2023 SEO Guide to Copywriting

You’ve probably heard that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most important factors when it comes to ranking a website. But what is SEO?

In simple terms, it’s the activities taken  to increase the visibility of your website in a search engine’s list of results (like Google). Making your website search engine-friendly ensures that people find your website.. aka free traffic!

Now that we’ve explained the why it’s time to move on to the how.

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Introduction

You’ve probably heard that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most important factors when it comes to ranking a website. But what is SEO?

In simple terms, it’s the activities taken  to increase the visibility of your website in a search engine’s list of results (like Google). Making your website search engine-friendly ensures that people find your website.. aka free traffic!

Now that we’ve explained the why it’s time to move on to the how.

1. Include Visuals in Your Content

One of the easiest ways to optimize your blog posts for visibility is to include visuals in your content: Images, videos, diagrams, infographics – whatever floats your boat! Why? A couple of reasons: 

  • No one likes looking at a wall of text! Media helps break up long walls of copy, increases time on page and overall engagement.
  • You are giving search engines more information about your blog post which will help them better understand your content and rank it accordingly. 
    • Pssst.. this is where descriptive image alt tags come in

That being said, custom content is always better than stock images. If possible create your own media instead of using the same generic smiling lady found in every optometrist ad. Canva is a great tool for creating custom graphics!

If you’re pressed for resources or time (or just aren’t a “creative”) check out Fiverr for hiring a freelancer to help you. 

2. Use Keywords in Your Content

Okay we know, this is an obvious one – but loads of people still do this wrong. To start, choose your keyword carefully and do your research before any writing occurs! There are plenty of tools out there but our weapon of choice is SEMrush

Our advice: 

  • Choose something with a decent monthly search volume but a low-moderate keyword difficulty score (0-40%) especially if your website is new or doesn’t have a high DA (Domain Authority) score.
  • Focus on one keywordtheme or topic per page
    • The best ranked pages go in-depth on one content topic and answers a user’s question
    • For example, if your keyword is “plants that require no sunlight,” don’t also fill your meta tags and content with the keyword “best plant pot” 
  • Don’t overlook long-tailed keywords when creating content
    • Long-tailed keywords help match specific needs of the user
    • Typing targeted keywords into Google – without clicking ‘Search’ – will offer long-tailed keyword ideas
    • For example, typing in “plants that” in Google pulls up many long-tail keywords, like “plants that attract hummingbirds”
seo-copywriting-tips-long-tail-keywords

Once you have your keyword target, start writing. Keywords should be spread across the article while making sure that your content flows naturally. Also, don’t overstuff your keywords! Google doesn’t like that either. Make use of keyword synonyms to avoid overstuffing.

3. Optimize Your Blog’s Metadata

Meta Titles

The title tag is the first thing that describes your content in the search engine results page (SERP).It’s also the first thing the search engines see when they crawl your website. 

seo-copywriting-guide-meta-title-in-serp
How the meta title shows up in the Search Results Page

Sound important? It is. 

  • Include the keyword you’re optimizing for in the meta title – ideally in the first half
  • Keep it brief, between 50-60 characters is ideal

Meta Descriptions

Some SEOs will say meta descriptions aren’t used as a ranking signal for search engines, and technically, they are right. BUT this doesn’t mean meta descriptions are useless for SEO. A well written meta description is descriptive and relevant, teasing users to click the link to find out more. In turn this increases the click-through-rate (CTR) which has a positive impact on the page’s ability to rank.

Google is like that person always jumping on the latest bandwagon. If people click your website and hang out there for a while, well, now Google likes your website too.

What works well for meta descriptions?

  • Make sure your descriptions match your content – don’t trick the user into clicking your link
  • Speak in the voice of your brand 
  • Include your primary keyword in a natural way

Action based words are always helpful. This can be a CTA at the end of the text – “Shop now” or “Learn more,” or an action word at the beginning of the description – “Discover our brand new collection of plant soil.” Check out our digital marketing resources for great tools to help you with meta tags.

4. Build More Relevant Page Links

Linking to your own pages or external pages with authority indicates to Google you are attempting to help organize content. Think of Google like a parent, keeping things organized makes them happy. Linking to your own pages also encourages users to explore the website, increasing metrics like pages/session and average session duration.

