Effective white-hat SEO strategies, when married to great copywriting skills, they become one and can produce massive significant result through a well-executed strategic content marketing campaign.
However, not everyone who earn his living through writing and distributions of contents fully understand the phrase “SEO Copywriting“, they misunderstood the whole concept and never believe the two can work together. As a matter of fact, they never see this two interconnected concept as one.
This is understandable and come at no surprises, since in the past, before Google start targeting low tiny contents, ranking top in search results is mostly all about knowing your SEO stuffs right.
Lesser regard to the words on the page, top ranking is all about volume of links and stuffing keywords in some prominent places on the page.
After Google Panda update, the table got turn around and SEO tactics that once rock the search engines no longer prove effective, in fact, Google demotes all these technics to the bin.
And even ethical SEO tactics can’t on its own work alone to provide better search ranking, it needs quality useful content to support it in other to give content marketers better search ranking.
This is where effective SEO tactics and great copywriting skills comes into play – and become two interconnected concept that MUST go together.
SEO and Copywriting are two interconnected chain that without the presence of one, the other will suffer and won’t provide any meaningful results. You need effective SEO technics to play the game of search engines while great copywriting skills will ensure your human visitors get the best user experience from reading your content.
The two together if done right, both search engines crawlers and your human visitors will find your website useful and relevant to users queries.
As a matter of fact and for your quick understanding of the concept to produce significant massive results, SEO and great copywriting skills will take you far but not far enough to produce that dream success.
You must take it from there and promotes your content like crazy. Aggressively. Spend 5 times the amount of resources it takes to produce that article on “content marketing”.
This is how you should perceive the three and not as stand-alone subject or concept. When the three got blended together in complete harmony, the results could be something like a massive earthquake.
With all these in mind – is important that we first define what is SEO Copywriting?
SEO Copywriting is an art, the skills and or strategies use in writing great content that rank well in search engines results pages, also provide your human visitor with useful benefits that serve the purpose at which they intend to consume the content.
Technically, it is not something difficult to do, but mastering the art is something that get many content marketers scared. They perceive it as too technical to understand while in real sense, it is not so.
Writing SEO optimized content your readers will find useful and love to recommend to family and friends is all about understanding your readers intent, identify the one person you’re writing for, being natural in your writing and to present the information in the best possible format.
You need to master the art of engaging, educate, entertain and inform readers with your content, while you keep them well glued to every word on the page and the whole content provide practical useful solutions to their problems.
With all these said let’s proceed to…………
Seven SEO CopyWriting Best Practices For More Search Traffic
#1. Research Your Topic.
Why are you reading this content?
Part of the reasons you’re here reading is to learn more about what is SEO Copywriting and how to implement it in your over-all content writing and marketing process, right?
If you want to consistently produce top quality information that stands apart from the rest, and cut through the noise – researching your topic before putting a single word on paper is one of the most important factors that ensure your content will be packed full with valuable information that are useful to the users.
Chances are, other experts in the field have written on same subject you’re about to discuss in your next blog post, people in the offline world have shared their own views on the subject or ask questions through online medium such as – Quora, Yahoo Answers etc.
These are places with priceless asset you can easily tap into to get more details and valuable information that affect people who are interested in your topic directly.
From experience, large percentage of people who ask questions in places like Quora are beginners who are seeking for the right directions to go. These people are known to use words or phrases even your Google keyword planner won’t display.
From spending a little time in places like this you’ll come to know more about your topic of discussion and how it directly affect people’s lives, plus how are they eager to find solutions to the problem.
There are lots of benefits you get from researching your topics before writing a single word, you get to see what other writers have published, in what format was the article published? and how they’ve managed to market the content to have attract links, shares and social buzz – if any.
This provides you with valuable asset to use in publishing something of better quality that will be more valuable and useful to the end users.
#2. Do Proper Keyword Research.
This concept is tag “SEO Copywriting“.
