Despite what you may have heard, incorporating SEO-forward copywriting into your work doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, successful SEO copywriters can create enthralling, informative content that subtly integrates SEO keywords. They understand the importance of listening to their audience and can use these insights to bring the audience’s preferences to life, with the added benefit of high search engine rankings. If you’re interested in growing your website, understanding SEO copywriting is a great first step.
What Is SEO Copywriting?
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SEO stands for “search engine optimization,” and it’s a concept that content creators and businesses use to better promote their products. Search engines like Google rank results based on certain words and phrases that have proven to be the most popular with users. Think about the last time you did a Google search. Did you find what you were looking for in the first couple of results? You can thank SEO for that.
SEO copywriting refers to the process of creating content with the specific intention of ranking high on the search engine results page. Copywriters use SEO insights when deciding on what content to write, what words to emphasize, and how to structure the page’s title. All of these elements directly contribute to how high or low a website can rank on the results page, which can make a significant impact on the success and online reach of a company or organization.
Why Does SEO Copywriting Matter to Ranking?
Google uses a technology known as natural language processing that can better decipher what people are searching for and what creator content is about. The advancement of natural language processing systems over the years has allowed for more accurate searching that can better pluck information from websites to provide users with valuable results. SEO copywriters can use SEO tools to decipher which words or phrases are likely to rank the highest and structure their content from there, keeping the writing informative and helpful for the user.
Tips for Better SEO Copywriting
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When copywriting, it’s important to always keep the wants and needs of your intended audience in mind. This also goes for SEO copywriting, in which your job as the copywriter is to create content that is valuable thanks to its informative nature and SEO-friendly phrasing, making it more accessible to users. With that being said, here are 17 SEO copywriting tips you can use to create content that is both optimal for the user and within search engine rankings.
Research and Prewriting
1. Choose a Realistic Keyword Goal
A major component of all SEO work, but particularly copywriting, is using keyword search tools to choose the best words and phrases for your content. It may be tempting to opt for words that are popular in your industry and have a high search volume, but resist the urge to use these phrases, as they can have a lot of competition from other content creators. Create a list of keywords that are low in difficulty to start off your writing process.
2. Define Your Brand’s Unique Selling Proposition
If you want to stand out in your industry, it’s important to define what makes your brand special and why users should engage with your content. You may want to identify your unique selling proposition (USP), which is a statement that describes the key selling points of your company. This can become the basis of your marketing projects, being the factor that separates your venture from all of your competitors.
3. Create Non-Branded, Searchable Web Content
Using non-branded content can be especially useful for brands that are just starting out and have minimal name recognition, as they can use general words and phrases to make their content more searchable on Google and other engines. For example, a new vegan bakery in Miami can use SEO to promote traffic to their business by using terms like “vegan bakery Miami,” or “plant-based food Miami.”
4. Outline Your Structure
You may preemptively identify the main topics of what you’re writing, as well as any subtopics, headings, and subheadings you plan on including. This can help you integrate your keywords in prominent places throughout the webpage, making it more likely that the SEO technology will identify them and rank the article highly.
5. Prioritize Quality Over Everything Else
When searching for quality results, Google looks for content that is comprehensive, original, and expertly sourced and that follows proper grammar and spelling standards. If you focus on creating content that answers the user’s question efficiently and clearly, you can increase your chances of ranking high on the search results page.
The SEO Copywriting Process
6. Explore Your Topic In-Depth
Long content tends to checkmark the quality boxes for Google more than shorter content, which is why longer writing pieces tend to have higher rankings. Longer content also is more likely to have additional backlinks and social engagements, which can also contribute to ranking. When copywriting, take the time to explore your topic in-depth to provide the reader with as much information as possible and increase ranking chances.
7. Write for Passage Ranking
In 2021, Google began to rank specific passages of content as opposed to the web pages themselves. This makes it possible for users to search for something and get results that, when clicked, take them directly to the information they were searching for. Copywriters can use this update to their advantage by strategically using headlines, questions, and headings (paired with relevant information) that users are likely to search for, therefore increasing ranking opportunities.
8. Use a Content Optimization Tool
Content optimization tools like Clearscope, SEMrush, and SearchAtlas all have technology that enables users to find the best phrasing for their SEO copywriting needs. These tools can identify common words, phrases, and topics that you can include in your writing to better increase the chances of the content ranking highly on the search results page and take the guessing work out of SEO integration.
9. Offer Answers to Related Questions
SEO copywriters can also offer answers to similar questions in their content, allowing for users searching for a different question to engage with their content despite not being part of the initial search. Consider using the Google search tool and navigating to the “People also ask” section to find related questions you can incorporate answers to in your writing.
10. Include Synonyms and Keywords in Your Headings
The advancements in Google’s language processing capabilities have made it possible for the system to recognize synonyms and related terms. Copywriters can use this to their benefit by including words with semantic relationships in their writing, which can reduce the appearance of keyword stuffing while still promoting strong rankings.
11. Avoid Long Sentences, Long Paragraphs, and Misspellings
Content that uses too much academic jargon, or conversely, has poor writing or grammar, can drive users away from your site and back to the search engine results page. Try to keep your sentences and paragraphs short to make the content easier for the audience to engage with and boost SEO results.
12. Break Up Your Content With Rich Media
Another way to engage users with your content is by breaking it up with rich media like images, videos, infographics, or GIFs. Not only does Google prefer content with media incorporated into it, but this can be a much more engaging reading experience for the audience, making them more likely to stay on your website and boost your SEO rankings.
13. Include Relevant Links With Contextual Anchor Text
Including links is another way to signal quality to Google, therefore increasing chances of ranking high on the results page. Always link to pages that are relevant to your topic and reputable sources of information. When linking, always use anchor text that matches with the content of the destination page.
14. Make Your Content Easy To Navigate
Including a table of contents or jumplinks in your writing can make it easier for the audience to find specific information, especially if they found your site after using a search engine. Longer articles and resource pages, in particular, can benefit most from navigation tools and make users less likely to give up on your site and return to the results page.
After the Writing
15. Make Sure That Google Understands Your Content
It’s important to stay updated on how Google understands your content. You can do this by logging into your Google Search Console account and analyzing how different keywords perform on search rankings. High impressions are a good sign that Google understands the type of content you’re creating.
16. Optimize and Test Your Meta Tags
Even though Google can rewrite titles and meta tags whenever they want, this only happens to about 20% of content on the search engine. You should still try to choose keywords for your tags and page titles that are likely to promote higher rankings. Check back on old titles and tags to see if they’re effective and make changes as necessary.
17. Revise and Update Accordingly
As time goes on, content becomes less relevant. It’s important to revise and update your content periodically to include new information that is accurate and engaging to the current audience. Underperforming content can benefit from revisions, especially when taking SEO insights and tips into consideration.
Final Thoughts on SEO Copywriting
SEO copywriting is still fairly new, and as the internet continues to change, it’s likely that we’ll see updates in how search engine optimization works. Try to keep your content fresh and relevant to maintain high keyword rankings now and encourage them in the future.