When it comes to SEO, content writing is key to your overall strategy. That’s not only because you need to have the right ingredients to trigger search engines, but the content also needs to be fine-tuned and well-written to engage your readers. You also have to pay attention to things like readability scores. At the heart of SEO copywriting is having the right keywords to build the content around. Finding and identifying them is a process, as is the actual writing of SEO-friendly and readable copy.
SEO Copywriting and Comprehensive SEO
The goal of your website should not only be to build it; for the long-term game, you have to properly maintain it. If you have a high-quality website and design, then your Google rankings will climb automatically. The reason that Google is so successful is because it is good at what it does: making the internet globally accessible for users. Their end goal, obviously, is to reap profits, and they can only do that by providing the services that people want.
Comprehensive SEO is a marketing strategy that aims to make a website the very best for its niche market. There are many factors that go into achieving that goal, including its technical design, security features, and a flawless UX. But above all, you need content that is intelligent, well-composed, and targeted to attract your audience. You need some extensive writing skills to make that all happen.
Writing the Best Copy
To support your superior website design, your copy should be simple to read. Although you don’t want to compromise the integrity of your writing, you do have to follow Google’s readability guidelines. Writing SEO-friendly copy is like writing anything else – some have natural talent and others might not. The good news is that you don’t have to be Emily Brontë – with a little practice and training, almost anyone can compose better SEO content.
Pre-Writing – The Research Process
When it comes to SEO writing, it has very little to do with the actual writing. First, you have to decide which topic will help the right people find you. Keywords are how your copy is ranked, so finding the right keyword and keyphrases is going to be the most critical step of the entire process.
Devise a Mission Statement
Think back to eighth grade English – first, you have to find the “mission” statement. It is the key to shining. A mission statement should be formed around asking yourself who you are and what you want your blog to say. Also, what makes your content unique? Putting your mission statement into concrete terms is critical to the entire copyrighting process.
Form a List of Keywords
The mission statement comprises a list of all the relative things that people will seek to find you. That is why your mission statement needs to be targeted. If it is, then you shouldn’t have a hard time finding keywords. A good way to think about searching for keywords is to put yourself into the mindset of the audience you want to attract. Ask yourself what terms they would use to find you. From there, extrapolate all the variations and combinations of keywords using those terms.
Create a Table of Contents
SEO copywriting is like a formula: you want to use all the keywords that you come up with and all the combinations of them that you can think of by prioritizing. You want to make sure to use the ones that you believe are the most important. It might seem counterintuitive, but sometimes the more vague keywords are less competitive and popular, so using them will make it more likely that you will rank highly in those categories.
What is the Intent of the Search?
SEO is all about finding the answers to the questions that your audience will be asking. There are really only four kinds of intent behind an internet search.
- Informational – finding information about a topic
- Navigational – finding a website by entering a term to search
- Commercial – to do research before purchasing something
- Transactional – to follow through on purchasing something
Once you figure out which type of intent applies to your keywords, you can match the search intent. Then, you can use those results to find the intent for your keywords and write content that specifically matches it.
Creating A Landing Page
Finally, your job is to devise posts or pages targeted around the keywords that you think your audience will use to find you. The page or post should be centered around the keyword that you choose. From the page or the blog post, make sure that you have clear links – either through internal linking or through the menu for every keyword on your list.
Three Phases of Article Writing
After your keywords have been identified, you need to come up with a story to tell or a related topic to discuss. It is at this point that the actual writing begins. The three phases of article writing are preparation, actual writing, and editing.
Phase One – Preparation
Just like you made an outline for the keyword search, you will want to create an outline for your article. At this point, you want to really think about what you are going to write about. Coming up with a topic is just the first step; now you have to fine-tune it to create a road map for writing before you put pen to paper. It might be helpful to ask yourself a few questions:
- What is your purpose – why are you writing this article? What is the objective of the article?
- What is the takeaway or message that you want to leave people with?
- Who is your niche market and what do they want?
- What information needs to be present?
- What is the sequence to present the information, and what does the structure look like?
What is the Purpose of the Content and its Intent?
The first question you have to answer is why are you writing what you’re writing? Knowing what you want the takeaway to be will help you get from A to Z. Are you doing it to inform? Entertain? Persuade? Only by examining what the intent is will you be able to appropriately and meaningfully use the keyword. For instance, if it is to persuade, you would write it like a sales pitch. Other purposes will have other styles.
The actual structure or outline is one of the most critical parts of writing. If the structure is clear, Google will like it; if not, Google will not. An outline is also key to guide not just your writing, but also the reader. The clearer your structure is, the higher your conversions will be. Your customers will be more likely to purchase or follow through when your message is conveyed appropriately.
Phase Two – Writing It!
