What is SEO copywriting?
And why it’s about more than just keywords
Let’s start with the basics: what exactly is SEO copywriting? Essentially, it is the creation of online text designed to help your website rank higher in Google’s search results and drive relevant traffic to your page.
The use of keywords is often the most talked-about aspect: their relevance, how specific they are / should be, their search volumes and where to place them within the text.
But while keywords are, well… key, boosting your Google ranking certainly goes beyond that. So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the lesser-mentioned side of SEO copywriting.
When determining where it should rank your website, Google doesn’t just look at how many people visit it; it places a lot of importance on whether they actually enjoy using it.
Of course, Google won’t really ask users about their experience. Instead it uses metrics to decide whether someone liked your website or not. Most notably, Google bases this on the amount of time a visitor spends on there.
The longer they stay, the more relevant and credible your site will be deemed.
And this is where a visitor’s UX – or user experience – comes in.
People don’t like websites that are hard to use, so ease of navigation is essential. Structuring your site optimally can help (scroll down to learn more about getting this right), as can providing a sitemap.
If someone clicks onto your page and it fails to display properly for their device or takes too long to load, they won’t hang around – no matter how interesting your content might be to them. And given the number of Internet users who browse on their phones, that means your content must be mobile-friendly in terms of layout and readability.
If visitors quickly click off your website, your bounce rate (the percentage of visitors who click away after viewing just one page) will rise and your site’s ranking will suffer.
So, a useful trick to get people to stay a while longer, and maybe click through a few more pages, is to use phrases known as ‘bucket brigades’, such as:
- ‘By the way…’
- ‘But wait…’
- ‘You may be wondering…’
They can include any phrase that builds suspense or encourages visitors to keep reading.
And do you know what?
They really work! (By the way, that question is another bucket brigade to add to your list.)
Google likes websites that are full of relevant, high-quality content and are regularly updated. A one-page site, isn’t really going to get you anywhere. However, as already mentioned, ease of use and readability make a big difference.
This makes the basic structure of your website crucial to getting you noticed.
If your visitors get lost or confused, then Google will too.
Lay out your website in a way that is logical and easy to navigate. If you offer three main services, why not have a ‘branch’ dedicated to each?
Each branch can then grow as your website does, adding depth (both in terms of content and in terms of website pages) whilst maintaining order. This can be achieved by writing blogs, for example.
Incorporate links and references to other relevant pages that take your visitor further into your site. This helps to reduce your bounce rate. And when people click on these links, Google will see that people find your content valuable enough to delve deeper.
This is probably the most effective way to expand your website as it shows that you are the expert in your area. After all, which scientist would you trust more: one who has written a couple of articles on a topic, or one who has published an anthology of books about it?
It is also one reason why headlines and titles are so important. When used as part of links to other pages of your website, you want people to notice them, be intrigued by them and click on them to be taken to the next layer.
In two minds about writing your own blogs? Take a look at our pros and cons of hiring a blogger.
These days, Google also looks at more than just your website so it is imperative to have a good presence on social media. People sharing your content improves its visibility, which in turn results in greater brand awareness and drives more traffic to your website.
When writing posts, all of the usual criteria for creating social media content apply. The URLs in your links are also particularly important: Google currently identifies the title of the page you direct to as one of your keywords, too. For more information, SEO guru Neil Patel has plenty of tips on writing SEO-friendly URLs.
However, it’s also vital to get interacting on your social media platforms. When somebody comments on your content, be sure to reply. Social media algorithms will then see that your page is still very much active. Not only that, but actively engaging with your audience on a regular basis will help you to understand them as well as their needs, desires and demands.
After all, what’s rule number 1 for any kind of communication? That’s right, know your audience!
Here’s what to do
Now that you know what SEO copywriting is, we can all probably agree that there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes than most people first think. While this may seem daunting, if you collaborate with your site’s webmaster, your content copywriter and your social media manager as a team, you can really make a difference to your Google ranking. And not just by stuffing your site with keywords:
- Make your site relevant by optimising it for various platforms, especially mobile
- Use effective wording that encourages readers to linger on your website
- Make your website easy to navigate with a clear structure
- Become an authentic expert by creating depth and adding content logically
- Don’t neglect your social media channels