While improving your website content, you’ve come across the term “SEO copywriting.”
With a brow furrow, you think: I’ve heard of SEO, and I’ve heard of copywriting, but what is SEO copywriting? And why are there so many Internet marketing terms out there that I have to know anyway?
Although I can tell you what SEO copywriting is, I struggle with that second question, too! (Seriously, “content marketing,” “Internet marketing,” “inbound marketing?” And those are all just types of marketing! Sometimes, it feels like driving in Boston. Anyway … )
Let’s get right down to it.
What Is SEO Copywriting?
SEO copywriting is traditional copywriting that includes SEO techniques that help search engines easily crawl, index and serve up your content to your audience.
What SEO techniques are used in SEO copywriting?
Thankfully, Search Engine Land created this handy Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors to get a (literal) picture of the SEO elements.
If you’re an Internet marketer (and why would you be reading this otherwise unless you like to torture yourself), grab a copy of this table and keep it handy for future reference.
What SEO Elements Are Used in SEO Copywriting?
From the table, all content elements and some of the other on-page factors under architecture and HTML are used directly in SEO copywriting.
This might surprise you, but some of the off-page SEO factors are also considered when writing search optimized copy.
To help you understand what SEO copywriting is, I’m going to expand on the top SEO elements that SEO copywriters focus on when creating content.
On-Page SEO Copywriting Techniques
Here are the on-page techniques that SEO copywriters use to write and optimize content.
- Quality Content: Quality content is the most important aspect of SEO copywriting. Content needs to provide value to your intended audience. Write content that your readers find interesting and helpful, and you’re golden! This isn’t just the copywriter side of the SEO copywriter talking. Quality content is the most important factor for ranking well in search engines because if you’re making readers happy, you’re making search engines happy. Check out marketing expert Neil Patel’s secret-of-successful-SEOs post for more on the topic.
- Keyword Research: SEO copywriters use keyword research tools like the free Google AdWords Keyword Planner to discover the search phrases that people use to find relevant content online. Using keywords ensures that you’re using the language of your intended audience, that they can find your content online and that search engines can easily index your content.
- Using Keywords: SEO copywriters use the keywords they’ve discovered that fit the topic of your content within that content in a natural way. Keyword stuffing will get you penalized by the search engines, so include them where possible with content readability taking precedence over keyword density. Remember, the most important aspect of SEO copywriting is quality content. Quality should never take a hit so you can get more keywords in.
- Fresh Content: Readers and search engines want to see new content on your site regularly. Having a blog is important to keep your website fresh and to demonstrate your expertise, which builds credibility with your website visitors. When your site gains credibility, it gains even more visitors and links to the great stuff you’re creating – and all of that makes Google very happy.
- Mobile: You may have heard of the recent mobilegeddon Google algorithm update. How your website renders on mobile devices is quickly becoming more important than ever as Google starts penalizing websites non-mobile-responsive websites and sites that aren’t mobile-user friendly. SEO copywriters can help you create content for your mobile site that appeals the most to your on-the-go mobile audience, and that’s easy for your mobile-device audience to see and interact with. For more, check out this 2016-SEO-predictions post on expert content marketer Jeff Bullas’ site.
- Speed: Your website pages should load quickly to provide an optimal user experience. You can test your site speed and get tips to improve your site speed with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. The main thing SEO copywriters can do here is provide the smallest-file-size images possible to accompany their content.
- URLs: The main thing here is to just keep URLs simple. Keywords aren’t a big deal in the URL, but you’ll probably have them in there naturally anyway due to the post title or main focus of the page. Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes discusses the important elements of URL structure in this post by search marketing expert Jennifer Slegg.
- Titles: You want page titles to be short and descriptive. SEO copywriters can help you create titles that are short enough but still get the point of the Web page across so search engines can easily index them.
- Description: Your meta description should describe, and contain keywords that are relevant to, the page. An SEO copywriter can craft a meta description appeals to your audience when they find it in search results.
- Headers and Subheads: Structure your content with HTML header tags to help readers and search engines navigate your page. SEO copywriters should have a basic understanding of HTML and would require access to your CMS to add tags to the post. If they can write enough HTML, SEO copywriters can submit a tagged text document that you can copy and paste into your CMS depending on the content. To try this yourself, the headline should be <H1> with subheads <H2> and any headers within subheads <H3>, etc.
Off-Page SEO Copywriting Techniques
SEO copywriters keep these off-page SEO factors in mind when creating content.
- Authority: SEO copywriters know the importance of building authority online. You need to establish yourself as an expert in your field, and SEO copywriters keep that in mind when creating content. They do this by quoting and referencing well-known experts, by creating original (not duplicate) content and more. Check out this post by search expert Barry Schwartz with information from Google’s head of search Amit Singhal on how to improve authority. (See what I did there?) 😉
- Engage: Search engines want to see visitors meaningfully engaging with your site. SEO copywriters ask readers questions at the end of blog posts to encourage participation and there should always be a call to action on your page to encourage further engagement.
- Locality: Create content that’s relevant to the physical location of your audience members. SEO copywriters include local search terms in content when relevant. For example, Let’s say that you run a flower shop. If someone’s looking for a flower shop in their area, they’ll probably type their location in with the search. Including your location wherever possible and wherever is natural will help potential customers find you.
- Social Media Shares: SEO copywriters always keep social sharing in mind when creating content. Part of the benefit of interviewing experts is mentioning those experts on social media when you share the post. If you’re lucky, that expert will share the post with their audience to get you more visibility and credibility from people and search engines. SEO copywriters also craft compelling headlines that include appropriate keywords to encourage social media clicks and shares. Check out my Kapost article for more social media SEO tips.
Add SEO Copywriting To Your Content
Now you know that SEO copywriting is combining SEO techniques with quality copy to help search engines find, index and serve up your content so that your audience finds and enjoys that content.
You also now know some of the techniques used in successful SEO copywriting so start implementing some of them today!
If you create your own online content, it’s OK to start small. Even just a few of these techniques will improve the performance of your content. Start with what you’re most comfortable with and work your way up.
For a quick and easy boost, you can edit keywords and other SEO techniques into previously published content. If you do this, though, beware of editing URLs because that will affect any outside links to those pages and your indexing with the search engines. If you don’t know how to properly make technical changes, seek the help of a professional SEO.
If you hire outside copywriting or content marketing services, make sure they implement SEO techniques into their work.
Do you have any questions about SEO copywriting or are there other SEO copywriting techniques that you’ve heard of and what to share or ask about? Please let me know in the comments below!
Crave More SEO Copywriting Goodness?
Are you becoming kind of obsessed with SEO copywriting? (I did when I started – and still am!)
I highly recommend diving into Heather Lloyd-Martin’s SuccessWorks SEO Copywriting site. Sign up for her newsletter and pore over her blog. For even more, she also offers SEO Copywriting Certification (see my badge to the right). And, no, I’m not getting paid to write this! I used to work for Heather as her blog editor, but that was after reaping the benefits of her site and taking her course. 😉 I still hang on her every word. It’s the best resource that I’ve found that’s solely dedicated to the topic of SEO copywriting.
For SEO copywriting services, reach out to me via the form on my contact page.