How Advertising and Marketing Used To Work

Phone book, television, radio and newspaper ads created the most visibility for companies. Those were the accepted channels to put your information in front of buyers.

It’s not so cut and dry anymore. When you need something, chances are you don’t wait until you go home to look it up in the yellow pages, and then call the store when they’re open. People are now combining their television consumption with Facebook and Twitter, making those the real ways to reach people. Radio is for the 10-minute commute to work. You get the idea…

Unless you’re a major company, in a major industry, that can afford these other channels, you should be concentrating on meeting your audience where they’re at. That means Google.

What’s SEO?

Every time I mention SEO to a client, it’s immediately followed by a blank stare. The basic principles are really not too complicated, and your copy plays a big role.

SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is the standard practice for increasing your company’s visibility within the search engines. People had their phrases they were going to use to look your company up in phone book. They have them for the search engines, too. They are keywords.


Law office, Chicago

Health club, Atlanta

Restaurants, Madison

You get the idea. There are hundreds, if not thousands of people making these types of searches every month. With the right kind of optimization, your website can be taking advantage of added traffic.

What do you need to do for your website to rank?

The web is a vast, crowded place. Google has an algorithm they use to rank the importance of websites. The specifics of the algorithm are not made public, but your website copy, incoming links and the code behind the scenes of your website all play a large part.

Write The Kind Of Content People Want To Read

There’s a phrase that people in this industry like to toss around: Content is king. That’s because it’s so important in making the entire engine run.

Think about it. You can have the most beautiful web design in the world, dropping thousands on the look of your site. The second that you misspell something, that’s what people will notice.

People want friendly, informative writing that provides value. They want to feel comfortable with your content. The second you make them feel at home, they’ll give you a chance.

Oh, and remember those keywords? It’s a good idea to drop them naturally into your copy. It gives people an idea of the services you provide, and serves as a clue to Google on what your site is about. When you put them in headlines and subheads as well as your copy, it serves as notice to Google on their level of importance.

Usually 1-2 uses in a 400 word blog are sufficient. Remember, you’re trying to please the search engines, not game them. You’re not the first person to think about loading up your copy with way more uses than you’d ever need. You’ll annoy your readers and do nothing to help your site.

Link It Up

Quality inbound links are another major part to the SEO equation. How do you get there? If it’s a good match, linking out to others may give them the desire to reciprocate.

Aside from that, you can always ask others. You can also have your site listed in quality directories. A lot of people went overboard on links as well, and began paying for inbound links. It’s probably best to just concentrate on finding the quality links that make sense, and connect.

Behind The Scenes Code

WordPress makes this really easy with various plugins. Otherwise you’ll have to have some basic knowledge of SEO. Your meta tags are important in SEO. (That post should give you some ideas for checking the tags on your own site.)

They serve as a guide to the search engines for how to handle your website. Some search engines have decreased their value, but they are still overall an important part in ranking.


If you’re going to write your own copy, or play an active role in your website’s day-to-day life, you should have a strong understanding of how optimization works. Your website should be earning you business without you having to do anything.

It should give you access to this traffic stream that you otherwise would not attract. If not it’s time to start asking important questions.

A good freelance writer or Internet marketer should be able to help you. They’re probably more affordable than you think.

Matt Brennan is a Chicago-area marketing writer and copy editor. He is also the author of Write Right-Sell Now.

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