Perhaps one of the most significant issues SEO content marketers face is writing copy for the search engines and the general public.
It’s a fine line and knowing how to write copy that appeals to your customer base while at the same time is SEO-friendly is indeed an art.
The only way to accomplish this is to become exceptionally good at creating content that will rank on Google, known as SEO copywriting.
SEO in itself is not overly complicated if you can write content for your customers and not Google. To help your business grow and be competitive online, you can’t simply churn out content. You must solve the writing dilemma, which is:
a) solving a search query
b) appeal to the general public ( anyone likely to read your website, blog, news or articles).
Content writing is not as easy as it looks, and the big question is; how to write content that solves users search queries and is also an exciting read? Also, how do you create copy that will rank on Google while selling a product or service?
In a nutshell, that’s what SEO copywriting is all about. If you don’t want to shell out the dollars for a decent copywriter ( we do not suggest this ), you can crack at it yourself by following these tips.
What Is SEO?
Search Engine Land defines SEO as the process of improving your site to increase its visibility for relevant searches. The better visibility your pages have in search results, the more likely you are to garner attention and attract prospective and existing customers to your business.
We have all done it before, and most of us do it daily. We search Google for absolutely everything.
In a nutshell, having quality content is equal to better Google rankings.
How does effective SEO work?
i) You research keywords that relate to your business
ii) Select a keyword or set of long-tail keywords and
iii) Use those keywords as the subject matter for your blog or main pages of your website.
iv) Other people will then share this content on their Facebook, website, blogs or other social media profiles, which is the best way to grow your audience organically and at the same time achieve better Google rankings.
According to Google’s ranking systems are designed to sort through hundreds of billions of web pages in their Search index to find the most relevant, useful results in a fraction of a second and present them in a way that helps you find what you’re looking for.
Google will rank these pages based on relevancy and authority. But, how does it measure this?
a) Google will determine the relevance of your page by looking at the pages content, titles, and keywords about this copy.
b) Google measures authority by the number of inbound links pointing to that page and how trustworthy these links are. Google bases this trust on a term called Domain Authority, and the higher the DA, the more trust the site has.
A point to note here is that it’s a matter of quality of quantity regarding inbound links. It’s not a popularity contest. You have to get links from the best sites, and Google will reward this immediately. They have rolled out significantly significant algorithmic updates in recent years, Panda Update being the most relevant, to weed out websites from its Seach results that are not providing the best possible content. So when it comes to ranking on Google, one of the most important ranking factors is content.
What is Copywriting
Wikipedia defines copywriting as the act or occupation of writing the text for the purpose of advertising or other forms of marketing.
For most businesses, this means writing website copy to either sell a product or a service. Copywriting is the art of selling your business to an audience willing to buy or engage with you. If they like what they read, you are more likely to get the sale, inquiry, download or phone call.
Entrepreneur tells us in their article that sales copywriting is crucial for your business. With customers staying home and shopping from their couches, solid copy may be the best sales technique available to you, if you use it right.
And, to get people to craft this type of sales copy, you need a skilled copywriter or agency that understands the importance of both SEO and content. This copywriter will have an understanding of your business, its audience and what makes them tick. They will know the sales triggers that your buyers are looking for and write copy that hits these targets, driving them to take action.
It’s amazing how quickly good copy can persuade a person into doing something. They will also know what the search engines are looking for and tweak the copy based on their requirements, such as keyword implementation, H1, H2 and H3 headings, and long-tail keyword phrases, which is why good copywriters are in high demand now.
Businesses are slowly learning to appreciate this skill set and the pivotal role it plays with search engine rankings.
SEO Sydney Experts Tip: If you want to survive in SEO and Google’s fast-paced world and remain competitive, you MUST create content that your readers will find helpful. And, you have to be consistent, which is what your clients demand. Providing the best possible copy is your best bet when it comes to a prominent and visible online profile.
What is SEO Copywriting?
SEO copywriting has changed over the years and continues to evolve with every Google algorithmic update. If you want to have website copy that sells to your customers and ranks on Google, it will help if you understand Google’s Ranking Algorithm.
