SEO Copywriting: Everything You Need to Know
Even if you don’t notice it, you can find carefully curated copy everywhere you look. From the emails you read to the back of your shampoo bottle, copy is everywhere!
What you may also not realize is the work that goes into crafting the perfect copy. There is a strategy and science behind every piece of writing.
In this article, we’ll answer the following questions:
- What is Copywriting?
- What do Copywriters do?
- Why is SEO Copywriting so Important?
- How Does SEO Copywriting Work?
What Do You Actually Know About SEO Copywriting?
Are you looking to start a career as a copywriter? Or are you a business owner seeking a copywriter? Either way, you may not entirely know what SEO copywriting is or its importance.
Here we’ll explore what copywriting is and the specific role of an SEO copywriter.
What is Copywriting?
It’s important to understand that copywriting differs from content writing. Unfortunately, many people confuse the two or use copywriting to refer to both concepts. However, they’re very different, although both are very important.
Are you interested in engaging audiences and leads with content? You need content writing. This involves writing content such as web pages, blog posts, and emails. The purpose of it is to inform or educate audiences while encouraging a specific action.
Copywriting seeks to drive action as its primary goal. It uses a combination of the psychology of persuasion and persuasive language. In the process, it encourages people to perform a particular task. This task could entail registering for an event, signing up for an email newsletter, and more. It will ultimately drive sales by getting people to buy products or services.
While copywriting can still inform and educate, its primary goal is to get people to take action. You may see this type of copy on websites as ads. Copy also often appears in emails.
What is SEO Copywriting?
SEO copywriting blends search engine optimization (SEO) with copywriting. Copy with good SEO will both drive action and achieve higher rankings in search engines.
What Do Copywriters Do?
To produce compelling and high-performing copy, you need copywriters. These professionals write copy in ads, emails, and other materials. A good copywriter keeps up with the industry and continues to build on their skills.
Copywriters used to be mere wordsmiths, but they’re so much more today. These professionals craft high-quality content with a deep understanding of the reader’s psychology. They know how to persuade the reader to take the desired action behind the copy.
To get into copywriting, you’ll need to do a lot of research. This is because each audience and brand will have different wants and needs. They’ll also use distinct language and connect with different emotions. Because of this, you need to learn what type of copywriting will work best based on industry and audience.
Another skill that copywriters have is repurposing content. As a copywriter, you may look at the existing content and convert it into another form of copy, such as turning a blog post into an email.
Skilled copywriters know how to turn audiences into leads and leads into customers. They do so by helping companies stand out from competitors. They illustrate why a company’s offerings are better than the rest. In doing so, they convince people to engage with the company and buy from it. These skills make it critical to hire a copywriter for nearly any business.
Why is Copywriting So Important?
If your goal as a business owner is to get and stay ahead of competitors, good copywriting is a must. However, if you have bad copywriting, it will reflect poorly on your brand while hurting your SEO. As a result, bad copywriting can lead to lower rankings and less trust among audiences.
Along with solid writing, you need to optimize it for SEO. This entails incorporating backlinks and other elements that help boost rankings. The two factors that search engines always consider are good content and backlinks. Solid SEO copywriting can meet both requirements.
Your copy will do well if it is well-written, well-optimized, and persuasive. It’ll rank high in search results while connecting with audiences. Ranking high in the search results will lead to more high-quality backlinks that add more support for the copy.
Keep in mind that quality is crucial for good SEO copy. Give your readers value with your content that truly persuades them. If you can understand the readers’ psychology and appeal to it, you’ll go far with your copy.
Another item to consider is keyword inclusion. You need to find out what your audiences are entering into search engines to find your offerings. SEO copywriters will have the tools and skills to do this correctly. You can ensure your copy ranks through good keyword research and inclusion.
You’ll want to avoid keyword stuffing. This involves including a lot of keywords in places that hurt the flow of the copy. Natural keyword inclusion will make the copy readable while helping with SEO.
How Does SEO Copywriting Work?
SEO copywriting is at the heart of every brand. Every single successful brand on Earth uses copywriting to get its message across and out to the public.
Through a robust vocabulary and a clear understanding of the psychology of human persuasion, copywriters use words to reflect the brand voice. As a result, they established the brand’s standing in a, sometimes crowded, marketplace.
With the help of online SEO tools and research, they also keep up with the latest trends and keywords in each industry to ensure that the copy they’re crafting ends up in front of the right audience.
Copywriters handle brand building and product selling. Carefully crafted copy not only sells products and services but also establishes brand identity. Now more than ever consumers want to know the story and values behind a brand and its leadership team. Copywriters help to establish those values and tell that story.
Planning Your SEO Copywriting
When planning your SEO copywriting, you’ll need to go through a few key stages. These involve:
First, you need to think about what you want to achieve with the copy. Consider the key message of your content and the purpose of the content piece. Who is the specific audience you want to reach, and how should you speak to them?
