As a small business owner, you’ve got a lot to think about. Keeping many plates spinning at once, SEO copywriting is probably the last thing on your mind.
If you haven’t got a dedicated copywriter to write your content on a regular basis, some SEO copywriting tips might just be what you need. Because if visitors to your website aren’t increasing, you may be wondering why no one is reading what you’ve spent hours and hours writing.
It can be so disheartening.
Getting your content ranked highly on Google isn’t easy.
Because there are millions of blogs out there.
Out of over 1.7 billion websites, there are over 600 million blogs. An incredible 2.75 million posts are published each day on WordPress alone.
So, no matter what sector you’re in, you aren’t the only one writing content. Your competitors are too.
If you’re going to spend all of that time and energy writing for your target market, wouldn’t it be nice to make sure you are doing it correctly?
Before we get to the 5 easy SEO copywriting tips, here’s a reminder of what SEO copywriting is and why it’s important.
What is SEO copywriting?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, which is just a fancy way of saying “making sure your website ranks highly on search engines.” When I talk about search engines, I mean Google, Bing, Yahoo and Baidu. There are others of course, but since Google owns over 86% of the market, I’ll be referring to the Big G.
While a copywriter writes for printed media, an SEO copywriter writes for online platforms such as websites and social media. Keep in mind that the principle is the same – to create clear, compelling copy in order to sell to, educate and engage your customers. However, SEO copywriting has an extra component of making sure your content ranks highly on Google.
In a nutshell, SEO copywriting is the process of creating online content so that your website shows up on the first page of Google, drives visitors to your website, engages readers and ultimately convinces them to take action, whether that be to purchase, sign up or join a mailing list.
SEO copywriting is a balance between content that persuades your website visitors to take action and content that Google can find and understand.
Why is SEO copywriting important?
You wouldn’t write a book just to have nobody read it, would you? So, what’s the point of writing content that’s going to sit in the depths of page 3 of Google and beyond?
Writing content without taking SEO into consideration means two things:
- Your target market won’t be able to see your website on Google.
- Your content won’t turn your visitors into buyers.
The higher your website ranks in Google, the more people will visit it. More visitors means more sales, readers and followers. You want people to read your content but if people don’t see it, they can’t read it and therefore can’t take the required action.
Bottom line, if you haven’t done certain things to your content to make it visible, it just won’t be seen by Google and certainly not by your audience.
If getting more people to read your content is an issue you are struggling with, then read on for the top 5 easy SEO copywriting tips that will increase your online visibility.
Read more: 5 SEO quick wins you can do in an hour
1. Write for your audience and for Google
When Google wasn’t quite as sophisticated as it is today, all you needed to do was to use your main keyword in your text a whole bunch of times and Google would display your website on page one. But it doesn’t work like that anymore.
Let’s look at two examples.
If you were strictly writing for Google, a sentence might read something like this:
‘If you love dogs, you might be thinking about getting a dog walking job. People think that a dog walking job isn’t really a job at all. But a dog walking job is quite physically demanding with a lot of responsibility.’
It’s plainly obvious that the keyword “dog walking job” is overused and the sentences sound unnatural and robotic.
On the other hand, if you were writing solely for your audience, the sentence might read like this:
‘If you love dogs, you might be thinking about working with dogs. People think that walking a dog isn’t really a job at all, but it is quite physically demanding with a lot of responsibility’.
Here, although the sentences sound more natural, it’s not clear that the topic is about a “dog walking job”.
So, how do you strike that balance?
Use a speech-to-text app
If writing isn’t your forte, then this is a great way of getting your thoughts down on paper. Blogs tend to have a more casual, conversational tone, so if you feel more comfortable speaking your thoughts and ideas, use a transcript app like Otter. This app transcribes your speech which can then be uploaded into a Word document. Once it’s uploaded, you can fix it up with headings and correct any words that the app didn’t recognise. While you are speaking, you won’t be thinking about how many times you’ve used a particular keyword or what other phrases you should be using. You’ll be getting your thoughts out of your head onto paper in a natural way, like talking to a potential client. It will sound like you and it will sound more natural.
Use an SEO plugin
This WordPress plugin is a must for SEO. While it’s by no means the be-all-and-end-all, it is one that should be in your SEO arsenal. Once you’ve uploaded your blog, go through the errors to guide you. Remember, it’s only a guideline.
2. Write attention-grabbing meta descriptions and SEO titles
Your title tag is the first thing Google sees when it’s looking at your website. It’s also the first thing that people see on a search engine results page (SERP). Appearing on the results page is one thing, but you also need people to click on the link to your website. How do you persuade them to click on your link and not on the other nine organic listings?
