SEO Copywriting for the web can be demanding. You need to contend with huge quantities of blog and social media posts, provide a good experience on any device or platform, and meet search engine expectations if you hope to rank well — and ranking well is important.
SEO is a key concern for almost all businesses that operate online. If you want to maximise your traffic, you need to take action to make your website more likely rank — and that means polishing your content.
If you’re planning to write content with the goal of building up your rankings, you’ll need to go about it correctly. Let’s quickly run through some misconceptions about SEO copywriting, then take a look at 7 areas to focus on to help improve your rankings.
What SEO Copywriting is Not
Even though you’re writing (partially) to cater to search engines, SEO copywriting shouldn’t be a dry and mechanical process of piecing together the right ingredients to achieve artificial success. The primary purpose of the copy is still to provide value to the reader and ensuring that you’re speaking to your customer (not Google). The SEO aspect is all about taking great content and making the tweaks needed to give it the best chance of ranking.
With that said, let’s consider some key things to keep in mind when you’re writing your content.
#1Keywords Are Building Blocks
Keywords are important, but they’re not what they once were. Google is pretty good at interpreting semantic intent, so you don’t need to include your main keyword ten times. There’s still value in keywords, though, so you need the right balance.
Hit your main keyword once or twice (usually the topic, product or service you’re writing about), include several secondary keywords (related terms you’d expect to see), and otherwise write naturally. That way, you’ll tick the SEO box without making your content stilted and unnatural.
#2Structure Is Important
The better you structure your content, the easier it will be for visitors to read, and the more easily search crawlers will be able to break it down. You want crawlers to break it down because that increases its value for featured snippets (which can send you even more visits).
Instead of writing in one gigantic paragraph, space out your content using paragraphs, images, and — most importantly — subheadings. Every subheading should clearly set up its contents, making that section valuable to Google and helping the page rank better.
#3Metadata Provides Context
The most important metadata consists of page titles, page descriptions, and alt text for images. The page title needs to neatly encapsulate the purpose of a page, the page description needs to give a longer intro (it can appear in searches, so make it good), and the alt text for an image needs to describe it so Google can tell what the image is supposed to be.
The amount of time you should spend on your metadata will depend on the nature of your site. If you’re simply trying to get more traffic for some blog posts on broad topics, you can put in suitable primary keywords (particularly if the keywords are of niche interest). However, if you’re attempting to make your content stand out in search engine results pages, you will have to make an extra effort to make sure your meta descriptions encourage click-throughs.
Tactics for writing meta descriptions that encourage click-throughs include providing clear and assertive instructions and a persuasive overview of what readers can expect. You can also go a step further by weaving calls to action such as ‘learn more’, ‘get a quote now’, ‘try it for free’ into your meta descriptions. Look at it this way: great metadata won’t win visits (or sales), but bad metadata will definitely lose them.
#4Content Needs a Strategy
Your copywriting needs to adhere to an overall strategy. What are you trying to achieve with your content? Are you trying to sell a particular product or service? Elevate your brand? Whatever it is, use it to design a content calendar for the coming year, making sure that every piece you release connects with the content before it.
To build the most effective content strategy, you will need to align it with your brand. Creating brand guidelines doesn’t need to be complex; learning how to write a pared-down style guide will make sure that your content and brand work in harmony. This ensures that everything from your values to your ideal tone of voice comes through in all the content that you produce, and a misaligned content strategy won’t run the risk of diluting your brand.
Pure SEO copywriting is about search engine traffic, but that’s not the only concern when you’re writing copy. You also need to be thinking about other traffic sources, such as social media posts or direct referrals. After all, the more traffic you can get, the better.
Consider including social sharing buttons alongside your content and display them prominently. You could also use Open Graph tags to ensure that your content will look good when it gets linked through Twitter or Facebook.
Unfortunately, you can have a piece that reads well and offers a lot of value to the reader but will completely fail to get you any traffic. This is because not all topics are going to get attention. Think from the perspective of your audience: does the topic draw you in? Does the title make you eager to click? If it doesn’t, consider if the piece is worth your effort.
In addition, some topics are completely saturated when it comes to content. For instance, trying to rank for a piece about finding home insurance can be challenging because it’s a huge industry and there are many huge brands spending money on getting traffic. So think strategically about your content topics and how you can make gains within your specific niche.
#7Q&A Format Works Well
One easy way to add some value to any piece is to use a Q&A format. It’s extremely simple: you set up questions your audience might want to ask and then answer them. This is valuable for two reasons: it makes a piece very digestible for readers, and it works well with Google as it can repurpose the content for its homepage snippets.
It may not be ideal that Google takes content this way, but since there’s no way of stopping it, you might as well lean into it and try to have your content chosen. At least then you’ll stand a better chance of getting additional exposure as an expert source.
If you keep these things in mind when you’re writing or adapting your SEO copywriting, it can significantly improve your chances of rising up the ranks and winning more traffic.
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