Consider the information you’ll need for your content. Also, consider the structure. For instance, you might want to use an inverted pyramid style that answers a question from the very start. In other pieces, you may be better off going with a storytelling approach.
This is also the stage to perform keyword research. Use the right tools to help find the most valuable keywords. You can then create the perfect list to include naturally in your copy.
After the preparation stage, it’s time to write the copy. When writing the content, stick to a specific structure or outline. Doing so can help ensure you include everything you need to cover. Remember, don’t stuff keywords in your content. Instead, try to include them where they make sense and don’t hurt readability.
After crafting your content:
- Read it slowly and out loud to yourself.
- Think about how it sounds and determine whether it has the right voice.
- Focus on matching tone with sentence structure here, which will make it resonate.
- Fix any issues with spelling and grammar, as these can cause many to turn away.
SEO Copywriting to Boost the User Experience
The user experience is everything to SEO today. Google and other search engines place UX signals as a top priority when ranking. These are specific metrics that show whether the content is worth ranking well.
A couple of examples of UX signals include bounce rate and pogo sticking. Bounce rate is the rate of people leaving a page without taking action. Meanwhile, pogo sticking entails returning to the results page after visiting a web page.
If people aren’t taking action or leaving your page, your copy needs work. It’s irrelevant and doesn’t apply to the reader, or it’s just not persuasive enough.
The focus on UX signals makes it necessary to write for intent. Decide whether your content is informational, transactional, commercial, or navigational.
- Informational content brings value to readers
- Navigational content leads people along the customer journey
- Transactional and Commercial content converts readers into leads or customers
Base your content structure around the goal you want to achieve. Speak to the psychology of readers at different stages. What do your readers want to get out of each piece of content? Answering this question can help you craft the ideal copy.
As you structure content, you can take a couple of helpful approaches:
Bucket Brigades help keep readers hooked on your content. If people are landing on your page and sticking around, this looks good to Google. Search engines see this as a sign that your content is valuable to their users.
Bucket Brigades are powerful phrases that keep people moving down the page. They connect two concepts and offer some suspense for readers.
For example, you might start a paragraph with “to put a long story short” and another with “want to know what really works?” These types of phrases keep people reading.
Place them in the right sports to get the most from your Bucket Brigades. They often work best in places where you find people leave the page without them. For instance, you might learn that the average session duration on a page is about a minute. You can then see how long it takes to reach that point when reading and improve content with a Bucket Brigade.
The APP Method
Apart from Bucket Brigades, you can try the APP Method to boost content performance. This acronym stands for Agree, Promise, and Preview.
In the first stage, show that you agree with the reader. For instance, you could include a phrase like “our strategy will truly help with [problem].” A statement like that shows that you understand the unique issue the reader’s face. You also show that you have a real solution.
Go into the promise you can make and keep. This promise will show the results readers can achieve with your solution. You can prove this with an anecdote about how your solutions have worked for you.
With the Preview phase, it’s time to let your reader know what you have to offer. Make your unique selling proposition and get the reader to take action.
Diving into Click Through Rate
Before you can get people to read your content, you need to ensure they view it in the first place.
A high click-through rate shows that titles and descriptions are connecting with people. This makes optimizing titles and meta descriptions for content a necessity.
When it comes to titles, craft ones that are click-worthy and appealing. You don’t want to use clickbait that misleads audiences, but you do want to grab people’s attention. Keep your titles relevant and include long-tail keywords that people actively search. Titles should also be concise and to-the-point. Once you’ve included your keyword, you can add appropriate modifiers such as “Guide” or “How to”.
Encouraging Click-Throughs with Meta Descriptions
Also, meta descriptions are important to optimize to improve click-through rates. These are descriptions under titles in search engines that preview the page’s content. Their effect on SEO isn’t direct, but they can still help boost rankings. They do so by encouraging more people to trust that the content is right for them. These search engine users will then click over to your website. Search engines then see that your content is engaging, which can influence rankings with other factors.
Test All Titles and Descriptions
When optimizing titles and descriptions, test everything. You can conduct A/B tests for titles to see how each performs. This would involve testing two titles or descriptions with a single element changed. For example, you might try one modifier with the first title and another with the second. Based on which performs better, you can keep that one and get rid of the other.
Cracking the Code: Keywords
Keyword research is a huge part of successful SEO copywriting. A good keyword strategy can do a lot to help your efforts.
When starting with keyword research, an SEO copywriter consider the intent behind it. What do users want to achieve with it?
There are four main types of searcher intent that keywords could have:
- Informational — The searcher enters the keyword to find more information about a subject. This is when users are researching their problems.
- Commercial — The searcher wants to buy a product in the near future and is researching options. You can then convince people that you’re the right solution.
