singular, past, present, and so on) is likely beneficial, as well as varying word order (“chocolate
chip cookies” versus “cookies with chocolate chips”). Excessive and contrived keyword repetition —
“keyword stuffing” — howeve r, could actually be perceived as spam.
Because the search engine algorithms are unknown, “excessive” is an unfortunately vague qualifier.
This is one of the times we will reference something requisitely in an imprecise manner.
SEO copywriting aims to produce content on a web site in such a way that it reads well for the surfer,
but also targets specific search terms in search engines. It is a process that legitimately, without the use
of spamming techniques, seeks to achieve high rankings in the search engines. SEO copywriting is an
art, and it takes time to master. There is no magic solution that will make it easy to create copy that is
persuasive, contains relevant keywords a few times, and sounds like it is not contrived specifically to
do so. There are a few tricks, and a few useful hints, however.
One of our favorite tricks is to use the end and beginning of a sentence to repeat a keyword subtly.
Example: “Miami Hotels: You may want to try one our fine hotels in Miami. Hotel accommodations at
the Makebelieve Hotel will exceed your wildest expectations.”
The copy should also contain words that are related, but not necessarily inflections of your targeted key
phrase. For example, a search engine algorithm would likely see a page on cookies that also contains the
words “chocolate chip” or “cakes” as relevant. This tends to happen naturally with well-written prose,
but it is worth mentioning.
Search engines will evaluate the links that a document contains. A related link on a web page is valuable
content in and of itself, and is treated as such by search engines. However, links to totally irrelevant or
spam content can potentially hurt the rankings of a page. Linking to a “bad neighborhood” of spam sites
or even lots of irrelevant sites can hurt a site’s rankings.
Keywords in Page URL and Domain Name
It is likely that keywords contained by a URL, both in the domain name or in the file name, do have a
minor but apparently positive effect on ranking. It also likely has an effect on CTR because keywords in
the URL may make a user more likely to click a link due to an increase in perceived relevance. The URL,
like the page title, is also often selected as the anchor text for a link. This may have the same previously
mentioned beneficial effect.
Internal Link Structure and Anchors
Search engines may make the assumption that pages not linked to, or buried within a web site’s internal
link structure, are less important, just as they assume that pages that are not linked well from external
sources are less important than those that are. Linking from the home page to content that you would
like to rank can improve that page’s rankings, as well as linking to it from a sitemap and from various
related content within the site. This models real-world human behavior as well. Popular products are
often prominently featured in the front of a store.
One horrible way to push pages down the link hierarchy is to implement pagination using “< prev” and
“next >” links, without linking directly to the individual pages. Consider the example of the fourth page
of an article that is split into four parts. It is reached like this:
Article Part 1
Article Part 2
Article Part 3
Article Part 4
Chapter 2: A Primer in Basic SEO
c02.qxd:c02 10:39 19