If you’re a copywriter, first and foremost, congratulate yourself on overcoming the hurdles of producing high-quality content! The job of a copywriter has always been difficult: develop interesting copy that highlights a company’s or product’s worth, develop trust, impress potential consumers, and convert readers into consumers.
With the advent of the digital era, the work took on a whole new meaning: search engine optimization (SEO). As a result, SEO copywriting is required. If you don’t have it:
- Your content will not show up for target keywords.
- You will not be able to convert visitors into buyers.
No one is born with the ability to write SEO copies; it is a skill that can be learned and honed through time. From keyword research to producing engaging and optimised text, this thorough guide to SEO copywriting will walk you through the entire process.
What is SEO Copywriting?
Finding the proper mix between material that engages (and persuades) visitors and content that Google ranks highly for your target keywords is the goal of SEO copywriting.
On the one hand, your readers must enjoy the stuff you’ve written; it must be interesting and relevant. Google, on the other hand, needs to know what the content is about, what information it will deliver to users, and whether it has more and better information than your competitors’ websites.
You can do the following things if you use SEO copywriting effectively:
- Rank higher in the SERP
- Drive qualified traffic (not just any traffic)
- Engage readers and create trust
- Convince readers to take action and/or convert
According to a joint SEMrush and CMI study, the most challenging task for copywriters is to find a balance between the creative element and search engine optimization.
How is SEO Copywriting Different Than Copywriting?
Let’s first understand how SEO copywriting differs from conventional copywriting.
|A copywriter is traditionally considered to be a creative professional who knows how to write to appeal to the target audience and boost customer engagement. The particular copy they create is supposed to persuade the customer to take the desired action (go to the store, sign up for a class, etc.).||SEO copywriters tailor this skill to online content. Only, they also take into account how Google operates, what kind of copy gets clicks/shares and satisfies user intent, and what keywords they should tackle with their copy.|
SEO Copywriting vs. Content Writing
You could also get two other terms mixed up: content writing and SEO copywriting. They’re both about putting words on a website. The purpose they each serve, though, makes them fundamentally different.
The basic purpose of content writing is to generate organic traffic from search engines. The primary responsibility of a content writer is to create useful material for your buyer personas (you can check out our latest SEMrush chat dedicated to content writing).
In order to convert these visitors further down the marketing funnel, SEO copywriting must also “sell” them on your product and brand.
Why Is SEO Copywriting Important?
When done correctly, SEO copywriting may transform your digital marketing efforts into a force to be reckoned with. It can assist you with:
- Get higher rankings for the right terms (target keywords).
- Make sure readers take the desired action (download your app, subscribe to your podcast, etc.)
- It should create content and internal linking structure for your site.
Some of the main parts of a successful marketing recipe are included in SEO copywriting. It ensures that:
- Your copy is focused on user intent and contains the right keywords for each of your target audiences (SEO)
- It adds engaging content to the mix (copywriting).
- It leads the reader to take the right action (call-to-action -> $$$).
Tips for SEO Copywriting
As previously stated, SEO copywriting is not a natural talent. A copywriting and SEO background can help you polish your profession, and you’ll be able to comprehend what makes your content efficient in attaining business goals if you’ve had a lot of experience with failures and successes.
So, let’s have a look at some strategies you may use to improve your SEO copywriting.
1. Get Keyword Research Right
Over 66 percent of all clicks go to the first three search engine results, and since bringing qualified visitors is one of your SEO copywriting goals, most people aim to get their content in the top three spots. You’ll get there by successfully targeting the proper keywords while keeping search intent in mind.
What not to do:
Google’s algorithms are sophisticated, so if you think you can “game” the system, you’re mistaken. The days of “keyword stuffing,” where you could get away with repeating your target term multiple times across your copy, are long gone.
2. Find the Right Keywords
What are the most important keywords to include in your copy?
This is one of the most “tech-savvy” and data-driven aspects of SEO copywriting, so don’t guess at the proper keywords. Make use of Internet software to help you with keyword research. Here’s how SEMrush could help you complete the procedure.
