10 SEO Copywriting Tips and Secrets That’ll Add the Finishing Touch to Any SEO Strategy
Let’s look at the facts.
Google handles over 40,000 search queries every second. That amounts to around 3.5 billion searches every day and approximately 1.2 trillion searches each year.
Yup, that’s a lot.
We’re basically on the Internet all the time because almost 2 billion of us have a smartphone that we can use on the move.
So, thanks to technology, customers have never been more accessible.
In a nutshell, that’s why SEO is so important for a business. It’s the future.
There are many types of marketing that you can try out, but SEO is arguably the most stable and sustainable.
If you think about it, the data is fairly predictable. We can find a keyword, discover how often people are searching for it and then execute a strategy to try and rank on page one.
That’s all fine and dandy, but often, that’s where things start to unravel: in the strategy. In my experiences, businesses can often become too focused on the technical side of SEO.
And actually, by being more human with your SEO, you can achieve better results faster. Fortunately, there are a bunch of SEO copywriting tips and tricks that can help you do this.
Here are 10 ways that you can take your SEO strategy to the next level.
Tip 1: Don’t forget that, essentially, you’re writing for people, not robots
Copywriting is the art of combining art and science. Although you might not think it, SEO is the same.
What’s more, whilst SEOs are usually good at the science part, sometimes they’re guilty of forgetting whom they’re doing all this for in the first place.
Let me explain…
Google is a business. Its job is to return the most relevant and useful web pages for any given keyword.
That’s why, when it comes to ranking criteria, Google prioritizes content and authority over anything else. Google believes that a piece of quality, respected content is the best way of delivering what search engine users are looking for.
You need to bear this in mind when you’re creating your content. The ultimate prize is to have your web pages read by people. Real people.
As such, your copy has to be crafted in an interesting and engaging way.
After all, hitting page one is just part of the battle. If you top the rankings and generate lots of website traffic, but people are leaving your website in droves, then what was the point?
Tip 2: The days of keyword cramming are over
On a related theme, steer clear of overdoing it with the keywords.
Apart from anything else, search engine algorithms have evolved. They’re much more sophisticated nowadays, so there’s simply no need to worry about it.
It’s all thanks to latent semantic indexing. Google is clever enough to work out what your content is about from all of the copy, not from keyword repetition.
Tip 3: Write in an active voice
You know that guy or gal who drains people at a party?
Don’t be the digital equivalent.
Whether a post is 200 words or 2000, reading a piece of content is a journey. It makes sense that the more energetic your copy is, the more entertaining it will be.
(And, of course, the more entertaining it is, the more successful your SEO strategy will be.)
Listen to mega successful novelist Stephen King. In his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, King says that timidity never makes for good writing.
Try leverage emotion. The most successful brands in the world all use emotion to increase engagement. Fear, anger, confusion, power, happiness, inspiration… they all have a potential role to play.
If you can create a story around your subject matter, then so much the better. Humans are hard-wired to love stories.
Tip 4: Edit your copy ruthlessly
I once heard legendary copywriter Eugene Schwartz declare that the purpose of every word is simple: it’s to get the next one read.
To put it another way, you need to eliminate any waffle from your content. It’s perfectly natural to include unnecessary verbiage; it’s something we all do.
We umm and err when we speak, so why should we expect to crank out crystal clear copy at the drop of a hat?
Quality content is created when we allow ourselves the time to refine our work. Less is almost always more, but reducing the amount of words we use is hard. It’s far easier to add copy.
But that’s what separates good copy from great content.
As the great Steve Jobs once said, “simple is often harder than complex”.
Tip 5: Don’t be backward in being forward
In my view, if you’re truly created a piece of valuable content, then you’ve earned the right to get something back.
Want a tweet, share or blog comment? Then the best place to ask is right at the end of your conclusion.
Not only is this fair, but it also helps the longevity of your piece. Suppose someone is still commenting on your web page in a year’s time? That’s going to indicate to Google that this content is still worth ranking.
