SEO is essential to the success of your website in attracting new visitors. All too often, however, the technical aspects and requirements of SEO are given such weight that people forget about the visitors entirely, and focus only on their search engine rankings.
These rankings, while invaluable in creating opportunities to be discovered, are useless if the content they serve is poor quality. To succeed in inbound marketing, you need to be as skilled in copywriting as you are in SEO.
SEO Copywriting is a combination of artistry and discipline. The artistry comes from always considering your audience. The discipline is in providing them with high value, high quality content to a predictable schedule.
This means you’ll need a sharp focus and an attention to detail. Harnessing the power of SEO is great, but remembering the human audience SEO is designed to create is paramount. SEO and copywriting work symbiotically together to create results. One will be useless without the other.
Today, we’ll look at how you can resolve these two forces together, to provide more engaging content for your audience.
In a post-truth world of fake news and clickbait, content backed by research is like a breath of fresh air for audiences, and is more compelling than ever.
As such, whenever you decide on a topic to write about, you need to research it. See what others have written about it – what sources did they cite? Go to those sources and read them yourself – what is interesting in those sources? Do the sources themselves cite other work? Visit those.
You need to give yourself a thorough briefing. You need to understand the topic implicitly, so you can synthesize that information for your reader. Your conclusions may be profound, actionable and correct, but it won’t matter if they come out of nowhere. You need to establish a context, and for that you need research.
Dig deeper. Identify valuable sources of information and share them. This is part of the value of your content for audiences – a curated ‘walking tour’ of the topic area. Of all the SEO copywriting best practices, this is the most essential foundation of good content.
Content for the sake of content is a death knell for your site. It will frustrate readers looking for value and cause them to go elsewhere.
Focus all your content on the needs of your target audience. Know what keywords you’re targeted, absolutely, but take time to understand why the keywords are so popular in the first place.
If a lot of people are searching for the same thing, it’s because a satisfactory answer is not common knowledge. You have an opportunity through your content to create the definitive response to that keyword. Take that opportunity seriously.
Once you have done so, you can help the algorithms find your content. Useful tools like SEOPressor can help you optimize for algorithms simply and easily.
Not just that, Hemingway can also help you optimize your content for the human audience.
I can’t stress this enough: use keywords naturally.
If you choose to stuff your content with keywords, they will inevitably end up where they don’t belong. This will make your copy feel clunky and unnatural to the human reader. Increasingly audiences are becoming savvy to keyword stuffing, and feel duped into visiting a site that does it.
Keyword stuffing is a clear symbol to readers that you don’t care about them as people, and are trying to trick or catch them, rather than provide real value.
You should focus on making your content read easily above all. You can use SEOPressor to make sure your SEO score will still give you the best performance, without having to repeat the same phrase over and over again.
You can also use Website SEO Checker to ensure you haven’t overcooked it across all your content, creating a cumulative keyword stuffing effect.
Google and other search engines also use Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords to match search results to the user’s intent. Essentially, LSI means ‘related terms’. While a lot of people might be searching for your keyword, a lot of others will be looking for the same thing using different words.
Using LSI keywords is an effective way to pick up this additional traffic, while augmenting your strength for the target keyword. What’s more, because it makes use of different ways to say the same thing, you naturally avoid keyword stuffing.
Fortunately, you don’t have to magic LSI keywords out of your imagination. Simply head over to LSIGraph and input the keyword you’re working on to be given a list of related phrases.
Work these in as you write or see where they will best fit after you’ve written your draft, and slot them in. Instant performance, without sacrificing quality.
In-depth articles get far more shares and links than short, superficial ones. Imagine right now you’re feeling some resistance to the amount of time, effort and care it takes to produce this kind of content.
Well, so does every other writer, which is why this kind of content is comparatively rare, and why it is shared so successfully when people do put in the requisite energy. In a study of 100 million articles, the longest were shared the most.
Yes, long form content is better for search engines. It allows you to strengthen your keyword while retaining a low density and use more LSIs. But you should never write long form content just for the sake of search engines. Length isn’t an asset in itself, detail is. Detail takes a higher quantity of words to relate.
