SEO (search engine optimisation) is crucial for visibility online. At the heart of SEO is SEO copywriting and backlinking. How you go about both of them can make or break your search engine optimisation campaigns. This guide focuses on SEO copywriting. You have probably heard the term ‘SEO copywriting’ thousands of times, but you may well be wondering:
This guide will provide you with the answers to all of these questions and help you get the best out of all of your online content. After reading this guide, and implementing its content, you will see tangible results and your ROI will also increase. Let’s get started.
We’ll start by trying to understand what SEO is, because if we can grasp what it is, understanding what SEO copywriting is will be much easier.
When people want to find a product, learn a new concept or get information, one of the first places they go to is their favourite search engine. In most cases, this is Google, as it executes about 90% of all searches done globally.
After the search, Google typically returns millions of results. But the search giant (and other search engines) can only display a couple of results per page (known as the search engine results pages or SERPs). What’s worse, most users don’t click beyond the first page. A few go beyond page one but never more than page 5.
As a result, everyone is desperate to be on page one of the SERPs, and ideally on the first three results, because the top three get 66% of all clicks.
SEO consists of all the activities that marketers, companies, bloggers do to ensure that their content is displayed among the first three results in the SERPs. If they cannot get in the first three positions, they should, at least, be on the first page.
To break down SEO a little further, there are two main branches: on-page and off-page. On-page SEO consists of every activity you do on your web pages and site to become visible to search engines. Off-page SEO involves things you do outside of your website or webpage to rank it higher in the SERPs. The one thing common to both types of SEO is content – and this is where SEO copywriting comes in.
SEO copywriting is a subcategory of copywriting that focuses on optimising web copy for all online activities, including ranking high in the SERPs, clickability, and so on.
Traditional copywriting, on the other hand, focuses on writing copy that appeals to your target audience and increases their interaction/engagement with the copy. The goal of conventional copywriting is to persuade customers and readers to take a desired action. This could be anything, such as subscribing to your newsletters or making a purchase.
SEO copywriting does all that while also taking into consideration how search engines work, and carrying out what needs to be done to position your copy in the number-one spot.
Now that we have sorted out what SEO and SEO copywriting are, let's get into the key concepts of SEO copywriting and how to do it.
The number-one foundation of SEO copywriting is the same as that of all other forms of writing: understand your audience.
We cannot stress this point enough. Every article, sales page, blog, or social media post is written with a specific audience in mind. Until you know that audience more than they know themselves, you will not be able to influence their behaviour and their interaction with your copy. It’s crucial to research and understand your audience.
You should create a customer or buyer persona of your target audience. This is a fictional portrayal of your ideal customer. It includes details of your customers such as their biggest problems, demographics (age, gender, location, job position, income, and so on), their goals and aspirations, the obstacles they face, where they hang out online, the things that keep them awake at night, and more.
The customer persona drills down into your customers head and heart. It gives you a picture of your audience and what influences them.
There are several tools to use for this purpose. Many of them do not require payment, while there are other paid-for options. While the free tools are usually sufficient to get you started, the paid tools often offer you the dept that you need because they drill into the very heart of your audience. You can use a combination of both sets of tools.
Some examples of tools to use for audience insight are Google search suggestions, Quora, answerthepublic.com, and platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit.
When people come to search for something online, they usually have one of three reasons. These reasons are known as user intent. Your understanding of user intents is as critical as understanding your audience. If you don’t understand user intent, even if you do all the other things you will come across in this guide, you will still miss it.
User intent is at the heart of SEO copywriting and SEO in general. If you don’t do the work to both understand and optimise your copy for your user's intent, you should as well not write anything. You'll be wasting your time doing so.
The Three Categories Of User Intent
Reviews can be classified as both informational intent and commercial intent. While a user may be looking to buy a product, the main reason for searching for reviews on a particular product is to gather information about that product. Still, a well-written review can lead to an immediate purchase. A user can search for a product's review to know what others are saying and will not buy, no matter what.
If your SEO copy will get the desired results, it must be optimised for the specific user intent. Your SEO content strategy must include user intents. Without it, it is incomplete and unlikely to meet your desired goals. This guide is aimed at providing information on SEO copywriting, and is optimised for the informational intent. If we optimised it for navigational or commercial intent, you probably would not have found it.
