SEO Content Strategy: Gain Big Results on Small Budget
Takeaway notes from a DMA virtual seminar. By Aliza Bornstein, copywriter, Melissa Data

Heather Lloyd-Martin of SuccessWork stressed the importance of SEO content strategy in an online seminar on June 23.

Why care about the importance of SEO content?
It’s not enough to just have content or stick key phrases in a copy. How text is written can have a tremendous impact on search positions and conversions. SEO copywriting combines traditional direct response copywriting with SEO principals. The main advantage is being able to control the content. Strong SEO copywriting = higher online profits.

General SEO content “rules.”
Use key phrases in headlines, sub-headlines, hyperlinks, and throughout the content of the article. Titles should capture attention the same way a headline would. Use 2-3 key phrases per page and longer copy. It’s a myth that SEO articles should be contained to a short paragraph. 250 words is a rule of thumb, but it also depends on the page content and template.

How to strategize content.
Depending on the page type, you can strategize using applicable key phrases. For example, applicable key phrases for product pages would be: brand keywords; category keywords; SKU’s; unique features. Subcategory pages would use brand and category keywords. Seasonal pages would use seasonal keywords. Article, FAQ, and blog pages would use brand and category keywords, in addition to research/consideration keywords.

Grab their attention with titles (titles are just like headlines).
Title structure is designed to get readers noticed. Headlines should be around 60 characters with spaces. Main key phrases should be included and the landing page should clearly be explained. The quality of writing should be focused and keyword-stuffed with content and benefit statements.

Leverage content opportunities.
If you can’t change your existing template then start a blog. If you need help with conversions, add customer reviews. Are your pages un-optimized? Rewrite or edit them for key phrases. If you don’t know how to do these things, hire a consultant for a strategic plan.

Copywriter—in-house or out-source?
This all depends on the style of writing of your copywriter. If your copywriter is writing sales-related copy, look for direct response copywriting experience. If your copywriter is writing informational copy, look for journalism experience. Either way, the writing—and how it flows on the page—is crucial. Don’t pay low dollar for bad writing!

Copywriting responsibilities.
A copywriter’s responsibilities include: key phrase research; developing per page key phrases; writing new content; editing existing content; developing an editorial calendar; liaison with SEO/SEM departments and IT.

Partnership—in-house or out-source?
There are reasons SEO articles aren’t completed in-house. Among them: not having a writing staff; no time to write; no editorial calendar; no clue on what you’re doing (how to create content, etc). The only real cons to outsourcing is finding the right firm that knows how you want your content to look and sound, and negotiating a fair price.

If you have existing writers on staff that have the time to complete SEO content development and training, stay in-house. Or, use your in-house writers to create the content and you can send key phrase editing to be outsourced. It’s okay to baby-step content and work on “bits” of your campaign over time.

SEO copywriting is more than sticking key phrases into content. A smart SEO copywriting campaign is a combination of smart direct response copywriting, a savvy customer-centered tone and feel, and choosing the right key phrases for the right target audience.

---Source: DMA virtual seminar June 23, 2009 ( Heather Lloyd-Martin is the CEO of SuccessWorks. Reach her at










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