Right off the bat, I have to tell you I’m no SEO (define) expert.
Yet I consistently generate highly qualified leads from my Web site using what my colleague, Dianna Huff, calls the SEO secret weapon — the e-newsletter archive.
By featuring case studies of my most recent projects in my e-newsletter, then archiving the e-newsletters on my site, I attract prospective clients who are searching the Web for copywriters.
The beauty of this approach is I don’t have to constantly maintain or refine my Web site to keep it fresh. When I venture into new areas, as I am now, and as I achieve more success in the online fundraising field, I don’t have to totally overhaul my site, though I’ll do that eventually.
Instead, I just keep adding new e-newsletters with an online fundraising case study in each. And my search engine listings keep moving up organically for people seeking copywriters with expertise in that area.
But I realize my e-newsletters aren’t formally optimized for SEO, so I checked in with Huff for some tips to improve them further. Here are some techniques she passed along:
- Fresh content. “Search engines like to see sites with regularly update content,” says Huff. “If you don’t have an archive, simply begin by adding your current issue to your site and archive the previous issues. If you publish monthly, you’ll have 12 new Web pages at the end of the year! If you have the time, see if you can archive previous years’ issues. You have no idea how much traffic these archived issues can send your way by virtue of people finding them in the search engines.”
- Keyword-rich content. “E-newsletters, by their very nature, are keyword-rich — making them perfect targets for long-tail search phrases,” she continues. “If you do optimize your site, you can boost your search engine rankings by writing a unique title tag for each archived issue using your keywords.”
- Linkable content. “Search engines want to see sites linking to each other, and archived e-newsletters give other site owners — and bloggers — a reason to link to your high-value content. Such inbound links play a key role in ranking well with Google and Yahoo.”
- Reprintable content. “In addition to linking to your content, people will often ask to reprint your articles, adding a link back to your site, of course,” says Huff. “Not only do you get the benefit of a new inbound link, you also get people coming to your site from the reprinted article and signing up for your newsletter.” I’ve experienced this for myself with these ClickZ columns, which are picked up in blogs and e-newsletters worldwide and really do extend my brand exposure.
- Reusable content. “Write enough e-newsletters, and over time you’ll have the makings of a book,” something Huff has experienced herself. Everyone with a Web site should own her e-book, “Turning Clicks Into Leads Through Search Engine Optimization.”
- Conversions. “One thing I’ve noticed with my own e-newsletter archive,” says Huff, “is that prospects read past issues and call me on the phone. They’ll tell me they like my articles and what I have to say. The e-newsletter really helps to build trust before prospects pick up the phone.” I’ve experienced the same lovely phenomenon, and find prospects who like my writing style and strategic approach turn out to be great clients.
Huff also offers a word of caution, “When you create an archive page, don’t use drop-down menus search engine spiders can’t access. Instead, build pages of annotated links that the spiders can index and make it easy to people to find.” That’s an area I’m targeting for improvement in my own archives, which currently contain links by topics, such as “Dimensional Mailers” and “Fundraising E-mails.” Clearly, the case studies could benefit from a little descriptive copy of the client challenge that was solved!
But that’s one of the benefits of writing a ClickZ columns: you always learn something new from the experts.
Want more e-mail marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our e-mail columns, organized by topic.
Want more search information? ClickZ SEM Archives contain all our search columns, organized by topic.