The Search Light Newsletter
The Search Light Newsletter
  Guiding your site to the top of the search engines... | 25 July 2005 - Vol 5 Issue #5  

In this issue...

Copywriting Makeover: It's Not About YOU, It's About THEM

FAQ1: Should we split our site content into multiple sites on different domains?

FAQ2: Should I use text that is visible to search engines but not to humans?

Send Kalena Your Question!

Copywriting Makeover: It's Not About YOU, It's About THEM

By Karon Thackston

I've always loved scented candles. They help create a cozy atmosphere. They give you a relaxed feeling. And - most importantly - they make your home smell wonderful! So, naturally, I was excited when I was approached to rewrite the index (front) page for an online retailer who made specialty, soy scented candles.
The goals of the copywriting rewrite were to increase sales and improve search engine positioning for the terms "soy candles," and "scented candles." The copy definitely needed some work. It wasn't "bad," but it had one major thing holding it back. The copy violated one of the primary rules of copywriting. "It's not about you. it's about them."
An additional problem was that the information - while definitely necessary - was presented as more of a list of nuts and bolts. It needed a boost to create a "feeling" about the candles for sale.
The Problem
As you can see from the original version [Word Doc], , the copy either focused on the company or the candles. Very little of the copy focused on the customer.
Another element that was "off" in the copy was the lack of the "experience." Site owner Dan Fehn had some fabulous research data about scented candle buyers, however he did not know to include that information when writing.
Lastly, while Illuminous Times had fairly good search engine rankings, there was room for improvement.
The Solution
The data I received included the following information from the National Candle Association.
Candle industry research indicates that the most important factors affecting candle sales are scent, color, cost and shape. Fragrance is by far the most important characteristic, with three-fourths of candle purchasers saying it is "extremely important" or "very important" in their selection of a candle for the home.
Candle manufacturers' surveys show that 96% of all candles purchased are bought by women.
Nine out of ten candle users say they use candles to make a room feel comfortable or cozy.

This was the basis for the copywriting makeover. As a scented candle lover myself, I knew for a fact what women wanted from candles. I understood the candle buying experience and played on that knowledge to create copy that "romanced" the site visitor and increased the desire to buy.
The search engine optimization (SEO) aspect of the copy came easily. The terms "scented candles" and "soy candles" flowed naturally as I created the copy so my primary goal was to use these phrases in power positions (like the headline and sub-heads). I'd also place them as often as I could without making the copy sound stiff or forced.
The Rewrite
You can view the new copy in full here, but an extract is below:
Whether you need to de-stress after a long day, or you want to create a truly welcoming atmosphere for your guests, think of scented candles. The soothing glow and aroma of scented candles can set the mood for a quiet evening with a good book, or add an elegant touch to a special dinner for friends.
Illuminous Times brings you a distinctive selection of soy candles to choose from. Like other types of scented candles, soy candles come in a variety of fragrances, colors, shapes, and prices. However, soy candles offer several significant advantages over other mass-produced scented candles.
If you're concerned about indoor air pollution, soy candles are the candles of choice-they are soot free and toxin free. Soy wax is also biodegradable and water soluble, thus spills and containers clean up with hot soapy water. And because it has a low melting point, it burns cooler and longer and disburses its scent into the air quicker than conventional wax.

As you can see, the new version immediately begins to entice the site visitor. Everything she wants from a scented candle is laid out before her. and some things she might not have known she wanted.
I began to pique interest in soy candles (as opposed to traditional wax candles found in stores) by immediately outlining the advantages soy candles offer. From there I played on the fragrance (the most important characteristic according to the National Candle Association).
I led the customer through a mental tour of their home - lighting candles for a special dinner, enjoying the glow as they snuggled with a good book, and having the unmistakable fragrances only soy candles offer wafting through their homes.
A final keyphrase-rich benefits list of why soy candles are superior to traditional wax candles and an emotional call-to-action wrapped up the copy.
The Results
I think the results of the copywriting makeover are best stated by Dan himself.
"Thank you! Sales have increase even before the holiday season and my rankings have improved, too. Right now I am #1 for the term 'soy candles' (previously ranked at #4), and I'm at #7 for 'scented candles'... a huge jump up from #17!"
So, as you can see, taking the focus off the product or company and putting where it should be (on the customer) makes a tremendous difference. Sales naturally increase when the customer feels he/she is the reason for your existence.
Take some time now to look back over your copy. Is it company focused? If so, learning to write specifically for your customers can turn your sales around almost immediately.
Which words make *your* customers buy? Let Karon show you. Boost your sales and your search engine positioning by learning to write strategically created copy that hits a nerve and makes the sale. Get the details now at Karon's site.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ As well as running her own copywriting business, Karon Thackston tutors at Search Engine College, an online training institution offering instructor-led short courses and downloadable self-study courses in Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing subjects.

