Some of these techniques aren’t just 50 years old, some are a century (or more) old now. SEO, more and more, is relying on what advertisers and copywriters were doing decades ago to get their materials read and sales made.
Keep in mind that many of the men, and some women too, that we’re talking about wrote sales letters that were mailed with little but words and a few illustrations to persuade people hundreds or thousands of miles away to mail money back for the offered product. Here’s one example of how what they did is stunningly relevant still today in the digital world.
Headlines, as any good copywriter from the 1920’s knew, was the most important element to an ad or sales letter. It had to speak to the reader about their needs and desires in unmistakeable terms, drawing them into the rest of the pitch. If the headline didn’t do its job, that was the end of a sale before it even got started. It could also mean the end of their employment.
Today’s SEO headline are the Page Titles and Headings that have to have the same relevance to your modern searcher. The use of keyphrases and related terms reflects back to the reader, confirming their needs will be met on this website. It’s not just that they contain those words, however, that make them relevant, and rankable, in Google’s algorithm.
It’s also the readability and quality of those Headlines that matters to us in search engine optimization. With the advances in search bot software, Google can now understand the difference between a well-written Title or Heading and a laundry list of keyphrases stuffed on the page in a ham-handed effort to rank for every one of them.
Robert Collier Predicts SEO in 1930
Robert Collier, a phenomenally successful copywriter from the early 20th Century, wrote that effective sales writing had to ‘enter the conversation’ inside the prospect’s head. In other words, you needed to speak to them in words and language that they used within about their own wants and needs. Sounds a little like Keyphrases, doesn’t it?
That is simplifying a little, but it is accurate because it’s where you need to start – with the words searchers are using to find what you sell or provide.
If you want to truly stand out in your content, you need to read some of the advertising books that were written 40, 50, even 100 years ago. Look for names like Claude Hopkins, Robert Collier and John Caples. It’s like they say, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” It’s just as true about SEO as anything else.
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