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When I first applied to be a copywriter, I thought all I had to deal with was writing, writing and more writing. Little did I know it was much more than that.
Transitioning from a scriptwriter to a copywriter is not an easy task. You may think both jobs are similar but it is actually not – more like oranges and tangerines – but close enough. One writes to inform and entertain, the other sells people an idea or brand.
This November will mark my first month as a new member in the SEOPressor Team. Over the past 30 days, I went through an intensive training and was given specific tasks to work on. After the training ended, I knew that I had to learn everything I could, fast.
But where was I supposed to start?
If you are like me when I first started, I’m sure you will have constant thoughts crossing your head such as; “Why is SEO so important?”, “Why go through so much work to get high rankings on search engines?”, “What’s the purpose of doing SEO?” and so on.
It goes without telling that the first topic I worked on was about SEO. For me to learn SEO and continue writing requires tons of passion spent on researches and readings. As curious as I can be, I am still learning new things till this day. To me, the best way to learn is by doing it. That means, if you want to learn search engine optimization (SEO), you’ll have to get your hands dirty.
Before you begin, you must first understand what is SEO. Just simply, SEO is a process that amplifies a site’s traffic flow and rankings organically. We all know what happens when you type a search query into a search engine. You get a list of search results that are relevant to your search term. Those results appear as a result of search engine optimization (SEO). There are many different ways to learn the basics, but I recommend starting off with the options below to get a well-rounded understanding.
#STEP 1: READ AND RESEARCH
The first most vital step in learning anything new.
The best way to start learning SEO is to read. And read a lot. Be it blogs, books, guides or other relatable sources. Just make sure to start with the absolute basics. Because the last thing you want is to realize that you missed out on some essentials when you have already started working.
Where did I learn my basics, you ask? Apart from my mentor and colleagues, I spent a fair amount of time reading the Moz Beginner’s Guide to SEO. This 10-chapter guide gives you an in-depth walkthrough on all the things you need to know, starting from how search engines work to measuring and tracking your site’s success.
#STEP 2: DO AND PRACTICE
What’s the point of reading and absorbing everything if you don’t apply the knowledge you learn into practice? Much like any other thing that we do, the more you practice the better you are.
Very true to her quote, we all surely have to start somewhere right? Always remember, you don’t have to be great to get started but you do have to get started to be great. Perhaps you can start by creating your own blog. Implementing what you have learnt by writing a blog provides several benefits:
Need I elaborate further? Start Writing NOW!
#STEP 3: RINSE AND REPEAT
There is no end when it comes to learning SEO and online marketing. The world of SEO is constantly changing. And that is why you have to stay up-to-date and apply the knowledge you learnt into your writing.
If you stop reading, there is a high chance that you will miss something important. If you stop applying your knowledge, learning SEO wouldn’t make sense to you anymore. Continue doing both and who knows one day you might be the ultimate SEO Guru!
Keep reading, keep writing and never stop learning.
The very first word that was engraved in my mind on the first day itself. R-E-L-E-V-A-N-C-E. I learnt that SEO Copywriting revolves around placing your keywords that are relevant and should be able to connect, inform and convince both search engine spiders AND human readers.
Let’s say your headline talks about dogs, but your content focuses on cats. Isn’t it completely irrelevant? If people land on your site and your content isn’t in line with what they were searching for, it will kill your clickthrough rates. At the same time, it also provides Google with a short, concise summary of your content; in which it will use that information to judge your content’s relevance to search queries.
Personally, I believe a website that has high relevance can not only improve search engine rankings but also has a better ability to drive a targeted audience back to the website.
Initially, I thought SEO is mainly centered on the keyword count. I saw myself writing and posting blog posts with relevant keywords and good content thinking it will lead to high rankings on Google. Sadly, that is not the case. Well yes, that is roughly 30% of it.
People focus too much on keywords and forget about all the other important factors on their own sites such as:
Ranking for generic keywords will undoubtedly help increase visibility on search engines but, if SEO is to result in success, marketers need to address several other contributory elements. You can’t just focus on the content and forget about the technical side; If your content is to be easily accessed you need to have a well- structured website too. Every bit plays its part.