Tip 6: Create a good meta description
Imagine landing a spot on page one for a keyword, but still not generating any website traffic.
Wouldn’t that be awful?
But it can happen very easily.
Reaching page one is the crucial, penultimate step in any SEO strategy. The killer factor that determines whether a strategy yields any ROI is much less talked about.
Suppose one of your web pages is in first place on page one. Do people actually click on your search result?
If not, then the problem could lie with your meta description.
A meta description is the little synopsis that appears under a search result. It helps people decide whether it’s relevant or not, so it’s incredibly important.
This is basically your final chance to sell your web page before the user clicks on a rival. As such, you should retain some creative juice and write a meta description that really taps into the heart and soul of the topic in question.
Tip 7: Fonts are clothes for your words, so choose them carefully.
Believe it or not, the way your content is displayed can have a dramatic effect on your SEO results.
Google cares deeply about user experience and it will be able to tell whether people are having a good time when they land on your site or not.
It will examine bounce rates and adjust ranking positions accordingly. If people are abandoning the piece of content in position one after a couple of seconds, Google might assume that it’s not as relevant as they thought…
… and drop it down a few positions.
And equally, if people love something in the eighth position, Google could give that page a big bump.
So, what factors can increase dwell time?
Well, fonts are one aspect.
You could create the most amazing piece of content in the world, but if the font on your website is illegible, then you’ve got problems.
There are a few other user experience tips that can improve the quality of your content and the next bunch of tips will cover them.
Tip 8: Make your headline click-worthy
We all love reading blog posts and articles, but I’m sure that we’ve all had the experience of clicking a link because of a headline, only to discover that we’ve been misled.
Either the content in question doesn’t live up to what’s been promised or, in extreme cases, it’s completely irrelevant to the headline.
Long-term, it’s best not to be too disingenuous. Yeah it’s great to get the clicks and the traffic, but it won’t last.
If there’s a disconnect between your headline and your copy, then the best-case scenario is that you’ll enjoy a temporary spike in your traffic every now and then.
The worst-case scenario is that you’ll earn a reputation for being a liar and you’ll destroy your brand.
When people emphasize the need to work hard on a headline, that’s true. Just don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.
Tip 9: Break up your paragraphs and use sub-headings
Perhaps it’s a sign of the times, but unfortunately, we’re all a bit lazy nowadays. We don’t read articles word-for-word. Instead, we tend to scan them and look out for words or phrases that catch our eye.
If your content is displayed in a gigantic block of text, it’s hard for copy to stand out. Moreover, it looks intimidating to read. Your content should be easy on the eye and enjoyable to read, so space out all the text.
Also, use sub-headings whenever you’re making a new point. That’ll also increase the chances of a reader hanging around and finding something that’s relevant to them.
Just make sure that you head into your CMS and assign the relevant heading tag to your titles so that you can earn maximum bonus points.
Tip 10: Use plenty of images
As a copywriter, it might pain me to say this, but it’s true: images are sometimes more powerful than words.
But that concept is especially true in relation to content on a smartphone.
Don’t fight it; embrace it. Avoid the type of tired stock images that you see everywhere and try to source impactful pictures with vivid colors.
Images add a layer of depth to copy. And if it improves the quality of your work, why wouldn’t you want to do that?
In summary, when it comes to SEO, don’t get too bogged down by the small, technical elements.
Never forget that, for most people, at the heart of SEO is Google, a search engine that’s sole purpose is to provide a service for people.
These SEO copywriting techniques all have one thing in common:
They’re all designed to improve content for the user. Which is what it’s all about, right? SEO is all about giving a website visibility. We want people to find our stuff, so let’s give them a good time when they arrive.
Matt Press is an experienced copywriter who has written words for some of the UK’s biggest brands, such as Sky, Three and Vodafone. The creator of Splash Copywriters, he now provides SEO help for businesses in the Hampshire area.