Make sure everything you write has something to say. One of the most important SEO copywriting tips to remember is that every paragraph should reward the reader with more knowledge and insight.
79% of people skim through content online. This means they are seeking for the most valuable information in your content.
A wall of text will prevent them from being able to do so. Your sentences should be short, your paragraphs rarely more than four lines long. Your content should be emphatic, clear and concise. This way, the audience can ‘get it’ right away, with minimal effort.
You can help people with this in numerous ways:
Long tail keywords are more human-centered, and they are becoming more and more popular with the advent of things like voice search on Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and other virtual assistants.
A keyword might be “landing page”, where a longtail keyword can be:
The long tail might be less popular, but the quality of traffic that comes from it will be far higher. If you can address specifics in a detailed way, people will feel far better rewarded. This will make them more motivated to spend time on your site, increasingly their likelihood of becoming a successful conversion.
Here’s a thing – open your comments section. Seriously. Many websites producing content won’t offer a comments section because they’re afraid of what might go on there. After all, “never read the comments” is a meme for a reason.
That said, it needn’t be the case everywhere. Opening a dialogue with our audience will allow you to increase their engagement in your site and your content. What’s more, it will open a platform for your audience to ask you questions.
This is an invaluable resource for you in planning your content strategy. If people have questions and they can ask you for the answers, simply answering the question can become your next piece of content. You know it will be targeted, rewarding and likely to convert, because you are addressing a proven need.
What’s more, if people are asking you questions about your product or service, many more will ask Google those same questions without even knowing about your brand. Now, by answering, there’s a chance you’ll attract those people.
If you can provide them with better answers than your competitors, they’ll become loyal to you, translating into purchases and an increase in customer lifetime value.
SEO Copywriting should be human-centered, and this will make it far better for sharing. Social sharing is an essential element to success. This means creating content that is shareable. What translates to shares is pretty basic, but essential:
As well as putting your content in front of bigger audiences, Google and other search engines will see that your content is current, relevant and popular, boosting its ranking for those who search. In this way, social sharing creates a compound positive effect.
Identify forums, blogs, influencers, newsletters to proliferate your content, as well as the obvious things like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and so on.
You should always include your keyword in your title and in the meta description. The meta description helps algorithms understand where to place your content, while the title tag is what will show up as the link on Google search results.
By making sure your keyword is in the title, you’re maximizing the relevance of your content to the people looking for it, making Google more likely to rank it highly and users more likely to click through.
Copywriting means writing everything that can help your articles rank. ALT Text on images is incredibly important, as Google Image Search can provide a vital source of traffic.
Make sure to keep your descriptions of images short and to the point. This text will be displayed if someone hovers over the image, so include a hint at the value of the article to encourage people to click through.
Even better, include a relevant keyword in the image file name to ensure it is permanently associated with the words being searched for in the digital archive that is GIS.
By now, you should have realized that applying only SEO techniques will never be enough. You need great copywriting skills to have the best of both worlds. Only this combination will convert searchers into visitors, and visitors into customers. This SEO copywriting guide is just beginning.
It might sound like a contradiction in terms, but the most important thing you can do when writing is use your voice. All these tips, and many more besides, can give you set of rails to guide you. It can prevent you from ‘doing it wrong’, but that’s only the beginning. Now, you know what to do.
For now, a useful parting tip would be to read what you’ve written aloud.
If you can’t say it comfortably enough, people probably won’t understand it easily enough. Usually, you’ll end up splitting out sentences for clarity, and simplifying some of the terms you use.
To write it right, you need to know how you want to do it, and why. The why is easy – it’s for provide real value to a real audience, to create loyalty, trust and a sense of authority. How, however, depends a lot more on your brand, its personality, and its priorities. This will only be defined through time and experimentation. This process however will be invaluable, and will elevate your content above your competitors. Find your voice, find your fortune.
Have you discovered a big difference maker for your copywriting that you haven’t seen here? Share your favorite copywriting tips in the comments below.
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