Get a general idea of the keyword you want to target.
The Keyword Overview feature in SEMrush can help you learn more about your “seed” keyword (as in, your primary search term). Make sure to look at the keyword difficulty (shows you how difficult it would be to rank on the first page of Google for the term) and general search volume (the average number of monthly searches for the term).
To improve your writing, look for semantically relevant keywords.
Using a single piece of content to target numerous related keywords and entities will help you reach a larger (but qualified) audience. You may also use the Keyword Magic Tool to construct a list of phrases that your content should target in addition to your “seed” keyword. It’s a useful tool for performing in-depth keyword research.
You’ll obtain a list of semantically similar long-tail keywords if you enter your primary keyword. Filter the keywords using filters to group them by search volume, keyword difficulty, or other criteria.
Make a list of the keywords that should be included in your copy.
Choose a few keywords from the list of related keywords that are simple to target but have high search volumes.
Pro tip: Long-tail keywords may be easier to rank for and may aid in determining search intent. This is a comprehensive list of target keywords to keep in mind when you write your copy.
3. Enrich Your Keyword Research with Related Questions
Essentially, search engines have evolved into answer engines. Voice-enabled gadgets are used by almost two-thirds of persons aged 25 to 49 on a daily basis. According to Google, 41% of users who use voice-activated features admit to conversing with their devices as if they were human. As a result, it’s a good idea to use question-based keywords in your SEO copywriting approach to capitalise on this trend.
People Also Ask on Google, AlsoAsked.com, and sites like Quora or Reddit can all be useful resources for finding out what questions people have about your issue.
The Topic Research tool in SEMrush generates headlines and questions depending on your keywords. In addition, users will receive:
- Related searches
Once you’ve figured out which questions come up the most, include some of them in your text (using the identical phrase for these queries) and give thorough responses.
4. Identify and Map Search Intent
Each homepage, as well as the content it contains, should be designed with the user’s aim in mind. Your content will change depending on where your reader is in the customer journey. Your keywords, too, should be well-chosen.
The “keyword intent” can be discovered by determining why a user types in your target keyword in search engines.
There are three types of intent searches:
- Informational intent: Users desire to learn more about a particular topic, product, or industry. “Best coffee machines,” for example.
- Navigational intent: if users want to go to a specific site or page. “Types of Nespresso coffee machines,” for example.
- Commercial intent: is for users to buy a product or service. “Buy a new Nespresso coffee machine,” for example.
Your text should include keywords that closely match the user’s search intent.
5. Group Your Keywords Properly
You can develop a strategic keyword matrix after you know which search intent each piece of content should target.
This matrix should reflect:
- A collection of keywords that you want your website to target.
- The number of pages required to address a client at each level of search intent for each term.
- To establish an overarching content-keyword strategy, make a list of web pages to construct and update.
6. Optimize Like Your Competitors Do (But Do Better)
Start looking at the websites that already rank highly on Google’s SERP for your keywords once you’ve compiled your list of keywords.
- Enter your main term into the search field, then check through the top 10 results to see what these pages have in common.
- Then, perform some research to find out which websites rank highly for your keywords, as well as get some optimization and copywriting suggestions from your top competitors.
- To see all organic keywords, expand this report. You can then use your copy to select the ones you wish to target (be sure to start with high-volume and low-difficulty keywords) and send them to the Keyword Manager to keep track of your choices.
- Run this report on a handful of your most important competitors’ website and repeat the process.
Finally, you’ll have a fantastic list of keywords to use in your article. You can now begin crafting and optimising your copy in order to outperform your competitors.
7. Craft the Perfectly Optimized Title
When users look at Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs), the title of the page is the first thing they see (it should correspond to the headline of your copy).
You want the title to be appealing and provide the reader with useful information, as this will entice them to click.
A well-optimized title can:
- Boost your organic click-through-rate (CTR).
- Increase your page views.
- Enhance your rankings.
Both consumers and search engines should be able to figure out what your material is about and what information they will discover on your page based on the title.
We need to talk about two components of title copywriting: Titles for SEO and titles for readers are two different things.