As amazing as it may seem, the actual writing of the article only takes about 20% of the energy necessary for the entire process!
Sit Down and Get it Down!
One of the hardest things for people to do in most instances is just to start. The first sentence can be a stumbling block for the entire thing. If you get caught in this, skip it and just start writing things down. Once you have the meat, you can go back and fill in the beginning and the conclusion. If you aren’t necessarily as eloquent as you want to be, roll with it. After it is finished, you or someone else can refine it.
Don’t Get Off-Track
This is where the outline and structure are vital, so stick to it! Paragraphs should be concise with a clear objective. The most important statement should start it off, and then the remaining text is meant to explain and conclude. Most readers will be able to discern the meaning right away if you do it correctly.
Is Your Content Readable?
It makes sense – things that are easy to read get read. They also tend to get more repeat visitors and higher conversion rates. What does readability mean? It means breaking it down into sections using subheadings so people can pick and choose. Also, it should be easy to skim. People have very short attention spans and want to get to the crux of the matter. If you make that easy, even if they don’t hang on every word or get through all of it, they will get the gist.
Tips to Improve Your Style
Some people are born with writing talent and some are not. Even if you weren’t born with the ability to use wit and engaging content to convey messages, practice certainly helps
Read, Read, and Read Some More
One way to improve your writing is by reading a variety of other people’s writing. By reading other things, you will get inspiration and ideas about what you want to write. This will also give you examples of how to build sentences and paragraphs. You will probably learn to decipher what is easily read and what is not so readable.
What is the Inverted Pyramid?
The inverted pyramid is a type of journalism writing where you put the key ideas right at the outset. You tell the entire story in the first paragraph, and then use the following text to extrapolate. In this type of writing, the reader knows the main objective from the start. This style of writing is effective for internet content, because, again, people have short attention spans.
A storytelling style is where you use life experiences to tell a story and get your point across. This emotional style of writing can quickly make your relationship intimate and evoke emotion when necessary. Stories, in general, tend to be more vivid and lasting for the reader.
Breaks are a MUST
Not everyone can sit and write all day – most of us need periodic breaks. Try to limit your writing to about 20 minutes at one time, or less if needed. When your brain starts to go off on tangents or wander, there is no way that you can pay attention and focus, which is necessary to get your point across.
Phase Three – Editing!
Once you get all of your thoughts onto paper, you will have to go back and reorganize and figure out what is important and what might just be “filler.” The best way to improve your writing skills is to review what you wrote and ask yourself whether a point is clear or if you have provided too many details. Most of us tend to overexploit, which can lose the reader really quickly. Don’t be afraid if a lot of what you wrote ends up being cut. Sometimes less is more and it’s really all you need. Try these five steps to edit your article and trim the “fat.”
Read it Slowly
When you read what you wrote, sometimes you read what you thought you wrote instead of what is actually in front of you. If you slow down, enunciate, and go line by line – maybe even reading out loud – you can hear what you are reading and your mind won’t trick you into skipping things or adding things that aren’t written.
Focus on the Paragraph
You went paragraph by paragraph; now is the time to sift through the paragraphs to ensure that they make sense from start to finish. Do you have the core and main idea upfront? Do the sentences flow in a persuasive manner to present your argument or explain the details of it? Are you using transition words to tie one concept to the next? Make sure that you have all of the steps that lead the reader from the main point to the conclusion with every step in-between.
Do your paragraphs flow logically or do you need to reorder them? Now is also the time to consider the subheadings to ensure that they fit well and give a hint about what is to come. The keyword focus should be outlined in the subheadings and in the headings to help your reader get in the frame of mind to decipher what the main point of the paragraph is.
Everyone Wants to Be a Critic
It is really hard to take criticism, but it is the only way to improve your writing skills. Have someone read over your article before you set it to publish. You are writing from the perspective of an expert, but you need to know whether it translates well for someone coming in cold without knowing anything about the subject beforehand. That means having no preconceived notions about what you do or do not know.
It is also a good idea for someone to proofread and edit your article. Again, we tend to read what we want it to say, rather than what it actually does. Your article will be most successful when it expresses exactly what you want it to.
Use Yoast SEO
Yoast is an extremely helpful tool to provide you with a checklist of all the things you need to maximize SEO. It approaches your article from Google’s point of view. There will be certain things that it will notice that an outsider might not. And if it catches something that you missed, it shows you easy ways to fix it; a guide will walk you through the process.
Copywriting is Not Only a Skill – It is a Process
When all is said and done, you will begin to see that writing for SEO is a process that has a necessary formula to follow. Once you get that formula down, you will be able to write without pause, clearly express your intentions, and score awesome rankings. Keep it light and engaging and remember, if you are bored with a subject; your reader probably will be, too. Keep your inspiration high and your writing light and you can’t go wrong!