This week’s web copywriting tip begins with the story of a hungry foodie (me).
It was a Thursday. I was hungry. Sushi sounded good, and I remembered reading about a new place in my local newspaper. I found the name of the restaurant, pulled up Google and typed it in.
I added my hometown and state. No luck. I tried adding a few more search terms like “sushi” and “Japanese cuisine.” And still got nothing but the same news briefs I’d already seen.
After a few minutes, I gave up and dined at an old standby instead.
The next day, the SEO copywriter in me got curious. This was supposed to be a high-end restaurant; surely they had a website. I tried numerous keywords and went through pages and pages of search results. Eventually, I found the restaurant’s Facebook page buried in the search engine results pages (SERPS). From there, I finally found the website.
It was pretty. The pictures made me hungry. The menu sounded divine. Had I seen them a day earlier, I would’ve picked up the phone and made a reservation.
So why was it so hard to track down?
I looked at the backend code and realized the problem: The entire website was one big ol’ flash file.
There were no unique titles, descriptive image alt tags, compelling headings or keyphrases. The menus were all in PDFs, none of which had been optimized with descriptions or keywords. So there was nothing—and I mean nothing—for the search engines to index. And that’s not even taking into account the whole issue of iPad and iPhone users’ inability to see flash sites.
I’m sure that, like me, many foodies would be enticed by the website. What’s sad is that many, many potential customers will never see it.
If you want to land more paying customers, you need a site that’s not only attractive but is also filled with keyword-rich content that’s easy to find.
That means talking to your programmer and designer first, before any web copywriting work begins, to ensure they’ll use your content in a platform that search engines can read. You could hire an SEO copywriter to create the most compelling prose possible, but it won’t make a bit of difference if eager customers can’t find it.
Yes, I did eventually try the restaurant. It was good. I’ve recommended it to several friends. And there are plenty of other ways the restaurant can market its services with word-of-mouth PR, social media and online advertising.
But think of how many more customers it could land by simply hitting the top ten local search results for common keyphrases.
Bottom Line: Talk to your programmer before web copywriting work begins to ensure your keyword-rich content will be easy to find.