“But can you write for SEO?” We’re often asked this when being briefed on a new website. And yes, of course we can. We can take any words you like and make sure they feature in all the right places, and fit within the flow of a page without making it look like the Google spider is your only target reader.
But for some reason, we’re rarely asked whether we can also write the words your customers actually care about.
And that’s a shame. Because it’s highly likely your website’s main goal isn’t to pay Google for click-throughs or even increase its search rankings, but to persuade or inform your customers, staff, investors and others. Increase sales, add subscribers, boost your corporate presence, attract the right employees… SEO keywords might bring people to your site, but what makes them stick around to do the things you want them to do?
I’ve heard mention of ‘carewords’ a few times, but it’s not a buzzword often heard in the presence of SEO specialists. Yet these are the words your customers care about, the words that help them perform tasks on your site – or even simply confirm they’re in the right place when they land there.
Carewords are quite different to keywords. Your reader may search for ‘postgraduate communication courses Sydney’ but when they get to that university website they’re looking for phrases like ‘recognised qualifications’ or ‘lecturers with industry expertise’.
Imagine you’re thinking about buying a new car. Do you search for ‘low fuel consumption’ or ‘reliable warranty’? It’s more likely you search for a specific brand and dealers near your home or work. But when you get to that website, you want to know exactly what’s on offer. Test drive hours, special deals, customer service and any extras. What makes that dealer stand out on a street full of car yards?
Sometimes carewords might be signposts for navigation, or they might be benefits or customer insights. They need to be bold, prominent and easily scanned.
So what are your carewords? Google hasn’t yet found a way to monetise them, so there are no handy apps or tools to help you come up with the winning words.
Words drive action on your website. So watch how people actually use your site, and see what words grab their attention – and what makes them click away to another website.
The best way to find your carewords is put yourself in the reader’s shoes. What are they looking for? What’s important to them? How can you make it easier for them to find the information they need?
Funnily enough, that’s also exactly what any good copywriter will do.