Secret Diary of an SEO Copywriter

Written on 23 February, 2016 by Aaron Matthews
Categories Search Engine Optimisation

A new content brief holds such promise.

The chance to learn about an industry or service that is entirely new to me. Something that will allow me to research and discover the intimate workings of a previously mystifying area of life.

I like to pretend I am a secret agent who has to assume a new identity. I have limited time to inhabit a new life, become an expert and fool the real masters of the craft.

I open the brief and discover that today, I am a plumber.

In Frankston.

This mission will call upon all of my cunning and all of my experience to turn what could be an incredibly dull topic into something that Google will love to read.

My first step is to enter the keywords into the search engine and see who else has assumed this persona in the past. “Emergency plumber Frankston” may seem like an innocuous enough assignment, but immediately I see that the competition is fierce. I take a look at a few of the top entries to assess their content and really get into their heads. I’m in luck. The first entry has a terrible H1: “24 Hour Plumber Frankston South,” and they don’t have a single H2. Amateurs.

My confidence drains when I see the next one. 726 words. About plumbing? What dark arts have they used to conjure a word count that high about plumbing in Frankston?

This will be harder than I first thought. I will need to make it a decent length to convince Google that my plumber knows more than Mr 726. I begin by laying down a plan. One H1, two H2s, and a call to action. Those are the basics.

H1 – Frankston’s Most Reliable Emergency Plumber

That should do it.

Damn. The keyword is plumbing, not plumber.

H1 – Emergency Plumbing Services Frankston-wide

That’s terrible, but time is ticking away. I assume I will come up with something better and move on.

The opening paragraph is where I really sell the services and what they can do. Typically, a viewer will read the first section, then skim the rest. That’s science. All the answers a human will be looking for have to be in this paragraph.

H2 – Reliable plumbing in any emergency

This might be overstating the abilities of this plumber, but for all I know they’re exactly the people I need when my house is burning down. I always believe that it is better to go big and let the client tone it down when they’re reading it. If they approve it, it must be true.

This is where the real deal of putting the keywords in happens. The middle two paragraphs are less for a person and more for a search engine. If I have a long list of words to add, then I do my best to group them as tightly as possible and write about everything the business offers. I will also try and distribute the internal linking to other target pages across these two sections.

H2 – Experience and expertise throughout Frankston

Typically, I like to make even the smallest suburb sound enormous. The paragraph under this heading will include phrases like “the length and breadth of Frankston,” “wherever in Frankston you are located,” and “a long list of satisfied clients.”

Writing a whole paragraph about the location is important. The search engine wants to know that this page will answer the questions of a user searching for “emergency plumbing Frankston.” This means that these two middle paragraphs have to hit all those marks.

H3 – Get in touch today for further information

In the hands of an amateur, the call to action will be less than 10 words. But I am a professional and I have the skills, Frankston-wide, to string that sucker out to 50. It is important for the reader to know that they can pick up the phone and give the helpful and friendly staff a call, or that they can use the contact form and expect a call back shortly.

And I’m done. I can’t change a washer or unblock a drain, I have no idea what a ballcock does, or how to assess a leaky hot water system, but the reader will assume the person who wrote it does. Beyond being found on the search engine results page, convincing a visitor that this business is the one for them means that I have done my job.

On to the next brief.

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