Copywriting is the craft and sometimes art of writing words to achieve a specific purpose, usually to sell something. SEO copywriting is writing content for the specific purpose of better ranking the content, or the page that contains it, in search engine query results. As the search engine in question is usually Google, it’s easy to say that SEO copywriting is mostly writing content that Google likes. But is it, really?
One update after the other, Google has been trying to get its search algorithms closer to understanding how and why people search for what they search. The tech giant keeps surprising us with new interesting things it can do to better understand what people want when they search and what they get from content when they see it as a search result.
SEO copywriting is also about people. They are the ones you aim to please, after all, and it’s not like Google isn’t in the business of doing exactly that. It all comes down to giving people what they need because they are your audience, they are the people for whom you’re writing the content. But because it is the way your content gets to the audience, you have to keep Google happy as well.
Understanding the Correct Order
If you want to excel at SEO copywriting, you need to understand the hierarchy that exists among the SEO copywriting elements, actions, and goals. You also need to understand how they might play into your copywriting process.
The proper order of things for SEO copywriting is as follows:
- Gathering all the keywords you want to target with the content.
- Figuring out user intent that matches the keywords.
- Content creation.
- Application of SEO techniques including keyword and link placement.
Let’s see how each one of these points relates to writing copy that will successfully fulfill the searchers’ as well as Google’s expectations.
Before You Start
You won’t need too much preparation before you embark on the SEO copywriting process. Still, there are a couple of things you should strongly consider before you begin doing everything that precedes writing.
Most importantly, you might want to read an up-to-date glossary of SEO terms. Not only will these terms help you understand the endless list of acronyms marketers are so fond of, but they’ll also help you understand some key concepts of SEO.
Keywords and Intent
Arguably the most important thing for SEO copywriting is searcher intent — the thing a person wants to achieve when making a specific query. For every keyword you want to target, you should be able to find a specific user intent that best describes what people who use the keyword want to achieve with their search.
It’s not always easy to understand searcher intent based on simple keywords. The same keyword can look equally at place in a query for information and in a query for a commercial activity. However, if you write content that matches the wrong intent and try to rank it anyway, you’ll probably see that your content will not achieve good rankings, or if it does — it won’t be able to hold them for long.
That is why it’s a good idea to use multiple keywords, especially long tail ones. The more information you have about the searches people are making, the more likely you’ll be to choose the correct user intent. You want to be sure the topic you choose is the topic that answers the questions people are actually asking.
Creating and Delivering Value
The intent-based SEO copywriting model requires you to write the copy without regard to search engine optimization — it’s the intent that needs matching, not Google’s rules and best practices. And for the copywriter who wrote a lot of copy for the web, that might prove difficult.
But that’s where businesses like Handmade writing might come in handy. Businesses that offer custom writing services and write more than just “content” can be an incredible asset because it might be easier for their writers to focus on answering the question instead of pleasing Google. You’re not setting yourself up for failure if you’re planning for professional assistance. This is especially important for marketers who cannot stop themselves from writing for Google.
Another point of creating intent-based content is that, with a little planning, you can make it into a cornerstone piece. Creation of cornerstone pieces is an important part of how content curation helps SEO. It’s also a great way to organically grow links to your pages — you pump in as much value as you possibly can in a piece of original content and then simply let other content creators refer to it with links.
Applying SEO Techniques and Best Practices
After you’ve created a piece of copy you can be proud of, you need to go back to it and do all the SEO magic that still works. And, to no one’s surprise, that’s not a lot.
Your maneuvering room for SEO in copywriting is very limited. You can go through your content and make sure you have keywords in the right places — the title and the body, mainly, and not too many of them. You should also look for terms and topics that Google commonly associates with the query you’re answering, and make sure you’ve included a couple. It’s something you might even do naturally while writing, but you still need to go back and make sure the related terms, keywords, and topics are there.
You should also include tags, even though tags are not what they used to be. Title tags are a must and headline tags, a meta description, and the image alt attribute are very nice additions.
Search engine optimization is a field where change is the only constant. For most of the people this affects, the regular search engine users, this isn’t much of a problem. For business, however, a search engine algorithm change can be a downhill road to bankruptcy, or at the very least a need to redo SEO. Copywriting isn’t immune to these changes, far from it. For now, this guide should tell you everything you need to write copy for SEO. Soon enough, though, the recommendations might change.