Website Copywriter Blog 2012
Latest entry, 28 December 2012
Countries and cookies - a helpful tip
Sometimes you can get odd results when checking search engine rankings from day to day, or on different web browsers (e.g. Google Chrome and Internet Explorer or Firefox).
Remember to clear your cookie cache and to set your default country to wherever you happen to be for each browser, and then the results should be essentially similar.
Latest entry, 4 November 2012
A useful little SEO tool
What you want search engine spiders to pick up on and what they actually pick up on can be two very different things.
Sometimes the written text doesn't get indexed by the search engines. At other times, the search engines are not sure how to correctly index the content. That is, they don't know what the most important parts are - the keywords that you want them to pick up on and rank you highly for.
This useful little tool lets you see what the search engines see: SEO Browser
Try entering your home page or other pages from your site into the search box, then click to see what comes up. You could have an unpleasant surprise.
Latest entry, 3 November 2012
Maybe it's because I'm a London Copywriter...
If I had my career time again, there's not much I'd change. However, scroll back twelve or thirteen years, and there's one small but significant step I wish I'd taken: the choice of URL for my website.
On the one hand, "Ideaswise" is reasonably memorable (although it sometimes gets misheard as "Ideawise". Being a word play on my name and what I do, it's not bad.
However, had I been really savvy about search engine optimisation at the time, I would have chosen differently. Like my mate Laurence Blume, who cannily went with Freelancecopywriter.co.uk. Or another mate, Dean Turney, who managed to register Londoncopywriter.co.uk only about five years ago.
You see, both "freelance copywriter" and "London copywriter" are popular search terms. And if your website URL happens to have a search term as part of it, you've got a real head start on that term, particularly with Google. Less so than a couple of years ago, I believe, but still an advantage.
Dean has certainly got quite a few enquiries thanks to his smart choice, despite not doing a great deal to bump up his site. And Laurence is pretty much permanently in first place on Google for "freelance copywriter", although he does a lot of work to promote his site (and like Dean, is a very fine copywriter).
Mind you, if your site, like mine, doesn't feature a relevant search term, then all is not lost. Some good anchor text back to your home page helps. Like this: Freelance Copywriter London
Or to other key landing pages, like this: website copywriter
31 July 2012
Penguin suits me
Following the Google Panda updates late last year comes Google Penguin. And it's in the same vein as its furry friend.
Penguin pecks away at dodgy techniques such as cloaking and particupating in link schemes, not to mention duplicate content and keyword stuffing.
That's good news for web copywriters like me. It's been a while since someone has asked me to write a site with 8% keyword term usage, or whatever figure they've plucked out of a dodgy SEO site. Hopefully this will mean keyword percentages has now gone for good. The same with duplicate content - it's never been a good idea, and now it's a truly bad one.
Even the seemingly unrelated areas of Penguin, such as cloaking crackdowns and link farming set-aside is good news for any decent website copywriter. It makes clients think more about the need for quality content and less about get-rankings-quick schemes.
So hurrah for Panda, and hurrah for Penguin. I do wonder what the next Google move will be though, given their seeming predeliction for creatures whose names begin with 'P'.
But maybe that should be the subject of another blog post....
3 May 2012
One of the things I like about this business is that you get enquiries from all sorts. I enjoy talking to people from all walks of life and in all kinds of different businesses and then quoting them for a job, even if I don't always get it.
Sometimes, though, you know straightaway you're going to be wasting your time.
For example, I just had an email asking for a 'Content writer'. The alarm bells tend to ring when I see that word 'content'. It's often (not always, but often) an indicator that the person is looking for third rate work at fifth rate rates.
The sender wrote that my qualifications should include: "Attention to details; obsession with grammar and writing style."
She also wrote that:
"Our ideal candidate is a dependable and reliable person with whom we can develop a long standing relationship with."
Hmmm. So much for grammar and attention to details...
2 April 2012
Why would a website's Google rankings suddenly plummet?
There are various reasons why a website's front page rankings can recently disappear. It can be down to Google itself (see the Panda update post below).
