Almost every marketer has the same goal: appeal to audiences while driving engagement and increasing conversions. The best way to accomplish this is through SEO copywriting, which is the process of writing copy in a way that resonates with users and is optimized for search engines.
Copywriters should be experts in articulating marketing objectives. They must understand how users consume content and the best ways to create positive, relevant experiences. However, the best, most compelling piece of content is useless if the right audiences don’t see it.
That is where SEO copywriting comes in – writers should work closely with SEO analysts who specialize in optimizing content for search engines. SEO is one of the best ways to get content in front of the right people, and it helps content rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs) in order to perform better than competitors.
What Is SEO Copywriting?
SEO copywriting, also called SEO content writing, is the process of combining words that interest audiences with SEO best practices that drive traffic. This can be used for content on web pages, blogs, case studies, CTAs, and any online medium that you want to be visible to search engines.
The Evolution of SEO
SEO copywriting has come a long way. In the past, the goal of SEO writing was to do anything to make search engines happy, even if the tactics harmed the quality of the copy. For example, marketers would use keyword “stuffing” or irrelevant keywords to manipulate a site’s rankings. It was also common to use low-quality links or to buy links for their site.
Today, using keywords and links are both important SEO practices, but they must be done properly. Search engines are smart, and they will only reward high-quality, trustworthy content.
This means that content should be written for people, not just for search engines. It should certainly be optimized for search, but first it needs to be relevant and valuable.
“If you want to build a thriving online business and survive in the everchanging world of SEO, your job is to create useful content that’s interesting, persuasive, and well-optimized for search engines; and you have to do it consistently. That is part of the user experience, getting new fresh content on demand.” - Neil Patel, Digital Marketing Entrepreneur
SEO Copywriting Best Practices
When creating content that’s optimized for search engines, you’ll want to keep a few important tactics in mind:
Adding keywords to your content is imperative to gaining organic traffic through search. Most importantly, keywords should be thoughtful and purposeful so that the content does not sound unnatural or forced. Oftentimes, when writing content about a particular topic, copywriters will include keywords without even trying.
Still, it is best practice for SEO analysts and writers to work together to identify keywords and seamlessly incorporate them into the content.
SEO analysts can help writers find topics and keywords that have the highest value. For example, using only the most competitive, short-form keywords can be difficult for small or new businesses to rank high on SERPs, but with some customization, the content can be tailored to what customers are searching for and the products they need.
How to Create Content Customers Love: The Process
In this eBook series, we discussed the importance of empowering your writers with the tools they need. However, those won’t do much good without the right processes in place to ensure they’re properly used.
Another key aspect of SEO content writing is building a clear structure for each article or page. Headings are important to include because they guide users through content and help with readability. And when content is easier to read, it is considered higher quality, which is better for SEO.
Headings and subheadings should use HTML tags to separate the content and create a hierarchy. Search engines crawl web pages to analyze content before serving it up to users to make sure the results they provide are relevant. Header tags signify that certain text is important, so search engines use those headers to understand what the page is about and determine how it should rank. Tags like this also help keep content accessible. A clear hierarchy makes it easier for a person using a screen reader to quickly sift through content on a page to get the information they need.
Images, videos, and lists are also important elements to consider when outlining a piece of content. They help break up text, which improves readability for users and search engines.
Planning, or at least brainstorming, these elements in advance can serve as a guide for writers. When copywriters follow a specific structure and remember that their content should be readable and scannable, their writing will be more SEO-friendly.
Every piece of content should be edited before publishing – not just for spelling and grammar, but also for SEO. An SEO analyst should review the content to make sure it includes the following items:
- Page title
- Meta description
- Primary and secondary keywords
- Clear headings and subheadings
- Logical layout and structure
- Important topics and subtopics
- Internal links
It is also just as important to make sure that content is clear, concise, and free of errors. Search engines recognize content that is written well, so it will only improve your chances of ranking.
SEO and copywriting go hand in hand; for content to succeed in an evolving digital market, it must be relevant, engaging, and optimized for search engines.
SEO copywriting does not end when content is published. SEO analysts should provide ongoing optimization based on performance, best practices, and evolving search algorithms. In the same vein, copywriters should revisit and update content to ensure that it’s providing the most value – for users and for SEO.
Good writing only gets you so far. Content teams must understand their users and establish a robust strategy to create content that’s truly effective.
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