You might have noticed on our website that we have a section for the “obligatory SEO text.” Even though we’re poking a little bit of fun at the whole (overdone) concept of manipulating search engine results, the reality is that Google and its friends do want to see text on your business web pages before they send visitors your way.
In fact, as you may or may not already know, the writing on your website tends to be the most important factor in deciding whether customers are going to be able to locate you online or not. With that in mind, it’s critical that you understand a little bit about the text you need for search engine optimization, and how it fits into your overall marketing mix.
So what is and isn’t actually obligatory with SEO writing? Here’s what you need to know:
Text is important to search engines. As we mentioned, Google and the other major search engines like text. In fact, when they “crawl” your website, which involves having automated software programs see what it’s about. What they’re really looking for is word groupings, the number of times those words are used throughout the site, how relevant those words are to the search, and how relevant your site appears to be compared to other sites. They then catalog these results and share them with searchers in real time to try to find the best match.
Keywords matter. Basically, the keywords you hear search engine optimization specialists talking about so much amount to those terms that searchers look for most often when searching for your product, service or organization. In theory, the more of them you have on your page, the easier it is for search engines to tell what your site is about and bring new searchers to your pages. That concept is at the heart of most good SEO writing. However, those words must be relevant to the reader and relevant to your site.
Your text should look web-ready – both for search engines, and for readers. Nobody likes to see long, unbroken blocks of text on the page, which is why things like subheadings, bulleted points, and numbered lists are also popular on the Internet. Having lots of these makes your pages more attractive, but it’s also a good part of SEO writing, since those minor headings can have lots of important keywords.
In the end, it’s readers that matter most. Don’t let all of this talk about keywords and search engine optimization obscure the most important fact: that your mission is to appeal to buyers, not automated search engines. Although you do have to have traffic if you’re going to make sales, never get so involved with attracting visitors that you forget your pages should be designed to reach a marketing goal and convert those visitors into customers.
Write something great, and the search engines will catch up. Google and the other major search engines are getting better all the time at sniffing out “over-optimized” pages on the Internet. This isn’t just because they resent people trying to beat the system, but also because searchers don’t like to find pages with keywords randomly stuffed into every loose corner. Both the search engines, and the reader are looking for the most relevant content.
The net of all of this is that you should write something great for your business website – or have a professional Internet copywriter do it for you – and then let the search engines do the work. They’re getting better and better at matching up searches to destinations, and your real goal will always be to impress buyers, not find the magic formula for Google.
Want to learn more about SEO? Here are a few sites that have written great information on the subject as well as more Envision posts on SEO.
Newfangled: SEO Quick Tips
HubSpot: Comprehensive SEO Marketing Resources
5 Things That Search Engines and Customers Both Hate
A Forgotten Benefit of SEO Link Building