An article on localisation from David – localiser, philosopher and Berliner.
Three of the most common but stubbornly mysterious letters in the marketing world have to be S, E and O. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has an opinion on it. Blogs on SEO improvement are the dancing cats of the marketing web. So, what’s the big deal?
Well, it’s all about money of course. Paid advertising on Google can be a black hole for your marketing budget, the right or wrong keywords with a lack of targeting can shred your company credit card within a couple of days. Many people then turn to the organic search results and try their hand at search engine optimization (SEO for short) in the belief that this is free. Guess what? Just like free lunches, nothing on Google or other search engines is ever really free. Large companies fork out fortunes to improve their ‘free’ search ratings. But is this the right decision? Should firms fill their websites with search-relevant rather than product-relevant keywords in order to improve their search results? I call this the content vs. blurb debate and there are no prizes for guessing which side of the fence I am on.
Content vs. Blurb
Actually, I lied. I’m not on any side of the fence, I’m hovering over it with one tippy toe touching the content side. The debate itself is in fact more of a straw-man than a real issue. There is no point in having the most readable, prize winning copywriters filling your e-commerce website with avant-garde prose. There is also little to gain by robotically sprinkling your website with Google AdWords-generated phrases and terms which may be effective but leave your customers bouncing away for a better ‘shopping experience’ elsewhere.
Good copy, in other words content that describes your product or service, should automatically be positive for your organic search rankings. Google doesn’t want you to trick possible customers into coming to your site, you should tell people what you have and let those that are interested find it. If you sell red and blue sofas, then your copy should reflect this. You can wax lyrical about it, but your USP’s and your products, and not just chimerical marketing blurb, need to shine-through.
Writing good copy and website content is about finding your USPs and describing them in a simple but appealing manner. If you do this, you will automatically have the kind of keywords that the Google spiders will gladly munch up and use to push traffic to your site.
There are of course some rules to setting up your pages with the right foundations for better search engine results. The page title, page URL, meta title and meta descriptions should all contain the main keywords or at least one of them from the page itself. Another good tip is that no two pages should have the same meta titles or meta descriptions. Important keywords should be closer to the top of the page and bold or italics are more effective when used sparingly and only for important key words. After that, it’s pretty much only witchcraft or, if you lack the power to divine Google’s magic formulae, trial and error that will help you improve your pages.
Good website content
In the age of global marketing and Google, marketing and marketing styles have gradually replaced a product’s or service’s USPs in the battle for new consumers or clients. Internet users may want to be seduced or flattered but this does not mean they wish to be deceived.
Internet users make decisions about websites in milliseconds, if they don’t see what they expected to find behind the search engine links, they vote with their finger tips and click away. The art of good copywriting with SEO factors in mind is to maintain the delicate balance between seduction, truthful product information and the little bit of magic that keeps people reading.
Rather than simply focusing on a few keywords which, according to common sense should be in the copy anyway, it is always advisable to determine a brand image or theme to guide the copy writing. It is important that themes or brand images are not just applied to imagery or website design and it is essential that they are also extended to the copy. If the website is punchy, brash and sales driven, then the copy or texts also need to reflect this. Or maybe the site in question is peddling a more established product with a clear target audience and demographic? In which case the copy may need to be more refined, descriptive and brand driven.
The key to finding the right tone means that firms need to first work out how they wish to present themselves and then ask the copywriters and website designers to present their products or services according to that desired image.
If the company hits the right tone using good copywriters and designers, and presupposing that some of the basic SEO formalities mentioned above are correct, the SEO side of things should look after itself.
Nobody really knows how to do magic (not even David Copperfield), magic just happens. That said, being aware of what you are selling and who you want to buy or use it and then delegating this work to good copywriters will go a long way toward helping magic happen.