Posts tagged: copywriting

Copywriting for SEO, Social Media, and Charity Ducks

7 May 2015

Soap home page

Although I’m a content writer I’m also expected to lead Soap Media’s social media marketing campaigns and, naturally, I’m Copywriting for SEO – page rankings are always in mind. Some established Copywriters lament the new generation and complain about where the talent’s gone, but Copywriting with Google’s algorithms in mind is now the way of things, and content is primarily about SEO, keywords, and Call to Action (CTA) buttons.

It’s a complex time, and this is what I’ve learnt after four years of SEO, and following two months of The University of Salford’s Search and Social Media Marketing (SSMM) course…


SEO Checklists for Healthcare and B2B Websites

28 November 2013

How to Optimise Websites for Performance

In large B2B and public sector organisations, many managers face similar problems when running their websites.
They have a high level view about what a high performance website should be like. But the intricacies of SEO techniques are not for them. Give them detailed explanations plain English that will support their decision making. Then enjoy having a hand in building and maintaining a high performing website for your customer.

What is a high performing website?
Websites that perform well:
• Meet the needs of the people using them
• Achieve the business goals for which they were created.
The trick is to make sure that the website is optimised to meet both needs. Every page should provide a core message that people can find and understand.

SEO Checklist – the Basics

Below are some SEO basics to work on when domain and page authority need improving to meet your company’s standards.

Web Optimisation is For Your Users

First and foremost, focus on what people need rather than what the organisation needs. At the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust,  the website’s primary users are its patients, next of kin, family, close friends and medical professionals. These users seek information about:  symptoms, conditions, treatments, care, clinics, locations, facilities and consultants.  The website is being optimised by putting them first and focusing relentlessly on helping them to achieve their needs.

Website Performance Measures

When a CEO asks about website performance, what is the most useful information to give them? Forage through the masses of statistics on Google Analytics and come up with nuggets that tell managers what targets have been met. Check the all-important tracking code, set up goals on the pages where your primary users complete tasks and you’re good to go. Avinash Kaushik provides expert help directly through the Google Analytics help pages.

Keyword Research for Search Engine Optimisation

SEO revolves around keywords so do your research. Some keyword research sources are:
• Documents and files already published that focus on your key services
• Your customer service team (at the Royal Liverpool Hospitals this is the Patient and Liaison Service Team) for questions frequently asked
• Internal search engine statistics
• Google Webmaster Tools
• Google Analytics
• Introduce your manager to and show them comparisons between the links and keywords competitors are using.

Writing Optimised Web Content

An optimised web page contains a title tag, meta description, navigation links, tagged <H1> <H2> <H3> and images, headings, subheadings, hyperlinks within text and compelling copy.
Title tag
The title tag position is real estate on a web page and the first word is given the most importance. Use 6 to 15 words, or up to 70 characters including spaces, and make it unique.
Meta Description Tag
Although not rated by search engines, this helps people find what’s relevant to them. Write a meta description of 150 (250 maximum) characters of informative copy, unique to that page. Including a benefit encourages click through.

Optimising images

Label images with descriptive alt text that makes it relevant for people using screenreader software. This will meet W3C accessibility standards too. For example: new-royal-phase1-floorplan. Not: DMC31002.
PDF and document files
Use primary keywords for PDF and DOC file titles. For example: medical-education-newsletter.pdf

URL and File Structure

Write unique URLs with primary keywords. For example:

Compelling copy

Write one core message per page and cut anything superfluous.
Focus on the primary audience and the calls to action for each page.
Write the primary and secondary keywords in the first sentence of the first paragraph, two or three more times throughout the page and in the last sentence.
Page length should be between 200 and 400 words.
A good test: can your gran understand it?


Links hold everything together and are essential for rankings.
Write hyperlinks like this: More information on pain medicine
Not:     Click here for more information on pain medicine.
Links within text are rated more highly than lists of links.
Are all links correct? Check broken ones using the W3C link checker tool.
Redirect – 301s – permanently moved pages to avoid ‘page not found’ (404) errors.

Page Loading Times
Pages should load in 2-3 seconds. Test using Pingdom to investigate slow loading times.

Clean code
Use a W3C validator to check quality and highlight errors.

More Site Optimisation Checks – Beyond SEO
Site structure and the technical development of a website affects search engine ratings. Fix the above SEO basics then try some off-site optimisation for best results.
For more information, connect with me on twitter @sue_lister, on LinkedIn and Google+.

Sue Lister

Copywriting for Search – Get Your Copy Right, You Must

28 November 2013

SEO Copywriting – Why Content is King (and what you can do about it)

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Devious Webmasters, would-be marketers and sloppy content writers are blighting the World Wide Web with spammy content, underhand tactics and dubious links…

There was a time when the world of website content was a wild frontier, plagued with mean tricks that would get your site up the rankings quickly and easily, and while it might seem that online copy is leading a clean-cut existence nowadays, the dreaded Black Hatters and lazy content writers (think Darth Vader and Boba Fett) are still at it. So just how do you stay clear of the penalties handed out by the likes of algorithm update, Google Panda, and keep your site ranking well?

The web is made up of content – that’s what it is; a behemoth Smörgåsbord of files and folders full of documents, images, videos and so much more. So it stands to reason that in order to have a well-ranking website your content should be wholesome, good and honest (think Princess Leia and R2D2).

Google (and those other search engines we occasionally hear about) is becoming increasingly more attuned to the way in which content is written and, more importantly, how it is understood by the most technically advanced element of the internet, the humans. Content is still very much king (or, er, emperor?) and with the recent release of Google’s Hummingbird update ushering in the dawn of semantic search, that mantra isn’t looking like it will go away anytime soon. In fact it’s going to get increasingly harder for the bad guys to ‘outsmart’ the search engines as they dynamically learn the values and trademarks of well-written content.

Darth Vader's helmet

Definitely Black Hat

Princess Leia

A clean-living White Hatter

Images courtesy of LucasFilm and The Walt Disney Company

The Top 10 Steps to Better Content

Making significant gains in Google’s organic search listings needn’t be cloak and light-sabre (‘black hat’).  Follow these 10 steps to becoming a Content Jedi:

  1. Write for people first and worry about ‘bots’ later.
  2. Choose your keywords carefully and use them wisely.
  3. Don’t get SPAM-tastic – No-one likes a thorough keyword stuffing and Google seriously hates it!
  4. Mark up your page with a relevant structure (headings, sub-headings, bold text etc.)
  5. Better Meta – Help search engines to understand what’s going on with good meta data.
  6. Keep it interesting – Include some dynamic content such as images, videos, polls etc.
  7. Keep it relevant – Writing about red widgets? Then don’t try and sell me casinos and ladies of the night.
  8. Build some trust – Create links to and from relevantgenuine, trustworthy sites.
  9. Share it – Don’t wait around for people to accidentally trip over your shiny new content, tell the world.
  10. Tell Google – That’s right, you can let the boffins know too! Google Webmaster Tools is a great place to start.

For more tips or help with content writing, web design and online marketing please visit Outsrc Web Design and drop me a line.

Remember, the force is with you, mostly.