SEO copywriting is when you can write copy for search engines and your customers based on specific keyword searches. If people like what you’ve written, they will share this with friends, colleagues on their social media or perhaps have a link pointing to your site from their site or blog. Growing your audience and generating interest in your content is the most natural way to increase SEO rankings.
This type of organic SEO gives your site the edge over your competitors and is the cornerstone of SEO copywriting. It’s a win-win. You get more customers and better SEO rankings at the same time.
Six Critical Elements of SEO Copywriting
Making sure that your SEO is squeaky clean is one central aspect of your campaign. We all know the right things you have to be practising, but I want to highlight these before you even start thinking about putting pen to paper.
1) Site speed
Make sure your website loads fast is crucial to any SEO copywriting campaign. You can have the world’s best content, but if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load fully, they may not read it. According to Website Set Up, if page load time goes from one second to three seconds, the probability of a bounce increases by 32%.
And another interesting statistic is that. 47% of end-users expect a web page to load in two seconds or less.
You can measure your websites page speed here at Pingdom, and if you don’t like the results, you need to get your site audited by web developers.
Other guides to help you with your websites page speed include:
Site speed will help improve your website conversion and bounce rates.
ThinkWithGoogle has written a case study report on this topic, highlighting how they analysed mobile site data from 37 retail, travel, luxury and lead generation brands across Europe and the US over four weeks. Results showed that a mere 0.1s change in load time could influence every step of the user journey, ultimately increasing conversion rates. Conversions grew by 8% for retail sites and by 10% for Travel sites on average.
2) Attention-Grabbing Headline.
We all hate the word clickbait, but it’s important for conversion rates for your content. Most people will see the headline first and decide to click on not to click based on what they read. Monster Insights tells us that 8 out of 10 people won’t read your blog if they don’t like the headline. WOW – that’s such a huge number that makes headlines a critical component in your SEO copywriting arsenal. And if you go to the OptinMoster Page, you will find 29 Tools That’ll Help You Create Better Headlines. Use these tools and learn how to write better headlines that will help with conversion rates.
Headlines are particularly useful if you seem to be hovering around position # 5 or # 6 on page 1 of Google. A strong headline will negate this by capturing readers’ attention as they scan the page for information. As a general rule of thumb, any decent SEO copywriter should focus on the headline nearly as much as the actual content.
SEO Sydney Experts Tip: Check out Crazy Eggs 41 Engaging Examples of the Best Headlines to Rally Your Audience
I want to give you a few examples of headlines I think are highly clickable in popular industries such as fashion and fitness.
Clickable and optimised fashion headlines:
- 10 Fashion Secrets that no one will tell you
- Best Fashion ideas for women that will turn men on
SEO and conversion-focused fitness headlines:
- Fitness workouts: Secrets that personal trainers won’t tell you.
- Best Personal Trainers Sydney: Helping you get fit quickly
Based on the above headlines, you can see that the long tail section of these is the actual clickbait titles. For SEO purposes, the main keywords are in the title but adding the extra three or so words adds extra bite to the heading making it more attention-grabbing.
Understanding the power of SEO copywriting will help you write fabulous copy, headlines, and SEO-friendly text to attract and inform users.
A winning combination!
SEO Sydney Experts Tip: Keep your heading under 72 characters for better SEO results and click through rates.
People are on Google looking for answers. They are searching for a product, service or need information and your content to help solve their search queries. Google loves fresh new content to fee their audience to it’s vital that your copy is informative and written on an ongoing basis.
Ulrike Lobo grew their business loans company daily click rate from under 250 to well over 1000 by blogging regularly. They had not focused on their content marketing strategy when they first approached us, but their inquiry rates shot up after three months of consistent posting.
To write excellent copy and have it ranking on Google, you have to follow some definite rules:
- avoid overstuffing of keywords in the copy as Google’s 4.1 algorithm stopped this type of behaviour by penalising sites with thin copy
- put your main keywords in the heading
- Write at least 1000 words and make sure the content is very informative with references to other sites to substantiate critical points. You can’t cheat the system by writing lengthy useless copy. Most long-winded pointless articles struggle to rank.
