SEO copywriting can make or break a website.
In this blog, we give you the proven formula for SEO copywriting success.
According to Search Engine Journal, 93% of online experiences start with search. So if you’re looking to reach people in cyberspace, one of your best options is to get noticed in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Even better: organic search leads have an average close rate of 14.6%. That compares very favorably with the 1.7% close rate of outbound marketing leads.
Watch A Video On SEO Copywriting And Long-Form Content
Also, 81% of consumers begin their purchasing journey with online research. Almost half of them (47%) will read 3-5 pieces of content online before initiating contact with a sales rep.
Bottom line: you need to make sure that your website is visible when people perform a search related to your niche.
In this article, we’ll go over the concept of SEO copywriting and offer some helpful tips that will boost your website traffic.
What, Exactly, Is SEO Copywriting?
Before we get into the “how to,” it’s important that we first go over the “what.” As in: what is SEO copywriting?
Copywriting, on the other hand, is an exercise in using your native language to influence someone to take a specific action. Usually, that action is to buy a product or service. Sometimes, though, copywriting is used to promote brand-name awareness.
SEO copywriting blends the best of both worlds. It produces content that not only ranks well in the search results but also convinces readers that they should take action.
In a nutshell, good SEO copywriting converts curious searchers into paying customers.
SEO and Copywriting Are Inseparable
In fact, SEO and great copywriting are inseparable. That’s because outstanding copy is an important part of search engine optimization.
Google spilled the beans on its top 3 ranking factors last year. Here they are, in no particular order:
- Links – backlinks pointing to content on the website
- Content – the quality of the content itself
- RankBrain – Google’s machine-learning algorithm that ranks content according to keywords
As you can see, one of the top 3 ranking factors is content. That means Google will evaluate the quality of your content to determine where it should land in the search results.
But notice that Google’s artificial intelligence algorithm, RankBrain, is also a ranking factor. That algorithm will use what it has “learned” to determine how relevant your site’s content is to a particular search term.
So two of the top three ranking factors are related to content. That’s why your copywriting needs to be spectacular if you want to land at the top of the SERPs.
Now that we’ve covered the basics about SEO copywriting, let’s look at some ways to put it into practice.
SEO Copywriting Starts With a Search Term
It all begins with a search term.
Come up with a list of words, phrases, and questions that people will type into Google when searching for info related to your niche. Then, optimize your content around those keywords.
That sounds a lot easier than it is, though.
The first thing you need to do is to come up with keywords. The good news is that some of the keywords related to your business model will be obvious. The bad news is that many of those obvious keywords are likely to be very competitive.
That means other businesses in your space will try to rank for those same keywords as well. You’ll have trouble getting to the top of the SERPs with a competitive keyword.
The trick is to make sure that the keyword is getting enough searches on a monthly basis. Otherwise, you’re just optimizing content for a keyword that nobody is searching for. That’s not going to get you a whole lot of additional traffic.
What’s the ideal number of searches per month? That depends on the nature of your business.
If you’re offering a highly priced product or service with great margins, then you can probably get away with marketing to just a few people every month. On the other hand, if you’re in a crowded space, you probably need a keyword that’s getting at least a thousand searches per month.
Do the Research
Once you’ve got your search term, it’s time to do the upfront work. That involves research.
Fortunately, it’s easy to research your subject online. The same Google that you’ll use to reach your target audience is at your command to give you the info you need.
Find all the best articles related to your search term and keep them in separate tabs. After you’ve developed a library of great resources, go through each article to completely familiarize yourself with the subject.
Close out articles that seem to have a lot of duplicate content. Keep the articles that you want to reference in your own post.
Once you’re armed with the knowledge to cover the subject thoroughly, it’s time to begin producing outstanding content.
SEO Copywriting Can Make Your Page the Best
One of the secrets to SEO copywriting is to ensure that your content is better than anybody else’s.
As we’ve seen, Google ranks content by evaluating the quality of the content itself. That means if Google perceives that your content is “better,” it will rank better.
Take a look at the content produced by your competitors. Specifically, look at their content that ranks for the search term you’re using.
Fortunately, you can use either SEMRush or SpyFu to do just that. Both of those tools enable you to “spy” on your competitors to see where they’re ranking for specific keywords.
Once you’ve found competitor content for your own search term, read the content and ask yourself the following questions:
- What can I do to produce better content?
- Where are the gaps in this content that I can fill?
- How can I make my own content sound more authoritative?
- Would the reader benefit from more visual aids?
- Can I improve on the quality of the writing itself?
- Can I improve on the overall user experience (font size, line spacing, etc.)?
Then, start producing better content based on the answer to those questions.
Basically, you need to create what Rand Fishkin calls 10x content. As the name implies, that’s content that’s 10 times better than what anybody else has produced.
Do that and Google will bless you with a top spot in the search results.
Cover Topics Suggested in Related Searches For SEO Copywriting
Once you’re done with your first article, you’re not “done” at all. You still have a long way to go.
That’s because you need to produce even more 10x content that attracts even more visitors.
Start by Googling the search term that you just used. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see your own article in the top 10 results right away. That will take time.
What you should look for, though, is the related search terms at the bottom of the page. Start producing content for each one of those keywords.
Yes, that will take time. Yes, that will involve in-depth research just as before.
