Copywriting for the Web Becomes Easier When you Think Like a Spider
I’m just fascinated with the way search engines work. I am particularly pleased with the results I’ve achieved with this blog in such a short time. The inspiration for this post on copywriting for the web came from the search engine results I currently have for an article I posted last week.
That article serves as a great example of how effective copywriting and thinking of both your human visitors and robot visitors will get search engine rankings and site traffic.
The article was titled How to Maximize Search Engine Results (SERPs) and it is now ranked on the first page of Google. In this article I discussed the importance of page titles in getting top rankings. I guess it has proved itself by showing up on the first page.
Let’s dissect how I came up with that title and why I chose the words I did. First, I was inspired by the title from a comment I read at the Internet strategy club Facebook page. I also think it’s a question every web marketer or small business person has regarding their website or blog.
I’ve discovered that people who use search engines tend to ask questions instead of type in keywords. I think millions of dollars in TV ads from also ran search engine Ask Jeeves cemented this idea into people’s minds. Do you know what? It works! Questions work in any search engine, so I write accordingly. Web users don’t type in answers, they type in questions.
Are you ready for the great part? Now that we know how people search, we need to know how web robots or spiders search. They search by keywords. More importantly, they ignore short, common words like “and,” “the,” “I,” “how” and so forth. By writing my title using a question word – “how” – I can now get search results for a number of different questions typed in by humans and still rank well with the spiders.
Let’s look at some results –
For my page title How to Maximize Search Engine Results I’m ranking number nine as of this writing. Not too bad for a five day old article with 856,000 competitors. Now let’s think like a human and change up those pronouns. Type in “How do I Maximize Search Engine Results” and I’m still on the front page with position number ten and nearly 40,000 additional competitors. Pretty good!
I peppered that article with plenty of nouns like blog and website since SEO can apply to both types of sites. So it comes as no surprise I’m getting visitors from the very same article because of this keyphrase, “how to maximize blog search engine results.” There’s less competition on that phrase and I’m currently rankednumber two. If I change up the pronouns to, “how do you maximize blog search engine results,” the article is still ranked number three. Feel free to play around with different combinations to see how just changing a pronoun in the search will affect the rankings.
Some of you are probably wondering why I put “SERPs” in the title. Remember how yesterday I advised writers to use industry jargon in their articles, but be sure to define it with a link? My theory is either another web marketing company will find the article and link back to me, or they may want to hire me so I want to be well ranked for terms insiders use. How did that turn out? Pretty well! The phrase “how to maximize SERPs” is number two. “How do I Maximize SERPs,” is number one. This site should look quite authoritative to my peers and competitors.
Here are three more quick tips for copywriting for the web.
- Search spiders look for what’s first in setting a value for the search term. Your page titles and article content should reflect this.
- Keep that in mind when using plurals. A spider will usually think for instance that SERPs is the same as SERP.
- Subtly insert your article keyphrase within the body without appearing repetitive or overbearing. What’s the keyphrase I was going for in this article? You can answer in the comments.