Writing copy with SEO intent for your business will always make it stand out more from the competition. According to Smart Insights, 81% of people always look for product or service information via search engines before committing to a purchase. With Google holding a 93% market share over other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo, it goes without saying that SEO-centric copywriting matters considerably.
Based on HubSpot, SEO is the top content optimization strategy for 64% of marketers, with 70% claiming it generated better sales results than PPC marketing. But how can you make the most out of copywriting with SEO in mind in 2021 and which tools can you use to do so effectively? What are the common pitfalls associated with SEO copywriting? Let’s discuss that in the following segments as we learn how to write better titles and content.
The Benefits of Copywriting with SEO Intent
When discussing SEO copywriting, it’s best to start from the beginning and discuss what it actually means in practice. Copywriting is a content writing niche that focuses on writing short messages, catchphrases and titles, making it slightly more specialized than general content writing. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on the other hand enables marketers to optimize their content for better Search Engine Result Page (SERP) visibility through certain keywords. Combined, SEO and copywriting can enable you to craft more engaging headings, subheadings, calls to action, UX/UI content, etc.
Judging by Search Engine Journal, 53% of all website traffic comes from organic searches, or, searches made through keywords related to topics users search for. In comparison, only 15% of all traffic comes from paid search, and 5% from paid social media content, making organic SEO copywriting a better choice. Combined with a writing reference, you can effectively transform the way in which you write content going forward. If we were to break down the practical reasons as to why you should invest time and resources into SEO copywriting, those arguments would include:
- Write the right content for your audience based on their expectations
- Bring more organic traffic, conversions and long-term customers to your business
- Forgo paying for advertisement, guest posts or PPC campaigns entirely
- Increase the odds at gaining the featured snippets spot in Google’s SERP
- Give your brand a competitive edge against other businesses in the industry
Guidelines on How to Write Better Content through SEO Copywriting
1. Assembling your Copywriting Tool Stack
While you can write simple catch phrases or titles for your content through a simple text editor, you should use dedicated writing tools instead. SEO copywriting can help you produce content of much higher quality and SERP ranking if you use proper tools to research keywords and edit content. Here are some of the most practical resources for your SEO copywriting consideration:
A writing platform meant for taking and storing quick notes which can then be formatted into proper content. It features cloud-sync between different devices, a slick and fast UI, as well as integration with Google Docs and Gmail. It’s a great starting tool for copywriters looking to assemble their writing stack.
- Google Keyword Planner
Regardless of whether you intend to write content for an eCommerce platform or a company blog, this tool will help you find the right keywords. Google Keyword Planner is powered by Google and is very up to date on which keywords are trending in which industry at any given moment. You can use it to analyze content marketing trends and make informed decisions on which words and phrases to integrate into your own SEO copywriting.
- Power Thesaurus
Being a good copywriter is more than just about choosing the right keywords based on SEO. You will also need to combine said keywords with contextual content to make your writing look natural and appealing to readers. Power Thesaurus will help you find a plethora of synonyms, adjectives and verbs to make your content more attractive and personalized for your target audience.
Once you have done some copywriting, you can use Grammarly to spruce up your content’s legibility. Grammarly is, as its name might suggest, a tool dedicated to fixing grammar, context and proofreading mistakes in writing. It is a powerful tool for SEO copywriting since it can help balance your keyword density and text flow.
- SEM Rush
Once you’re satisfied with how your SEO copywriting turned out, you should keep an eye out on its analytics. SEM Rush is a platform with an abundance of SEO research and analysis features which can help keep track of your content. Make sure to use it liberally throughout your writing process and after in order to learn what precisely works and doesn’t work for your audience.
2. Match your Target Audience’s Keyword Expectations
The best way to achieve good results with your SEO copywriting is to become familiar with your target audience’s wants and needs. Specifically, how does your typical customer search for products or services via search engines? We usually refer to three distinct search query patterns:
- Sales-oriented – a user may search for “sell used car” or “buy new washing machine”
- Navigation-oriented – a user may search for “McDonald’s near me” or “Starbucks New York”
- Information-oriented – a user may search for “tips for personal development” or “weight-loss advice”
Knowing how your own target audience will search for content will allow you to better focus your SEO copywriting activities. This is also commonly referred to as keyword or search intent and it involves you defining who your audience is before writing any content. Take the time to establish who you are writing for and what you want to accomplish and the results of your labor will reflect that.
3. Cope with a Title That Will Stand Out
Writing titles for your content which will both stand out and abide by SEO standards is a balancing act. You will want to be original and creative while also filling out the criteria set by search engines such as Google and Bing. Based on Hosting Tribunal, 43% of people admit to skimming content, with readers spending only 37 seconds on each piece of content they come across.
This is why we refer to writing titles as “coping” with them, as you can never know how good your titles are before publishing them. As such, learn how to cope with a title which will reflect your content, brand and desired reader’s call to action adequately. Learn to write content and research what your competitors are doing about titles before you approach writing your own SEO copywriting content. Good preparation is half of what makes successful titles, so take your time to brainstorm and cope with a title for each piece of content.
4. Cluster your Keywords and Specialize your Copywriting
Instead of trying to cover a wide range of keywords from different industries and niches, you should settle for a set of keywords. This practice is also referred to as topic clustering in the blogging industry, as generating closely-related content can help with ranking and link building equally. According to Impact Plus, 57% of marketers say content development is the most effective SEO strategy, first five results accounting for 67% of all clicks.
Create a set of keywords which you will use going forward and devote some time to create content solely using these keywords. This will help you build a presence in that market and attract new readers simply through dedication to a certain field. Topic clustering can be used to create a range of articles, tutorials and content and you will cope with a title for each piece easily. As with most marketing strategies, it will take time for you to see concrete results from SEO copywriting, so don’t abandon your keywords prematurely.
