Writing for SEO is a multifaceted challenge. When you sit down to write search-optimized copy, whether it’s for a product page, a blog post, or even something as short and “simple” (end of sarcasm) as a meta description, you You may feel like you’re juggling a huge number of different do’s, don’ts, rules, regulations, and other restrictions that make things very difficult.
In this article, I’ll cover 7 quick tips that will help you get up to speed with SEO copywriting faster and easier.
1 – Write for the user
If I had to give one piece of advice on this, it would be this. If you don’t get anything else from this article, remember this one.
Yes, when it’s time to write SEO content, you are indeed trying to create copy that will rank well in search engines. However, if you arrive at your copy thinking only of the search engine, you are heading down a dangerous path.
Ultimately, all search engines like Google try to do is show their users relevant and useful search results based on the search they have performed. That’s what keeps us coming back – the fact that we found what we were looking for.
But the search algorithm doesn’t stop there – if a user clicks on your result, sees a wall of text, and then bounces directly to the search engine, that sends a signal. This tells the search engine that your page was not the right one after all.
2 – Don’t Just Remember Ranking Factors, Remember Why They Exist
Many of the ranking factors that we SEO writers know and love go back to the point above. For example, the reason keyword relevance is so important is that it tells the search engine what our page is about – we include terms that we know our users search for because we want to be seen.
So when it comes to questions like “how often should I include my main keywords” don’t get too carried away with percentages or any other formula. Read the copy again – aloud if you have time – does it read well? Does it read like a normal copy? Or does it sound like someone is repeating the same word over and over again, to the point that you start to doubt that word is real? Seriously, say the word “sport” enough times and you’ll know what I mean.
Yes, keywords are important, but so is user experience. That’s not a good number one ranking for a term for a few days if all you’re doing is alienating people who click with frustrating copy and therefore fail to convert. If that happens, you won’t keep that ranking for long.
3 – Assign your keywords
An easy mistake to make is targeting too many keywords on a single page.
When there are multiple groups of search terms, and therefore topics, it is frustrating for search engines and users. This makes things confusing – both might ask questions like: what is this page about? Am I in the right place?
That’s why it’s important that you group your keywords into closely relevant groups and then assign each group to a page or piece of content. This means you know exactly what that content is about and can make sure you’re sending a clear signal – to both the search spider and your target audience – that this is the page you’re on. they were looking for.
4 – Work in a simple format
It’s quick, but it’s important.
Work in a simple format – a Word document or other text file gives you plenty of formatting options, probably more than you need for SEO copywriting. Whatever you do, don’t work directly on the CMS – it’s far too easy to miss things or make a simple mistake that lands an unfinished page.
5 – Ctrl + F is your friend (or Cmd + F if you are a Mac using a human)
Working in a simple format like a word doc unlocks a powerful and underrated tool: Ctrl + F.
Entering your keywords in the search box should highlight their location in the document. It’s a quick and easy way to get a visual indication of how often these terms appear in the copy, as well as their spacing and whether you’ve overstuffed parts of the copy unnaturally.
6 – Think mobile first
It’s advice you can apply to pretty much anything in the digital marketing ecosystem, but it’s also true here.
Search engines are increasingly focusing on mobile user experience and behavior, and where search engines are leading SEO content writers must follow!
Make sure your paragraphs aren’t so long that they look like huge blocks of text as screen sizes get smaller, and where possible, place lists in bullet points rather than in long sentences filled with commas.
If you want to learn more about writing user-focused content, read my previous article – 3 Best Practices to Make Your Content User-Friendly.
7 – Structure matters too
Things like title structures and internal linking are important parts of good SEO copy – but again, don’t think of them as opportunities to game the system.
It makes sense for your H1 tag to include your keyword, because that’s the title of the page, and that keyword should be the subject of your page. Your other headings should relate to other relevant sections of the page, containing related phrases, because that’s still what the page is about.
This makes sense to users as well as search engines.
The same goes for internal linking. Link users to relevant and useful pages on your website at times that make sense, when they might want more detailed information about something you’ve mentioned or might be ready to take the next step in their user journey.
A call to action to a purchase or reservation page, for example, should come at a time that makes sense – when you’ve already talked about the product, explained the benefits, and naturally prepared the user for that link.
It almost always comes down to the user…
If there’s one word that I’ve probably written too much about in this article (and there may be a few that fall into this category), it’s “user”.
Like I said at the start, if you can’t remember anything else when writing SEO content, remember the people you’re writing it for. These are the people that all search engine algorithms try to keep happy and if you can do that while writing well-optimized copy, you’re onto a winner.
Want more SEO?
At Coast Digital, we are committed to delivering great organic search results to our customers. This means both ensuring that all of our work is user-focused, as well as keeping up with the latest developments in the ever-changing world of SEO.
Want to know what we think matters in the world of organic search right now? Read our article – What is SEO Now?
If, on the other hand, you think it’s time your SEO content put users first, we’d love to walk you through how we do it. Contact us today and let’s talk about how we can create content for your site that gives search engines and users what they’re looking for.