Writing search-friendly copy.

Executive Summary: Writing search-friendly copy is essential to executives and advertisers. To time hungry professionals, having to read irrelevant copy is almost as nauseating as having to write it.  The simple techniques can be found in the following paragraph titles; The detail, by reading between the lines.

Google is like Sauron. It wants to find the ring.

If you go online, you’ll find countless articles on SEO optimization, but Google itself says SEO optimization is a waste of time and money. It’s based on the insane idea that some guy working in a dorm room can somehow outsmart Google’s algorithm. You don’t have to outsmart it. Google is looking for you!

Think of it as that person a company sends to the airport to pick you up.

He’s standing in front, alone, with a sign with your name on it. You see your name and walk to it. The sign is legible, large, easy to see and held by a non-threatening person. You take a glance and know exactly what he’s looking for. YOU! Search-friendly posts are just like that.

The most important ingredient? The title, of course.

Look at this post title, Writing search-friendly posts. This is the fourth time I am writing the words, search friendly posts. Google will see these words, as well as synonyms for the title words in the copy. Their purpose? To insure to their searchers that the title is what the article is about.

Now, put yourself back in the airport.

Not only is Google looking for you, but you are looking for Google. As you walk to baggage claim, you see several people, a priest, a political activist, a five-year-old child… none of these being your ride. This is how Google sees it. Not only do they want to find you, and you them, they want to exclude anyone that is NOT you.

So, when writing search-friendly copy (there’s that phrase again) be concise.

Don’t make Google weed through too many priests, Imams, political activists and 4-year-olds to find you. Keep your search-posts to the point.

That said, there are several structural things that enhance search-friendly copy.

My websites track data on seven search engines, Ask.com, Bing, Google, Quant, Baidu, Yahoo and Yandex. All seven. (and there are more) use the same title structure based on heading ranking. The headings are ranked one through six. Since I write on WordPress, these headings are pre-set. You just click on them. Search engines use these headings to determine relative importance of a title. Eg, in this blog, all of my paragraph headings are H3.

You can make your posts more search-friendly with links.

Years ago, it was thought that too many links will make your posts less search-friendly, but that’s no long the case. Why? Any scientific paper has dozens, and sometimes hundreds of links, as they document material that they are using from other people. So, use links.

But search-friendly copy has a link structure.

These links must be relevant, accurate and credible. Linking to Bogus-news-from-my-cousins-basement.com is not going to help you create searchable copy. Google looks at the links traffic and content to determine relevance. A Wikipedia article with 12 million views is credible, but so is a Harvard Business Review article with 20. It’s just common sense.

They also look at how you link to yourself.

If you are a professional and write copy for either advertising, sales or management (that can be public) it’s silly not to put it in a blog and link your own posts to it. Writing copy is time consuming and difficult. Not maximizing the reach is a waste of your energy and expertise.

Should you use keyword search to determine relevance?

It depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Most of my blog traffic does not get referred by search engines, but by Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and my email monthly releases, as well as shares from those sources. Search-friendly keywords are important for product sales and I would recommend that your marketing department spend a good deal of time on this.

Rory Sutherland once said, “A Dandelion is a flower without a marketing budget.”

This title has two components. A name, Rory Sutherland, the former CEO of Ogilvy and Mather, London and a joke. Both of these components add credibility and shares to writing search-friendly copy. Linking Rory’s name to his twitter account also helps.

What is the hierarchy of importance in search-friendly posts?

First and foremost, relevant copy. After that, structure. Things like pagination, sentence length, editing and word use. Using long sentences and difficult to understand words might make you appear smart, but an executive or business person pressed for time is going to blow it off. On the other hand, lists of irrelevant things, silly billets and simplistic topics are insulting to a reader.

And finally, a good idea is to use an editing program like Grammarly.

I’m not a salesman for Grammarly, but I use it. The free version is good for picking up typos and spelling mistakes.

To summarize, writing search-friendly copy is not difficult.  Just use proper structure and understand that Google is like Sauron. It’s trying to find you. And you are like the ring of power. You want to be found. Write concise copy and use the proper distribution channels and eventually, you will be.