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What The Hell is SEO & How Can You Use It?

It’s time to set the record straight - SEO is not a magic password!

OK - I understand; your business has moved online in ever-increasing ways and it seems like the future is nothing but digital marketing and social media presence. Fair enough. It certainly seems to be the case for a lot of us.

And I’m sure that you keep googling “what is SEO?” or “how to do SEO” or “how does SEO work” etc… only to be met with twenty-somethings wearing hoodies and baseball-caps that probably cost more than a family hatchback, talking a load of jargon-laden, fast-paced gibberish!

The reality is that SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is just that: optimisation!

It’s a best-practice, not a cheat code that you put into the internet that immediately brings in customers, like a zombie hoard. A lot of people seem to miss that and see it as a quick fix that will solve all of their problems.

The reality is that SEO is something you should be implementing in order to optimise your online content, and give it the best opportunity to reach the desired audience - but it is not the answer to all of your prayers.

I see this with a lot of clients who come to us, wanting our services to pay for themselves with the first published piece. I’d love to be able to do that and maybe, if your product is on the cusp of greatness with the last piece of the puzzle being one, solid article/sales page/video/ad that goes viral and lights you up: great! But odds are that your services will require time and effort in order to become ‘an overnight success’.

I’m sure you get this really. As a seasoned entrepreneur I’ve no doubt that you’ve come to understand the need for specificity when embarking upon a project. SEO is no different. It’s not something you can just say to copywriter and expect a return on. You have to grasp what it’s about, understand the message that you want to send about your good/service and who you want to send it to. Then we can start to understand how to write about it and the key phrases necessary to attract the traffic that will be most inclined to engage.

SEO is more like putting a needle beside a compass.

If you think of the flow of search traffic (or indeed; all traffic) on the internet as being a journey. The start point is the person looking something up with a search term, and the end point/destination is them having found a conclusive answer to their query. That might come in the form of landing on your site and buying your services, or it could be an amalgam of forums, message boards and Reddit threads.

The way a lot of people seem to think it works is that, say for example you sell shoes: they might be specialist shoes, fancy shoes, affordable shoes…whatever, but you found a niche in the shoe world and you want to sell them via your online store or brick & mortar shop. If you write ‘Bob’s fancy affordable shoes’ enough times in the site copy, you’ll rank at the top of Google’s results page when someone searches “affordable shoes”…right?

There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home…”

I wish it did work like that! It’d make our job a whole lot easier!! The fact is that SEO and site copy is like aiming an arrow at a moving target from the roof of a speeding train. The target is moving because search engine algorithms or constantly being fiddled with and updated to include/exclude differing criteria, and you’re on the roof of a train because your company, while also moving, is moving on rails as dictated by you.

Gotta love a random analogy!

It’s certainly very important to make sure that your copy is tight as far as all the current rules around SEO best practice go, and we would certainly recommend that. But it’s also vital to remember that both you and your target are in motion. In six months or a year’s time, you’re both going to be in very different places.

The compound interest of good SEO

Here’s the other thing about SEO - it’s like building a credit rating. If you want to rank consistently high in Google results, you need to build your credit score. This takes time, and there’s no way around this. You need to release consistent, informative content (usually in the form of a blog) that adds value to the person who is reading it.

Remember that ultimately this is about another human with a question, remaining on your site because you not only answered it, but you offered them extra value as well. The longer they stay with you, having had their question answered via Google, the more Google recognises you as a trusted resource. The more it does that, the more you’ll build your score and the more traffic it will start to send your way.

How quickly this happens though is really down to you and what you offer. If you’re in a space that is saturated, the odds are that building your brand to a point that it ranks high on Google is going to take years and years. Bob’s Fancy Shoes, for example, is going to be up there with the likes of FootLocker, Clark’s, Nike and every other massive, established brand that sells shoes.

That’s fine, but what Bob really needs to do is start finding the niche within a niche that he can start talking to and ranking consistently high for. Specialist shoes that solve a problem for someone, say because they’re orthopaedic for a specific condition, or maybe they’re custom made from luxury materials but undercut at an affordable price… something that nobody else is doing!

Then Bob has to get clear about who he’s talking to with these shoes. Using Google Trends you can start to play around with search terms and see who’s looking up what, where and in what kind of timescale. This guiding light will get Bob (or his copywriter) off the blocks and pointed in the right direction.

Bob would also do well to start a YouTube channel and begin producing regular content about his shoes. Why? Because video content works in a very similar way when it comes to SEO. Yes, you’ve got the title, tags and description copy that will all help your video show up for people, but you also have the video content itself!

As time has gone on, the YouTube algorithm has had to get smarter for a whole host of reasons. Some has to do with weeding out (as they would put it) “harmful” or “advertiser un-friendly” content. They also offer generated closed-captions for every video, which means that they can tell what you’re saying in all of your videos. Hit the right phrases and structure, and you’ll rank higher in the search results. If you’re smart about how you point people to your sales offering, you’ll start to see traffic finding your site and ultimately your product/service.

What does it take to succeed at implementing SEO that yields results?

Time, patience and consistency. I’m not saying: “do the same thing for years” but remain consistent and persistent in delivering regular, high-quality content that also has SEO best-practices baked into it, and you’ll see results. The focus should be on helping to solve problems for people though.

I know that sounds self-serving for someone with a content and copywriting company to say, but it’s a case of being in it for the long haul. There’s really no other way around it. Don’t get me wrong; you could write a piece that touches on something profound, zeitgeist-tickling and that taps into something that everyone is searching for, but nobody else has written about…you could. But what are the odds that demand is that high and you’re the only one with supply?

My advice is to either:

  • Invest in your SEO strategy in terms of your time - learning what you need to get into your copy, how to structure and write in an engaging way.


  • Do the smart thing and invest capital with someone who already knows what they’re doing, can implement what you need and give you back your time to invest in growing your business.

Trust me: you may fancy yourself a writer now, but when it comes to sitting down day-after-day, searching for inspiration and focus - you might rethink that. And let’s be honest; you’re not going to want homework everyday for the rest of your professional life, on top of running your business!

Four things you should focus on doing:

  • Find a writer who can capture your voice

  • Figure out a regular output of content that you can remain consistent with

  • Make sure you keep within a sustainable, comfortable budget

  • & accept that SEO is about consistency over time

I hope that was useful! If you have any questions regarding SEO, media production or anything else you think that we at Copper Sprocket Content might be able to help you with - please get in touch via our contact page


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