Copywriting! Some think it to be an art. They think of words woven together to create content that will engage and help readers. Others believe it’s a science.
Which is it? Well, that’s hard to say.
But there were nearly 130,000 copywriters in the US alone way back when this data was collected in 2016 (and it’s only grown since then!). Irrespective of what you believe, you compete with many of them. So, what can you do to make your copy stand out?
SEO copywriting can be tough, especially if you are new to it. After all, differentiating your content from the ocean of content out there isn’t easy.
In this post, we will share how you can leverage SEO copywriting to make your key content deliverables rank higher in the search result pages.
So, let’s first understand what SEO copywriting is.
SEO Copywriting: What Is It?
Search engine crawlers rank content that solves user issues and satisfies user intent. That’s what SEO copywriting is about!
As we know, SEO encompasses several subcategories like on-page optimization, technical fixes, local business listings, and more. SEO copywriting is the process of optimizing your content in a way that solves the problems of your target audience, helps them achieve their goals, and persuades them to take action.
SEO copywriting leverages keyword research and SEO strategy to create content that satisfies user intent.
So, SEO copywriting is not only about writing content that’s sprinkled with keywords. As mentioned above, Google cares about user intent. Hence, that’s what every SEO copywriter and content marketer should care about.
Here are a few reasons why every business should invest in SEO copywriting.
- To increase visibility and attract traffic to the website
- To build and strengthen trust by answering audience questions
- To convince the target audience to take action. For instance, encouraging them to sign up for a newsletter, download an app, or make a purchase.
Now that you know what SEO copywriting is and why it’s important to invest in it, let’s understand how to write content that ranks in the SERPs.
7 Major SEO Copywriting Tips
While I have listed 7 SEO copywriting tips below, note that each tip is actually a collection of many tips, so even if you don’t think a particular one is relevant to you, I urge you to read the complete passage!
1. Use Audience-Specific Keywords
To begin with, your content should not just be search engine-friendly but also reader-friendly. Simply put, write for people, not for search engines.
For this, you need to solve a specific problem and appeal to what the users are searching for. This can be done through audience-specific keywords that cater to the user intent.
Think about your buyer persona and the user intent
Identifying user intent is a key aspect of SEO copywriting. Here’s how you can go about determining the user intent and including audience-specific keywords and phrases in your content.
Do Thorough Keyword Research
Targeting the relevant keywords while considering the user intent is an excellent place to start when writing any type of online content. Tools like Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, KeywordTool.io, or Semrush Keyword Magic Tool can help you find attainable keywords within your niche.
Check out how the Keyword Magic Tool allows you to organize your keywords by search volume, keyword difficulty, and other metrics. The column on the left also allows you to view related keyword groups, thereby making it easy to find related questions or semantic keywords.
Pay Attention to Keyword Frequency
Keyword frequency is the number of times your target keywords appear on the page. And keyword density is the ratio of the target keywords to the rest of the words on the page.
Both these factors hugely impact ranking, but you should be careful not to go overboard. Repeating the keywords runs the risk of making your content look spammy.
Measure the length of your article and compare it with the keywords added. If the keyword density is above 5.5% you could be penalized by Google for keyword stuffing. So, make sure to mindfully repeat the relevant keywords.
Research What Questions People Ask
Google updates algorithms to improve the search experience. This helps users get what they want without a click. Target these features to organize your content.
For instance, you can target the People Also Ask (PAA) feature to boost the chances of your content ranking in the SERPs. Use tools like AnswerThePublic and Semrush’s Topic Research and platforms like Quora to find related questions based on your target keywords.
Consider Google’s E-A-T Methodology
Google displays webpages based on their authority, relevance, and trustworthiness. The search giant determines these aspects of a webpage using the E-A-T rating, namely its expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
For instance, signals like the links pointing to the page tell Google how trustworthy your page is.
Google says E-A-T rating is a very important factor while ranking web pages. That’s because Google expects webmasters to deliver trustworthy and relevant content and awesome experiences to its searchers.
