SEO Copywriting 101: Writing SEO Optimized Content
The job of a copywriter has always been somewhat tricky. You have to create engaging copy that will hook your readers, show off your business’s value, and turn readers into customers.
Enter the digital age and along with it, a whole new crucial dimension to the job, Search Engine Optimization (SEO.)
In this post, we’re going to look at what exactly SEO Copywriting is, and how you can use it to boost performance and hit your content marketing goals.
You Have to Speak to Your Audience as well as to Search Engines
SEO copywriting comes with the added challenge of having to balance the creative aspect of content creation with it being readily recognizable by Google to attract your desired audience and drive sales. 75% of users start their search with Google; combine this with the fact that The top 5 results receive 67% of traffic, and you start to appreciate just how important SEO really is.
Striking the perfect balance between the two is key.
According to Google, they want people to write authentic content that delivers value to the audience, and which is original. Neil Patel, content marketing Guru, dives deeper into the ingredients of great content.
He highlights the importance of speaking to the needs of the audience, creating thought-provoking content, using high-quality, relevant links to authoritative sources, along with keeping your content concise and in scope.
Is SEO Advertising?
We refer to it more as pull marketing. It is an integral part of your content marketing strategy to channel traffic to your website organically (without paying for it). SEO is the act of ensuring your content ranks consistently at the top of the major search engines, or at least the journey that takes you from where you are today, and helps you rank in a higher position. It does not satisfy the definition of advertising, per se.
Nowadays, SEO copywriters aren’t just hired to speak to customers, but to search engines too.
Search engines want to offer their users the highest quality and most relevant links available; they send out crawlers every day to crawl the web to see what’s out there periodically.
Site crawlers scan the web for keywords, and high-volume search terms and use algorithms and an array of other search-engine governed factors to see what’s the best result for the searcher.
Know your Keywords
Make sure you do your research before you start writing so that you can be sure to fit your keyword cloud in along with synonyms, IVF terms (terms that are used infrequently but associated with the topic), and semantics.
This will be far easier & natural than going back and trying to place them in as this could force your text to sound stuffy and unnatural and thus lose your valuable readers.
You cannot be an SEO copywriter without having an in-depth appreciation for keywords and their significance in content marketing.
Most SEO experts will typically recommend using a keyword cloud per article, with 1-3 keywords at the center of that cloud.
It’s a commonly held belief that search engines tend to give more weight to the first 200 words within a given page.
Accordingly, it is imperative to make sure your keywords are used suitably near the top of the page in the first instance, within the first 160 characters, as well as throughout the rest of the page.
A common SEO mistake that people with outdated content or poor SEO copywriting make is with the oversaturating of content with keywords; it does you more harm than good, and Google will drop your content down the SERPs if the user experience is poor.
Deliver on the Search Engine’s Expectations for that Keyword
Google assesses the search intent of each keyword. Google is alarmingly good at spotting the semantics behind a given phrase. This is why we always check a term in Google – to make sure the intent matches up with what we think it is.
As a result, it may choose to include the information it assumes its users are looking for. Knowing this helps you deliver the exact content the search engine wants to include in its SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
The quality of your keyword will always be important; trying to understand the kind of content that users wish to find by doing a particular search is vital.
Use Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner, Google Suggest, answerthepublic.com, soovle.com and any other third party SEO tool you can get your hands on to figure out volumes, difficulty, the keyword cloud (other things that same page might rank for), and intent.
The best marketing in the world won’t help you sell a terrible product (well, not always); it’s the same with SEO. Great SEO will do nothing for your business if your content isn’t up to par. SEO is like packaging and packing is queen; content is still king.
Aim for your content to deliver both on quality and on the expectations of your readers for maximum efficiency in achieving your business goals.
Conduct an Analysis of SERP’s and your Competitors’ Search Intent
This is a vital step to take before you put any words on paper. Look into why and how any competitors have achieved high rankings with a specific keyword.
Question the intent behind the keywords to see what it is exactly that your potential audiences are really looking for. Look for keyword density and overall quality and use all of this to enhance the SEO potential of your own content.
How do I get mentioned in ‘People Also Ask’ sections on Google?
Content length and its readability play an important role in search engine rankings. So does the quality of your content. Use questions as a few H2s. Include the answer right behind that question. Also as an added bonus include FAQ markup that sets up a Q/A relationship between that heading and that following content.
Good quality SEO-driven content needs to be comprehensive in its coverage of a topic. It needs to address the questions and answers that people are looking for, and you should also be using synonyms of the keywords you are targeting for variety and added depth of coverage of a topic.
This is why an FAQ section surrounding your keyword/phrase always pays dividends when included on that specific page. Remember though, meta is information about information – having actual information is the key.
Update Your Content Regularly
People love content, and so do search engines. Regularly updating your website will help to solidify your internet presence. This is why we recommend writing evergreen content.
Content that you periodically go back and update, add to, and improve. This will cause the bots to come back to your website more frequently, which means your content will be getting noticed/crawled by the search engines, allowing you to reach more people and drive you further towards your goals.
It’s very often the case that the fresher the article, the more relevant it will appear which leads to more people finding your asset, and the more time they are more likely to give it.
Give Google and other search engines a reason to keep coming back. Make sure you routinely update and add new content to your site on a regular basis. Content additions could be 1000 words a month to 10,000 or even 100,000s words.
You can update old website content (evergreen), add to it, rewrite it, and add company announcements, news, PRs, new hires, promotions, customer success stories, projects you’ve worked on, new blogs, Google stories, or even video content to keep things moving.
The key to successful SEO copywriting is consistency and commitment.
The advent of SEO has changed the art and practice of writing content for marketing purposes. It is no longer enough to merely write creatively driven content that entices your readers to action, but we have to ensure that the content will actually reach and compel a target audience to take action.
Nowadays, we aren’t just writing solely to our intended audiences, but to the search engines too; and to be able to do both is a dynamic skill that can always be improved or refined.
As new SEO guidelines are issued and updates to algorithms are made, the goals and practices of SEO copywriting are constantly moving.
By following the tips above, you can ensure that your quality written content is on its way to being Search Engine Optimized and that you can truly call yourself an SEO copywriter.