Business-to-Business (B2B) copy with DM thinking and Consumer flair

Randall Rensch, Freelance copywriter

Marketing Communication Concepts and Copywriting • New York City • 718-577-0005

Randall Rensch, copywriter:
The SEO Copywriter's Checklist

Just so we're both starting on the same foot, here's what "Search Engine Optimization" means —
SEO is the process of making your website attractive to search sites, easy for them to list you, easy for people to find you, inducive to click-through when they do, and persuasively on-target when they arrive. Notice I said nothing about "keywords" or "ranking highly". That's just part of the "easy to find" part.
At its fullest, SEO is a multi-step, ongoing process that encompasses everything from your site's look and the form of its code, to what you say on each page and in all your site descriptions. At its simplest, SEO is a checklist of things you can add or modify in a relatively short time. SEO is a subset of Search Engine Marketing (SEM), which includes paid search listings and your overall marketing strategy. "Organic" SEO consists of things that are visible on your web pages and the underlying code, including some of the documents. Organic SEO takes awhile to accomplish, and awhile to work, but once done and successful, you can sit back and relax. Sort of.

This "top-line" version of my SEO Checklist tells what to do. The detailed version tells how. It's free. Get it now.

SEO techniques are constantly evolving, and although I keep up-to-date on them, I update this checklist only occasionally. So some current considerations may be missing here. But attention to all these points will take you a long way. They are in the order you should take them, but many can be done at the same time.

Another way to do all this is is simply to call or write an experienced SEO copywriter.

How're you doing now?
• Spot-check the major search engines and note how your site is doing.
• Don't over-use or misuse rank-checking automation.
• If it's working, don't "fix" it. Much.
• But do keep your site fresh and persuasive.

Do keywords research.
• Use your prospect's words, not just your own.

Free Trial at Wordtracker • Focus on phrases, not words.
• What keyphrases are most popular? Learn this at Wordtracker and Google. (Consider the Wordtracker offer at right.)
• What relevant keyphrases have less competition? (Wordtracker tells you this, too.)
• Use relevant keyphrases having a high popularity-to-competition ratio. (Wordtracker quantifies this for you.)
• Is NOBODY searching online in your category? Use other channels to market your site.

Mind your appearance and architecture
• Make your site visually attractive.
• Make your site's operation clear and highly usable.
• Is the your site's topic apparent at first glance?
• Are your filenames based on relevant keywords?
• Try to avoid frames. If you can't or don't want to, use appropriate workarounds
• Eliminate or deal with spider traps (e.g., dynamic URLs). Implement workarounds if necessary.
• Include a special Sitemap page for spiders. And a different site map page for people.
• Include a robots.txt file.
• Avoid delays and dead ends.
• Never say "under construction" on a live site.

Write clean overall code
• Put your indexable content as early as possible in the source code.
• Put heavy JavaScript and CSS code in external files.
• Minimize use of multiple nested tables and other complex page programming.
• Include spider-friendly navigation.
• Remember that spiders don't read images and generally don't read javascript. Some spiders may soon read text-based (not image-based) Flash.
• Include alternative text within <noscript> tags.

This "top-line" version of my SEO Checklist tells what to do. The detailed version tells how. It's free. Get it now.

Make use of codes ("Tags", "Attributes", Etc.)
• A unique Title tag for each page.
• A specific, compelling Description meta tag for each page.
• Keywords meta tag.
• Image "alt" attributes. (Also use them to sell.)
• Title attributes (don't confuse this with Title Tag).
• Headlines and headers.
• Use keywords as your links
• Use <a name=> Links.
• Table caption tags, if appropriate.
• Image captions, if appropriate.

Make the site keyword and content rich
• Build content.
• Have content throughout the site.
• Make it unique content.
• Keyword placement and frequency are important — not too little, nor too much.
• Be sure it's written VERY well. You should be conscious of the way you embed keywords, but your visitors shouldn't be aware of it at all. Make human visitors your first priority. Give them concise, highly readable web copy that quickly delivers what they were looking for, and lead them directly to the action you want most -- be it a sale, phone contact, email, a download, etc.

Avoid the unintended faux pas
• Avoid invisible text.
• Avoid teensy-weensy text.

Optimize your entire site.
• Optimize your interior pages.
• Give each page its own focus.

Manual submission.
• Submit to Search Engines and Directories. For each Directory, select your category and word your description carefully.
• Know what you submission software does, and keep it careful.
• Do not oversubmit.
• Some, including Google and Yahoo, accept site map submissions in certain formats.
• Plan Open Directory ( and Yahoo Directory carefully. Read ALL the instructions at ODP. Leave Yahoo till last, and only if you need it.

Link popularity
• Cultivate quality links and avoid garbage links.
• Write custom emails.
• Suggest the page you should be on, and if not self-evident, briefly explain why.
• Offer descriptions they can use.
• Ask them to link using a keyphrase of yours, but not the same one for every partner.
• Reciprocate conservatively. Don't water down your pages. If your site will really make the other one more valuable to its visitors, the site should want to link to you regardless.
• Links from Yahoo and Open Directory count bigtime.
• There are ways tools to search for sites compatible with yours, and which link to your competitors. Also try Ken Evoy's Value Exchange.
• Participate meaningfully in Web 2.0 communications — blogging, social networking, etc. (The value in this goes beyond just SEO.)

• Evaluate any server-side techniques you are using, for honesty and SEO compatibility.
• Don't delete or rename old pages that are well indexed. Instead update them, or politely redirect to the new one(s), manually or automatically (depends).
• Keep the site active. Re-upload various pages now and then, after making small revisions.
• Be sure pages appear quickly and without errors.

Do bridge pages/landing pages honestly
• Build bridge pages if/as needed, and give them true content.
• Evaluate Pay-Per-Click directory opportunties, and plan for clickthrough tracking.

Convert visitors into sales.
• Improved sales conversion often outweighs improved SEO performance.

Keep at it.
• Do it again.

This "top-line" version of my SEO Checklist tells what to do. The detailed version tells how. It's free. Get it now.

If you have a question about your SEO project, existing or planned, please write, or call me.

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