Brian Clark’s SEO Copywriting presentation on International Freelancers Day 2010

I floated in and out of several presentations on International Freelancers Day and entirely reserved myself for SEO Copywriting Made Simple for Freelance Writers.

THE presentation I was waiting for.

I’d like to produce website translations which are attractive to both people and search engines. Some basic SEO training is in order.

Part I Keywords

This is my interpretation of Brian Clark’s advice about creating effective SEO copy:

  • Find your keywords by thinking of the searcher’s question. What actual language would they use?
  • Put keywords in your title to obtain a higher search ranking.
  • Put keywords in your meta-description to obtain the click.

My keyword research experiment: Let’s say the title in French is about “personnes agées.” Should I refer to the elderly, seniors, senior citizens, or retirees, in terms of SEO?

I used Google Adwords to find the number of worldwide monthly searches for each term.

  1. elderly -> 1 220 000 (but searchers may largely use this as an adjective)
  2. seniors -> 1 000 000
  3. senior citizens -> 165 000 (that’s it?)
  4. retirees -> 74 000

Now let’s see what a translation of “maison de retraite” would lead to:

  1. nursing home -> 1 500 000
  2. old folks home -> 1 500 000 (people still use this term?)
  3. assisted living -> 673 000
  4. retirement home -> 110 000
  5. home for the elderly -> 60 500

Conclusion: I’d consider using “seniors” and “nursing home” as keywords to get a higher ranking in search results.

(This keyword research took twenty minutes. Researching the keywords and coming up with the headline and meta-description could take me a whole morning.)

Part II Content

Brian continues his talk by insisting on value:

  • C R E A T E   A   G R A N D   P I E C E .
  • Develop cornerstone content. Be useful and relevant. Your work should answer your searcher’s question comprehensively.
  • Consider creating a content landing page if you’ve made a multi-part resource. This page acts as a table of contents and may get bookmarked for later reading.
  • No keyword stuffing!
  • Link out to external sites (around once every 120 words) and cross-link throughout your own.
  • Put keywords in your anchor text.

Since the English content must engage the English-speaking reader, I’ll have to do more than just translate. I’d have to weed out anything useless, maybe add something which needs more attention, and make sure the videos and images are appropriate.

When it comes to linking out to a related site in French, my client and I would have to decide if that’s useful or not. Or we may have to come up with a relevant site in English.

Part III Links

Brian Clark moves from creating the text to promoting it. He advises viewers on how to encourage others to link to your work:

  • Guest writing. Contribute relevant posts on other blogs.
  • Participating in social networking.
  • Tweeting out your work because Google likely recognizes retweeted links (probably after three retweets).

This gives me some food for thought about possibly offering additional social media services…

To conclude his presentation, Brian Clark mentioned two free documents which are available from Copyblogger:

a) 5-Part Guide to Keyword Research

He takes one subject—mixed martial arts—and shows how the keywords “MMA” would attract fighters and “UFC” would attract fans of the sport.

b) SEO Copywriting Made Simple

28 pages of copious SEO writing advice.

Brian Clark sums up this report like this:

“A good copywriter needs to have a flair for writing content that’s inviting to share and to link to. She needs to have top-notch skills to optimize the page, so search engines know what it’s about and who might want to read it. And she needs to know how to write copy that converts readers to buyers.”

Replays of all the International Freelancers Day presentations

You can now see this video for yourself! I found out three hours ago that the replays of all the talks are now online.

Catch a few other sessions as well. Let me know what you think.

Thanks to Ed Gandia, Steve Slaunwhite and Pete Savage, from The Wealthy Freelancer, for organizing such an inspiring event.


4 responses to “Brian Clark’s SEO Copywriting presentation on International Freelancers Day 2010

  1. I think you are right on track! Good luck!

  2. Beware that your search engine gets different number of hits according to its location and language settings. I’m not sure how it works, but you’ll actually get significant differences in hit results for ‘seniors’ and ‘nursing homes’ if you type these keywords on your own computer in Ontario, on my own computer in Scotland or in a net café in Paris. Not that it is likely to happen, but the point is your clients won’t be using the same location and settings as you.

    Great post and highly interesting! Keep up the good work!

  3. Good point about location settings, Pierre. Thank you.

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