Are you tired of your website being the awkward kid at the SEO lunch table, while all the cool websites get all the clicks and attention? Well, it’s time to turn things around and make your website the popular kid with the help of SEO copywriting.
In this guide, I will cover the key elements of SEO copywriting and provide you with a SEO checklist to ensure your content is search-engine-friendly.
To effectively optimize your content for search engines, there are several key elements that you need to keep in mind:
Identify the most important keywords and phrases that searchers use related to your topic. Naturally integrate these keywords in your titles, URLs, headings, and body copy. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to find relevant long tail and short tail keywords.
Aim for a keyword density of 1% to 3%. Include relevant keywords in:
Page title – Appears in search results and browser tabs.
URLs – Create “pretty” URLs with keywords.
Headings (H1, H2, H3) – Grab reader’s attention and indicate main topics.
Body copy – Naturally work in relevant keywords to match reader intent.
Make useful, helpful content
Here are some tips to create truly useful and helpful content:
Answer real questions your audience has. Research what keywords and topics people are searching for that relate to your niche. Answer those questions thoroughly in your content.
Provide valuable information. Don’t just restate facts, go beyond the basics to give people new insights, practical tips, expert advice, case studies, and explanations they can apply. Give them “ah-ha!” moments.
Solve problems. Show readers exactly how to overcome an obstacle, fix an issue, or achieve a goal related to your niche topic. Break down processes into easy-to-follow steps.
Teach a skill or technique. If you have expertise in a particular subject, create tutorials, how-to guides, checklists, and other forms of educational content that impart that knowledge to readers.
Include examples and illustrations. Don’t just state facts, explain concepts, or give instructions. Bring them to life with concrete examples, quotes, anecdotes, images, charts, audio clips, etc. This makes the content come alive.
Organize content logically. Group related ideas and information into sections, chunks, or progressive lessons. Use headers, introductions, summaries, and conclusions to make it easy for readers to follow your train of thought.
Base all claims on evidence. Cite sources and include references and hyperlinks to back up everything you say. This gives your content credibility and trustworthiness.
Stay focused on the reader. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes and anticipate questions or objections they might have. Address those gaps to make the content as valuable as possible for them.
The more your content truly provides value, solves problems, teaches skills, and improves readers’ lives, the more useful and helpful it will be – which also positively impacts its SEO and sharing. Focus on quality over quantity to create content that people will actually find useful.
Here are some tips to improve the readability of your content:
Use a clear, simple writing style. Avoid long, complex sentences and difficult vocabulary. Write the way you would speak in a conversational tone.
Keep paragraphs 4-6 sentences long. This makes the content easier to read in chunks.
Include meaningful subheadings. Break up long sections of text with subheadings that highlight the main topics and ideas.
Use active voice. Write sentences with the subject performing the action, rather than the passive voice. For example: “We implemented a new system” instead of “A new system was implemented.”
Avoid nominalizations. These are when verbs are turned into nouns, making sentences longer and wordier. For example, instead of “We made several changes,” say “We changed several things.”
Keep sentences short. Aim for an average of 15-25 words per sentence. Long, complex sentences slow down reading speed.
Use common, everyday words. Avoid jargon, technical terms, and obscure words unless you define them clearly.
Write for a mid-high school reading level. Aim for a Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level between 8 and 12 (mid-high school).
Limit use of unnecessary adjectives and adverbs. They can clutter your writing and make sentences wordier.
Include visual elements. Images, videos, charts and tables can break up blocks of text and make content more engaging and scannable.
Test your content. Run your text through readability tools (e.g. Hemingway App) and ask others to review it for clarity. Make any needed adjustments.
The goal of readability is for readers to be able to quickly and easily understand your meaning and information. Focusing on these elements can help you create content that is both useful and readable.
Optimize images and videos
Use relevant image file names – Name image files using your target keywords so search engines can properly index them. Avoid generic names like image1.jpg.
Include alt text – Add appropriate alt text that includes your keywords. This text is read by search engines and screen readers.
Optimize image size – Reduce image file size without sacrificing resolution. Larger images take longer to load and can negatively impact user experience and SEO.
Compress image files – Use image compression software to reduce image file sizes without distorting the image. This helps boost page speed.
Use keyword rich video titles and descriptions
Add relevant keyword rich captions, transcriptions or subtitles – These help search engines understand the content of the video.
Include targeted keywords in the video meta data tags like title, description and tags.
Embed your videos on your website – This allows search engines to properly crawl and index your videos.
Link videos to relevant, related content on your site – This helps establish credibility and shows search engines that your video is relevant to your website’s topic.
Optimize your video thumbnails – Make thumbnails large, clear and visually interesting. Include keyword rich alternative text for thumbnails.
Create internal links
Here are some tips to create effective internal links for SEO:
Link within similar or related pages – Connect pages within your site that are closely related by topic. This shows search engines that those pages are part of the same topic cluster.
