To thrive, your online business must go beyond simply “writing content.” Your content needs to accomplish two goals:
solve a particular problem
appeal to the end-user (customers, clients, prospects, readers, etc.),
How do you create content that meets those goals? How do you create content that ranks well with Google and also persuades people? That’s what SEO copywriting is all about. Don’t worry if you can’t afford an expensive SEO copywriter. You can do it on your own following simple rules.
What Is SEO?
We all know what happens when you type a search query into a search engine and hit “enter”: You get a list of search results that are relevant to your search term.
Those results pages appear as a result of search engine optimization (SEO).
Which other people then read and share on Twitter, Facebook, their own blogs and other social media platforms.
According to Redevolution, Google displays web pages in their search results based on the authority and relevance of the page to enhance the user experience. How does it measure authority and relevance?
Google determines the relevance of your page by analyzing its content based on several factors, including where and how often you use certain words in that piece of content.
Google measures authority by the number of links pointing to that page and how trustworthy those links are.
On the internet, links are like votes, with a slight difference. The winner of the election is determined solely by the number of votes, whereas your web page’s rank doesn’t depend so much on how many incoming links it has (quantity), but rather on the quality of those links. You and your marketing team need to understand this.
Copywriting is the art and science of creating content that prompts the reader/end-user to either buy a product, subscribe to a list, take a test drive, or take some other action that will improve your.appeal to the end-user (customers, clients, prospects, readers, etc.),
Who drives a user to take action? A copywriter does. A copywriter is a skilled professional who writes copy for advertisements, promotions, and customer engagement. In the marketing world, they’re often referred to as “creatives.” An SEO copywriter tailors this to online content.
A copywriter is someone who understands people, knows what his audience likes and chooses the words that will appeal to them. The headline, words, phrases, sentences and paragraphs used in the content have to persuade and cause readers to take a specific action. An SEO copywriter also understand how Google feels about certain words and phrases, especially long tail phrases.
If you want to build a thriving online business and survive in the everchanging world of SEO, your job is to create useful content that’s interesting, persuasive, and well-optimized for search engines; and you have to do it consistently. That is part of the user experience, getting new fresh content on demand.
If you want to create highly useful content that ranks well in Google and simultaneously funnels paying clients or customers to your online business, you must think about the components of Google’s Ranking Algorithm.
SEO copywriting is all about creating useful, compelling, and valuable content that targets specific keywords so that other people will gladly promote it on social media platforms.
This increases the authority and relevance of your content and improves its ranking in Google for the selected keywords. So when you highly recommend something, Google sees it relevant and you will achieve greater SEO content results.
SEO copywriting helps you target your customers and solve their specific problems with well-crafted content.
40% of people will abandon a web page if it takes more than 3 seconds to fully load.
47% of end users expect a web page to load in two seconds or less.
Site speed has been a ranking factor since 2010 and it’s good for users, too. If your load time is more than 2 seconds, which is the standard load time for sites, then you should take steps to improve it.
That’s because if your content is useful and interesting, but it takes a long time for your page to load fully, your visitors will leave, because their attention span is short. They leave because of a bad user experience.
How do you measure your site load time? Follow these basic steps — I’ll use Psychology Today as an example:
You see that Psychology Today is fast. The load time is 770 milliseconds, beating the standard load time by 0.03 seconds.
Step three: Check the history. You want to determine the previous load times for your site.
In our example, the history shows that Psychology Toda≥≤≤÷y had a load time of 2.58 seconds on January 10, 2015. The page size was 1.6 MB at the time. Today, the page size has been reduced to 1.5 MB and the load time improved to 770 milliseconds. This is what SEO firms check first and so should you.
Go ahead and check your site load time using Pingdom.
If you want to improve your site speed, read these step-by-step guides:
Does site speed lead to improved conversion rates? Yes it does.
This case study reveals how Smashing Magazine experienced an impressive boost in their conversion rate when they cleared their database of all of the clutter that old plugins had created, then merged all of the databases into one.
Your content may be valuable, but if your headline is mediocre, your click-through rate will be low. Don’t waste valuable SEO copy.
