SEO is about optimising or strategically enhancing your website content to enable higher website ranking on Google’s Search Engine Results Pages or SERPs. This in turn drives traffic to your site. It is also helps the searcher to find the answer to their keyword search, through content which acts as a solution or explanation in relation to the keywords used in a search request.
Copywriting on the other hand is about providing value through high quality content which informs your audience, often facilitating some action such as signing up to a newsletter, subscribing to a blog etc. Quality content can also position your site an industry authority, encouraging other sites to link to you on the web (which in turn is another yardstick for Google which views links to your website content as endorsement of your sites’ thought leadership).
Brought together, SEO + copywriting can make a powerful combination which satisfies both the reader and Google with quality, useful information resulting in an increase of visitors gained from search engine traffic.
Achieving this result is both an art and a science which can be harnessed using these 6 strategies for effective SEO Copywriting:
1 – Content
Google looks at various aspects regarding content:
- Frequent uploading of fresh, original content plays a significant role in page ranking.
- Content needs to be valuable and provide solutions or further information for your audience
- While employing deliberate strategies to optimise content is a key part of SEO, it must always be balanced by meaningful, valuable information. The primary focus is on the actual content, SEO tactics are always secondary.
Images both contribute to the reader’s experience and comprehension while playing a role in SEO. Optimisation tactics of visual content includes optimising alt text (i.e. the name giving to the image in the HTML code), making sure the image can be quickly uploaded, file name of image and caption all help to further advance the SEO of the page.
2 – Establishing authority
According to CopyBlogger
“Modern SEO Copywriting is all about crafting content so compelling that other people want to promote it by linking to it or sharing it, which increases your trust and authority and helps pages you want to rank well for certain keywords.”
In addition to keywords, search engine algorithms take other factors into account. One important factor is that of trust and authority, rated according to existing content together with independent promotion of a website’s content such as links from other websites or shares. When another website links to your content, this link is evaluated in terms of the authority of the site.
Shares via online platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn or bookmarking platforms such as Pinterest, Reddit, Stumbleupon are also important in establishing authority of your website content. Keep this in mind when creating content, make it accessible, valuable and easy to share on the relevant social media platform.
3 – Title and Meta description
The title and meta description which appear on the SERP are placed in the header of the html code.
A title needs two qualities:
- Needs to be meaningful and impactful to grab readers’ attention
- Needs to contain keywords so that the words correspond to a person’s search
Tip: Your title should have a maximum of 71 characters as anything over that will be replaced by ellipses in the search results page. Having a full title present increases the its chances of being clicked.
A meta description is the additional or descriptive text appearing after the title in the SERP. This is inserted in the meta tags in the Header section of the HTML code. Keywords corresponding to your keyword search will appear in bold on the SERP, while search words not included in the results page listing will appear crossed out.
While not important to Google rankings, they are important to motivating a reader to click through from the SERP. Think of this an advert or teaser, giving a peak into your content, allowing the reader to see if your page will answer their search query.
Tip: Make sure each page of your website has its own meta description.
4 – Keywords
As Google adopts a more intuitive approach to searches, the emphasis is more on a user’s intent rather than keywords. This has brought long tail keywords into prominence as they provided a clearer understanding of a searcher’s requirements.
Long tail keywords are in fact more effective in terms of matching the right target market to your website.
Long-tail keyword searches have less competition because they are slightly more obscure then main keywords.
Always keep a watchful eye for keyword density. This refers to the amount of times your keywords appear in relation to the number of words used in your content. If your keyword density is too high (greater than 5.5%), then Google will regard your content as spammy.
Check your content with SEO tools to make sure your keyword numbers are within their limits.
Note: While keywords are included in content, focussing on good, valuable content will naturally include the keywords while providing relevant, quality information for your reader.
5 – Page Links
Links show your content is part of the web ecosystem and indicate its relevancy, currency and connectivity of your content and your site.
There are 2 types of links:
- Outbound: connecting your content to external sites. This is important for Google and influencers. Best practice is to use it in the first half of your content.
- Inbound: Link to internal pages within your website. Links show relevant information and expand on information of a page This also guides Google spiders which are searching to index information. In this way, spiders can access your website information. Without links, content can be buried deep within a website, making it difficult for search engines to access which can result in it remaining unacknowledged by the search engine.
6 – Page structure
Big-picture structure refers to the overall structure and navigation of your site. If your site is easy to navigate, your users will have an easier time finding the information they want. In turn Google will reward you for assisting your visitor.
Features which enhance navigation and content accessibility include:
- Effective Page Title: Title your pages appropriately, using a header bar to make your site is easy to navigate.
- Sitemap: Make sure there’s a crawl-able sitemap which represents all the pages of your website. As stated before, interlinking your internal content by connecting many of your internal pages to one another makes information accessible to the Google crawler. Shortening the path from any one page to any other page helps gain site authority, regardless of keywords.
- Page Format: Search engines also rate a visitor’s experience of your website. By making content readable and visually digestible, the reader can interact with your content. This includes features such as white space, short paragraphs, bulleted lists and subheadings. These formatting features set up a rhythm, allowing the reader to breathe, while giving an outline and guiding structure to the text which can help with scanning.
All of these features are intended to enhance the visitor’s experience. While SEO copywriting tactics are significant in helping to optimise your ranking on a SERP, it is the visitor which is the central focus in the SEO equation, so that it is in fact the reader’s experience which is optimised, both through high quality content and the accessibility of this content on the website.
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