However, with websites I've written - and I'm sorry if this sounds arrogant - Google rankings will never go through the floor because of what I've written. They will nearly always go up for a good number of the chosen keywords, usually after the customary two or three months that Google has a good think about where it wants to rank a site. They then usually go up still further, especially if the website owner continues to do a few simple things such as add links back and occasional new content, such as in a blog.
And they will go up and down a little over time (if a website owner does nothing whatsoever in the way of links or new content they will, eventually, start to slip). But they will never simply plummet, simply because the content is well-written (again, apologies for blowing my own trumpet).
However, just occasionally, I will be checking Google rankings for sites I've written in the past, and suddenly these sites are nowhere on or near the front page to be seen. There are only ever two reasons for this. One is that the company has gone bust, which in the current climate does happen.
More likely, the company has decided to change their website. They're bored with how the old one looks. The person who commissioned the copywriting and copy optimisation has moved on and someone else has come in and wants to make a new impression. So whoosh...out goes the old design. And out too goes the old copy.
"We want something really short and snappy," they say. Or "Our new design doesn't allow for copy on the front page."
And then, a few weeks after they've got rid of all the keyword terms, they wonder why the phone is no longer ringing and the email enquiries no longer coming in.
This exact scenario has just happened with one of the sites I had on my Google results for sites I've copy optimised page
I wrote it about three years ago, and was using it as an example of how properly optimised copy makes a lasting, positive difference in terms of getting the punters in.
Earlier today, I started checking the Google results and they had fallen off a cliff. Hmmm. Gone bust or new site? I went to the site. Sure enough, a brand new design and brand new copy. No attempt at any kind of optimisation whatsoever, let alone copy optimisation. They haven't even bothered writing the tags. It breaks your heart, it really does.
Oh hang on, they've got Twitter and Facebook accounts. But guess what - they haven't even linked to them from their site.
No doubt they're all congratulating themselves on their funky new site. But I wonder if they'll be quite so happy in a few weeks when the turnover starts to fall.
22 March 2012
What's the cuddliest creature a website copywriter can meet?
The answer is a panda. Or to be more precise, the Google Panda.
The Google Panda update last year was designed to counter cheap, spammy websites full of poor quality keyword-stuffed content or advertising.
It places more of a premium on well-written original content, and the site as a whole, rather than individual pages.
So more power, then, to proper copywriting, and less to cheap content. Hurrah!
30 January 2012
Google webmaster help on YouTube
Sometimes in the course of my work I come up against differing points of view as to generating effective SEO.
If it's a client, the question may be something along the lines of how can you guarantee I'll rank at the top of Google? To which the only honest answer is that you can't - unless, that is you essentially cheat. Either by massively spamming a certain phrase, which can work, but only in the short term, or by choosing a phrase that almost no-one ever searches for.
If the discussion is with an SEO company, it's more likely to be along the lines of whether different elements of SEO practice are effective.
On a larger level it's content versus links (to which the answer should be there's no versus about it - both are important).
More likely though, it's on some small aspect of SEO. Like putting words or phrases in bold. Or the way to write page addresses.
Now Google is, quite rightly, always changing its algorithm - the way in which it decides where to rank a site for a given search. There are around 200 different elements in that algorithm and over time some become more important, others less so, some new ones are added, others drop off altogether. This is as it should be. If we knew exactly what made up the Google algorithm, then the quality of a website would become less important than the amount of money behind it and the amount of time and effort put into promoting it, and we'd end up in a kind of arms race.
However, there are ways of discerning what Google is thinking over time. One is looking at their webmaster tools. Another, particularly useful for a website copywriter like me, is to regularly check out their Webmaster Central videos on YouTube.
Here, they give all kinds of advice on every aspect of building and promoting a good website. It also gives some clear steers on certain aspects that can be contentious, such as whether it's a good idea to have a large keyword density. (The answer, for those SEO companies still stuck in SEO from five or more years ago is that it isn't.)
You'll find it at Google Webmaster Help on YouTube
29 January 2012
Website copywriting and SEO copywriting - blog changes