Are you currently thinking about investing in SEO copy for your website? Fantastic! You’re about to enter a whole new world of strategic online effectiveness. It’s exciting stuff.

SEO used to be a bit of a black art, with many businesses happy enough to take a ‘head in the sand’ approach. These days though, most site owners have some concept of SEO and recognise (albeit resignedly, in some cases) they need to optimise. After all, an un-optimised site is a site that’s leaving money on the table!

If you’re considering optimisation, you probably fall into one of these two groups:

#1: Your site is underperforming. Traffic is low and you’re ready for a content refresh; or

#2: You’re building a new site, and want to set up for success from the outset.

In both cases, there are two things you absolutely must do before throwing your hard-earned cash at an SEO copywriter (and they’re two things that many miss):

1. Get your technical ducks in a row

Google ranks your site by sending computer-generated robots (also known as ‘spiders’) out into the internet that find and read your content. But, if your site has technical issues, the bots might find a big menacing ‘NO ENTRY’ sign on your virtual front door. Sometimes these issues are easily fixed, others are more complex – and it depends a lot on the platform you’ve used to build your site. Some of the cheaper, DIY options can be problematic. Though, in saying that, you can also have issues with SEO-friendly platforms like WordPress. One of my clients had a WordPress site built by a reputable web developer, only to discover after launching that google was unable to index (i.e. read) the site. They went back to the developer who shrugged off all responsibility and left them completely in the lurch. A bit of research later, we discovered a simple checkbox in the backend of the site that disallows search engines from indexing. Surprise surprise, it was ticked. Luckily, in that instance, it was an easy fix (i.e. untick the box!). My point though: there’s no use forking out cash for optimised copy if it’s never going to be found by google. So, get your technical ducks in a row from the outset to ensure your new content can work its magic. Depending on your level of technical savvy, you might need a good web developer to conduct a quick technical audit and tidy up. But, it will be money well spent.

Feel free to shoot me an email if you’d like contact details for a great web dev.

2. Know your target market intimately

Many people get their priorities all mixed up when it comes to optimising their content. First things first, you need to choose the right keywords. This involves a fine balancing act: identifying keywords with good search volume (i.e. people are actually searching for them), that aren’t too competitive (i.e. avoid those that you don’t have a hope in hell of ranking for). But, there’s another crucial step before that that many miss. And that is thinking about who you’re targeting and what THEY’RE searching for. Instead of conducting research on a list of keywords you use to describe what you do (e.g. EB250 Whiz-Bang Carpet Steam Cleaner), think about what your target market is actually searching for (e.g. how to remove stains from carpet). See the difference? If you’re operating in a relatively mature market, you may find your ideal clients are searching product-based keywords – but it’s worth considering. And it all starts with an in-depth, thoroughly-considered profile of your ideal clients, their problem and how you can solve it for them (better than your competitors). Not sure how to do this? A good SEO copywriter will take you through a thorough briefing process that’s designed to extract and clarify your customer profile.

These two steps might seem relatively simple, but do them well and they’ll have a huge impact. Once they’re done, you’re ready to rock n roll, rest assured that any money you spend on SEO copy has the best possible chance of delivering a return. After all, that’s what it’s all about!

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