Hence, no copywriter can afford to ignore the E-A-T rating. Consider these tips to improve your E-A-T score.
Expertise is checked for each copy you post on the web. So if you’re not an expert in whatever you’re writing about, try collaborating with someone who is. Then, include them as a source or co-author on the copy.
If you are an expert, then a well-written author bio of yourself will suffice. Make sure your credentials are clearly stated, and easily verifiable.
This can primarily be done through backlinks. The more credible sources link back to your article, the higher your authoritativeness will be.
Because of link spamming, Google has taken a ‘quality over quantity’ policy on backlinks. Make sure to keep an eye on your backlinks.
Check who’s backlinking to you with tools such as Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Moz. If their DA score is high, that’s beneficial to you. If it’s quite low, you should remove the backlink.
This is done by making sure of several different things:
- Your site has good reviews on Google
- You have a secured website domain (HTTPS)
- You have a high DA score
- You have showcased your contact details
Work on Improving Your Site’s DA
A Domain Authority or DA score is part of the E-A-T rating. The higher your DA score, the higher your E-A-T rating is likely to be.
A good way to check the DA score for any website is to use the Moz bar. The Moz bar is a tool developed by SEO experts at Moz. It’s an easy-to-use extension for Chrome.
2. Consider On-Page SEO Best Practices
On-page SEO practices are processes for optimizing your webpage. They include the formatting of your content and the addition of certain aspects as follows:
Use Headline Tricks to Get More Clicks
Regardless of how value-adding your content is, no one will read it if your headline is mediocre.
A great title boosts the number of readers. It’s been proven that 80% of people read title copies, but only 20% of people read the rest of the article.
Include Internal and External Links
Providing links within your content is a great idea! If you’re using links to credible sources, linking will boost the credibility of your content. No matter whether it’s for statistics, images, or further reading, adding links will help your copywriting.
Including internal links is the best of all. Not only does it boost the credibility of your new copy, but it also increases the visibility and credibility of your existing copy. Thus, it boosts the ranking of your entire website.
Optimizing URLs means making them easier to read and follow through on.
Seeing a URL like www.nealschaffer.com/4561odjw.asp wouldn’t be helpful. On the other hand, a URL like www.nealschaffer.com/recipe-for-shortbread would be more appealing.
Users and search engines assess the URL to get the context of the content. So, it’s doubly important to make sure your URLs provide the necessary information.
Include Meta Tags and Descriptions
The meta title, tags, and description are what search engines use to display your website to users. A good meta title is succinct and includes the primary keywords.
Further, remember to optimize your header, meta title, and meta descriptions. When they browse through the SERPs, the title and meta descriptions are among the first things readers see. And when they visit your page, the next thing they see is the header.
So, make sure your title tags, meta descriptions, and other meta data help users and search engines to understand your content better.
Here are a few quick tips to optimize your meta data.
- Meta titles should be about 55-60 characters long.
- Keep your meta descriptions between 155 and 160 characters. Further, remember to include a call to action that targets an emotion, persuading the searcher to click on the page.
- The H1 header should fit within the 600-pixel width. This will show your full title to the reader.
Formatting Your Headings and Subheadings
Using formatting tags like H1 and H2 helps to structure your article. It draws the attention of search engines to your headings and subheadings. This will highlight the usage of keywords in your headings and subheadings, ranking your copy higher.
It’s good to prepare an outline of your writing beforehand, to ensure you have optimized headings and subheadings. This also helps the cohesiveness of your copy.
Go for Short URLs with Target Keywords
Backlinko’s Search Engine Raking Study revealed that short URLs tend to have a ranking advantage over longer ones.
In fact, according to Google, shorter URLs convey adequate information about the content. On the other hand, visitors tend to feel intimidated by long and cryptic URLs.
For instance, this URL is pretty confusing and unfriendly.
However, this URL looks meaningful and shares information about the content.
Further, the study found that keyword-rich URLs tend to have a higher click-through rate.
So, make sure you write short URLs that include the target keyword, thus ensuring a higher Google ranking.
