Is your website content attracting the right visitor and turning that person into a customer?
If the answer is “no” then following a few simple SEO best practice techniques can have a massive impact on your organic traffic and conversions.
Why is SEO important and how does it work?
Web content should always be written for the user. It should solve a problem, help them or provide information. But with Google processing on average 3.6 billion searches each day, there’s a lot of competition out there. That’s where search engine optimisation (SEO) comes in.
SEO is a way to optimise the content on your website so that it ranks high on search engines such as Google and drives quality traffic to your website.
When you type a query into a search engine you're presented with a list of web pages relating to your query. Search engines know to show you these results because they have crawled websites, found relevant information and indexed it. his information is then ‘ranked’ depending on how well it answers your search query. SEO is the driving factor behind this whole process.
Your target customer has a problem or wants something. You have the answer. SEO helps you to connect with each other.
What is SEO copywriting?
Before I get into the dos and don’ts of SEO copywriting, it’s important to point out that you should always write for people, not search engines. Good content that adds value must always be at the heart of your copywriting strategy.
A copywriter understands how to craft good copy. They understand your audience, what they need and what they’re looking for and write for them. A good SEO copywriter understands this but also knows what search engines look for, so they’re able to write content that appeals to both your visitors and web crawlers.
How can you improve your SEO rankings?
SEO copywriting is a skill. But if you want your content to feature high in Google searches, here are 6 key areas to focus on for effective SEO copywriting.
1. Keywords – These are at the core of SEO copywriting so it’s worth spending a bit of time explaining what keywords and phrases are.
Although you should always write your content for the reader, you still need to include some keywords that will appeal to the search engines. Search engines use keywords to understand the searcher and their intent. In other words, what the searcher is wanting to find and what words or phrases they use in their searches.
Search intent is an important consideration when you’re doing your keyword research. What people type into the search engines reflects where they are in the buying process so you may want different keywords for the different stages of their journey.
For example, a travel company may use “summer holidays” as part of its keyword strategy. This is referred to as a short-term or short-tail keyword and although it will generate high search volume, there’s more competition as the search term is broad. People are probably just looking for holiday inspiration so there will be little on site engagement and bounce rates are likely to be high.
More detailed long-tail keywords (three or more words), such as “holiday deals to Cuba for June 2022,” have lower search volumes so are less competitive and show search intent. In other words, the person is probably looking to book a holiday.
Ideally you want to include a mix of both in your page content. Short-term keywords to help you reach a larger audience, and long-term keywords that have lower volume, greater intent and higher conversion rates.
Taking time to research your keywords will pay off in the long term. Speak to your sales teams to find out what words and phrases customers use, what questions they ask. See what people are discussing on social media and what keywords your competitors are using. If you run PPC campaigns, look at your Google AdWords data to see what’s converting well.
There are also a number of tools available to help you research your keywords. These include SEMrush and Moz which are paid for (but they do offer free trials), Google Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest’s free keywords tool.
2. Headlines that hook – Your headline is probably the most important part of your content. If it doesn’t capture the reader’s attention quickly, they won’t read any further.
Advertising revolutionary David Ogilvy said that:
“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
Including keywords that your audience is searching for in your headline will help readers to find your content easily.
SEO copywriters understand the importance of a good headline and will write several versions before deciding on the best one. Power words or phrases and words that trigger emotions such as amazing, boost, inexpensive, surprising, how to and what happened drive more traffic to a site and encourage sharing.
3. Content that engages - Providing value should be what your web content is about. High quality content that serves a purpose and gives your audience what it wants, or needs will attract visitors and search engines. It’s generally accepted that long form content, over 1,000 words, performs better than short form as it provides greater user engagement, encourages sharing and has a positive impact on your search engine rankings.
Include both your short-tail & long-tail keywords in your copy but avoid keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing is penalised by search engines. It also leads to poorly written copy. You should always write your copy for the reader and in their language, not industry jargon. After all, it's your target reader who is carrying out the online searches.
4. Meta description – This is a short summary of your web page and helps both the searcher and search engines to understand what the content is about. Search engines display the meta description on a search engine results page (SERP), so writing an easy to understand but compelling description is key to your click through rates.
Try to keep your description between 50 - 160 characters. Anything longer and Google will shorten the text. Include keywords in your description and if you can, add a CTA to encourage people to click through to your website.
5. Page links – Link building is an important part of driving organic traffic to your site. Both external and internal links let search engines know that a page is important and authoritative.
Internal links to relevant content on your website are important for SEO as they help search engines to map and rank your website better. Links from popular or important external sites show the search engines they view your pages as relevant and worthy. They are seen as external endorsements and are valued.
All links should have a description (anchor text) of what the link is about. Anchor text helps the reader to understand what they’re clicking to, why they should click the link and what to expect. It also tells search engine crawlers what the content is about.
6. Image optimisation – Some visitors to your site may not be able to see images. This could be because they’re using a screen reader, or their web browser might block images. Including alt text with your images helps these visitors to understand what the image is about while improving your SEO.
Image searches are becoming increasingly popular. Adding descriptive filenames and alt text to your images lets web crawlers know what the image is so it can be shown in search queries.
SEO copywriting must be about the reader
SEO copywriting is so much more than writing content that can be found by search engines. It’s about providing quality, valuable content, that engages with your audience, grabs attention and builds trust.
Reader experience and SEO are intertwined. The better the reader experience and engagement, the better your SEO will be. That means you’ll attract the right visitor to your website, improve brand awareness and increase conversions.
Need well written, optimised copy that's written for your audience, not just for search engines? I understand how to write informative, engaging and easy to read copy so why not get in touch, I’m here to help you.