Crafting the Perfect Title for SEO
- The optimal title length is 55-60 characters, and the width should not exceed 600 pixels. (SEMrush’s Title-Tags Guide)
- Your target keyword should be included in your title, and it should be toward the top of the title tag.
- The message in your title should appropriately reflect the content of your piece. Users will just leave your page if your title is unrelated to what you are discussing on the page. This response would indicate to Google that you are not providing your users with relevant content, which could have an impact on your results.
- Don’t use the same term too many times in a row; this is considered keyword stuffing, which is against Google’s criteria.
Crafting the Perfect Title For the Reader
Make sure your title entices people to click. SEMrush recently released a content analysis that divided H1 tags (usually article titles) into five categories to evaluate which performed better: questions, guidelines, lists, how-to, and others. In comparison to other categories, articles with lists in the headline received up to 2x more traffic and up to 2x more shares.
- Using numbers to your advantage can help you increase your CTR and social share count. For instance, here are ten quick ways to come up with the perfect title.
- According to Hubspot, headlines with bracketed clarifications, such as [interview], , , scored 38 per cent better than headlines without clarifications, suggesting that readers like to know exactly what they’ll get when they click.
- To ensure that readers can view the complete title, make sure it fits inside the 600-pixel width (too long and Google truncates it).
- Use actionable language to assist readers to understand what they will get out of the page (learn, take, boost, enhance, etc.).
- To catch people’s attention and pique their interest, use powerful language and emotional reactions.
8. Four Ways to Create Structure for Each Page’s Copy
Crafting the ideal framework is critical whether you’re writing a business page or a blog post. You can use this framework to construct a content structure that is understandable to both humans and search engines:
- Create an overview of your topic and subtopics.
Keep the following items in mind from your prior research:
- Your target keywords.
- How the content is structured within top-ranking pages.
- User’s queries and questions.
You’ll create a list of subtopics to discuss in your content based on these points.
- Bundle Up Your Subtopics
Combine some of the subtopics you’ve found and group them together to discover how many essential sections you should include in your content.
- Place Your Subtopics in a Coherent Order
All that’s left is to arrange these subtopics in a logical order — this will serve as the skeleton of your copy, and you’ll be able to expand on each one without having to worry about the structure’s logic and coherence.
- Coffee Machines
- Single Serve Coffee Machines
- Use Headings and Subheadings
Once you’ve got your structure in place, bear in mind that it needs to smoothly guide both visitors and search engines through your material.
Both your viewers and bots will benefit from clear headings. H2, H3, and H4 headings should correspond to each new point in your copy. Additionally, make an effort to include your target keywords in your headlines.
This diagram shows how including your goal keywords in your headers and subheadings allows visitors (and search engines) to simply traverse your content.
9. Write Introductions that Magnetize Your Audience
People will click and visit your page if you have a fascinating and well-optimized title that meets their needs.
So, what’s next? By providing a strong opening, you must get people “hooked” and keep them reading. You don’t have much time to persuade them to stay, so break it down quickly:
- What the reader will get out of it
- What kinds of questions will be addressed?
- What role will the content play in assisting them or providing a solution?
- Why they should keep reading
Keep readers engaged by:
- It’s entertaining, and family-friendly humour is always welcome.
- Developing an emotional connection
- Demonstrating your company’s fundamental principles and brand voice
- Focus on the FOMO feelings: what might they miss or what might happen if they don’t act quickly?
What to Avoid:
- Intros that are overly wordy and take too long to get to the point.
- Intros about yourself and why you’re awesome (the readers don’t care; they just want to know the solution to their question).
- You sell by delivering information rather than pushing sales right away.
10. Focus on Content Flow
Your material should persuade readers to continue reading by raising and addressing their questions, as well as preventing them from bouncing. Create an engaging reading experience to ensure a seamless information flow.
How do you go about doing that? Because there are so many techniques to choose from, this topic would require its own handbook. Essentially, your structure should aid you in this situation:
Place the skeleton of your copy on the page -> Begin developing on each subtopic -> Create bridges to connect the sections.