You do that by writing engaging SEO titles and meta descriptions.
From the example below, which company rocks the SEO and meta description awards? Both and neither.
Let’s look at the SEO titles which is the line in blue.
Green Roof Company includes its company name. A lot of companies do that. But it’s better to optimise the SEO title with keywords for ranking and for eliciting clicks. Everyone can see the domain in the URL so why would you use up the limited characters with your company name?
On the other hand, while Green Roofers has also included their company name, Green Roofers uses keywords and gives more useful information in the SEO title than Green Roof Company.
Now, let’s take a look at the meta description which is the writing in black.
Green Roof Company’s meta description doesn’t tell the visitor what the benefits are to them. It’s about the company. Green Roofers’ description is better because it provides more information about who they work with.
So, what’s does a better example look like?
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an organic listing that didn’t use their company name in their SEO title so I chose a Google Ad. Green Roofs Direct conveys the features and benefits to the visitor rather than providing information about the company. It’s helpful, informative and makes good use of keywords.
So, how do can you make sure that your SEO titles and meta descriptions are click-worthy?
First, look at your competitors, especially those who are paying for Google Ads. Your competitors have chosen those keywords carefully and are paying for each click, so they’re likely to be lucrative.
Second, use your WordPress SEO plugin to check that your titles and descriptions don’t run over the character limit. Don’t forget to check the SERP results manually.
Third, keep to the character limit. Titles and descriptions have character limits — so you need to make every word count. The keyword or keyphrase that you want to rank for should be in the title tag on the left. Don’t put your company name in the SEO title. This is a waste of valuable optimisation and characters.
3. Use internal and external links
Internal links are the words on a page that are clickable that send your user to another page on your website. It’s how your visitors move through your website. So, if you have a page with no links, where should your visitor go next? If they have to return to your HOME page to find what they want, then that’s a sign of poor user experience.
External links are links from your website to another website. Linking to trustworthy material sites helps you appear to be an authority and can help Google figure out what your content is about for SEO purposes.
Remember, both your users and search engines use links to find content on your website.
Web pages with no links to them are known as “orphans”. These pages are not indexed and can’t be seen by Google. If Google can’t see a page, neither can your customers.
How can you make sure you’ve included internal and external links? Your SEO plugin will alert you if you’ve omitted these links.
4. Write engaging content
No one is going to read your web page or blog if it’s just plain boring. You can optimise your content all you like with links, great meta titles and descriptions, but at the end of the day, if no one sticks around long enough to read what you’ve written Google will see that as a bounce. High bounce rates aren’t great for ranking.
Provide value to your audience
Before you sit down to write, think about who you are writing for and why. Think about what questions your audience has. Hopefully, you’ve used keyword research tools to find these questions.
Use active voice and not passive voice
You might remember from your days at school that passive voice should be avoided. One reason is that passive sentences tend to be wordier than active sentences. Another problem with using passive voice is that it can make the sentence difficult to follow.
Which sentence is more pleasing to you?
Sue will bake all the cakes for the bake sale or All the cakes for the bake sale will be baked by Sue.
The first is easier to read of course. Your SEO plugin’s readability function will let you know if you’ve used too many passive sentences, so you can go back through your content and fix the sentences where needed.
Subheadings are really important for keeping your audience engaged. It focuses the reader’s attention on the next point you are going to make and it makes your content easier to follow.
Keeping in mind you’ve also got to keep Google happy, make sure your headings have a header tag which can easily be done in WordPress. A good heading structure tells Google what the article is about.
5. Include relevant CTAs
A CTA, or call to action, is a clickable button or a short sentence on your website that asks the user to take action. It could be inviting your website visitor to read more, buy something or contact you.
CTAs are important because they help to convert visitors into customers.
A powerful CTA is short and precise and a single sentence or a couple of words can easily do the trick. It’s best not to use generic words such as “Buy Now” or “Try Me”, which aren’t very effective.
Instead, use time-sensitive words such as “Try now” or “Free trial.”
Make sure you’re placing your CTAs in the right places on your website. You don’t want to just place it at the bottom of your website or just above the fold. It should be placed where it makes sense.
Xero does a great job with their CTA. Inviting visitors to try their software for free is very appealing. There’s no commitment to the user.
If you aren’t sure about which CTAs to include, have a look at your competitors to see what CTAs they’re using.
If writing isn’t your strong point, hand this task over to an SEO copywriter who has the skills and knowledge needed. Writing copy for websites isn’t just about stringing some sentences together. It’s a specialised skill, one that takes years to hone. Don’t skimp on this process. A great website with poor content is like having no website at all.