Use anchor text strategically – Use relevant keywords and phrases as anchor text for internal links. This passes link equity and relevancy to the target page for those keywords.
Use pagination – Break up lengthy pages into multiple pages and link them through pagination. This helps search engines crawl all pages easily.
Link to important pages – Create internal links to important pages like your About Us, Contact and others from multiple other pages. This helps pass more link equity and authority.
Create a sitemap – Develop a XML sitemap listing all your pages to help search engines crawl your site thoroughly and discover any missed internal links.
Link from long-form content – Link from blog posts and other in-depth pages to relevant category, product or service pages. This helps pass relevancy and authority.
Create logical header links – Link to other pages from headers and subheaders within logically organized, long pages. This makes navigation easy for visitors.
Update broken links – Regularly check all internal links for broken links and fix them immediately. This ensures search engines can properly crawl your entire site.
Add navigation menus – Include internal link lists in your site footer and side navigation menus to connect related pages.
Review for optimizations
Here are some tips for periodically reviewing and optimizing your content for SEO:
Check for outdated information – Update any facts, figures, statistics or other time-sensitive information to keep the content fresh and relevant.
Check for broken links – Run a link checker tool to find and fix any broken internal or external links in the content. This helps improve the user experience.
Check for changes in keywords – Review your target keywords to see if there are any more relevant or higher-performing keywords you can optimize for. Update the content accordingly.
Review image optimizations – Ensure all images have relevant filenames, alt text and are optimized for size and load speeds. Compress as needed.
Check for duplicate content – Scan the content for possible duplicate sections and consolidate or remove as required to avoid duplicate content issues.
Review use of headings – Make sure heading tags (H2, H3, etc.) are used properly and strategically within the content to highlight important topics.
Check internal links – Ensure all internal links are relevant, non-broken and use appropriate anchor text with relevant keywords and phrases.
Test for readability – Run a readability test to check the text for improvements to things like sentence length, use of jargon, and variety of word choices.
Consider keyword changes – Check search engine results and analytics to see if your current main keywords still make sense or if you could target more relevant or high-intent keywords.
Review schema markup – Check if schema markup (JSON-LD, Microdata, etc.) used in the page is still updated, relevant and accurate.
SEO Copywriting Checklist
To ensure your content is optimised for search engines, use this checklist!
Identify primary and secondary keywords relevant to your topic. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs to find high search volume and low competition keywords.
Choose a primary focus keyword for your content. This should be the most relevant and searched-for term in your niche.
Create a compelling and SEO-friendly title tag that includes your focus keyword. Keep the title under 60 characters to avoid truncation in search results.
Write an informative and engaging meta description that includes your focus keyword. Keep the meta description under 155 characters.
Use a clean and descriptive URL structure that includes your focus keyword. Avoid using special characters, numbers, or unnecessary words.
Use heading tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to break up your content and make it more readable. Include your focus keyword in the H1 tag and secondary keywords in H2 and H3 tags when possible.
Maintain a natural keyword density of around 1-2% for your focus keyword. Avoid over-optimization by varying your keyword usage with synonyms and related terms.
Include relevant internal links to other pages on your website. This helps establish content hierarchy and improve user experience.
Link to high-quality, authoritative external sources. This helps build credibility and trust with your audience.
Use descriptive file names, alt tags, and captions for your images. Compress images to reduce page load times and improve user experience.
Write clear, concise, and engaging content that is easy to read and understand. Use short sentences, paragraphs, and bullet points when appropriate.
Include a clear and compelling CTA that encourages users to take a desired action, such as signing up for a newsletter or purchasing a product.
Ensure your content is optimized for mobile devices, as a growing number of users access content on smartphones and tablets.
Include social sharing buttons to encourage users to share your content on social media platforms.
Aim for a content length of at least 1,000 words for better search engine ranking. However, prioritize quality over quantity. Longer content should still be engaging and relevant.
The Importance of SEO Copywriting
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing your website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). Ranking higher in SERPs can help you drive more traffic to your website, increase your visibility, and ultimately, grow your business.
SEO copywriting is the art of crafting content that is both appealing to your audience and optimized for search engines. By integrating relevant keywords, optimizing headlines and subheadings, using internal and external links, and creating high-quality content, your website can rank higher in search engine results pages and drive more traffic to your site.
SEO copywriting is like a superhero for your website, saving the day by improving your search engine rankings and bringing more traffic to your site. To be a hero, you need to have some tricks up your sleeve, like including relevant keywords, crafting killer headlines, and creating content that’s so good your readers will want to share it with their friends.
But Google is like a fickle friend that changes its mind all the time. It makes thousands of changes to its algorithms every year, some of which are barely noticeable, and others that can shake up the search engine results pages like an earthquake. The most recent algorithm update happened in April 2023, and it’s important to stay on top of these changes to make sure your SEO copywriting strategy is still supercharged.
So, stick to best practices, optimize your website for readability and user experience, and don’t forget to have fun with your copywriting!
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