But it will be worth it if you attract a much larger audience.
Incorporate Similar Keywords in Your SEO Copywriting
Even after all of that, you’re still not done with SEO copywriting. That’s because there’s still a whole universe of search terms that you should rank for.
Look for similar keywords to those you found in the related search terms. Start producing content for those keywords.
Also, make your search for great keywords really easy by using the aforementioned SEMRush and SpyFu tools. Both of those services will provide you with keywords related to a specific search term.
Before you know it, you’ll have more keywords than you can handle. They’ll keep you busy with content marketing for a very long time.
Remember the cardinal rule, though: only optimize for keywords with a healthy search volume.
Put the Keyword in the Right Places for SEO Copywriting
If you want Google to rank your content for a specific keyword, then you’d better include that keyword throughout your content. That’s not the only place it belongs, though.
You should also include the keyword in the URL itself. That means if your keyword is “blue jeans,” then that phrase should appear in the URL with an underscore (“_”) used instead of the white space.
For example, if your article is entitled “Hottest blue jeans for 2018,” then the URL should include this fragment: “hottest_blue_jeans_for_2018.” Google will parse that URL to determine how relevant the search term “blue jeans” is to the content.
You should also include the keyword in the meta description tag. That’s the tag that Google uses to show the description of the website contents in the search results. Google will also parse that tag to determine if the a specific search term is relevant to the contents of the article.
Also, you should break up your content with subheadings and use the keyword in the subheadings as much as possible. Just be sure you don’t “force” the keyword into a place it doesn’t belong or you could do more harm than good.
Finally, put the search term in the title of the content as well.
Look at SEO Copywriting Examples That Rank – First Impressions Matter
It’s also important that you produce a compelling “lead.” That’s the first paragraph of your article.
The lead is the reason that people read the rest of the article. It should summarize the contents and arouse curiosity about the subject.
Content marketing is like fishing. The title is the bait, but the lead sets the hook.
If you’re in the habit of producing 10x content, you might find that you spend more time on the title and the lead than on just about any other part of the article. That might seem ridiculous, but it’s perfectly normal in this digital age when viral content rules.
Keep in mind: when you write a compelling lead that keeps people reading, you’ll improve your Dwell Time metric. That’s the amount of time your visitors spend on the page.
There’s evidence that Dwell Time is important for SEO. So if you want to rank well, you’ll write a lead that encourages people to hang around for awhile.
Facts and Figures are an Important Part of SEO Copywriting
As we’ve seen, research is an important part of SEO copywriting. It’s also important that you cite that research in your content.
Remember, one of the keys to producing 10x content is to ensure that it appears authoritative. One of the ways that you do that is by citing facts, figures, and statistics from reputable sources.
Also, some stats are easy to cite in bulleted format. If you do that, you’ll make it easier for readers to scan the article. That kind of user experience improvement is sure to help you attract a larger audience.
Try Not to Mention Competitors
Advertisements hardly ever mention competitors. You should follow that example in your own marketing efforts.
If you mention a competitor, you’re basically giving that business a free ad. You’re boosting the brand-name awareness of another company.
So, as a rule of thumb, avoid mentioning competitors. There are some exceptions to that rule, though.
For example, if you’re offering a price comparison chart on your landing page, you might show how your service offers more or costs less than popular competitors. That might be enough to seal the deal with some visitors.
Add Clear Calls to Action within SEO Copywriting
Remember: good copywriting is about incentivizing readers to take action. But they might not know what kind of action to take if you don’t make it obvious.
That’s why you should provide a clear call to action (CTA).
Usually, a good CTA is a button that stands out because it’s 1) large and 2) in a contrasting color. Beyond that, though, the text on the button should spell out exactly what action will occur if the visitor presses it.
Remember: if you want people to do something, ask them to do it. Use the CTA for that purpose.
Leave out any ambiguity on the CTA and you’ll find that your conversion rate improves.
Longform Content Improves SEO and is Important to SEO Copywriting
Another way to rank well in the SERPs is by producing longform content.
What’s longform content? It’s content that’s at least 1,200 words in length. Ideally, though, you should probably aim for content that’s more than 1,500 words.
- According to a study of more than 20,000 keywords, articles in the top 10 results average more than 2,000 words
- Another study showed that longform content increases conversion rate by 37%
- A Moz study found a direct correlation between the number of words in the content and the number of backlinks earned
- A study by Neil Patel found that longform content produced far more social shares (especially on Twitter)
So when it comes to producing content for your website, go long or go home.
Answer Questions and Objections in Your SEO Writing
One fundamental rule of good marketing is to answer questions and objections up front. You should do that in your copywriting.
Start by producing the content you think people will want to read. Then, reread your article and ask yourself: “What questions would people still have after reading this?”
Make a list of those questions and proceed to answer every one of them in the article itself.
In fact, it’s not a bad idea to add a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) to the bottom of your article. If there are some questions that relate generally to you business, you should add a FAQ on a separate page.
If you can anticipate questions and answer them ahead of time, you’ll likely gain customers that you would otherwise have lost.
Wrapping It Up SEO Copywriting
If you want more visitors to your website, start by producing some great SEO copywriting. Then, people in your target market will learn about your business when they search for terms related to your niche. Once you’ve attracted them to your site, your compelling content should lead them further down the sales funnel.