Saturday, March 29, 2008

Applying Web Copywriting Tips

Since I started writing for web, I surfed a lot to find good Web Copywriting Resources. I looked for tips, suggestions and techniques on the internet. I found quite a few and always kept those in mind while writing for web.

Unfortunately, sometimes it becomes so difficult to develop content maintaining all the standards. Here is a catch 22 that I have experienced:

Good copy writers always suggest to write in short. They say to proofread your copy again and again to find out if you can cut some unwanted words and make the content smaller and precise.

At the same time, there are clients who ask web content writers to write 600 word articles and they are very strict at word count. Writers are paid on the basis of word count only! I find it really painful. When the subject does not demand more, why should I write a lengthy article?

Hence, I have to compromise with the standards. I cannot apply the web 2.0 copywriting techniques as I need to meet the word limit! It hurts!

But, last week I got the chance to write for my company’s website. And I applied all the content writing standards:

  • I wrote just as much as needed, did not care about word count
  • Did proper keyword research and put related phrases in the copy
  • Added bulleted lists to make it easy for the readers
  • Added proper headings
  • Innovated some catchy phrases
  • Proofread the copy again and again to cut unnecessary words

I was really happy with this work. I am sure that not only the readers, but search engines would rate the page high. It will take no time to appear in the SERP as soon as the page goes live.

But some webmasters and web businessmen still follow the older notions. They believe that more content you put on your page, higher is the chance to get a rank. They impose the idea on content writers when it comes to write articles, press releases or web pages. As a result, a lot of garbage dumps on the internet. I really don’t know where we are heading; I am searching for a solution, if you have got any, do comment here.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

It’s all about the right word

Internet stores and retrieves information in Text format. All the Search Engines are Text-based. Even Image or Video Searching processes rely on text used in the title of the image or video file.

Thus when you decide to sell a product on the internet, it is really important to identify the word or phrase used by most searchers who intend to buy the product. Unless you associate the most-used textual phrase with your product selling page, you cannot reach to prospective buyers.

Remember Google Image Labeler? To enhance Google Image Search, perhaps, Google introduced the Image Labeler. It is a funny game. Two players are given one photograph. The players can be anywhere on the earth (obviously with at least a PC and Internet connection)! Both of them are asked to tag labels to the image. As soon as one of your labels matches with one of your partner’s you get some points and pass to the next image.

At the end of the game you can see the words that came in your partners mind when you were shown a sports car. But what you cannot see is the phrase used by most players to identify the sports car. If you are selling sports car online, you could surely be benefited from it!

Now the gap has been bridged by Vertical Leap, the UK based Search Engine Marketing Company. They have introduced SEO Keyword Quiz which displays an image and asks you to enter the phrase that you will use to search for the thing.

Once you submit your words it displays a list of keywords used by visitors to identify the same product.

That definitely helps you decide which keyword best describe the product.

However, here also you need to depend on the Quizmaster; the site does not help you select the picture of your business item. You cannot be sure whether the SEO Keyword Quiz would ever show photograph of terracotta product that you sell online. Hence if your product is not listed in their database, you need to select your keywords by your own. Anyways, with so many exciting tools Vertical Leap would surely come up to enhance the application and more functionality to it.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

SEO: Keep it In-house or Outsource?

What will YOU do? If you wish to add some more zero’s at the end of your profit by marketing your business through Internet, would you set up a whole new SEO section or you would outsource the job?

Surprisingly I had the opportunity to work under both the systems. Both have their own set of advantages and limitations. My previous post On an attempt to classify Content Writing, I partially touched this topic. With In-house SEO, people get more time to master the subject. But people working in SEO companies need to handle a number of websites all the time; so they hardly get time for excelling a single domain.

This temporary deficiency of domain knowledge sometimes affects the quality of work. A writer who has been creating web content only for a Credit Repair website for 2 years obviously knows more about the topic than the writer who writes on various topics everyday which may or may not include Credit Repair. The same is true for Link Builders, Bloggers and Social Media Marketers. (I will contradict this paragraph very soon; stay tuned!)

Then why do the SEO firms exist? There are advantages of Outsourcing too! Most of the SEO companies have their own networks; network of blogs, websites, bookmarking sites and all. These networks are kept for their clients. Some SEO firms may own good web directories. If you assign your link building task to them, you get good one way links from those places easily.

If you target 100 links per month, you can appoint 4 different SEO companies to do link exchange on your behalf. This way you not only make use of various networks of websites and blogs, but you avoid leaving any link building pattern that Search Engines can blame you for!

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