The Absolute Truth About SEO CopywritingApril 14th 2016 Sally Ormond keywords, keywords research, online content, semantic writing, seo copywriting, SEO myths, writing for the web
There are a lot of blogs out there about the wonders of SEO copywriting.
It’s difficult to achieve.
Only a word-ninja can hope to create it.
Let’s get that into perspective:
- It’s not magical, but it will help you gain greater visibility in the search results
- You don’t have to be a word-ninja to achieve it, but you do have to know what you’re doing
- Creating any sort of engaging content is difficult
As my favourite quote of all time says:
“Anyone who says writing is easy isn’t doing it right.” – Amy Joy
SEO copywriting is like any other kind of writing, except you have to consider your words very carefully.
Like them or loath them, keywords do still come into play, but not in the way they used to.
In the bad old days, SEOers would demand a certain percentage of keywords appear within the content. But the same word repeated over and over again just led to spammy, low quality content that was no good to man or beast.
Today, SEO copywriting looks (or at least it should look) a lot different from those dark days.
With Google becoming far savvier, the onus is now on natural, high quality content that’s relevant to the reader. So how do you achieve that?
The golden rules of SEO copywriting
- Go easy on your keywords
As I mentioned above, keywords (and their research) is still a big part of online copywriting.
It’s important to remember you’re creating content that someone else is going to be searching for, so the keywords you choose must be those that a potential customer would use. That means forgetting your industry jargon and buzzwords and concentrating on finding everyday terms that normal people search for.
When you have refined your list, using them doesn’t amount to repeating them again and again until you’re blue in the face. They should be used in your URL, title tags and headlines, but only in meaningful sentences, so Google can get an idea about what your page is about.
But when it comes to writing the actual content, things get interesting.
- Bringing in semantics
Finding your own keywords isn’t enough anymore; you also have to use semantics.
Google wants you to use other words that relate to your keywords so that you produce rich, quality content that’s highly relevant to your readers.
So how to you achieve that?
Time to do some investigating.
Take a look at the other websites out there that already rank highly for your chosen keywords. Analyse the language they use – what words appear time and time again that relate to your keywords?
For example, if you are writing about rainforests, you may find that the high ranking sites are also using terms such as Brazil, tropical, Amazon, ecosystem etc., which would suggest that Google strongly associates those words with rainforests. If you also use those words, your page will be deemed highly relevant and therefore stand a better chance of ranking highly.
Used in conjunction with your own customer research, keyword research tools and Google suggest, this will help you develop a comprehensive list of words to use within your content. Of course, not every word you discover will be relevant to you, so pick and choose carefully.
- Be natural
You now have a wealth of words and phrases to use within your content, but that doesn’t mean you should use them willy-nilly.
Your top priority is to create natural writing that informs. That means writing without forcing words into your content. If you’ve done your research correctly, all the terms you’ve come up with should directly relate to the topic you’re writing about and will therefore crop up naturally within your copy.
As you write, use simple language, avoid buzzwords and jargon, and always keep your reader in mind. Using the second person will open up your writing and make it more accessible, friendlier, and therefore easier to read.
- Think layout
A big part of writing for the web is making your content look aesthetically pleasing. Let’s face it if your readers are presented with a screen full of text they’re unlikely to read it.
Keep your sentences short, vocabulary simple, and paragraphs brief with plenty of sub headings. Bulleted or numbered lists add interest and highlight important information, helping generate lots of white space that will make your page look appealing and easy to read.
- Don’t write and then forget
SEO, as you know, isn’t a static entity; it’s constantly changing, so you’ll need to review your content regularly and reassess the keywords (and the semantic connections) you’re using to make sure they remain relevant to your audience.
Your business will change; your customers’ needs and wants will change so it’s important your writing continues to reflect that.
SEO isn’t a quick fix
Hopefully, that has dispelled a few myths about SEO copywriting.
As a discipline, it’s not impossible to achieve, but it does take time, thought and a natural flare for writing for other people.
Taking a step back from your business and writing about it in a way that is relevant and interesting to your readers isn’t an easy thing to do, which is why it’s often easier to use an external professional writer to help you out.
To paraphrase Amy Joy, if you’re doing it right, writing isn’t as easy as it first appears.