On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. —David Ogilvy
When you rank in Google’s top 10, if your headline is clickable and attractive, it doesn’t really matter whether you rank #1 or #4, because you will still attract organic visitors to your site. As a rule of thumb,a successful SEO copywriter creates the headline before moving on to the body of your article or blog post.
Note: Headlines that convey a specific message or idea work best with search users. According to Conversion XL, headlines with numbers are always winners. If it makes sense, include a figure in the headline.
Headlines that have numbers in them usually get shared more on Facebook and Twitter as well. For example, one of the most popular posts on HubSpot is a number-type headline.
Generate article ideas: If you’re stuck and don’t know what to write about, you can use the Inbound Now tool to generate blog post/article ideas before you hire that SEO copywriter.
There are several resources for writing click-worthy and sharable headlines. To demonstrate, let’s write some fresh headlines in three popular industries: small business, fitness, and relationships.
Clickable and optimized small business headlines:
7 Small Business Trends That Will Affect Your Sales
How To Start a Small Business That Customers Will Love
Small Business Funding: How To Raise $20,000 In 60 Days
SEO and user-friendly fitness headlines:
10 Workout Secrets For Women That Work
Best Way To Lose 10 Pounds After Pregnancy
Personal Trainer Kits: Become a Certified Personal Trainer
Well-optimized and catchy “relationship” headlines:
3 Funny Ways To Get Your Ex-Boyfriend Back
How To Renew Your Love Life with Your Spouse
What Does It Take To Have a Fabulous Wedding?
Analyzing the search engine results: Let’s say that we do a search in Google for “save money.” You can see that most search results are SEO-friendly (and target a keyword), but some of the headlines themselves are not attractive to the user. Adding a long tail to the title might help for those with specific inquiries.
New and experienced SEO copywriters highly recommend downloading Yoast SEO as a WordPress plugin to help optimize SEO copy. Once you learn SEO copywriting, you can write content that will both rank highly in Google result pages and also attract clicks from prospective customers or clients.
Note: If you want your whole title to be visible in search engine results, keep it under 72 characters. This will also increase your click-through rates.
The content itself is a vital element of SEO copywriting. The major reason why people conduct searches in Google and other search engines is that they’re looking for useful content. Search engines also feed on fresh SEO content, which is why you must consistently update your site.
Marcus Sheridan grew his swimming pool company from less than 10,000 to 80,000 monthly visitors; within 6 months and he grew his organic traffic by blogging 2 -3 times a week.
When Marcus began to target long-tail keywords in his blog posts, everything changed. He said that “within hours of writing an article with specific keyword goals, we were showing up on the first page of Google.”
If you want to write the best content that will rank well in Google, you have to target keyword phrases. Avoid stuffing keywords or over-optimization. Ideally, put the keyword in your headline, but make sure that it reads smoothly for your readers.
The Google Panda 4.1 update was designed to penalize “thin” or shallow content, by keeping lousy content from ranking highly in Google. A typical blog post or article should be at least 1000 words. But, it’s not all about length, because several detailed articles still struggle to rank and retain their position in Google results pages.
Before you write your SEO content, it’s essential to understand your reader. Then, niche down and focus on a particular problem that the reader is struggling with. Dare to solve that problem with your content – that’s another goal of combining SEO and copywriting.
Every piece of content you write needs a compelling introduction. The introduction is the portion that comes right after the headline (and sub-headline if you include one in your content). Your introduction should contain at least one of your targeted keyword phrases, especially a long tail keyword.
However, it’s crucial to understand that modern SEO copywriting has gone beyond keyword targeting and placement. The best approach now is to write content that addresses keyword intent. You will learn about that later on…
4) Meta Description
Before writing your content and again, before publishing it, use meta descriptions to help guide search engines. Meta descriptions help search engines and searchers understand what the topic is and why your targeted keywords and phrases keep appearing in the content. This is where SEO firms earn their money, only because they understand this.
