I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Web writing (aka SEO copywriting) can make or break your online business. Good web writing can mean the difference between massive clicks to your website, or being left behind on page two or more. It can mean the difference between convincing people to buy from you, or having them abandon your site as quickly as they arrived.

Here’s another secret… SEO copywriting isn’t rocket science. There may be a certain element of science involved, but nothing you can’t handle. It’s also creative and fun!

First, a bit of background.

Like many of you, my career path was never a clear and easy one. I zigged, I zagged, and I spun in circles. But there were two things I learned early on in life: 1) I don’t follow the rules; 2) I can write. Hardly an aha moment.

I dabbled in journalism, writing newsletter and magazine articles. In the late 90s, I landed a client and quickly discovered I had a knack for advertising copy (aka copywriting). Soon after, I was introduced to this thing called SEO copywriting. That’s when a whole new world opened up for me.

Around the year 2000, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) started making strides as a viable online marketing practice. As a growing number of businesses began to catch on to the Internet boom, more and more websites started to pop up. And the more websites that popped up, the fiercer the competition would become among them. They all started to clamor for top rankings in the search engine results pages.

Search engine algorithms used to be simplistic by today’s standards. Basically they’d filter results based on keyword phrases. Those days are all but gone as Google took the industry by storm and continued to get smarter, and smarter … and smarter. We’re talking about artificial intelligence kind of smart.

In addition to the original technical SEO (think robots.txt & XML sitemaps), off-page SEO (like link building), and on-page SEO (like keyword relevance), today’s SEO is also all about semantic language, rich snippets, local SEO, mobile friendliness, and so much more. Then toss into the mix all the social media channels – whew! It’s no wonder businesses don’t know which way to turn.

That’s where you (and I) come in as the SEO Copywriting pro

Content has always been king. But it’s even more than that today. Fortunately, since search engine giants like Google continue to better understand human language and relationships between words, it’s allowing writers, like you and me, to generate quality content more naturally than ever before. This is fantastic news. Here’s why:

Back in the day, you’d do some keyword research and find that people were searching for ‘cars for sale’ and you’d have to figure out how to naturally work that exact phrase into your web pages so that the search engines would “understand” what your web page was all about.

Keyword Research vs. Keyword Themes

Today, I don’t do keyword research to find phrases. I do keyword research to come up with themes. In this example, the theme would be car sales. Now when a user types “cars for sale” into the search box, the engine now understands that “car” is the same as “vehicle, auto, automobile, truck, van, SUV,” so I can use all these variations of the word “car” in my copy – that allows me to use natural language throughout the page instead of trying to force the exact-match keyword in over and over.

But we’ll get more into semantics later.

Here’s the bottom line – companies use websites to generate awareness, bring in targeted leads and ultimately sell products and services to an online audience. As we approach 2017, we know now better than ever that what works is top-ranking content that converts.

I’ll say that again. Top-ranking content that converts.

That was web writing is all about. It’s about feeding the search engines the ingredients they need to index and rank your web pages to match relevant search queries. That’s step 1. Sadly, it’s also the final step for many online businesses. But here’s the catch…

Top search engine rankings don’t mean a lick if you don’t get the click!

There are countless website owners out there who are taking step 1 seriously. They’re optimizing their website to rank at the top of the search engines. But they’re completely skipping step 2 – conversions.

Think about that. What good is a #1 position in Google if no one is clicking through to your web page? And even if they do click through to the page, if you’re not writing copy with conversions in mind, you’ll lose visitors as quickly as you found them.

Simple recap:

Step 1: Getting to the top of the search engine results

Step 2: Converting from there.

That’s the one-two-punch that makes SEO copywriting so important.