Post by Hayley Wolfcale, Copy Director
All components of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are important for a brand’s website ranking in the search engine results page (SERP), but one of the most important factors is the content implemented on each Web page. When searchers type in a query, they’re directed to the most accurate page based on their intent. By optimizing body copy to provide consumers with relevant information, brands can rank higher in the SERP.
So, how can brands optimize their body copy to be relevant and informative to rank on the first page?
- Keyword Research
Each page of content that brands either create or optimize should include their own set of keywords. By conducting appropriate keyword research, brands can understand what types of search queries are most common within their region and language. Brands should choose a primary keyword and a secondary keyword (when appropriate), with the primary keyword being used most often, and early on in the copy. These keywords should reflect the topic of the page, and they should be thoroughly researched for relevance, search volume and competition prior to usage.
Tools such as Google AdWords Keyword Planner can provide brands with knowledge surrounding keyword spikes in certain times of the year; this is specifically helpful for seasonal and/or holiday content.
- Brevity of Content
When brands implement copy on their page, they should be careful about including too much copy. Brands should intend to reach their audience without the over usage of keywords. While informational pages should be as long as necessary to convey the message, product pages and other types of content don’t necessarily have to have paragraph after paragraph of description and superlatives.
The copy should reflect the page’s product, service or informational purpose without adding additional “fluff.” The cleaner the page, the better. Why? If the page is too long, and filled with too much unnecessary information, it’s likely that consumers will leave the page and look for a simpler, to-the-point version elsewhere.
- Avoid Over-Optimizing
Brands should beware of over-optimizing a page’s body copy. Google takes notice to this type of action, especially if brands are placing too many of the same keyword, or versions of that keyword, in the copy. Doing this indicates that the copy is filled with a bunch of similar keywords so that it can rank, not so that it can provide consumers with relevant information. The ultimate end-goal of optimizing site copy is to have visitors come to that page, and hopefully continue along the purchasing path. If the content is stuffed with keywords and doesn’t make sense, consumers aren’t likely to purchase. What matters more are the conversion rates, not just the page views.
Recently, we were tasked with optimizing the body copy for one of our clients who was only interested in one conversion metric: getting visitors to sign up for a package of deals and samples. The sign-up page had very little copy and didn’t rank on the first page for any non-brand keywords, unlike competitors, which were holding court in the first and second positions.
We identified the most valuable non-brand keywords these competitors were using. Our client ranked in position 11, on the second page, for the primary keyword, “free [redacted] samples,” and didn’t rank at all on the first 100 pages of results for the secondary keyword, “free [redacted #2] samples.”
We provided META tags and body copy optimized for these keywords. The brief body copy edits were enough to rocket the client’s page to the top of the first page in a matter of weeks (the META tags were not implemented due to an oversight). The client now ranks #1 for the primary keyword and #2 for the secondary keyword. A month after the body copy optimizations went live, their conversion rate was up 36%.
In this instance, our body copy implementations alone were able to increase the client’s ranking. Of course, body copy isn’t the only factor that helps rankings for SEO, as leveraging META data, ALT image tags and links are also crucial to SEO value. It’s comforting to know, however, that in some cases even minimal changes can have an impact.