Moz noted that the meta description is the HTML attribute that provides a “concise explanation” to the search engines of your page’s content. The tag is enclosed with the <head> section </head> on your web page. This is the code sample:
Google uses the meta description on your page as a snippet when people search for keywords that are relevant to your page. This snippet copy is what will determine whether or not you get clicks, no matter how highly you rank in the search results.
For SEO purposes, the meta description should be 150 – 160 characters and usually appears like this in Google:
Note: If you own a WordPress blog, you can install the All-In-One SEO Pack plugin and use it to set up your title, meta description, and relevant keywords. If you’re new to blogging, this guide will help you set up the plugin.
How do you write meta descriptions that catch people’s attention, as well as rank well in Google?
Step #1: Understand keyword intent. Keyword intent is the main purpose or reason behind keywords (whether seed or long-tail keywords).
For example, say you’re a social media consultant and you want to attract clients to your business. Then, your primary keyword might be “social media expert advice.”
When prospective clients type that keyword into Google search, what do you think they’re really interested in?
What they want is clear – a social media expert with advice on how they can move their online or brick-and-mortar business to the next level.
Maybe they want more Twitter followers, greater engagement or tips on how to acquire more leads. Your meta description has to be relevant and appeal to them.
Step #2: Once your article or blog post has been written, the next thing is to write your meta description. Swell Path recommends you follow this checklist:
To demonstrate, let’s put the tips to work by writing two meta descriptions that are SEO-friendly and relevant to our target audience.
a) Begin with a question: Looking for expert social media tips to acquire new leads, convert visitors to customers, and improve your brand? First, set a definite goal.
Length – 141 characters.
b) State the obvious: Many companies have given up on social media marketing, because they don’t know what to do. All you need is expert advice that has produced success.
Length – 148 characters.
Note: You don’t necessarily need to include your exact keywords in your meta description, especially when it doesn’t flow smoothly. I’ve seen a lot of web pages rank in Google’s top 10 without the main keywords.
5) Keyword Frequency
Keyword frequency means how many times your chosen keywords appear on the web page.
For example, if your target keyword is “best london hotels,” how many times will this exact keyword phrase appear in your 300, 500 or 1000+ word article? In contrast, keyword density is concerned with the ratio of “best london hotels,” to other words on the same page.
Keyword frequency and density are no longer as effective as they used to be, before Google started rolling out frequent updates, but are still important parts of SEO content. Avoid on-page optimization mistakes, like keyword stuffing, excessive keyword insertion and header tag stuffing.
However, keyword density still impacts organic ranking to some extent. According to Brian Dean, keyword density/frequency is one of the 200 ranking factors, which means that you should still consider it. But, don’t go overboard.
The only way to tell if your repetition of keywords is super or spammy is to measure that frequency against the overall length of the content. A keyword density greater than 5.5% could make you guilty of keyword stuffing and your page could be penalized by Google. You don’t need to mindlessly repeat keywords to optimize. In fact, if you do, you’re likely to achieve the opposite result.
Page links tell Google that you’re connected and sociable and that you’ve got useful content that people can access somewhere else. This content could be your own or it could be from another author or site.
Linking out to other authority sites and pages is an indication that you value what other people create. Google will reward you for being in sync with their mission: organizing the world’s information and making it universally accessible. A good marketing team would highly recommend to appropriately link.
The rules for linking out to other sites are not set in stone. There are also no hard and fast rules for internal linking. However, as a smart online marketer who wants to achieve tremendous results in the search engines, you should:
Link to relevant pages within and outside your site in your introduction
Link to more in-depth guides or content on your page or other sites
Link with appropriate anchor text, which flows naturally with the content
As I said earlier, these rules are not set by Google or other search engines. If you can understand your target audience and you produce the best content that will solve your readers’ problems, you don’t need to worry about keyword density, page links, and social signals, because they will occur naturally.
Remember that the goals of highly useful content include thousands of social shares, comments, leads, clients, and sales. This is your job as the SEO copywriter.