5. Don’t Look Past URL Structure

URL structure is important for two main reasons:

  1. Search Engines
    • A well-structured url makes it easier for search engines to understand, crawl, and index your pages
  2. Useability
    • Proper structure makes it easier for users to navigate your website. In addition, a good url structure can also help to improve your click-through rate from organic search results.

Keep URLS as short as possible – a url that is easy to remember and type is more likely to be used than a url that is long and complicated. Maintaining a good URL structure not only is good for SEO, it also helps keep things organized in your analytics!

An example of an SEO-friendly URL structure specific to blog posts can look like this:

  •  /blog/[category]/[blog page slug]

Again, Google likes organization.

*Note: If you’re making any changes to URL structure to a live site – remember to use 301 redirects to avoid 404s and lost “SEO juice!”

6. Keep Text Structure Organized

Ever read the terms and conditions from start to finish? No? No one has anyone because it’s as boring as a 3-hour line dance without music. Humans have short attention spans, so help keep interest: 

  • ‘Chunk’ your content by breaking up paragraphs into easy one or two line sentences
    • Pages that are easy to skim receive more attention and are more likely to be featured as a Rich Snippet by Google
  • Keep paragraph width under 700px – our eyes and attention grow tired the more we have to move left to right 
  • Use headings, subheadings, bullet points, & lists
  • Write at a 6th to 9th grade level

7. Use an Inverted Pyramid Style for Your Writing

The inverted pyramid style means you lead with your most important information upfront: on the page, in a section, or in a paragraph. Leading with your most important information also means including your keywords early on in your Meta Tags and within the first 100-150 words of your copy.

8. Include a Call-to-Action (CTA) in the Content

As any good marketer knows, a call to action (or CTA) is essential in any piece of content. Whether you’re trying to get someone to sign up for your email list, buy your product, or download your app, a CTA is key to driving conversions. But why exactly is a CTA so important?

For one thing, a CTA helps to focus the reader’s attention on what you want them to do. In a world where we’re constantly bombarded with information and distractions, it’s important to be clear about what you want your audience to do. 

A CTA provides a sense of urgency and encourages people to take action now rather than later. Without one, your readers may simply skim your content and move on without taking any action.

Examples of CTAs include: 

  • Learn more
  • Read more
  • Shop now
  • Subscribe 
  • Sign up

We most often see a CTA in a button format like this:

9. Website Speed & Responsiveness

Remember our short attention spans? Ensure your page loads within 3 seconds (desktop and mobile) to avoid scaring off impatient users. You’ll likely need a developer to fix speed issues, and a good developer is as good as gold. We recommend showering them with compliments first, or free coffee.

Some great free tools to check website speed are:

10. Update Your Content 

Do you like shiny new things? Well so does Google! Include a date published along with a current “last updated” date for older content – even if you just change a sentence or two, keep that content fresh.

11. Use Tags on All Posts

Now that you’ve implemented steps 1-10 – this is the final stretch! Tags essentially “connect the dots.” A tag is basically a keyword assigned to describe the content. This will help search engines index your content and make it easier for readers to find. 

Tags are supposed to be descriptive and relevant, but all too often, they’re just a bunch of random keywords thrown together. This does nothing for your readers or your search engine ranking. In fact, it just makes your blog look spammy. 

So how do you tag your blog posts the right way? 

  1. Make sure your tags are relevant to the topic of your post
  2. Use descriptive words that will give readers an idea of what the post is about, i.e. “indoor plants”
  3. Don’t overdo it! A few well-chosen tags are all you need

For example, a website selling hats for animals has a blog post titled “Top Reasons Why Dogs Love Cowboy Hats.” Suzy reads the article and wants to know more about the type of hats dogs like, but there’s one issue – she hates cats. 

By clicking on the content tag labeled “dogs,” she ensures she can browse through a list of dog posts, cat-free.

To Sum it Up

Great copywriting is key to a high-performing website but don’t forget about these SEO tips to take things to the next level! From including eye-catching images (with alt tags) to using proper headlines, there are plenty of ways you can make your site more visible to help people find you easily online.

By following these SEO copywriting best practices, you can make sure your site is visible and appealing to both potential customers *and* search engines. What are some of the SEO copywriting tips you use on your website? Let us know in the comments!

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