In the same way, if you optimise your sales or product page (which is meant to sell something) with an informational or navigational intent, you’ll hardly get a sale. You’ll be attracting people who only want to read, not those who want to buy.
The user intent usually reflects the phase the customer is in in the customer journey. At each phase of the journey, you target the customer with different content. So, how do you optimise for the right user intent? The answer is keywords.
When your audience types in a search term in the search engines, they don’t type their intents, they type in keywords. For example, they type in ‘best coffee machines’ and not ‘I want to know about the best coffee machines’. The keywords reveal the intent.
A keyword is simply the search term your users are typing into the search engines. It can be a word or phrase (keyphrase). A winning keyword is one that is the same as the search term they enter in the search bar, or a close variant. But to know exactly what they’re typing you have to carry out keyword research.
Keywords research is the process of harvesting the search terms your audience is using when looking for information, or your products and services online.
Why Should You Research Keywords?
You might be wondering why you should go through the process of researching keywords. The answer is quite simple. To be able to attract anyone online, you have to incorporate the search terms they use into your content. This is because Google only shows content that it ‘thinks’ relates to the search term (keywords) entered. One way to show Google that your content is related to the keyword is to have that keyword somewhere within your copy.
This process of incorporating specific keywords into your content so that it gets displayed to the right audience (people searching the internet using the same or similar keywords) is called keyword targeting.
The best keyword strategy incorporates two or more of the search terms your audience uses when searching for your content or product. As an example, if you have an e-commerce store selling black luxury shoes for women, women looking for such shoes may type in any one of the following keywords:
After your keyword research, if you find that three of those keywords get the most searches, you can decide to target those three with your content. This way, your content gets maximum exposure following searches based on those keywords.
If your primary keyword is ‘black luxury shoes for women’, that's what you optimise your content for the most. The other keywords (known as semantically related keywords) are secondary, but you don't treat them any less than you treat the main keyword.
There are different tools for researching keywords. Google’s Keyword Planner is one of the foremost free ones.
What is the most crucial goal of the headline or title? To draw the reader in. Yes, your headline needs to tell your audience what the content is about and has to be relevant to the content. But that’s the primary goal of the content, not the most important. As far as copywriting and SEO goes, the most crucial goal of the headline is to attract readers to the content.
When people land on the SERPs (search engine results page), they are usually in an ‘eliminate and choose’ mode because they cannot (or do not plan to) read everything they see. At this point, they usually go with what promises them the most return on time invested, not just with the one that tells them what the content is about.
HOW TO WRITE CAPTIVATING HEADLINES
Here are some great points to enable you to write a captivating headline:
The headline for this blog post falls under this category. The enticement here is that after reading this guide, you’ll have a thorough grounding in SEO copywriting. Does that mean that if you read another guide, you will not benefit? And if you benefit from another guide, does that mean that this promise was false? The answer to both questions is no. Notice it doesn't say the only guide, but the complete guide. This means that this guide covers all the necessary topics you need.
Other examples of headlines in this category include ‘3 tips guaranteed to double your business revenues’, and ‘five simple ways to get two times your current customers’.
Can you tell the promise in both of these headlines?
The reason these headlines work is that people aren’t just looking to solve the problems they want; they also want to ensure they get value for the time they’re currently putting in. These headlines promise them that it will be worth their time.
Have you ever read an article and felt that you’ve just wasted your time reading someone who doesn't even know what they’re saying? If you have, then you’ll know why the headlines in this category work.
Establish yourself as an authority, and you're sure to get the attention you need. Examples of headlines in this category include ‘A top affiliate’s candid advice on affiliate marketing’ and ‘The 10 best health tips from a world-renowned doctor’.
Although the first headline doesn’t even promise you anything, the fact that it is from a top affiliate will make you want to read it if you are a novice. It also builds in suspense and curiosity. If you are optimistic, you'll interpret it as the keys to succeeding in affiliate marketing. If you are pessimistic, you'll most likely think he's talking about things to avoid. Both are necessary for success so, either way, the headline wins.