What Google wants is real content producers thinking about creating valuable content – instead of thinking tactically about how to get higher in search engine rankings. I read that people used to go out and get as many links as possible to their sites. Surprisingly, those links could actually hurt their sites’ rankings and incur ranking penalties.
Link building isn’t going away but it does need to evolve. When we think about links, we can’t simply think about stuffing in as many links as possible. We need to think about getting the best links; those that are relevant, drive traffic and help a brand/site overall. (Notice all the links in this blog?)
Link building should not be scary. It should be done to help reach your target audience and build brand awareness….not just to improve your rankings, which brings me to my next point.
I must have came across this expression at least 5 times throughout my SEO Journey. But, it’s the truth. SEO and content always go hand in hand. You can’t change one without changing the other.
Unique content published regularly with internal links to other relevant content and naturally placed keywords helps your website rank organically for relevant search terms and keywords. A high ranking ultimately exposes the brand to more digital consumers with hope to keep them coming back and wanting for more. Also, consistent publishing of great content creates authority and opens up opportunities to build a glowing backlink profile.
Content not only is king but will remain king, and it’s due to the nature of search. Users on the web don’t want to be bombarded with ads, they want to be informed. Think about why you surf the web to search for something, it’s either to obtain information or be entertained.
Of course, there is a whole support team behind every good king, and this is certainly true of website content. Content is king but other factors are at play for making sure your awesome content is actually read. So, make sure your king has good support!
“Users Intent”- The other phrase that I am repeatedly exposed to. The best tactic to approach a new website for the first time is to take those SEO shoes off and put yourself in the position of the user. Let’s say this website sells sneakers; ask yourself; what would a user type in the Google search bar if he or she is looking for a pair of Adidas sneakers?
Once you’re on the site, browse it just like how you would when you are interested in something. How are those menu items looking? Is there sufficient content in the homepage? How many clicks till you reach the product that caught your eye? How simple is the checkout process? Taking it slow and asking myself as much questions as possible truly helped me see things from the user’s point of view.
Remember, understanding the user’s intent should always be your starting point before proceeding to the next step.
Google has a history of making major search engine changes with penguins, pandas, hummingbirds, and other seemingly adorable animal algorithms. A slight change in the algorithm is enough to create a buzz in the SEO industry. They are constantly refining their techniques and algorithms to supply the best, relevant results to users.
As I’ve said earlier, the world of SEO is constantly changing. Who knows that 5 years down the road, the strategy that I am implying now might not be effective anymore. So, we need to stay updated with all the latest news and search to plan accordingly.
Google is always changing and evolving, are you?
They say that a carpenter is only as good as his tools. The same can be said for SEOs. Truth to be told, I was lost between which tools and resources to utilize when I first started my journey here. Now, allow me to share to you my 7 go-to SEO tools that I have been actively using( Because Sharing is Caring! ). Here are the honorable mentions:
Certainly, there are many other digital marketing tools related to SEO that makes it hard for us to decide which to use. The list I generated above is what helped me all this while, so there is no right or wrong in this. ( It differs from person to person )
So, I hope you’ve got to know a little better on what you’ll get to learn when you venture into the basics of SEO. I hope the information up till now doesn’t seem too daunting to you. Once you’ve got your basics covered, your next step is to dig deeper into SEO.
And in the near future if you’re ready to go even further as a SEO copywriter, you can check out 13 SEO Copywriting Tips For Serious Bloggers, written by my team mate. But promise me to be familiar with the SEO foundations first okay?
One final tip for you, there is no shortcut to the top, nor is there any one strategy that can get you there alone. It’s a combination of many factors, working together. Just be patient.
Signing off for now, till we meet again in the next blog post! Best of luck!
What was your first month of SEO like? What are some key things that you brought home during your time in the industry? Feel free to drop your comments below!
Updated: 20 February 2018