Rules, Regs, and Recommendations for Search Engine Copywriting

by Karon Thackston

Copywriting is a primary factor when it comes to achieving good search engine placement. However, many times all that is done is to include keywords in the tags of a page and to include a few keyword mentions. While not extremely difficult, writing for the engines is a little more complicated than that.

Know Your Keyphrases Before You Write

It is much easier to create search engine copywriting if you know which keyphrases you'll use before you begin to write. Going back and editing existing copy to achieve higher levels of keyword saturation is a challenging task that often ends in broken sentences, confusing statements, and copy that sounds stiff or forced.

If you know which keyphrases you're optimizing the page for, you can create a more complete plan of action.

Let the Phrases - and Your Audience - Dictate Your Direction

You simply *must* know your target audience before you begin writing. There's no way around it. It is virtually impossible to write copy that will persuade a site visitor to buy if you have no clue about his/her needs, wants, or problems.

Once you've taken time to investigate your preferred customer, stop and do a little brainstorming. What are your customers looking for? Can you offer solutions to their problems? As you ponder, keep your keywords fresh in your mind.

As you come up with solutions for your customers, phrase them around your keywords. It basically works as a puzzle. You know your target audience; you know your keywords; now put the two together to create compelling, search-engine-friendly copy.

Use Keyphrases in Your Headlines

Most search engines deem a headline as an important section of the copy. That means the text included in headlines (and sub-heads) carries extra weight.

When you create headlines for your copy, be sure to make them keyword rich. Also pay attention to the HTML code for your headlines. Making headlines bold and including them within <H1> or <H2> tags will help gain the attention of the engines.

The same holds true for sub-headlines. As you include additional sub-heads throughout your copy, pay attention to the bolding and coding for headline tags.

Include Keyphrases in Your Body Copy

As you begin to write, include keyphrases all the way through your body copy, not just in the first paragraph. For best results, focus your copy on only two or three primary keywords.

Let the keywords flow naturally as you write. . . don't try to force it. Describe your products or services using keywords, include keywords in photo or graphic captions, and use keywords in any tables or lists you create.

How often should you use keyphrases? There is a "3% guideline" that states 3% of your words should be keywords. However, this is JUST a guideline. Don't kill yourself to achieve a 3% ratio. Remember, your copy has to sell as well as attract the engines' attention. Don't ruin perfectly good copy by forcing keywords where they just don't fit.

By keeping these "rules, regs, and recommendations" of the search engine copywriting game in mind, you're sure to create copy that impresses both your visitors AND the engines.

Which specific words make *your* customers buy? Let Karon show you. Boost your sales and your search engine positioning by learning to write strategically created copy that hits a nerve and makes the sale. Get the details now at

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