- Use internal links to point to other pages within your site, which help with indexing other pages.
- Before you begin writing, ask yourself what your customers are searching for and write copy to answer their questions or solve their problems which is the challenging goal of combining content and SEO. Solving their search query questions by ranking at the top of the results is the ultimate goal for any copywriter.
- make the introduction short, to the point and enticing. The introduction is the paragraph that sits under the heading and is the perfect segway to get the readers to continue reading. Make sure it contains one of your keywords and one long-tail keyword, as this will also signal to Google the page’s intent. This introduction has to be an H2 as the heading is an H1.
Current content marketing goes well beyond writing a blog and adding a few core keywords; now, you have to have content that addresses keyword intent which we will look at later.
4) Meta Description
Moz explains Meta Descriptions as a summary of a web page. Search engines such as Google often display the meta description in search results, influencing click-through rates. Before you publish any content, you have to work out how these descriptions will attract users. Many SEO agencies ignore this vital part of the content, but they earn their money to write them correctly. Google uses meta descriptions as added text to further explain the page’s content, and SEO agencies use it to try and get as many eyes on it as possible. If you don’t have decent meta descriptions, no one will click on your link, even if you’re in the top 3 search results.
If you have a WordPress CMS and have installed the All-In-One SEO Plug-In, you will automatically generate meta descriptions. You can, however, customise this if you so desit=re.
SEO Sydney Experts Tip: the meta description should be 150 – 160 characters and usually appears like this in Google:
If you’re a newbie to blogging, I’ll go over the steps to creating the best meta descriptions for your website that will rank on Google and capture the attention of browsers.
Understand keyword intent.
Keyword intent is the primary purpose or the reason behind the keywords. In other words, you need to write content around the keywords you have chosen.
For example, say you’re a web design agency, and you want to attract clients to your business. Then, your main keywords could be “web design expert advice.” When they type web design into Google, what are your clients searching for? They want web design, and they want advice on how a web agency can redesign their site and make it competitive.
Once you have written your blog or article, it’s time to write a clever meta description. In this case, your meta description has to appeal to the searcher’s needs, that is:
Looking for expert advice on web design? We will help you get new clients with customer-friendly web design.
5) Keyword frequency & density
Keyword frequency refers to the number of times your main keywords appear on the page.
For example, if your target keyword is “best Sydney electrician,” how often will this exact keyword phrase appear in your 400, 600 or 1200+ word article?
Keyword density refers to the ratio of “best Sydney electricians” to other words on the same page.
Both density and frequency play a lesser part in the rankings, but they still play a role in SEO rankings which copywriters should understand. WordStream tells us that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to keyword density. And say that if a webpage consists of a single, 200-word paragraph, it should contain no more than one keyword.
So try to avoid keyword stuffing or overuse specific keywords to push rankings, as this won’t happen. For SEO purposes, try to pepper the content with keyword variances, as you can see below. Google even hints at these through related searches. But don’t go overboard with keyword variances, as the content needs to readable and informative without appearing spammy.
For keyword density, a ratio of less than 2% is optimal. Alexa explains this by saying most SEO experts believe that an ideal keyword density is around 1-2%, which means the target keyword appears about one to two times per 100 words.
If you’re asking the question, what happens if you overuse keywords or the density ratio is too high? There are two possible scenarios. One is certain that your page won’t rank, and the other is a Google penalty. I’ve written about Google penalties in previous blogs such as:
To check your keyword density, use this checker.
6) External Page Links
Linking to other websites is a great way to show Google that your page is current and you’re referencing other authoritative websites to prove or substantiate your points. It also tells Google that this page is up to date and giving readers valuable information. In essence, you are helping Google rank sites by backlinking to other sites, and you will be rewarded for this exercise, just as I have been doing in this article. You can see the number of outbound links I have created.
Moz has created an article that details this further and lists 5 reasons you should link to other sites. But, there are no set rules for this type of behaviour; suffice to say that if it adds to the authenticity and creativity of the article, then it’s a good idea.
