by: Katie Hellmuth Martin
A very important activity when doing your SEO (search engine optimization) work to your website, is comparing how your website is ranking for a particular term, and whether or not you are getting enough page clicks for that position. If you are ranking page 1, #1 for a specific term that seems to be a popular term, are you getting loads of traffic from it? Or mediocre? If mediocre, then you may need to step up your copywriting.
For example: your website is ranking page 1, #1 for "how to paint over wooden panels". You are sure that this phrase is searched by a lot of people, and you may have used tools at SEOMoz to research it. But, you are only getting 10 hits a month for it. Compared with your other pages on your website, this is pretty low. What's the problem?
Bring in the copyeditor. The problem does not reside at the search engine. The search engine ranked your page the highest it can go. So who else is reading it? A human brain. A human is reading your page title, aka, what appears as the blue underlined sentance in most search engine results. There may be something about your title that is not catchy enough for the human, and they are skipping right over it, and clicking on the #2 or #5 position (yes, people do click on results other than #1).
Solution? Copywriting. You, or whoever is doing your SEO work for you, must get creative with writing, and come up with something catchier, yet retains the keywords that are already in the title, so as not to lose the ranked position. The slightest difference could make the +/- 400% difference:
"How to paint over wooden panels" may get the job done, but this line may finish the sale and get the click throughs:
"How to paint over wooden panels and increase your home value"
Or, consider this search result for "how to paint over wooden panels". Pictured below are the first two search results, #1 and #2. Which would you click on and why?
The second search result has more of the keywords from my original search, therefore I identify with it, and I'd most likely click on it. In this case, I'd click on the first result only if the page at www.ehow.com didn't answer my question. If I did that, then the website owners over at www.doityourself.com would see, if they were studying their website stats, that they got keyword traffic from my search term, "how to paint over wooden panels". They could then consider copyediting their "Paint Over Paneling for Brighter Decor" to include the word "Wood" or "How To". It is possible that with that simple change to that page title, they could claim the traffic they rightfully own from being in search position #1, and prevent someone like me from clicking on the #2 position instead!
Copywriting is key to successful SEO for your website. Just as a human brain will decide whether or not to click on your ranked position, a creative writer must also entice them to click on your website, out of the sea of other search results presented on the page.
As you evaluate SEO teams to conduct your search engine optimization for you, consider their writing skills as well, and ask to see headlines that they wrote that produced not only high rankings, but high click throughs.