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Accidental SEO

If you publish on the web, it pays to analyse who’s visiting your site and how they get there. It can produce some startling results – and can really help improve your marketing and your interaction with customers.

For example, for my day job, I work as a freeleance copywriter. I’ve been doing this for about ten years, and used to be a journo before that. To promote my services, I have a brochure-ware site, which I put a bit of thought into when I created it but haven’t been back too much. It brings in some useful business, however.

Now, I’ve recently investigated and installed Google Analytics which gives you all sorts of useful information about who visits your website and which pages they go to. The bizarre thing with my website is that there’s one particular page that gets lots of hits, more even than the home page, which I worked on extensively, giving it lots of lovely search engine optimisation treatment.

But most hits go one page – the one called ‘costs‘.

I was puzzled by this, but intrigued. Could it mean that people aren’t out there searching for a ‘copywriter’, they’re actually trying to find out how much it costs to hire a copywriter? Maybe.

I think the answer, however, is that for some reason my site scores very highly in Goggle for the search term ‘copywriter costs.’

At the time of writing my costs page comes second in the rankings. And that’s searching on Google.com doing a worldwide search. I’m based in the UK, with a .co.uk URL.

How I have achieved such a high ranking? No idea, really, although I strongly suspect it’s just because I’ve got a really strong page description and set of meta tags / keywords.

Actually, I’m a bit embarrassed about it, as I have no real information on that page about how much it costs to hire me or any other copywriter. I sell the idea of delivering real value, and fudge the whole issue of costs with:

My day rate is available on request.

And the moral of the story? Well, first of all, you need to think about what really concerns your audience or potential customers. They may want some copy written, but the thing they most want to know is, can they afford to hire a professional?

And the second thing is that the real key to search engine optimisation is the words you use. Because that brochure-ware site of mine has barely any inbound links pointing at the costs page and doesn’t have a particularly high page rank. Get to work on those keywords in your meta descriptions.