A Guide to SEO Copywriting

SEO copywriting: is it a dark art, or easy to master? The answer lies within!

Content First

Content First


Content is an essential part of any SEO strategy:

Maybe the most important.

Pay Per Click advertising is all well and good, but without decent content, page views will convert to high bounce rates. You know what else? Google can limit your PPC success if you have poor content.

 SEO copywriting is often held up as a magical mix of bizarre components:

  • complex
  • incomprehensible
  • mystical

But it's simpler than that.

Sure, you want those keywords to be in there; Google likes them. But, that's just part of the story! Who wants to read incomprehensible gibberish? Well, no one. What you want to do, is to write nicely. Sentences that draw you in. And on. To the next sentence. Alright, so maybe this is a bit much, but we don't stop there:

Time on page is really important. Analytics now track page views and bounce rates. As it turns out, search engines downlist pages with high bounce rates. So, if you can't keep someone on your page, Google will know!

The next question: how do you get the keywords in and keep the visitor reading?

Avoid the Traps

 

The trick is to write simple copy.

Why is that?

It's because search engines, especially Google, don't like it when copywriters overuse keywords. There's a term for it:

Keyword Stuffing

Do you want an example? Well, great!

This sofa is a fantastic sofa, because unlike other sofas, this sofa comes with a detachable headrest designed for this sofa. The sofa also fits in any room and this sofa is big enough to sleep on.

Historically, this was the best way to get your pages to the top of the rankings. Search engines worked on keywords. More keywords meant more hits. Simply stated, everyone abused the system. Pages were unreadable. But then, the search engines fought back.

Nowadays, search engines punish Keyword Stuffing.

In fact, they're intelligent enough to track synonyms. The example above should be written more like this:

This reclining sofa is a fantastic item of furniture, because unlike other chairs, this one comes with a detachable headrest designed specifically to fit. This recliner fits in any room, and the seats are wide enough to sleep on.

So, in the dim and distant past, search engines looked for keywords and used them to rank a page. Now they're intelligent enough to understand its meaning!

What this means:

  • Proper copywriting is beneficial
  • Quality content sees you ranked more highly

While keyword stuffing and duplicate content are punished, engaging, original copy is rewarded!

SEO copywriting is at it's best when it's carefully targeted, interesting and shareable.

If you do it right, your readers will do your work for you. Keep them on the page, and your rank increases. Get them sharing the page, and your rank increases. All you need is good copy!

Good Writing

 

So where to begin? Once upon a time, your English teacher taught you the right way to write. Ignore her! If you want engaging content, you'll need to use a few tricks. 

First, do a little research. It's easy to start writing, but you need some direction. What do your visitors search for? What do you want to target? If you have a plan, it's a lot quicker. All you need to know are the four or five keywords that you want to target.

  • product names
  • brand names
  • geography

Now, do you know what you want? Then start sprinkling!

The trick is to use the keywords without stuffing. How do you do this?

Simple!

Aim for your keywords to be less than 5% of your content. 100 words means 5 keywords. And, don't forget those synonyms. Just because you've mentioned a donut doesn't mean you can't mention a pastry. In fact, you should!

Remember, search engines track the overall meaning. Most pages should have 300 words of copy, so there's plenty of room to build a story and hit your search terms. 

It's equally important to make sure that those keywords are relevant to the page. If your page is about calculators, then focus on calculators! Luckily, most eCommerce sites are already stuctured to support this format.

Just like that, you're sorted. Still, there's one very important thing to remember:

Don't let anything get in the way of good copy.

If your text doesn't flow, no one will read it. If no one reads it, they'll leave the page. And then, the search engines will record the high bounce rate. And then, after a complicated series of events, the world will end.

Luckily, it's quite easy to avert the apocalypse as we have a secret. A little mix of tips that're guaranteed to increase time on page. 

First, make sure you're breaking up your text. It's tempting to put everything in a clump (your teacher did teach you about paragraphs, after all), but that makes it hard to read, especially on mobile devices. Short sentences are great. They grab attention. They encourage the reader.

But, there's more!

Explore space and use line breaks. Sometimes you want to give the reader a break; add some padding so they can take a breath.

 

Put a gap around an important point.

 

Then, play with some simple formatting. Header Tags are used by search engines to follow page content, but they have another bonus. Look up this page; it's split into sections. Much easier to read! Likewise, a few important bits are highlighted in bold. Enough to emphasise, but not enough to dazzle; balance.

Don't be afraid of bullet points:

  • they make complicated information easy to digest
  • they break up the page
  • they catch the eye and the attention
  • just
  • don't
  • abuse
  • them!

Finally, you're going to need a bit of sparkle. Something to attract the eye. Pictures and videos make great additions, but in our experience balance is best. No wall of text, no overpowering images. They should be the accent mark. The cherry on the sundae. 

Now you know what to do, there's no excuse. It's easy to populate your pages with fantastic content, so go for it!

Follow us on Google+


Have a project? Get in touch...