If you take away the SEO aspect from your copywriting work, I’m afraid your efforts in producing such content might not produce long-term benefits.
Granted, upon hitting the publish button your content might create viral effect and generates lots of social buzz, but you’ll notice after some days of going live that everything about your great content dwindle down like a drop of water and vanish into the atmosphere like a vapor.
This is where the SEO aspect of your great content will come handy and drive close targeted audience to your content for as long it remain on the first pages of search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Proper Keyword research is the starting line to effective and rewarding search engine optimization strategies – as long as people continue to use the search engines to find answers to their problems, keyword research will continue to be an integral part of SEO – in fact, without keywords, SEO is meaningless.
With all the social media boost in referral traffic and the noise that (Social media sites) drive insanely amount of traffic to publishers websites, search traffic remain the best of them all and drive free targeted traffic than all social media sites combined.
The return on investment for search traffic out-weight that of social media sites – only email marketing gives better return on investment than SEO according to business2community in 2013.
Search engines remain the largest drivers of targeted traffic to websites (outside of direct visit) and Google remain at the forefront of the search engines business with a market share of about 91.5%, leaving the rest to scramble with 9.5% – You can’t beat that!
So why not tap into this opportunity, and get your share of the traffic?
To some bloggers, doing SEO and all that technical stuffs is just off it, though that’s understandable because in most cases SEO is a long-time game and not for those who don’t exercise patient, but the reward could be outstanding and significantly grow your blog value if you do it right.
Though while this article is not meant to discuss how to do proper keyword research, there is still need to touch on that aspect for a moment.
If you’re a beginner just getting your feet wet in content optimization, Google keyword planner is sure a good place to start your journey. I have been using it too for quite a long time and getting results with some of my articles but lately, I have shifted to another SEO tools called SEMRush.
Not that Google keyword planner is not the best or don’t deliver results, not anything like that but is just that it display same search results for everyone that uses it and no wonder everyone is optimizing for same keywords.
Though, there are better ways to run your search query in more personalize way.
Let’s assuming you just create a blog and need to start populating it with great content people love, you can achieve this by spying on your competitors keywords through Google keyword planner.
Google have their own understanding of what a website is all about and what keywords the website is best categorized in their search index, you can discover this by entering your competitor homepage into Google keyword planner.
Looking at the image below, you could see how I demonstrate how this work using two separate blogs in a non-related niche. The search result on the right is for backlinko – SEO link building blog, while the one on the left is for writtent blog – content writing/marketing blog.
This type of strategy to run your keywords research will provide you with valuable keywords ideas you can tap into immediately. Plus you got see what your direct competitor are optimizing for already.
SEMRush is, on the other hand a very handy SEO tool that shows you what Google keyword planner will never display. Bear in mind that Google keyword planner was design with advertisers in mind, so not the best SEO/keyword tools in my opinion for content publishers.
With SEMRush you have more complete, useful and beneficial sets of search engines optimization tools to play with.
#3. Put Yourself In Readers Shoe.
One of the best ways to write content that cut deep into your readers mind and resonate with them is to imagine yourself in their condition.
This is not all that SEO or anything technical, is all about imagination, assumption and thinking of what your readers might be going through at the moment that makes him searching for such information.
Think! If I’m the one having this kind of problem and I come across this type of information will I be satisfied with what have I read?
If you can answer yes to the question above, you’ve done a good job and your content meet with the user expectation but if your answer is no, you have more work on your hand – get back to drawing board.
One thing though, be honest with yourself in your answer to this question or else…..you’re deceiving no one but yourself.
Knowing your audience is one of the best SEO copywriting tips I ever learned so far reading from different authorities in the industry, it goes beyond identifying your target audience.
You need to be able to speak their language in your writing, feel their pain, understand their different emotions (throughout the buying circle), knows what trouble them the most, how big is their fear that makes them in need of solution so badly.