   Greetings Readers!

Can you believe half the year is over already? I can't. I saw an article the other day that talked about getting your pay per click campaigns ready for Christmas! I don't know about you, but I can barely keep up with my blog, let alone think about events that are 6 months away..
Speaking of the blog, you'll notice some of the most recent blog questions and my answers in this newsletter. Also this month is our feature article by the lovely Karon Thackston about the importance of focussing on the customer in your web copywriting.

Enjoy this issue and remember to visit Search Engine College to check out our step-by-step downloadable courses in search engine optimization and other search engine marketing subjects.
Till next time - wishing you high rankings...

  • FAQ1: Should we split our site content into multiple sites on different domains?
  •   Dear Kalena...
    I'm a webdesigner and I look after polish financial news website - besides this website is also wide knowledge base about different financial services and products and supports as well visitors with online financial advices - all of those services exist at one net address in different subdomains.
    My question is: what do you think about splitting this service to a few independent domains with a bit different content but being every independent part densely linked with each other? Will it help to promote this service having links from completely different domain addresses than from subdomains of one address (as it is now)?
    thanks in advance for your valuable answer,

    Hi Pawel
    It all depends on your motivation for doing so. Will it make life easier from an editing and design perspective to divide up your content into multiple sites? Does it make more sense from a visitor or usability perspective? Then go for it.
    If your motivation is purely about the perceived link popularity and/or search engine advantages, then think again. Why? Lots of reasons. Here's three:
    1) Whatever link popularity the site currently has and the number of links to it will drop once you start moving content away from your main domain. Think about it. Existing links from search engines and other sites will be broken if you change domains, you'll have fewer links pointing to you and you'll dilute all the valuable link pop you have built up to date. It will take any new domains a long time to develop link popularity of their own.
    2) With more information and content focused on relating themes, your existing single domain is more likely to score higher with search engines due to the "hub and authority" factor. If you split this content off into different domains, you'll have fewer links pointing to your site and fewer pages so search engines (and probably visitors too) will see your main site as less relevant than they did before. Also, depending on the type of internal linking structure you plan on using between your new domains, they may trip the aggressive link spam filters engines currently use (particularly Google) and cause a ranking penalty on one or more sites.
    3) Search engine strategy should not rule your web design decisions. Site usability should be the highest priority in that regard and you'll usually find that a highly usable, visitor-friendly site will end up being the most search engine compatible. Funny that!
    If you are determined to improve your link popularity, you could start by improving the internal linking of your existing site and cross-link sections where it makes sense to do so. If you haven't already got one, integrate a full text-based site map and have a link to it on every page. Also, keep link building on a daily basis and only swap links with sites that are RELEVANT to your audience.

  • FAQ2: Should I use text that is visible to search engines but not to humans?
  •   Dear Kalena...
    I was reading an article by you at Pandia about the importance of using search-engine-readable text on the home page of one's site.
    You referred to the text needing to be "visible," and one test of that was whether one could select the text on screen (differentiated from graphical text). My question is about the "visibility" of the text. My home page has 50-75% black background. If I was to place text, black-on-black, would it still be read by the search engine? Does "visible" mean that it appears in the source code, or does it mean visible to the human eye? I would like to retain the, more or less, graphical nature of my home page but still have the benefit of capturing the attention of the search engine.

    Dear Doug
    Give yourself a good smack and go to bed without supper.
    Using text that is visible to search engines but not to humans is very naughty! It's retro search engine spam: a tactic that was used obsessively by search engine spammers way back prior to search engines implementing the aggressive anti-spam filters they use today.
    It hasn't worked for many years, because it was a very simple matter for search engines to install a filter within their algorithms to compare a site's background color with it's text color and locate, ignore (and/or penalize) hidden text. So not only will using hidden text NOT HELP your site, it might actually HARM your ranking.

  • Send Kalena Your Question!
  •   Got a question about search engines? email me and it might feature in my blog or the next issue of The Search Light.

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