SEO Copywriting Tools and Resources: To fully understand and implement SEO copywriting best practices, you need viable tools and resources. Here are some that I recommend:
Unsuck-it: This is a free web app that you can use to make your words, sentences, and paragraphs flow smoothly. You can replace jargon with fun words in five seconds.
RhymeZone: A lot of people love reading poetry and admire poets. Use this handy tool to make your copy appealing to the right audience.
Read-Able: This simple tool helps you optimize your content for 7th – 8th grade level. This ensures that a wider audience will enjoy your content and click the headline when it shows up in Google results pages.
Live-Keyword-Analysis: Use this free SEO tool to accurately calculate the keyword density ratio for a piece of content.
Kill Writer’s Block: Highly recommend this tool to generate creative ideas for your next blog post.
Quick Sprout: Find out why you’re not generating enough traffic from Google, even when your long-tail keywords are ranking highly.
EMV Headline Analyzer: How much does your headline appeal to your readers’ emotions? I highly recommend this free tool to analyze your headline and give you a score.
For a list of other resources and tools that are useful for SEO copywriting, check out Writtent.
Copywriting optimization points: Search engine rankings can’t be predicted, no matter how knowledgeable you are, because Google is always updating their ranking algorithm. If you plan on hiring an SEO firm to create CEO copy, realize they are subject to a changing game as well.
However, there are actions that you can take to increase the likelihood of your web page showing up in Google for relevant search queries. Let’s explore those factors:
Title tags: It’s a good idea to know how to write title tags for search engine optimization. Again, Yoast SEO can help here. The title tag is a meta HTML tag, like the meta description we saw earlier. It is like the title of a book. It’s the first thing that appears in Google search results.
The title tag should be a concise and accurate description of your web page. Google will display 50 – 60 characters of your title in their search results. As well as thinking about length, write titles that will align with your brand.
Moz does highly recommend that the optimal format for your title is: Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name
Heading tags: The heading tags are labeled h1 – h6. The heading tags will enlarge your font size and make it stand out. When you write content, it should be well structured for readers.
Optimizing your title: This is one of the most important things that you can do to ensure that your title ranks in Google, as well as attracting an audience. This screenshot of the Moz resource on title tags helps you optimize your titles effectively:
Writing Useful Content For People
Words are powerful. Words drive engagement. If you can piece words together to produce a valuable piece of content, your target audience will love you for it — and they’ll stick around. There is no alternative to writing great content.
The number of blogs that produce fresh content daily is ever-growing. Remember that duplicate content, keyword-stuffed content and low-quality content will not help your target audience. This is not a good SEO content strategy and can’t be emphasized enough. It also won’t do a thing to improve your organic ranking.
One study shows that even if your content is useful, it still needs three additional elements in order to drive organic traffic:
That’s how Brian Dean increased organic traffic by 110% in 14 days.
Keyword research is still necessary. The most important aspect of any keyword used by search users is the intent. Before you can write great content that solves a particular problem, you’ve got to know what each keyword stands for.
Don’t forget to pay attention to keyword classification. In other words, understand whether search users want to buy a product or not.
There are two important keyword classifications: informational and commercial keywords.
Informational keywords: The major reason why people search with these is that they want useful information without having to pay for it.
Informational keywords are usually “how-to” in nature. Here’s an example from Ubersuggest:
Of the seven keywords on this list, five of them begin with “how-to.”
These are informational because the searchers are probably only interested in free articles, videos, blog posts and lessons.
As an SEO copywriter, you can write useful content around informational keywords, but don’t expect to convert readers into customers, because most of them don’t want to buy. Instead, use informational keywords in your content to nurture an audience, engage them and build your brand.
Commercial keywords: Commercial keywords show an ‘intent’ to buy. These keywords usually show “desperation” from the searcher. They want solutions quickly – e.g., “lose 10 pounds in 3 days.”
The person searching for commercial keywords is likely going to buy a product, or sign up to an email list that will eventually convert them into customers.
The fact that someone typed a commercial keyword into Google means the person is ready to take action. Commercial keywords usually contain certain prefixes and suffixes, like reviews, buy, order, review, comparison, compare, free shipping, best, fast, etc. See this example in the weight loss niche:
Examples of commercial keywords from this list include lose weight gnc product, gnc product to lose weight, herbalife weight lose product, and herbalife product to lose weight.