Their age, sex, locations, interest, demographic, education, etc.
If you understand all these things about your audience, you’ll be able to craft out such a compelling articles that will not only address their issues but also makes them pull out their wallet and give you their money.
#4. Write Your Own Description Tag.
Because if you don’t, Google will write one for you and may not be dam pretty!
Description tag, snippet or search listing (whatever you call it) is an important part of your copy when it appear in search result pages. Is one of the factors that either increase or decrease click-through rate – depending on how compelling it is to the users mind.
Take a look at my last published post here on this blog – in my opinion the description tag below is not compelling enough to entice anyone click through reading the post, no wonder it only send “six” clicks from search engine since it hit the first page of search results early last month.
It only repeat what the headline is saying.
So I edit the description tag to something more detail and promising. I spell out on the description tag what benefits or task the tools mentioned in the post will do for you.
At a glance, a SEOs professional will have an idea of what tools he expected to see on the page and if this information/features/services is what he is looking for.
#5. Write List Post.
If you’ve been around the net for years, this is no brainer to you. After infographic, list post get the highest social shares number among all other types of contents.
Sometime around last year, Buzzsumo analyzed the social share counts of more than 1,000,000 (one million) articles and here is what they found common in them.
When it comes to counting social shares of articles, Buzzsumo is an entity to trust.
But there is something to watch out for before you start populating your blog with countless list posts hoping it will go viral magically. No, it won’t go viral magically unless you know this secret, secret?
10 is the secret number – call it the magical number your boss never wanted you to discover. A list post with 10 items listed receives on average 10,621 social shares compared to second spot number 23 (an odd number) which has four times less social shares.
The other numbers you can try out are 16 and 24; number 23 came second on the list.
Many experts also believe that odd numbers like 3, 5, 7, etc…plays well too and even are the most common types of list post especially on books, novels, info products etc.
Nevertheless, here are some tips to consider when writing your list post to ensure it meets with the expectation of your audience:
Tip #1. Make it Scannable.
If your list post isn’t scannable, you’ve defeated the purpose at which it was created in the first place.
With readers attention span decreasing gradually, the best you can make your information better for them is to make each point on your list post known quickly.
At a glance, each point on your list post should quickly convey to the reader what you’re saying.
Tip #2. Write an Introduction.
Just because you’re writing a list post doesn’t mean your first letters on the page should be #1 (number one), no!
Write an introduction that precede your main point in the post, engage your readers first and let them know the purpose at which you’re writing the post. The benefits they stand to gain from reading through your list of items.
Tip #3. Include The Number in Your Headline.
This will be a holy sin if you forgot to include the list post number in your page title only to write it out in the article body or as a subheadline.
Whenever you’re writing a list post, the best way to craft out your headline is to start it with the list number (figure and not in words) something like these:
………..but if there most be letters before your number make sure is just a single word, something like this too:
In some rare cases, there are SEO reasons a three letters words may precede your list post number like this:
Link-building Strategies: 10 Proven Tactics to Attract 1,000 links to your Post.
SEO CopyWriting Tips: 23 Best Practices for 2015
These types of articles titles are primarily designed to attract the best of SEO opportunities.
Tip #4. Go In-depth on Each Point.
Writing a list of 10, 23, 50 or even 100 points in your article won’t be enough to make anyone think your list post is great or packed full with great information……you need to explain what each points on your list stands for, the benefits to the users, the usefulness, take away etc.
If you just list out your points and leave readers to guess what to do with it, then you’re not helping them in solving any problem rather contributing more to their problem.
Examine closely what I do in this section of this post –
I go more in-depth on this part, I didn’t just tell you to go publish a list post, but I also ensure I give more detail guidelines on how to write a better list post your audience will find useful.
This tactics will also help you in producing useful content that leaves no readers hanging or short of information because you’re leaving nothing out, plus it help in writing longer form of content full of useful information both search engine and your human visitors will find just awesome!
