Copywriting for SEM – Keep the User Experience at the forefront of your Mind

Today, so many business owners and entrepreneurs are incredibly hung up on writing for search engine optimisation,  that their website ends up a terrible user experience.  As with many other things, there is a good and a better way to do things, but writing for Google as opposed to writing for your desired user is not going to win you any fans, or any sales.

 If you can keep this in mind, first and foremost, here are some good pointers when creating your web content.

I would suggest you first start by getting a feel for exactly what type of words users looking for your business use when they search.

For example, if you are a plumber, it would be useful to know if your potential customers search for, plumbing or plumber. You can do this by making use of a magnificent tool called Google Insights for Search. Log on to http://www.google.com/insights/search/#  and enter the first keyword you want to research (plumbing). You should select what to search (Web search), then choose your country, state and time period you want the search to cover. You can also choose which categories you want to search or you could select all categories. Hit enter and you’ll see a graph showing you exactly the number of times plumber has been requested as a key word in a search. Then do the same for the word plumber and compare the two.

 Apart from the obvious, you’ll be able to see industry trends. For instance, whether the industry you’re interested in increasing in search results or not. You’ll also be able to view predictions for the period ahead. This is all very powerful stuff that wasn’t available until recently.

 When writing content for your website, understand that it must be all about your keywords. Your content must be dense with keywords. But there is a skill to this as you also need to ensure that it isn’t overly complex, as this will put readers off and turn them away. It must remain useful, informative and interesting, without smacking of heavy-handed marketing. That’s not what most people want to see. They want useful or relevant information and not hype.

 One of the secrets to writing good web content is to keep it short and to the point. You must resist the temptation to write in essay style. Dot points work well, so too does lots of white space. Short and sharp is the name of the game because most people don’t want to spend hours looking at a Web page –  they want to dive in, get the information they want and then move on, ideally to another part of your website but possibly to another site altogether if they haven’t found what they are looking for.

Have you noticed that you tend to read in a different way online to other forms of media? If so, you’re not alone. Most people seem to have Attention Deficit Disorder on the Internet. They tend to scan more than read, and this is particularly more so with women. This is something you need to take into account when writing your content. You need to provide bite-sized pieces of information rather than every chapter and verse. Understand that at best you’ll only have around 5 seconds to impress your reader enough for them to arrive at a decision. It is during this 5 seconds that they are viewing your page that they’ll typically decide whether to click back or carry on looking at your site.  That’s really not a lot of time.

 You also need to factor into your understanding that approximately 50% of visitors to your site will bounce. This means they will check in, have a quick look around and bounce back out and onto the next page that their search turned up. We refer to this as the bounce rate.

 Once again, remember that the writing on your website needs to appeal to your readers, get your message across and keep them there long enough to buy from you.

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