At Pubcon Austin 2020, Google’s Gary Illyes emphasised that flow and readability are key for ranking, which leads us to our following issue.
11. Improve Readability
Making ensuring your text is readable is another crucial component of SEO copywriting. You will lose the visitor if your terminology is beyond their comprehension or the reading level is too sophisticated. Half of the people in the United States are unable to read at an eighth-grade level.
It’s not that they can’t read more complex copy; it’s just that they don’t want to (especially online). This means that if your material is too complex for some audiences, it will not be shared, loved, or result in conversions. You must be aware of your target audience.
Professionals will not be satisfied with a reading level of 7-8th grade if they are researching services; you must earn their trust by sounding competent, so a reading level of up to 12th grade is acceptable for a highly educated and professional audience.
The Basics of Making Copy Readable
Create skimmable headlines that provide information without requiring a full read.
Readers frequently skim before beginning to read. Make sure your headlines tell a reader of what they will gain by reading particular paragraphs or the page as a whole. When you consider search intent and what answers consumers require, you can include those answers in your headlines and then expand on them in the paragraphs that follow. Your headlines assist readers in staying on the page.
Make paragraphs that are both clear and informative.
Readers, like headlines, want to scroll through paragraphs fast to find the information they need. Massive blocks of text are intimidating and difficult to skim. Use brief paragraphs that begin with the main message and end with a few sentences that expand on it. The better the user experience, the more white space you leave.
Long paragraphs should be broken up using bullets, numbered lists, and illustrations that provide information to the user.
Use bullet points and numbered lists to make your point.
These tactics assist you in guiding your reader through your text without making them work too hard to discover the information they require; they are also skimmable, which is an added benefit.
Write in Short Sentences
You’re making the reader’s work easier and your message more digestible by using shorter sentences.
The SEO Writing Assistant addon from SEMrush analyses your target term automatically and recommends the ideal readability rate for your material (based on your top rivals).
It will assess the readability of your material and make suggestions for improvement (including which sentences are too long). It also provides feedback on originality, SEO friendliness, and tone of voice consistency.
Simplify Your Vocabulary
Make careful to utilise words that are easy to read as little as possible. You can also educate your readers on industry or brand phrases at the same time, but you must clarify what they imply and make the explanation as simple as possible.
You should avoid employing your core keyword too many times in your article; it will make it difficult to read. To minimise duplication, use your list of relevant keywords (and to enhance your SEO, of course). This also applies to headlines.
12. SEO Copywriting Is Not Just About Words
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words.
As a result, include visuals throughout your page, such as films, photos, charts, and infographics. 74 percent of marketers employed graphics in more than 70% of their content in 2019. They do it because it is effective.
Videos, informational photos, charts, and infographics can lengthen a reader’s stay on the page and encourage them to share the visual on social media. This method could potentially expand the reach of your content, and the media might be used in Google SERPs if correctly optimised.
13. Stick to the Essence
Stick to the essence of your main message and avoid extensive talks about your concept. The keys to great reading and user experience are clarity and concision. People expect quick responses. An overly wordy content will only serve to distract your readers and, as a result, send Google unfavourable user engagement signals.
Any SEO copywriter’s ultimate goal is to develop a relevant page for a specific term based on the user’s search intent.
14. Write Copy that Engages
Only 16% of readers will read your copy word for word, according to a Nielsen Norman Group survey.
We’ve already discussed how to write SEO copy that uses images, shorter phrases, bullet points, and easy-to-scan subheadings. However, you should make every effort to engage your visitors and keep them on your site as long as possible. And it’s at this point when copy engagement kicks in.
There is no one-size-fits-all formula for what makes a copy engaging. From narrative to PASO formulas, there are thousands of approaches to choose from. However, we believe that there is one underutilised approach that SEO copywriters may use in their material. It’s a movie-industry-inspired engagement strategy known as “open loops” or “cliffhangers.”
To pique your readers’ interest, you must provide a suspense aspect early in your material. Then wait a little before resolving it. It’s best if you ask a lot of questions. This is what keeps readers on the edge of their seats and keeps them reading.