Headlines with numbers can boost click-throughs to your content. Numbers are definite and indicate a list of things. People love a good list, even if it is just to scan through.
Whatever you do, make sure that your headlines are relevant to the content. If it is not, Google will know, and that will hurt your rankings.
How will Google know, you ask. Bounce rates. When people eventually click through to your site and realise the heading and the content aren't related, they will leave almost immediately. Google will take note of that by calculating the time spent on your site. The result is that you will begin to lose whatever rankings you formerly had.
It’s important to keep your headlines between 55 and 65 characters. Anything beyond that and Google will truncate it. This will mean that users will not get the full picture when reading that headline in the results pages. They may end up skipping your content for another that is concise.
Statistics tell us that 80% of the people who read the headlines and the intro never get to read the rest of the content. Why does this happen? In most cases, the introduction failed in its primary purpose.
Why Do You Need Killer Intros?
A killer intro is necessary to:
There are several methods to writing a killer intro but make sure you do not commit SEO copywriting suicide by using a boring intro. Your introduction must be captivating, relevant and concise, as well as fulfilling the items in the list above.
The most important tip for the body of your content is that it should be structured appropriately and very engaging. If the intro’s job is to create a connection, the body copy’s job is to maintain and deepen that connection while educating, entertaining, and empowering the reader.
There's nothing more infuriating to a reader than to devote time to reading a poorly structured content. Online readers love it easy. They want to be able to browse through it in the shortest time possible. This means they will most likely not read all of your content.
This is OK if you have a good structure. You can still deliver the most value, and they'll come back when they need more. Also, remember that Google is calculating how much time they spend on your site. If the structure drives them away as soon as they land on your page, you have lost even if your value is the greatest on the internet. Your ranking will begin to take a hit.
Make sure that your content flows. Employ writing tools such as:
Meta data is everything you see in the Google search results page. It includes two essential parts: the title of the page and the description.
We have already covered the title/headline, which means we’re left with the description. The goal of the meta descriptions is to provide readers and search engines with information about the page they’ll be landing on when they click the link. As a result, it should be relevant and enticing to click on.
It should also be concise – 156 characters or less. Google will auto-shorten anything more than this. While writing your meta description, make sure to incorporate your main keywords in it. Where possible, phrase it in the exact words that your audience uses when searching online.
The call to action is the final but the most crucial piece of the puzzle as far as marketing goes. Everything in the copy is meant to make the reader take the desired action. The craft that desired action into a clear and concise call to action.
A call to action is a short, simple statement that tells the reader what to do. For example, after reading about skincare tips on your blog, if you want them to subscribe to your blog's newsletter, you simply tell them to do so. If you want them to buy an organic cream, ask them to do so.
SEO copywriting is at the heart of on-page SEO. While it is still unknown what the exact ranking algorithms are, one of the few clear things is that relevant copy is essential for ranking. It determines whether the search engines will consider your content worth showing to the public (on the first page) or burying among the hundreds of thousands of other pages that will never get viewed.
This guide has covered the fundamentals you will need to succeed as an SEO copywriter. If you want to create a copy that will help you rank, get in touch with us. We're a reputable SEO agency based in the UK. We boast many smart SEO copywriters that can design an SEO strategy, and implement it to help you market your brand or product and rank you high in the SERPs.
Let’s face it, SEO can be confusing for a lot of people. Many people don’t know what to do when writing for SEO. Part of this results from the fact that Google's algorithms are continually changing.
But the fundamentals of SEO do not change, and if you understand them, you'll be swimming in SEO gold! The following are six of the best SEO copywriting tricks that you should always use if you hope to get the best out of your copy.
Keywords, keyword intent, and ancillary keywords all deserve to be treated separately because of how crucial they are, but we’ll talk about them together here.
Whatever you do, don't mess up your keywords strategy. It’s the starting point of search engine optimisation, and it’s at the heart of it. When gathering your keywords, look for and use keywords that match users’ search intent. It's not enough to just put in any keywords you can find. The keywords must have an intent that matches the search intent of your users.