SEO Sydney Experts Tip: If the content flows naturally with specific keywords linking to external sites, why not use it? However, there are no set rules regarding links and keyword density, but any SEO copywriter should write solely for the audience and never Google, which is a hard and set rule!
SEO Copywriting Tools and Resources
If you want to be the best SEO copywriter you can be, you will need valuable writing tools.
Here are some that I use every day as part of our SEO copywriting service.
Grammarly: A great app that corrects spelling and punctuation mistakes. This would have to be one of the best tools for copywriting. Download it!
Thesaurus: A valuable tool that helps you find synonyms and antonyms for words.
Copyscape: This simple tool allows you to check if someone has plagiarised your content without referencing you. Google hates duplicate content, which may affect your site if too many people steal your excellent copy.
HubSpot Blog Topic Generator: You have to get this tool to generate blog topics if you have writer’s block. Try it out and see for yourself. It works.
Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List – this one is a no-brainer.
Copywriting optimisation essentials
Search engine rankings are constantly evolving with Googles algorithm; we all know this. If you engage an SEO agency to write your SEO copy, they know that they are subject to the same shifting Google rules. There are, however, some things you can do to ensure that your pages will have the best chance of ranking for specific search queries.
a) Title tags
You have to know how to write catchy title tags. They must be between 50-60 characters, and it gives both Google and your readers a concise description of your page’s intent.
Ahrefs tells us to write title tags for humans and not search engines. And recommend that you primarily optimise for one main “head” keyword and maybe one-or-two long-tail keywords.
Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name
For example: Buy Shoes Online – Running Shoes For Sale | Nike Store
b) Heading tags
The heading tags are labelled H1 through to H6. The H1 is the page title, H2 is the first paragraph, and H3 are the subheadings. Using heading tags correctly will lay the format of the page out so users can read it easily.
SEO Sydney Experts Tip: You can have only 1 x H1 heading, and don’t overdo the H2 headings. Make sure you use H3 headings for all new major text points throughout the blog.
Writing informative Content For Your Customers.
The better you can write copy, the more often people will visit your site. Content is a powerful medium and an effective and powerful marketing tool that can drive traffic to your site, influence people, and create a buzz around your brand. I’ve repeatedly stated that writing for the search engines with keyword stuffing and, even worse, ripping off content from your competition will not win you better Google rankings or earn the trust you need from users online.
Interestingly, even if you have a fantastic copy, your blog might not rank as well as it could if you ignore these three critical points.
- Optimise for as many on-topic keywords with loads of searches
- Get as many backlinks as possible – which means you will have to push the blog so as many people read it as possible.
- Write content that will last the test of time, known as evergreen content; your blog topics should never go out of fashion and if they seem to be outdated, give them a refresh. I am constantly updating posts more than a few years old for Robyn from Blue Label Life, who has blogs dating back to 2014.
Keyword research is an integral part of the copywriting process, and the most vital part of keyword research is intent.
Before you begin writing content, you have to know the traffic numbers for specific keywords related to your business and write copy. You have to pay attention to keyword classification, and these fall into two separate categories.
These are words that users will search for without actually wanting to buy a product or service. Words such as ‘how to’ or ‘learn more’ are great examples of informational keywords in headings. These are informational because users are only interested in learning or downloading free articles, podcasts or ebooks.
As an SEO copywriter, if your primary goal is to generate interest in generating traffic for free guides or books, informational keywords in the headings are the way to go. These keywords are not intended to sell a product or service, so don’t expect a sharp spike in sales. Instead, use these types of keywords to educate your audience, build brand trust and engender loyalty.
Commercial keywords are the most popular type of keywords for SEO for small businesses. These keywords will show some urgency: ‘ 20% off for the next 30 days’ or ‘ buy now for Christmas’.
These keywords also have some commercial intent with prefixes like buy, order, free, ask us, best price, fast shopping etc.
The user searching for a product or service will most likely respond to commercial keywords as they are ready to buy or inquire.
SEO Sydney Experts Tip: When you write copy around commercial keywords, your information has to be as helpful as possible and include the benefits of the product, how to use, install or the advantages of using a particular service.
Must you target keywords?
