Monday, February 7, 2011

How to Talk to a SEO Copywriter (complete with urban slang) by Erica Napoletano (Redhead Writing)

Erica Napoletano is a hoot and her blog, Redhead Writer, usually is ranting and raving on her own life but in this post, she talks about her SEO copywriting consulting practice. As bloggers, maybe we don't really focus on maximizing our SEO words and this may not be necessary if we write consistently and authentically on the same topics. But, if you want to write for companies who are doing this mostly for their Google rank, then this is the "ad agency" strategy. It's like anything in marketing: fancy jargon and matrix to do something that is pretty straight forward. Impress your friends (and clients) with this fancy stuff. Or just enjoy and thank the heavens that your blog is your own labor of love and you don't have to worry about this stuff (and we'll post on the some of the best SEO plugins for Wordpress to help you achieve your SEO goals later -- we're still trying them out).
Pragmatic Mom, , Education Matters. My blog is a mash up covering education, parenting and children's literature. 
Without using this matrix (or even worrying about key words), my blog comes up #2 and #3 in Google if you type in "Mom Blog" and "education." I come up #1 if you type in "Mom Blog," "Education" and "Boston." Case in point that you don't really have to screw with this matrix stuff if you are writing consistently on the same topics and with authenticity. Google your blog and see how you do just for fun!
geek writer seo copywriter

Given that a significant portion of my company’s project work is SEO copywriting, I thought it was high time I give you an inside scoop on how to talk to us. SEO copywriters may seem an alien breed to some, but we’re the geeks who are the perfect mix of literary and mathematical (yes, MATH) prowess that help get your online project found.
Found by whom? Well, people who can spend money with you, silly.
Most of our clients haven’t worked with an SEO copywriter before, and this means we go through an education phase. Today, you get to see what that looks like! I know, you’re excited (pom poms for everyone). I hope you enjoy the tour and that you see what Redhead Writing thinks it takes to deliver a successful SEO copywriting project.

Step One: Gather Up Yo Schiz (translation: bring something to the table)

Wanting to “spruce-up” your website copy isn’t enough of a reason to talk to an SEO copywriter. Here are the things we need when you come to talk to us about your project:
Site Architecture: This is either a flow chart, spreadsheet or bulletpointed list showing the Parent Pages and Subpages in your website. You can also think of this as your navigation.
site architecture
Why do SEO copywriters need this? Because we need to understand how many pages we’ll be writing copy for, which pages need to be optimized (as not all do) and…uh…because we can’t really wrap our heads around a project unless we see what it’s going to look like.
Keyword Research & Keyword Matrix: Oy vey and pass the Mylanta. No, this isn’t a movie starring Keanu Reeves and unless you’re an SEO specialist, this really isn’t something you want to jack with running and building yourself.
About Keyword Research: Quite simply, the results that you and I can get from Google’s Keyword Tool are okay. But what they don’t give you is a true picture of competition and popularity for each of the keywords you may consider targeting. A little green bar in the keyword tool shows Competition. Per Google, “The Competition column gives you a sense of how many advertisers are bidding for a particular keyword. This data can help you determine how competitive the ad placement is.” If you’re not going an Adwords campaign, I hope you see how useless that information is for web copy. Let a pro give you a report so you can make better decisions. And if you think it’s not worth the couple hundred bucks, see you on page 8 of the search results.
keyword research
WTF is a Keyword Matrix? It’s a map of your site made with words. (Fancy!) I’ve included a sample below. These can only be created (wait for it) after you’ve done your keyword research!
Why do SEO copywriters need a keyword matrix? Because we need to know which words to target on each page we’re writing and how the pages of your website need to talk to one another (in words). An internal linking strategy is a factor in search engine rankings for your website, so when we write, good SEO copywriters include a solid internal linking strategy for their clients.
Step One Redux: You’ve come to the table with your site architecture, keyword research and keyword matrix. An SEO copywriter can now get a complete picture of your project. For clients who come to us with only a site architecture, Redhead Writing also provides keyword research and matrix-building services. We added this in June of last year as it was more common than not that clients didn’t have this essential piece of the SEO copywriting puzzle.

Step Two: Gettin’ All Up in Yo Bidness (translation: discovery session)

Any SEO copywriter worth their salt will hold a discovery call with a new client. This is your chance to find out if the SEO copywriter you have in your sights has any bloody idea what they’re talking about.
But let’s go back for a minute: it’s my steadfast opinion that if you’re bidding out an SEO copywriting project and the company in question hasn’t asked you for the things in step one, run screaming. I simply can’t fathom how they can produce effective copy without those three things. Redhead Writing will not take SEO copywriting projects without seeing the research a keyword matrix was built on unless it comes from one of our referring SEO firms. Why? Because we don’t write for giggles. We write to produce results for our clients.
What should you expect from a discovery call? This is your opportunity to tell your SEO copywriter about your business. Your clients. Your industry vernacular. The tone you want to convey throughout your website. We’re geeks of just the right sort that, when you find the good ones in our herd, we’ll make your site visitors fall in love and stay on the page, digging deeper into your website and driving them to the desired action.
What should you be able to give your SEO copywriter on this call? Well, here’s what we ask OUR clients: for each page of your website, what are the THREE most desirable actions you’d like a site visitor to take? Those can be things from calling you, filling out a form, downloading something, making a purchase decision or clicking through to another page. But if you don’t know what you want your site visitors to do when they land, an SEO copywriter isn’t going to be able to create copy to produce the desired results.
Step Two Redux: Your discovery call is your chance to have home court advantage. Download on your SEO copywriter everything they need to have a solid grasp on the look, feel and tone of your project and company. Understand where you want site visitors to go on your site…what you want them to do. Finally, ask about time to first draft and the revisions process, what’s included in the project fee, etc.
These are the two most important steps to your SEO copywriting project’s success. Do your home work and help your copywriter understand your company and we’ll take it from there! We find it simple to quote a per-page rate that includes one rough and two rounds of revisions, with a change fee if the keywords change or a page is requested to be modified with more than 30% new content. And please – if you have questions, ask away. We won’t do your project for free, but we’ll help you ask better questions that will make your project, website and company an even greater online success!

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