9 steps to successful SEO copy Website promoters know that most traffic comes from the search engines. They also know that two of the major factors that affect ranking in the engines are inbound links to one’s site and keywords. Significantly, these two factors work together: the keywords on your site tell search engines what your site is about, and the backlinks to your site tell them how important your site isThe combination of the two factors determine your relevance. And relevance is, of course, what the search engines are all about.

There’s been a lot of talk about HTML meta tags and their importance. It’s wise to view these meta tags almost as street signs, which is how the search engines look at them. Specifically, the keywords in the tags should match those in the copy or your site will not be indexed for those keywords. Of course, the engines also take into consideration how often the keywords are used on the page. You shouldn’t overuse keywords in your copy, but you should make sure that it at least contains them. The trick is to make your copy keyword rich but not to compromise readability. Readability is important to your visitors — after all, they are the ones who will buy your product or service.

Keep the following nine guidelines in mind and you will be better able to make the copy on your site appealing to both visitors and search engines.

1. Categorize your site

Keep the structure of your site in mind. If you structure your pages around certain benefits, it will be easier to categorize them by keyword. For example, if you have a site that sells handmade Macbook and iPad carrying cases, you could divide it into separate pages for Macs, iPads, iPhones and so on, then segment each section into the different models and capacities. This way, your narrowly focused pages will be able to target more specific keywords.

2. Find your keywords

Subscribe to www.wordtracker.com for a day, type in the key points of products you’ve identified on each page of your site, and analyze keywords your customers will use when they’re searching for your products. Naturally, these are the words you will want to use in your copy.

3. Use phrases rather than single words

Needless to say, there’s much more competition for single keywords than there are for longer key phrases. Research also shows that, as Internet users become more search savvy, they’re more likely to search for specific strings rather than individual words. They’re learning that they can find what they’re looking for much faster by being more specific. So think about what’s unique about your business. For example, if you sell handmade Macbook and iPad carrying cases, then use this as your primary keyword phrase. In this way you’ll have a better chance of ranking in the more targeted searches. WordTracker can help you find the most appropriate phrases.

4. Focus on the important phrases

Don’t try to include every possible keyword phrase that could relate to every page. Focus instead on one or two phrases per page. For example, for your Macbook cases page, you could focus on the phrase ” handmade Macbook carrying cases.” On your iPad cases page, focus on “handmade iPad cases.”

5. Get specific.

Don’t just say “our cases.” Instead, wherever you would normally use that phrase, use instead the phrase “our iPad carrying cases.” Be careful though. Never sacrifice readability for keyword placement or you will risk annoying your visitors.

6. Put your keyword phrases in your links.

Tie your pages together with text links so that the search engines will see that the pages are related. For example, on the bottom of your “handmade iPad carrying cases” you would include a text link to your “handmade Macbook carrying cases” page. You can also include a similar link within the body of the page. For example, “In addition to offering handmade iPad carrying cases, we also offer handmade Macbook carrying cases” with the relevant phrases being links.

7. Use key phrases in your headings.

As you probably know, headings help readers to scan your website, but they help the search engines too, since they assign more value to phrases that are marked with the heading tag. Therefore, be sure to include your key phrases in your headings as well.

8. Don’t worry about keyword density

This may seem surprising, but I do not think you should pay too much attention to the keyword density of your text. This is because concentrating on keyword density almost inevitably results in poor quality copy. Fortunately, if you follow the other tips in this article, obsessing over keyword density will be unnecessary.

9. Write, write, write!

This may seem obvious, but copy really is king! If writing is a chore for you, consider using a voice dictation program like Dragon Dictate for Mac or Dragon NaturallySpeaking for PC. This allows you to write just as quickly as you can speak. Of course, careful proofreading will be necessary, but this is true no matter how you create your content, and many people find dictating much easier and mor natural than speaking.

These guidelines will help to ensure good search engine optimization for your copy. The main thing you want to do is find a balance between copy that is written for the search engines and that which is written for your real human visitors. In the final analysis, the latter always takes precedence over the former.