Always remember to close the loop.
15. Use Original Data
Sharing new and original info is another effective way to captivate readers. This can also aid in the generation of backlinks to your page, which will improve your ranks.
But what if you don’t have a lot of information to share?
You can conduct surveys to learn more about your consumers’ tastes, lifestyles, and so on. Then, when you’re ready, share the results of your poll. Bloggers and news sites covering your sector may be able to reference your survey results or simply share them on social media.
Examine your sales statistics to look for patterns. This is particularly fascinating to consider during times of crisis, when numerous businesses are under duress (negative or positive). Some inside information for industry writers would be helpful.
Customer-generated material can also be used. Inquire of your consumers for success stories and statistics on how your product or service has aided them in increasing sales.
Start collecting data for content by brainstorming and coming up with data sources your company has on hand.
16. Include Links to Relevant On-Site and Off-Site Resources
When you link to an internal or external website from your article, you’re simply following Google’s concept that “there’s always more information out there.”
But why would you use internal and external links to send users away from your page?
You can increase confidence in your material by linking to external resources. When you want to incorporate some statistics or back up a claim you’re making, a link to an authoritative source can help.
You can lead consumers through their customer journey and direct them to sites that convert by linking to internal content. You can also include a link to additional content that expands on the topic you’re discussing. This will demonstrate that you are a valuable source of high-quality material, which may lead to the reader staying longer on your site.
Pro tip: To avoid distractions from your copy, make sure the external link opens in a new window.
17. Include CTAs (Call-to-action)
Your SEO copywriting task has a specific goal: to move customers through the customer journey. However, if you don’t tell them where they should go next, they won’t.
As a result, call-to-actions (CTAs) are an essential component of your material. But you can’t just stick a button that says “purchase my service/product” in your copy and expect it to convert.
Remember when we talked about “search intent”? Include a CTA that directs people to another page that targets keywords with navigational intent, and so on, if they landed on a text that was created for informational intent.
From a copywriting viewpoint, this will boost your copy’s conversions and the ROI of your material. From an SEO standpoint, you might increase page views, lower bounce rates, and send Google positive engagement signals.
As readers may not read the full page, include a few CTAs throughout your material. Add one CTA after a few opening paragraphs, another in the centre of the page, and then another in the end.
18. Optimize Your Meta Copy
Meta descriptions are used to tell search engines and readers about the content of your website. As a result, all metadata should be enhanced with information that encourages consumers to click. Google will truncate your title tag and meta description in SERPs if your metadata is too long.
Here are a few easy rules for optimising your meta content if you want users to acquire relevant information about your page:
- As previously said, your title should be roughly 60 characters long. It should include your goal keyword and enticingly convey what the page is all about.
- Think about your meta description as well (the text displayed below your URL). The description should be no longer than 156 characters. To attract searchers to click and visit your page, keep your description brief and appealing.
- Also, don’t forget to include image alt tags (descriptions for images you use throughout your copy). With the popularity of Google image search on the rise, you should capitalise on this trend by including brief but concise descriptions for your images.
If you want your copy to reach a larger audience, make it simple for readers to share your text, image, a single word, and so on. Here’s how to do it:
- Embedding social sharing buttons on your website and blog pages is a good idea.
- Allow users to select a few lines of your article and tweet them directly.
- To encourage readers to share your message with their friends on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms, use accurate data, innovative pictures, and snappy words.
- Making sharing simple – double-check that the content and title that appear on shares are correct.
- Make sure that photos from your website are displayed correctly in social media shares.
Should You Hire an SEO Copywriter, or Can Anyone Do It?
Landing pages, blog posts, product pages, sales pages, and other types of pages require SEO copywriting. They all require distinct types of material and information about a certain firm or industry.
The most important “quality check” for an SEO copywriter is whether or not they are able to convert traffic into leads and sales. As a result, an SEO copywriter must understand the fundamentals of conversion copywriting. They’ll require a diverse skill set for this, ranging from basic SEO knowledge to excellent copywriting talents that can persuade readers.