There are three types of keyword intent you must understand and match. They are:
Understanding and matching your content with the particular user or keyword intent is critical. Google considers it before displaying results to users.
Your keyword strategy can also include more than one keyword for the same copy, and actually, it should. Use Google’s Keyword Planner or other free or paid keywords tools to research keywords. After you pick your main keyword for the article, get a few more that are related and relevant to your copy and users’ search intent.
For example, if your primary keyword is ‘SEO for beginners’, you can also target and optimise your copy for ‘SEO fundamentals’ and ‘SEO basics’. This way, if your target audience enters any of these three keywords, your copy will be displayed.
Be careful and avoid stuffing your content with keywords in the name of optimisation. You'll get the opposite effect instead. Google is smart enough to know that's what you're doing and will penalise you for it.
Make your introductions memorable. You don’t always have to be dramatic, but remember that you’re not writing a novel. So, even though your audience may read books meticulously from start to finish, they usually skim through online content.
Knowing this, aim to capture and hold your reader’s attention from the outset. Also, ensure that they know what they will gain from consuming your content. Start delivering value from the intro. Your introduction should be Captivating, Relevant, and Concise (known as the CRC rule).
Lastly, as it relates to your introduction, ensure your keyword appears in it. The goal here is to shoot for your main keyword to occur early in your copy. This is important for Google and your readers. Both of them need to see the search term early enough to determine relevance.
Since users get to your copy from search engines, you need to optimise what they see there. Users make ‘click or no-click’ decisions based on what they see. In other words, they start categorising your content as relevant or not relevant from what Google displays to them. Your SEO content strategy must include optimising what users see on Google.
What do you see displayed in search results? They are the headlines and meta tags, and you must ensure these are optimised with the readers in mind. As with the intros, use killer headlines.
The CRC rule applies here, too. Your headline is the first thing they encounter. If it's not captivating and relevant, most users will not bother clicking. And if it's not concise, Google might truncate it, which means that your audience may not get to see the whole thing and make sense of what your content is about. For headlines, concise means 60 characters or fewer.
While it is true that not everyone reads the description, you shouldn’t take chances. Those who read them are important too, so optimise it for them. The same CRC rule applies again – captivating, relevant, and concise. Give them a reason to click and come to your site.
How do you know the language your audience uses? Several tools can help you, but the place to start is Google itself – look at the related searches section.
After typing in your subject or keyword into the search, hit Enter. When the search results show up, scroll down to the related searches section, and you'll find what you’re looking for.
Those related search terms are the exact terms that your audience is using. Speaking their language is as simple as incorporating some of those terms into your copy. You don't have to modify whichever ones you choose; use them as is.
Another aspect of speaking their language is writing at their level. If your audience comprises professionals, by all means, use industry jargon. For a general audience, write in simple, easy-to-read language.
The featured snippet is the little box that sometimes appears on top of the SERPs when you search for something. It typically contains small but relevant information on what was searched for. Appearing there is fantastic for both brand exposure and organic clicks.
Not all searches on Google results in clicks. So, even if users don’t click through to any page, the result in the featured snippets gets brand exposure.
How do you get to be featured in that snippet? Whenever you’re addressing a question that you can answer in a few sentences, ensure you include those few sentences within your content. Doing so increases your chances of being in the featured snippet.
Whether or not you have started using voice search, understand that many people now do. So you should optimise some of your content for voice as much as you can.
Statistics indicate that about two-thirds of people in the 25–49-year-old age bracket speak to their voice-enabled devices once a day at the very least. And around 4 in 10 people who use voice-activated speakers, according to Google, talk to their phones as if they are humans.
What this translates into is that search terms are framed as questions rather than traditional keywords. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on this crowd by not optimising for voice search.
Employ these six tricks when writing your next SEO copy and you are sure to rise through the ranks on the search engines. That's not to say that optimising your copy for SEO is easy. As you might have noticed from the article, you will have to do a lot of research using different tools; some are paid-for, some are free – but it is achievable.
If you feel like it is too much work or that you might not be able to cope with staying on track with the other parts of SEO that are always changing, you can get an excellent SEO copywriting agency to handle all your SEO copywriting. Good luck!