and that they should visit their local dealer.

But I wanted to get the site visitors in the "mood" for gas logs. Even though they may not be able to fully experience the atmosphere created by a fireplace-lit room, I wanted them dreaming about it prior to leaving the site. I also wanted them to be sold on Eiklor gas logs *before* they went to their local dealers.

Fireplace dealers normally don't sell just one brand of gas logs. Before the customers went tromping off to dealers who might try to sell them a set of gas logs with a higher profit margin, or with a special dealer rebate, I wanted to be sure the site visitors would be so impressed they would purposely mention the Eiklor name.

The original copy is here:
http://www.copywritingcourse.com/Eiklor/EiklorFlames.html

The revised version (not formatted) can be viewed here:
http://www.copywritingcourse.com/Eiklor/EiklorFlames-Revision.doc

As you'll see, more emotion, more feeling, more of the personal experience of having a home with a fireplace is revealed in the new version. It connects better than the simple statement of "Imagine these gas logs in your home."

Don't Just Give Features. . . Give Benefits, Too and Make the Sale Before Sending Them to the Dealer

The next section of the copy has a two-fold purpose. One is to bolster the features of these logs with associated benefits so the site visitors better understand what they're getting. The second is to convince them that - once they visit their local retailers - they need to ask specifically for Eiklor Gas Logs.

The section with the bulleted list serves both purposes. By giving quick statements about both the features and benefits of these logs, I'm giving the visitors the opportunity to scan for what they need. I'm also quickly making points about the quality of these gas logs. Lastly, I'm answering the ever-important question "What's in it for me?"

The closing paragraph reiterates that Eiklor is considered one of the best and that the site visitors should go to the local dealer and see these logs for themselves.

Overall, the copy was greatly improved in both respects - search engine optimization and sales orientation. Now the page is fully prepared to bring in new visitors and turn a profit from them.



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About the Author

Most buying decisions are emotional. Your ad copy should be, too! Let Karon write targeted copy and ezine articles for you. Visit her site at http://www.marketingwords.com, subscribe to her free ezine at http://www.marketingwords.com/ezine.html, or learn to write your own powerful copy at http://www.copywritingcourse.com.




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