Note: When you write content around commercial keywords, the ultimate goal is to provide useful information on how to use the product, its benefits and features and how to install it, if that’s required.
Should you target keywords? Yes. Google still uses keywords to gauge what a particular web page is about. Use caution and avoid over-optimization.
I follow a 3-step plan when targeting keywords in my content.
I include the primary keyword in the headline. For example, if my keyword is: conversion rate optimization. My headline may be, “7 Ways To Make Conversion Rate Optimization Work For You.”
I use alternative keywords in the introduction, meta description, and title tags. For example, What is the best way to increase your conversion rate with every blog post that you write? You know how important this is, especially when it seems as though your best content isn’t generating organic traffic, social shares, and sales.
I write naturally to please my readers and then deliberately include the primary keyword in the conclusion.
As an SEO copywriter, storytelling can set you apart, because human beings love good stories. If you can weave your brand story into your blog post, article or video, you will attract more attention.
Brand storytelling is not something new. Several brands have used it in the past and still do. According to Kristen Matthews, when you use natural storytelling in your content, you can make the maximum impact on the reader.
In other words, your story should show others the possibility of achieving the same results. Your story shouldn’t be about you alone, however. Instead, find a way to make it appealing to your target audience.
That’s when brand storytelling will help improve your organic ranking, traffic and sales conversions.
One of the reasons why you should write with humor is to keep the reader/audience engaged. You can also infuse humor to simplify an uncomfortable or controversial topic.
SEO copywriting is not just about writing useful content that solves a particular problem in a boring manner. Your content also has to excite your readers.
They should be excited to click your headline, read the introduction and then move slowly down the body. That’s what it means to write persuasively. If you can do that, it doesn’t matter what you create: people will love it. Whatever you highly recommend, they will buy.
Here’s an example. A professional blogger and public speaker who usually adds humor to her content is Marie Forleo. Each of her video intros always entertains me.
If you consistently write useful and detailed case studies, your major long-tail keywords will start showing up in Google’s top 10 for relevant keywords.
Case studies usually explain what your products and services are. A good case study will show the experiments, research studies and interviews that you conducted, as well as the results that you got. An SEO firm can help in analytics but isn’t absolutely necessary.
You can share any type of case study, even ones that didn’t get the results you hoped for. If you want to create a valuable and optimized case study, this screenshot will guide you:
Keyword Research for Content Creation
The first five sites that come up in a google search get 67.6% of the clicks.
Long-tail keywords are the best way to go in modern SEO because top brands are not targeting those terms. And, if you can produce good content while naturally targeting these types of keywords, you will definitely dominate the search engines.
SEO isn’t complete without keyword research. That’s part of how you determine the mindset and intent of your target audience. Long tails help define that mindset.
Once you’ve chosen your topic, it’s time to find relevant keywords in that industry. Let’s find keywords for “waterproof digital cameras.”
Go to Ubersuggest. Plug the topic into the search box, then click “Search.”
Here’s what the search returns:
Search volume – number of searches the keyword has during a month
SEO difficulty – estimated competition in organic search
Paid difficulty – estimated competition in paid search
Cost per click – average cost per click for a Google Ad
You’re also provided an overview of what it takes, on average, in terms of backlinks and domain score, to reach the first page of Google for the keyword. This is located above a chart displaying the keyword search volume over the past 12 month period. Pay close attention to any dips in traffic. For this particular keyword, it’s natural for volume to drop off during the fall and winter months.
As you scroll down the page, you’ll find a list of long-tail keywords that we can optimize our content for:
From this list, “best waterproof digital cameras” is a good choice, as the search volume is still high enough to move the needle.
Optimizing content for search robots: Search engine robots or web robots (e.g. crawlers, spiders and so on) are programs that constantly scour the web.
When a Google spider crawls your web page, it’s looking for fresh content. Some people even say that spiders/crawlers feed on fresh content and will reward you for freshly updating your site regularly.