- Transactional — The searcher plans to buy something after researching different options.
- Navigational — The searcher is looking for a specific website to visit.
Brand Your Techniques and Strategies
This stage involves developing a specific mission statement that applies to your brand. This mission statement demonstrates your brand’s values and goals. Consider what you want to achieve with your content and what makes it stand apart.
Based on your mission statement, you can develop a winning keyword strategy.
Target Long-tail Keywords
Short-tail keywords are very valuable, but they’re often hard to rank. They’re also often too broad to capture intent. For instance, a short keyword of “marketing services” won’t show what the searcher wants. The searcher could just want to learn about different marketing services. Another searcher might use it to find a marketing service provider.
Instead, go for longer keywords that people are more likely to enter. These include four or more words and tend to connect with searcher intent. In the above “marketing services” example, you could add different modifiers. If the intent is informational, target something like “a guide to marketing services.” If the intent is transactional, go with “best marketing services.” For the latter, you can even go farther by targeting specific audiences. For instance, you might target “best marketing services for [industry].”
Additionally, long-tail keywords sound more natural in content. You may even use them unexpectedly while writing.
Use LSI Keywords
Search engines care more about Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords than general keywords.
To put it another way, Google looks for words that are synonymous or related to each other. This gives search engines some context around the topic of your content.
You can easily find these keywords by looking for words connected to your main keyword. Go into Google and enter your main term. You can then look at the related searches section to see what other terms people enter. These are often the best to target considering search engines already recognize them.
Think About Keyword Locations and Frequency
Be strategic about keyword placement. Place them in your titles, meta descriptions, and throughout your content. In the body of your content, main keywords should appear from top to bottom. Supporting keywords, including LSI keywords, should also appear in the content.
Frequency is important to consider when adding keywords. You must consider how many times your keywords should appear. This will depend heavily on word count. The longer the content, the more instances of a keyword you should include.
While frequency isn’t as important as it used to be, it still affects SEO. It’s among the many factors that search engines consider when ranking content. If your keyword frequency is too low, it could weaken your content. On the other hand, if the frequency is too high, search engines might see this as keyword stuffing. Striking the right balance here is key.
Advanced SEO Copywriting Strategies
To get the best results from your SEO copywriting efforts, here are some great strategies to use.
Create Compelling URLs with a Keyword
URLs that include a keyword can benefit you in a couple ways.
The first benefit is the ability to rank higher in search engines. If your URLs contain a valuable short-tail keyword, this can improve rankings. However, you should only do this for new pages. If you change old URLs to make them shorter, this could actually hurt your page’s performance.
The other advantage is the chance to increase clicks. People are more likely to trust and click short URLs that clearly show what the page is about.
Find Untapped Ideas
Always seek out ideas that your competitors haven’t touched. This will keep you at a competitive advantage and further help with rankings.
There are many ways to approach discovering untapped ideas. One tool that can help with this is BuzzSumo’s “Discover Topics” feature. In this section on the BuzzSumo website, enter a topic into the search field. You’ll then see a cloud of topics that you can use in relation to that keyword.
You can also use many other tools and techniques to find compelling topics, such as:
- “Related” Google searches
- Keyword research
- Online forums
- Websites like Quora and Reddit
- SEMrush’s Topic Research feature
The more topics you cover, the more you’ll branch out with keyword usage to help with rankings. You’ll also begin to build a reputation as a knowledge leader in your industry.
Click to Tweet Buttons
Another strategy you can use is to incorporate “click to Tweet” buttons into content.
You can add these buttons to blog posts and other content to make it easy to share them on Twitter. Through Clicktotweet.com, turn inspirational quotes, tips, or other content into buttons. You can then include these on your page and encourage people to share this content.
This is an effective way to boost social shares and, subsequently, rankings.
Rich Snippets are critical to rank for on Google. They count as “position zero” results that get more attention than top-ranking pages. Users can view these snippets without ever needing to click off the search results page. Of course, they can visit the website behind the snippet for more information.
If you want to rank for Rich Snippets, you must optimize your content for it. You can create “snippet bait” by giving brief and clear answers to common questions. Users may then see this answer in a snippet on Google and click through to your site to learn more.
In conclusion, copywriting is everywhere but a good and effective copywriter may be harder to find.
Anyone can put words on a page but not everyone can use those words to persuade others to buy a product, click a link, schedule a consultation, or register for an event. This is why a growing business needs a gifted and qualified copywriter.
John Lincoln, CEO, and co-founder of Ignite Visibility is an expert on copywriting and digital marketing. Through his years in marketing, he has grown Ignite Visibility to become a leader in the industry while also becoming one of the top digital marketing consultants in the country and joining the teaching staff at UC San Diego.
To continue to learn more about the ever-changing world of digital marketing, be sure to follow John on Instagram, where he posts free digital marketing classes and weekly digital marketing news.
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