Optimize Media File Names and Alt Tags
Just as with URLs, make sure your image and video files are appropriately named and relevant to your copy.
Also, make sure that you have provided appropriate alternative text for videos and images through the alt tag. In case the media doesn’t load, it helps the user infer what the content was about. The absence of alt tags is also noted by search engines.
Further Reading: The Definitive 30-Step Basic SEO Checklist for 2022
3. Outline Your Post for a Better Logical Flow
You have included the relevant keywords, considered the search intent, and added keyword-rich meta data and URLs. Now what?
Is it time to start writing? Not yet!
Before beginning with the writing, it’s important to finalize how you will be going about the piece of content. Asking yourself the following questions will help you create a copy that is adequately rewarded by Google and other search engines.
What’s the purpose of this copy?
What do you plan to achieve with this post? Are you planning to promote your brand? Do you want to educate or inform your audience about your niche? Are you hoping to solve a pressing problem or answer a query?
The answers to these questions will help you write content that appeals to your audience and the search engines.
What’s your SEO objective?
Do you want to get more traffic to your website? Do you want readers to download a whitepaper or make a purchase?
Mention your end goals. This will allow you to write targeted content that helps achieve them.
Who is your target audience?
Who is it you are writing for? Which generation do they belong to? What’s their buying capacity?
For instance, if you are talking to Millenials, your tone will be different. The same is the case with other generations like Gen Z or Post Millenials.
How can I present the information?
What’s the order and structure you plan to follow?
For instance, several posts are written in problem-solution form. Others briefly talk about the problem and focus on sharing detailed actionable strategies.
Similarly, a few posts are written as listicles while others are simple tutorials or how-tos.
Before beginning with the writing, you should write a good outline with a logical flow of headings and subheadings. Use the questions shared above to guide you in the process.
3. Create Easy-to-Read Content
Several studies and surveys have shown that readers prefer reading content that offers information in a simplified form, minus the complex texts. People looking for information on search engines expect specific answers and guidance without the need to scan through complicated paragraphs and terms.
Hence, to rank well in the SERPs, an SEO copywriter should focus on keeping their content readable and organized. Here are a few tips you should consider.
Structure Your Content
Implement an SEO-friendly content structure that allows search bots and users to skim through your content with ease.
For instance, you can use H2 and H3 headings to share a new point or content on related subtopics. This not just improves readability but also boosts the chances of shares and increases the backlinks.
Write Skimmable Headlines
We will talk about this in detail later, but headlines inform readers about what they will gain by reading a piece of content. So, make sure your headline is hard-hitting and addresses the user intent.
In other words, it should offer a solution to the audience’s pressing issues which can then be explained in the following paragraphs.
Go for Simple Vocabulary
Make your content digestible by using simple language in your copywriting. Limit the use of tricky words that may make a reader’s job tough, forcing them to leave the page and move to a competitor’s post.
Tools like the Hemmingway App and Semrush’s SEO Writing Assistant can help you improve your readability score and automatically analyze whether or not the target keywords have been included in the content.
Both these tools can be used to –
- Identify the sentences that are too long.
- Discover which parts of the copy aren’t easy to understand.
- Ensure your text is structured well and written in an SEO-friendly style.
- Make sure your content complements your overall brand voice — casual, neutral, or formal.
5. Prioritize Readability
Readability is key, not just for your readers but also for the search engines. The bots should be able to easily skim through your content and index the pages.
Follow these quick tips to improve your content readability.
Include Visual Media
Huge blocks of text are tough to read, especially for mobile users. Make sure you break your content down into short paragraphs and include visual content in the form of images, infographics, and videos.
Subheadings make the content look organized and neat, thus allowing the bots and readers to easily skim the content.
Use Bullets and Lists
A huge wall of content can be easily broken into small biteable portions by using bullets or lists. Lists are a favourite of Google, allowing them to rank your content in the featured snippets.
Check out how lists and bullets reveal an insightful peek into your content, thereby boosting your chances of getting into the featured snippets.