However, understand that when Google spiders index (add your fresh content to their search database), they’re only interested in the meta tags (title tag and meta description).
More importantly, they want to know the keywords that you’re targeting. This helps Google determine the industry your content will benefit, e.g., health, business, small business, internet marketing, etc.
For best results, you should optimize for search robots like this:
add the primary keyword in your title tag and meta description
add alternative keywords in your introduction and make sure that it flows well; if the keyword doesn’t flow well, ignore it and just write naturally.
Keywords like “best seo web design NY” won’t work in the title tag, description and content. The best approach is to use the keyword naturally, like this:
How To Find The Best SEO Firm and Web Design In NY
On-Page SEO Copywriting
On-page SEO doesn’t have to be tedious or complicated. A lot of posts have been written to address this topic.
Elements that add value to your site, such as internal links, are very important.
You control 98% of what happens within your site.
That’s why Google pays attention to your web pages and measures the engagement, bounce rate, retention rate, and social shares.
The foundation of an effective SEO campaign is what happens in-house (on your site). In other words, pay attention to how you target your keywords, which anchor is used to link internal pages, meta tags, etc.
Build and engage a raving community through social media
Expose your business and take advantage of local SEO
Instill brand confidence through business reviews
Promote local citation and Name/Address/Phone (NAP) consistency
Link building through blogging, guest posting, competitor link analysis, blog outreach, networking, and dofollow blog commenting.
Getting People to Act Through SEO Copywriting
The final piece of the puzzle in this in-depth article is “persuasion” — the ability of your copy to drive people to action. This isn’t difficult, because there are many high-quality resources and tools that you can use.
One of the ways to push people into action is to highlight the key points of your content or topic using bullet points. Before you write blog posts or articles, Vivian Giang recommends you list 3 or 4 strong benefits that you will cover. This is very important, as it also helps you create powerful headlines and paragraphs.
Derek Halpern, founder of Social Triggers, a giant SEO firm, combines the power of psychology and copywriting to produce compelling content. He also employs the same strategy on his landing page.
Create Irresistible and Valuable Headlines
Columbia University recognized headlines as the most important element of copy. They advise that you think like a reader and write the headline first. The headline should target a keyword and also look attractive.
Let’s craft more clickable headlines, using some of the results in Google. When I search for “diet plans,” here are the results I get:
The screenshot above shows the headlines showing up at #1 and #2 in Google for the keyword “diet plans.”
Original headline: Weight Loss & Diet Plans – Find Healthy Diet Plans And…
Here’s a much better headline: The Best Diet Plans To Help You Stay Fit
Original headline: 28-Day Fat-Burning Diet and Meal Plan | Muscle & Fitness
Let’s make the headline more compelling and useful: 28-Day Diet Plans That Will Help You Burn Fat
BodyBuilding.com has compelling, catchy headlines that are the right length (50 – 60 characters) and target a particular keyword.
Have Clarity of Purpose
Getting clear with your copy, blog post and message is very important. Wider Funnel increased their conversion rate from 10% to 277%, just by implementing clearer call-to-action buttons and reducing the number of form fields.
When you write content for your blog, focus on one idea and write your post to address a challenge, solve a problem or explain a complicated issue.
According to Success Consciousness, here are some of the ways that you can achieve clarity of purpose as you write your content:
Know exactly what you want, before you write it — e.g., How to Save $100 in the Grocery Store.
Use the word “you,” when writing for B2C customers and “we,” when your recipients are mostly business organizations.
Research accurate data that are relevant to your topic. This study by Conversion XL shows that using a data-driven approach and creating infographics that have accurate data points will improve social shares.
Target 2 – 5 keywords in a blog post and ensure they read naturally. See an example below. If you read it aloud, you will notice how the keywords flow smoothly with the rest of the content.
I’ve used these SEO strategies to increase my blog’s traffic by 206%. Even if you don’t achieve the same growth rate, by following these SEO copywriting strategies you are more likely to absolutely generate more traffic, improve your brand, and fall in love with content marketing.