5. Use Ancillary Keywords to Hook Readers Emotionally
The keywords you find through tools such as Google Keyword Planer and SEM Rush are essential for boosting your content’s visibility in SERP. However, ancillary words and phrases which will inevitably find their way into the SEO copywriting are just as important. Take our article’s title as an example:
The Guide to SEO Copywriting – X Ways to Write Better Content for your Website
As you can no doubt surmise, the phrases “SEO copywriting” and “write better content” are the parts readers will pay attention to in passing. But, additional words such as “guide”, “ways to” or “your website” also play a pivotal part in ensuring readers such as yourself read the article. Ancillary keywords which may be unrelated to the topic you cover directly can still enhance the final appeal of your SEO copywriting. This is why relying solely on keywords and phrases you discover through SEO tools is not a good idea – some personalization is always welcome.
6. Rely on Different Sentence Structures in SEO Copywriting
As we’ve mentioned previously, keyword intent is an important part of what makes SEO copywriting appealing. You can expand on the idea further by introducing different types of sentence structures into the mix to keep your copywriting fresh and dynamic. Some of those sentence structures are:
- Questions – “How to achieve better conversion rates through better writing?”
- Numbered lists – “X ways to write better content”
- Definitive statements – “We will help you write better content”
- Calls to action – “Read our discussion on how to write better content”
- Testimonials – “Write better content with these industry experts’ tips”
Embracing different sentence structures in your SEO copywriting will ensure that the content you produce appeals to different types of readers more easily. Likewise, it will keep things interesting for you as you will be able to mix and match keywords in different ways without them becoming stale.
7. Match your SEO Copywriting with Adequate Meta Descriptions
Lastly, once you are satisfied with the SEO copywriting you’ve produced, you should also take the time to write Meta descriptions for different posts. Users searching for specific information via global search engines will usually make the decision whether to click on a link based on these written snippets. Proper Meta descriptions will generate just as many clicks and conversions as good titles will.
Meta descriptions take the form of 130-160 character descriptions which go into short detail on what a SERP link is all about. A good rule of thumb is to write a simple call to action and include the same keywords you’ve used in the title itself. Meta descriptions should be unique for each piece of content you produce to give search engines ample information on how varied your content is. Follow proper etiquette and always write Meta descriptions based on the actual content contained in the link to avoid being labeled as scam or misleading.
Common Blunders in SEO Copywriting to Avoid
Now that we’ve covered several practical SEO copywriting guidelines which can help you write better content, let’s talk about some misconceptions about SEO. Combining copywriting with SEO is a great idea and it can significantly improve your website’s performance going forward.
However, too much of a good thing can be detrimental for your content, as Google’s SERP algorithms are designed to spot spam and malicious content. While you may not have intention to write such content, automated algorithms can flag your content as inappropriate and cause your ranking to drop exponentially. To avoid doing more harm than good to your copywriting, keep the following points in mind when optimizing your content:
- Complexity for the sake of complexity
Using niche words and terminology to explain concepts which people refer differently won’t earn you any points with new customers. Instead of being creative and unique in your keywords and phrases, try using established jargon, abbreviations and terms to fit in within your industry. Don’t treat your SEO copywriting as an academic research paper – go for a casual and approachable tone of voice instead.
- Too many different keywords without a clear focus
Relying heavily on keywords is what makes SEO copywriting different from traditional copywriting or content writing. However, including too many keywords in your copy for the sake of including as many as possible is not a good idea. Choose your main keywords to focus on and several which will augment the copy and stick to them. It’s better to focus your intentions rather than to try appeasing half-a-dozen different target audiences.
- Overreliance on writing optimization tools without human context
As we’ve discussed, using proper writing tools and SEO resources is vital to your SEO copywriting goals. It’s also important to remember that you are writing content for customers and clients to read – not for emotionless robots. Use writing tools to build on your SEO copywriting foundations and fix grammar, proofreading or contextual mistakes after writing your content freeform. Don’t sacrifice a humane tone of voice for cold and calculated SEO copywriting which will appease very few readers.
- Strong emphasis on sales-oriented writing without personalization
It’s true that the final intent of your SEO copywriting is to sell products/services or otherwise entice readers into certain actions. However, it’s also crucial that your content doesn’t come off as a 30-second television ad with a sole focus to sell, sell, and sell. Use personal pronouns in your copywriting and include heartwarming, emotional language in the content you write to appeal to readers’ individuality before pitching the sale.
- Following up on promising titles with poor content afterward
Lastly, SEO copywriting is a powerful technique for writing captivating titles for blog posts, news reports and studies for your website. Avoid writing click-bait titles at all costs if you wish to retain your audience and build a pro-consumer reputation for your business. Never write sensationalist titles for your content only to follow them up with irrelevant or poorly thought-out content. Write your content first and apply SEO copywriting to craft engaging titles once you know what value you can offer to readers.
We’ve covered a lot of what SEO copywriting is about in the previous segments and it can be a lot to take in at once. However, SEO copywriting isn’t overly complicated or resource-intense and it can pay off in spades if you devote some time to it. The best way to make good use of SEO copywriting is to always subsequently follow up whatever you announce with your “hook” with solid writing.
Condition your target audience to expect quality, professionalism and pro-consumer behavior from you and they will always be there when you publish new writing. Word of mouth about good brands with great content travels fast in today’s age – write the type of SEO content you’d like to read yourself.
Linda Ferguson is a professional content creator, SEO specialist at Subjecto, and business development advisor. She is passionate about writing, as well as desktop and digital publishing. Linda writes an assortment of articles, studies and papers in the fields of digital marketing, sales, content optimization and web development. She spends her free time catching up on writing industry podcasts and publications in hopes of improving her skills even further.