6. Don’t Forget about Voice Search
Though keyword intent and winning the featured snippets are pressing SEO copywriting priorities for this year, it’s important not to completely ignore voice search. Voice search is proven to be more popular than typing.
Today, over 7 in 10 people prefer using voice search to conduct a query over the traditional typing search.
Hence, it’s critical to upgrade and streamline the content on your pages to appear in the voice search. Here are a few tips to rank in voice searches.
Target Long-Tail Keywords with Questions
People performing voice searches tend to ask longer questions. For instance, they may say, ‘Alexa, how to write an SEO-friendly copy?’ But for typing the same query, they may key in short-tail terms like SEO copy or SEO copywriting.
Voice searches are generally long questions with words starting with, how, when, why, where, and others. Make sure you include such keywords in your content to resemble the language searchers use when using voice assistants.
Enable Schema Markup to Offer Context
Structure data or schema helps search engines make sense of the content you share. This makes your pages discoverable and increases the chances of your pages landing in rich snippets.
Make sure you adopt schema markup in your voice search strategy to improve your content relevancy and ranking.
Include an FAQ Section
As mentioned above, voice queries begin with a question. So, including an FAQ section in your content will help Google to rank your page for all the related questions searchers may have.
Further Reading: 11 SEO Trends Every Marketer Should Know in 2022
7. Count on SEO Copywriting Tools
SEO has become ever more complicated over the years. By leveraging deep learning and natural language processing technologies, Google has become an expert in assessing content quality and on-page SEO.
Hence, it’s critical to count on SEO content optimization tools that help SEOs write content that’s relevant from Google’s perspective.
The SEO tools mentioned below can seamlessly integrate into many different parts of the SEO process. They are trusted by experts and are often inexpensive.
The console offers features that measure website performance, allowing you to effortlessly monitor your site’s position in the SERPs. It also shows you your page load time, the number of clicks on your pages, and the keywords to be targeted.
Semrush’s Writing Assistant is a mainstay in the SEO content writing industry. The tool analyzes your content based on SEO, originality, tone of voice, and readability and offers suggestions for improving your copy.
Yoast’s Real-Time Content Analysis tool is a cloud service that offers free SEO advice for optimizing your content. The tool can create and edit your title and meta description, thereby helping it rank in the SERP.
Other SEO Copywriting Tools to Consider
- Keyword Eye
- Ahrefs Keyword Explorer
- Surfer SEO
These keyword research tools offer a bunch of keyword suggestions that can make your content rank higher in the SERP. They also offer domain analysis and competitor insights.
Moreover, keyword insights, such as precise search volume, CPC costs, and keyword popularity can help you create SEO-friendly content in your niche.
Writing SEO-friendly content that performs well in the SERP is more than writing a good copy. The process is pretty complex. Fortunately, we have these tools that can make the process simpler. Invest in the tools shared above to improve content readability and optimize it for the search engines.
In case you’re looking for more tools to use, check out this article which lists out 21 of the best SEO tools.
Further Reading: The 15 Best SEO Plugins for WordPress That You Should Know
SEO copywriting involves many things. It is set to become more complicated than ever in 2022, but that’s fine. We’re all in the same boat. Updates to Google’s search algorithms are universal.
This article has provided a glimpse into things you can work on, going into the new year. Whether that’s narrowing down your keyword research or working on integrating more alternative media into your copy, is up to you.
Other things you could improve include internal linking, eye-catching titles, on-page SEO, E-A-T rating, locking onto user intent… the list goes on.
While that list is inexhaustible, owing to the nature of SEO, your time and efforts are not. At the end of the day, you know which parts of your copywriting may need help.
This article can help you decide which parts of your strategy need tweaking. So, go ahead and implement them to ensure a better ranking for your content.
Hazel Raoult is a freelance marketing writer and works with PRmention. She has 6+ years of experience in writing about business, entrepreneurship, marketing and all things SaaS. Hazel loves to split her time between writing, editing, and hanging out with her family.
Hero photo by Luca Onniboni on Unsplash