In short, yes, you should, as Google will look at these keywords to determine the intent of the page.
Follow these three golden rules when adding keywords in the content.
i) Always use a keyword in the headline. For example, if my main keyword is ‘cosmetic surgeons Sydney’, the heading would be something like:’ ‘Tips for choosing the best cosmetic surgeons in Sydney “.
ii) Always use your main keywords in the introduction and description.
iii) Finish up with one of the main keywords in the description in the conclusion area of the article.
Create a story or case study
SEO copywriters have to use their imagination and creativity. Try to weave some story into the content if you can. The most interesting the content and the more it flows, the more people will be inclined to read and share it.
HubSpot tells us that storytelling is a precious tool for you to add to your proverbial marketing tool belt.
Some content marketers might like to create a story around a case study. For example, we like to make a story around our client’s successes through our case studies page, which is a good read for our market as they want to know what we can do. If they identify with these case studies, then they will likely call us.
This is where storytelling can help boost your brand, conversion rates and general inquiries as it appeals to your target market.
One of the most complex elements of copywriting is humour, especially if you have a dry or unexciting topic to cover, which is where an SEO copywriter will shine. If you can add the slightest bit of humour or add some informal, conversational parts to your article that smooths over rough, dull edges in the copy, this will add to consumer engagement. Try to bring it to the customers level with and sound as natural as you possibly can.
Keyword Research for Content Creation
The first page of Google captures 71% of search traffic clicks and has been reported to be as high as 92%.
If you want to get to the top of these search results, then you need to understand how to choose the best keywords for your article that will drive traffic. And, if you can write naturally for your audience around these keywords, then these blogs/articles will rank. But, you have to know what your audience is searching for online and write accordingly based on these keyword results.
Here comes the challenging part; how to choose the right keywords for your next blog?
You have to identify who your target market is and help answer their search questions. For my client base, I would write a blog post about SEO prices in Sydney, which is one of the most common questions potential customers ask me.
As you can see, I am crafting content around a keyword that satisfies customers’ questions, which are essential for driving traffic to your site.
Once you have identified the keywords, albeit long-tail keywords and the subject matter, you want to make sure that you’re not wasting your time writing something that no one will read. So you have to examine:
- Search volume – number of searches the keyword has during a month. The higher the number of online searches, the better, and you should write the best possible article for these terms.
- SEO difficulty – estimated competition in organic search. The most competitive keywords will be the most challenging to rank.
- Paid difficulty – estimated competition in paid search. Here, you can think about all the money you are saving by ranking your keywords organically without paying Google for this privilege.
Optimising content for search robots
Search engines are constantly searching for new fresh content, and it’s your job as an SEO copywriter to make sure that it will rank when Google indexes your page. So you have to line up all ‘on page‘ and ‘off-page’ elements to give you the best chance of ranking.
Both of these disciplines are changing and evolving with Google’s algorithm, but you must be compliant and never try to spam the search engines to rank. I have blogged about this topic en masse. I don’t want to delve further into this at this stage, but needless to say, watch this video below, and you’ll get a clearer idea of the damage that can happen if you try to over optimise or spam your web pages in the hope of getting to page 1.
You can control the ‘on-page elements’, but you have little control over the ‘off-page’, which is everything outside your control. The main elements are backlinks pointing towards your site, and these are some of the main ranking signals Google uses to determine the value and trust of your site. To achieve the best possible backlinks, you must write copy that people want to share and link to, which is the ultimate goal of copywriting. The better the copy, the greater the chance you have of obtaining natural links.
Persuade People to Act Through SEO Copywriting
This article will fit nicely to persuade people to act, which is the exercise’s whole point: getting them to buy, download, or call you. It’s not as hard as you might think, but you have to sell the article hard in the first few paragraphs if you want them to stick around.
One of the best ways to keep people engaged is to help them skim through the copy with easy to read bullet points combined with attention-grabbing headlines. And yes, decent graphic design will make a difference.
If you want to become a leader in your field and produce the best content possible, these above tips are gold. If you don’t have the time to write content like most businesses, you might like to give us a shout as we’re here to help.