I guess what they say about experience being the best teacher is true. Copywriters from other fields won't really know anything about SEO unless they try their hand at SEO copywriting.
SEO seems vague and intangible for writers exposed to industries that operate offline. They think there's a steep learning curve to overcome when they discuss topics related to online marketing.
Well, it's not unusual to be sceptical about what you know nothing about. A little explanation may be in order.
For all intents and purposes, there's hardly any difference between generic copywriting and SEO copywriting. While the former produces content to build a brand or market products and services, it's the same for the latter.
Industry type, business size, target audience – these don't matter. Online content marketing that strategically uses SEO cuts across any industry, business or niche.
But where does traditional copywriting begin and SEO copywriting end? Here are key takeaways every newbie SEO copywriter needs to know:
If you're new to search engine marketing, you'll have to understand that keywords are everything in this field. All the content you write should revolve around the specific words and phrases assigned to you.
Not so long ago, give or take a decade, copywriting sacrificed its dignity for the sake of keyword density. Back then articles with incoherent and excessively repeated phrases were commonplace.
Worse, those questionable articles never got flagged by Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines. In fact, the higher your keyword density, the higher your page rank.
Focus on keyword density led to the creation of article spinners and keyword-rich but severely substandard content. Google's ambivalent algorithms put a stopper on this practice, which failed to give online users real value.
And thus SEO had to change and become what it is now: more professional, ethical, information-driven and user-focused.
Nowadays if articles stuffed with an overwhelming amount of keywords were published at all, they'd be the first to go down. Search engines will penalise stuffy content without a moment's hesitation.
If you've decided to go into SEO copywriting and expand your copywriter credentials, it's best to know more about keywords.
As a new SEO copywriter, you need to understand just how important keywords are:
1. Keywords connect the content you produce with people's online preferences.
2. Properly researched keywords give content marketers an idea about relevant or trending topics for their next content.
3. Keywords help attract the right kind of users or potential customers to your website.
Some SEO copywriters work hand in hand with other SEO practitioners to identify relevant and appropriate keywords. Keyword research is imperative before you work on any article or web copy. This way you won't be using keywords randomly to the detriment of your online marketing efforts.
So we talked about keywords, their importance and proper keyword research. But there's more to SEO copywriting than generating content and adding keywords.
Gone are the days of robotic and overly salesy copywriting. Remember that you're writing to give end users more value.
On one hand, your customers need to know about your company too. But how do you tell them upfront about your products and services while providing them useful information?
Our advice: just let it flow!
By flow, we mean a writing style that's stiff or doesn't sound natural. There are ways to explain technical processes without sounding like a walking encyclopedia. Neither should you try to write like a fiction novelist.
How do you get the right writing “vibe” for your targeted content? Below is a list of dos and don'ts:
Meaning, stop using too many adjectives. Know when and when not to use superlatives (i.e. very, extremely, the best).
Many copywriters commit a big error when they start going overboard with their use of words. Copywriters write to advertise products, services, events, programs, what have you.
To quickly get your message across to target audiences, you have to cut back on unnecessary words. Basically words that don't give value to your content and fail to connect with readers from any background.
There's no point in having keywords and lengthy content when your readers don't understand you anyway. Squeezing words into a solid paragraph of more than 5 sentences is sure to bore readers at first glance.
Leave the big words for other writing gigs. Effective SEO copywriting is about getting your point across and turning potential clients into actual customers. It's not about how wide your vocabulary is.
SEO specialists slash copywriters like Neil Patel and Brian Clark try to break the mould by speaking plainly. They know that not everyone knows how SEO works. The only way to make the general public understand is to transmit simple and easy-to-digest information.
Click here to see how Neil Patel writes his blog. Here's a sample Coppyblogger article from Brian Clark.
Remember what they said about writing to express and not to impress? That's SEO copywriting in a nutshell.
Also, try writing in an active voice more than half the time and pay attention to your format. That's how you make your content flow and sound natural.
The art of speaking plainly should be coupled with outright but subtle honesty. You don't have to blurt out all your brand's weaknesses but at least set customer expectations straight.
Customers actually appreciate honest advertising write-ups because they can adjust their expectations accordingly. By being upfront about what your company can and cannot provide, you let them know what they're getting into.
Don't beat around the bush if you can help it. Nothing bores clients more than indirect content. But do spice up your writing with short, lively hooks.
Most customers like it when companies give them the leeway to decide. When something's too good to be true, they back out and look elsewhere.
Offers that don't feel real are too suspicious to be taken seriously. There has to be a catch somewhere.
Copywriting in general is content written for a purpose. Because a definite marketing goal is involved, you must have a system in place.
If you're writing about cleaning solutions hoping to target households and condo owners, you'll have to provide statistics. Your write-up must also discuss the advantages of cleaning solutions and how they benefit your potential customers.
Since this is SEO copywriting we're talking about, this means SEO rules must be followed. Basic copywriting rules still apply but with an SEO twist.
Shifting your gears from generic copywriting to SEO copywriting requires a good understanding of the following SEO strategies:
1. Meta tag optimisation – Meta tags are texts found in your website's HTML source code. They include a meta description and a meta title. Meta descriptions have a maximum length of 300 characters and they appear as snippets on Google search results. Meta title is your browser title and optimising this part of a website can do wonders to any SEO campaign. You can ask help from a resident developer or web designer to access and edit the source code.
2. Link building – SEO also involves building links to and from the site. Internal links are those that connect any page from your site to other internal pages. External links are links on your site that connect to other websites or pages outside of your domain. Backlinks are links to your website that are placed on external websites or pages.
3. Keyword placement – What keywords are and why they are important have already been explained above. SEO copywriting speeds best when you spread priority keywords evenly. Frequency is good but try not to sacrifice the quality of your content.
SEO copywriting has its fair share of challenges, however. And it's not just because writing and generating ideas can sap the energy out of you. Occasionally you'll probably run out of ideas too.
It might take some time for generic copywriters to develop an SEO-oriented writing technique on their own. The use of keywords, for instance, may affect the writing style you're accustomed to.
Check out this article about how content marketing takes time but produces great value in the long run.
If switching gears isn't possible at the moment, then your ideal recourse would be to learn the trade from a trusted SEO company in Australia. Go to their blog section and see how they incorporate SEO practices into their articles.
Click here to get SEO copywriting ideas from the Digital Muscle blog.