Tip #5. Bullet Points in a List.
Notice what I did in this section from writing out points number 5 above in my main list of points to this article?
I use (Tips #) to separate this section from my main list of points so you could understand and know that the sections label – Tips # – is right under main list point number 5 of the article.
If I had label the Tips too 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 – it surely might get some readers confuse and don’t know which point they’re on.
If you must write a list of points under a section in your main article list, make sure to use a tag different from what the main list your article carries. This will make your list post more readable and scannable and not confusing.
#6. The Headline.
If there could be only one factor that determine the destiny of your copy – that factor is the headline.
A lot has been written and said about the importance of articles headline to the success of any copy – being it offline or online copy. A good headline should convey to the reader what benefits, values, promises, features etc……the user stand to gain from reading your content.
Since articles headline is the first sets of words a reader will see in your copy, is important you do all you can to write compelling titles that grab the attention of potential readers.
There are five main elements that makes a great article headline stand out from the crowd, but it does not necessarily mean you should use all five in your title.
In fact, a good article headline should say clearly what the information is all about and promise only one benefits or arouse/trigger just one of the numerous emotions in human.
I mean, it should stay on a topic and not joining issues together. Depending on the type of information you’re writing on, and your motive of writing, you’ll need to do one of the following with your article headline:
When crafting your articles headlines, see how you can infuse any of these elements into your articles titles to trigger the attention of the reader.
What I mean here is; your content title should either get the reader “Curious” to want to know more or it says the “Benefits” the user stands to gain by reading your content.
Furthermore, depending on the information you’re presenting, your article title should show an element of “Credibility” on the subject matter to convince or demonstrate to the reader that the content he/she is reading is backed by expert advice.
Let me give you a clear example here: take a look at the search result image below –
Despite all the search results presented by Google for the search phrase “SEO link building strategies” are from credible sources, one headline stood apart from the rest and in my opinion, will get the lion share of CTR.
When you read “33 SEO experts” contribute to the content on the page, you’ll definitely want to see what they have to say. Instead of reading the mind and expertise of just one author, you get to see what 33 SEO experts are talking about – that’s credibility at work.
If you’re not so familiar with the SEO world and do not know most of these SEO blogs in the serach result……I bet if you will click on any other results other than that of 33 SEO experts share their most link building strategies.
It is either your articles headline promise to deliver certain benefits to the user, pronounce an announcement of places, thing, events, person, product or services, convey the idea of educating the reader, ask question that need the reader to share his knowledge etc……..
If your article headline does not meet any of these criteria, you definitely haven’t write any title for your content. And a copy without a strong compelling title is not so different from not having any content at all.
#7. Use Short Paragraph.
At most keep each paragraph 3 – 4 lines maximum and 68 characters long in width or maximum of 15 words per line.
Chunky blocks of text get the eyes tired of reading quickly and is never inviting to users interest of reading. Your content should be at front and center of the page, readers shouldn’t need to move eyes across the page to read each first and last words in the sentence.
And occasionally one sentence paragraph is needed – like this one.
While there are many factors to remember when you’re writing your articles like formatting, following a writing pattern, good introduction, decisive summary, magnetic headline, special quotes, specific statements etc……there are also some important reasons you need to keep in mind why your paragraphs need to be shorter ones.
- Most people don’t read articles in full, they scan through it.
- Shorter paragraphs reduce the chances of committing errors or typo in your writing.
- It encourage reading on the part of the reader.
- Since each paragraph is expected to present a point or support the preceding one, readers have less time reading through the whole content.
- It provide for more white space in your writing which gives the impression that your writing space is clean and free from clutter.
- It ensure less information to filter through.
SEO copywriting is not all that difficult to do or understand if you’re determine to push your marketing skills further. Following these seven SEO copywriting best practices tips will drastically improve your blog’s value and search traffic if done correctly and giving time to measure your progress.