Chances are, your business is part of the 53% of businesses that invest in content marketing. Content is a powerful tool not only to bring in more customers, but to boost your business’s search rank.
But what happens when, despite your best efforts, the blogs you spend so much time writing get zero ROI?
The truth is, you can write amazing content and not show up in search engine results at all. You can also have content that’s optimized to the nines for SEO, but still gets zero results. What’s going on?
Businesses that invest in SEO have to invest in quality writing. That’s where SEO copywriting comes into play. This art helps you appeal to search engine crawlers (and boost your SEO rank) while keeping human readers engaged and on-site.
Let’s dive into the nuts and bolts of SEO copywriting and how you can use it for your website.
Marrying the Science of SEO with the Art of Copywriting
Unfortunately, most businesses misunderstand SEO. It’s not just about keywords or rankings. The key is to solve human readers’ problems while structuring your awesome content in a format that search engine bots understand.
SEO copywriting combines the principles of SEO (keyword research, linking, page optimization, etc.) with copywriting (creative content, fun headlines, stories, etc.). In other words, SEO copywriting gets you the best of both worlds. Persuade readers to take action on your site while encouraging search engines to favorably rank your site with SEO copywriting.
5 Hacks to Write for Humans and Search Engines
Get results from the content you write. Follow these 5 tips to get better results from your content, both in the SERPs and your pocketbook.
1. Build on a solid foundation
You might have a treasure trove of content on your site. But if it’s buried underneath outdated imagery or a slow site, nobody is going to see it.
Before you overhaul your SEO copywriting efforts, make sure you have the basics down first. Have a modern, clean, mobile-friendly site that’s easy to use. We can’t stress how important this is. Too often businesses think there’s an issue with their content when it’s really a site-wide issue.
Is your site running slowly? Are there broken elements? Is there something about the UX that users don’t like? Fix these issues first. Users will not only stay on-site longer, but search engines will pick up on the fact that your site is running better—and reward you for it.
2. Choose relevant topics first
Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t choose your blog topics based on keywords. That’s a recipe for writing bland content that nobody wants to read. And if nobody reads your content, it’s not going to display highly in the SERPs, anyway.
Choose your content topics based not on keywords, but on customer pain points. What questions do customers ask your sales team? Are there certain features, issues, or updates they’ve mentioned? What do people search for when they’re on your website?
In other words, what keeps your customers up at night?
For example, if you run a beauty company, the keyword research might tell you to write a blog about the best beauty fads for 2020. But that’s boring, overplayed, and not very compelling.
What could be interesting, instead, is addressing customer pain points. If your customers worry about the ingredients in their beauty products, roll out a blog series on clean beauty, showing users how to spot harmful ingredients in beauty products. This solves a nagging problem for your readers and positions you as an authority.
SEO is about ideas, not keywords. By addressing interesting, pressing issues that customers care about, you’ll stand out for all the right reasons.
Once you’ve brainstormed a list of topics, put them onto an editorial calendar. This can be as simple as a Google Sheet. It should track how often you’ll post, on what topic, and where. Don’t forget to add relevant links and due dates. If necessary, plug this content calendar into a tracker like Trello or Asana to roll out content consistently.
3. Select effective keywords
Now that you’ve chosen relevant topics based on user needs, you should marry them with strategic keywords. You can start your keyword search with tools like Google Keyword Planner to choose keywords based on volume and relevance.
We’ve touched on keyword research for SEO before. Use these guides to help you choose the right organic keywords for your content:
- When to use long-tail and short-tail keywords.
- 3 foolproof steps to mastering search intent (important for selecting the right organic keywords).
- How to optimize your content strategy for voice.
Add your selected keywords to your editorial calendar, so you remember what keywords you should optimize for while writing the content. Ideally, you want 2-5 keywords per piece, with one as the primary and the remainders as secondary keywords.
4. Write content for humans
While it’s important to choose your keywords before writing, we don’t recommend writing content with a keyword-first approach. That seems counterintuitive, but in reality, this will help you write content for humans, which is the priority.
Always, always write for your human readers before optimizing for search engines. This ensures you’re actually delivering value instead of getting hung up on the technicalities.
Follow these tips to write better copy for your readers:
- Use bullet points: 81% of readers skim content. So make your content skimmable! Bullet points call out important information and break up your content.
- Write great headlines: Lead with the value when writing your headlines. Tell people immediately why they should read your content. But try to jazz things up. Use tools like Portent Title Maker to optimize content for eyeballs. When in doubt, visit BuzzFeed and see how they structure their headlines.
- Incorporate stories and humor: This is what makes content interesting. Complement your stories and humor with logic and facts to boost your blog’s authority.
- Watch your length: There’s no “right” length for a blog, but generally speaking, 1,000 words is the minimum. This length ensures you deliver value to readers without overloading them with information.
5. Optimize your content for keywords
Now that you’ve written an amazing blog tailored to persuading living, breathing humans, you should now optimize for your chosen keywords.
Ideally, you want a 2% – 3% keyword density in your content. That means your keyword is 2% of all the words or phrases in your content. This ensures you don’t go overboard with keyword stuffing while using the keyword enough to show up on search engines.
Add your chosen keywords to the following areas of your content:
- Headline: Remember that great headline you wrote? Rewrite it to see if you can add keywords to it. But remember, readability should always win.
- Headers: Add keywords to the H1 – H6 headers in your content. Search engines rely on this to understand your copy structure.
- Body copy: The content itself needs to have the target keywords.
- Meta description: Search engines pull your meta description from the back-end of the site and display it as a snippet in the search results. Be sure to use your keywords here to boost your chances of ranking.
- Image alt tags: Are you adding images to your blog? Don’t forget to add your target keywords to the image alt tags.
We use tools like Yoast to check our keyword density and SEO score before posting. If you don’t have WordPress, you can also use the Small SEO Tools Keyword Analyzer to check your keyword density.
The Bottom Line
Don’t let your content efforts be in vain. Follow these 5 steps to ensure your content marketing not only boosts your SEO rank, but gets more customers in the door. Not sure where to go from here? No worries. Get in touch with Logical Media Group’s expert team of SEO strategists. Let’s have a free brainstorming call to make sure your SEO strategy is going in the right direction.