Search Engine Guide: SEO Campaign Success Via Smart Copywriting

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It's time to seize control of your organic search engine optimization campaign. And you can - once you start building top content targeted toward how the engines "think."


Search engines want to serve relevant results to a searcher. And relevant, key-phrase-rich page content is a meaty part of the search engine algorithm (along with other factors, including quality inbound links.) If your main key phrases aren't intelligently positioned within your page text, you're not controlling what you can control with organic search and hobbling your chance for a top position.


If your site sells "women's cashmere sweaters," and those words aren't on the page (or they appear in a graphic, which the search engines can't "read"), how can an engine consider your page a relevant search result?


Sure, you may know that you're a fantastic cashmere sweater resource, but the engines can't make that top positioning call without help. That requires strong content. Even if you use paid inclusion with Yahoo (where you pay to guarantee that specific Web addresses are included in its organic index), that won't help your positioning. It simply means that your pages are included. You'll still need top-notch writing to gain positioning relevancy.


Want to boost your SEO success? Consider this checklist of smart-content best practices:


· Research your key phrases. Always. Wordtracker (www.wordtracker.com) is a great place to start the key-phrase research.


· Check that your content has around 250 words per page. Though it sounds like a hefty word count, 250 words seem to be the sweet spot with the engines. Also, customers crave in-depth information when they're researching products, and additional value-added content transforms your site into a valuable resource.


Want a great content-rich site example? The palmOne site (www. palmone.com) dedicates six meaty resource pages of reviews, features and product information to its Treo 650 smartphones. This detailed content also helps with positioning. The site typically positions in the top three for the phrase "Treo 650 smartphone."


· Focus on two to three key phrases per page, intelligently repeating them throughout the copy. Focusing on more key phrases may dilute your key-phrase effectiveness. Repeatedly focusing on just one phrase can be considered spam.


RadioShack's site also sells Treo 650 smartphones. However, the key phrase "Treo 650 smartphone" is nowhere on the product page. The result? The page doesn't position in the top 10 search results.


· Review your page titles. They're found on the blue bar above every Web page and also are the clickable link on the search engine results page. Titles are another crucial part of the positioning algorithm and should be key-phrase rich, compelling and unique for each page.


Think of titles like headlines, enticing people to click through to your site. For a great example, check out www.zappos.com. The site's titles are key-phrase rich, and the free-shipping benefit statement can't be beaten. Compare that to a title stating "Shoes - product page." What listing would you rather click?


Gaining top organic positions can be time consuming. And good content doesn't guarantee a No. 1 position. However, marketers can help control their success simply by understanding the importance that content plays and revising existing text to seize this algorithmic advantage.


For more articles from The Direct Marketer's Essential Guide to Search Engine Marketing, visit http://www.dmnews.com/cgi-bin/artcategory.cgi?category_id=22


A PDF of the guide is available at: http://www.dmnews.com/pdffiles/semguide.pdf


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