5 Copywriting Tips for Writing SEO-Friendly Content
SEO copywriting is essential. If you want your website to rank high in SERP, you have to take it seriously. 82% of B2C marketers believe that developing high-quality and insightful content is the #1 SEO strategy. And we have no reason to doubt their authority.
But what is high-quality content? How do you measure if your copy is SEO-friendly or not? What steps should you take to make your writing appealing both to people and search engines? Let’s find out!
Our guide will cover:
- The concept of SEO copywriting.
- Tip #1: Use the right keywords.
- Tip #2: Write a catchy headline.
- Tip #3: Structure your content properly.
- Tip #4: Write meaningful content for people, not only search engines.
- Tip #5: Keep your content simple.
The Concept of SEO Copywriting
All of us know how search engines work. When you type a search query into a search bar, you expect to get the relevant results. Google spends tons of money to improve its algorithms, so users will always get what they want. Otherwise, it would be pointless for them to use Google, right?
So your primary goal as an SEO copywriter is to write copies that people will like, and search engines will consider as relevant to the keywords you’ve chosen.
Before you even start writing, try to understand your website visitors’ needs. What questions do they have in mind? What are their pain points? How could you potentially help them? If you manage to get into your reader’s head, then writing a meaningful copy will be just a matter of time.
And now let’s get straight to 5 SEO-friendly content writing tips that will help you improve your skills.
Tip #1: Use The Right Keywords
The content creation process always starts with keyword research. To make your copy SEO-friendly, you have to find the right keywords and keyphrases to use in your texts. You can’t just grab a random keyword from Google — first of all, you need to understand the search intent behind it.
There are four types of search intent:
- Informational. When a user is searching for some information on a specific topic. For example: “How to find a good job”, “Who is Elon Musk”, “How to get free keyword ideas”, and so on
- Transactional. When a user has an intent to buy something. Their search queries look like this: “Buy gaming laptop”, “Purchase British shorthair cat”, “Order a pizza online”, etc.
- Comparison. When a user wants to compare something to something else. For example: “Android vs. iOS”, “Gaming PC vs. gaming laptop”, “McDonald’s vs. KFC”, and so forth.
- Navigational. When a user wants to get to a specific website or page. They usually type something like this: “Stephen King Wikipedia”, “Site Auditor Rank Active”, “COVID-19 Reddit”, and so on.
If you are writing an informational blog post, it’s pointless to use transactional intent keywords because there is a low chance that your website will rank for them.
How to Determine Keyword Search Intent
This particular keyphrase has the transactional search intent. That is clear, isn’t it? But sometimes things get a little tricky. If we type “best washing machine”, we will get a completely different result. Just one word changes everything.
As you can see, the above-mentioned key has the informational search intent behind it. That’s why you should avoid guessing and always google your keywords when the search intent behind them isn’t clear.
Besides search intent, there are also three important keyword parameters that you should consider.
Search Volume is the number of times a particular keyword is searched for within a certain period. For example, the key “what is SEO” has been searched for 22 000 times this month. If you change this query a little bit, the search volume will also change. As you can see, the key “SEO meaning” (which is almost the same) has been searched for 14 800 times only.
Please note that this data is approximate, so you shouldn’t completely rely on it when choosing the keywords for your articles.
The competition metric shows how hard it would be to rank a website for a specific keyword. In Rank Active’s tools it is displayed as a number from null to one, where null is the lowest competition, and one is the highest.
ETV stands for “estimated traffic value”. This metric shows users the predicted traffic that may come to their website from a particular keyword. It is calculated based on the search volume and website position in SERP.
Sometimes it’s better to focus on less popular and less competitive keywords because big companies usually overlook them.
Where to Find Keywords for a Website
There may be thousands, if not millions, of keywords for a specific topic. Finding them manually is hard and time-consuming. That’s when SEO automation tools come in handy.
If you want to get lots of keywords from Google Autocomplete and Related Search, try RankActive’s Keyword Finder tool. Not only will this tool provide you with keyword ideas, but it will also show you what keywords your competitors’ websites rank for. This information is essential for those who want to optimize their SEO strategy.
Also, Keyword Finder will provide you with the info about a keyword’s search volume, competition, ETV (Estimated Traffic Value), CPC (Cost per Click), number of total results in SERP, and other useful data.
To sum it up
So the first step to making your content SEO-friendly is finding the right keywords.
Let’s illustrate it with an example. Suppose you are writing an informational blog post on how to make pizza.
Then the right keywords would be: “quick pizza recipe”, “how to make pizza”, “how to make pizza step by step”, “pizza recipe without yeast”, and so on.
The wrong keywords would be: “pizza nearby”, “order a pizza”, “pizza place near me”, etc.
Tip #2: Write a Catchy Headline
A headline is what attracts your reader’s attention first. It must be catchy, clear, simple, and target a keyword. If your headline is weak, the click-through rate will be low, so don’t underestimate its power.
There are plenty of ways to make headlines interesting:
- Keep it simple. Avoid using complicated words with lots of syllables. Make sure that your headline is easy to read, even for an eighth-grader.
- Use numbers. According to CXL, headlines with numbers have the highest click-through rates. Listicles are quick to read and easy to understand. That’s why they are so popular.
- Keep it short. The guys from “Outbrain” did research and found out that eight words headlines perform 21% better than average.
- Use negative words. Posts with negative headlines tend to draw more attention. Such words as “kill”, “dark”, “war”, “fear”, and “bleeding” may boost your posts’ CTR.
- Include the main keyword of your content. The main keyword should be the first element of your headline. If it’s not possible, try to place it as much to the left as you can.
Good and Bad Headlines
Let’s see some examples of good and bad headlines.
How to lose weight — mediocre, too short, no numbers, no emotional adjectives to draw users’ attention.
How to lose weight: 10 effortless ways to burn calories without exercise — has numbers, has an emotional adjective, immediately draws users’ attention.
CTR Increasing Techniques: Improve Your Click-through Rate In 5 Steps — too complicated, has a low search volume keyword at the beginning.
How to Increase CTR: 5 Proven Ways to Drive More Traffic — interesting, has a keyword at the beginning, sounds promising, has an emotional adjective.
Tip #3: Structure Your Content Properly
Structuring content is probably the easiest thing in terms of SEO copywriting. Experienced writers know that users usually don’t like the “walls of text” and avoid blog posts and articles with no clear structure.
That’s why if you want to keep your visitors engaged with your content, you have to structure it properly. It is easy. Just follow these simple steps:
Use Short Paragraphs
Short paragraphs make your posts easier to follow. The very first sentence in a paragraph should capture your visitor’s attention. All the sentences must be presented in a logical order and connected with each other.
Don’t Forget About The Subheadings
It is always a good practice to use subheadings, especially when you’re writing long reads. Implement H3 and even H4 tags to make your content well-structured.
Use Bullet Points
Bullet points immediately draw a user’s attention to important information. They enable readers to quickly identify the key facts of your post and easily grasp them.
Combine Short Sentences With Longer Ones
As a copywriter, you should avoid monotony, so your visitors won’t fall asleep while reading posts on your website. To retain users’ attention, combine short sentences with longer ones.
Don’t write like this:
It was a sunny day. My mother baked a pie. I ate it and went for a walk. I took a dog with me. We came to the river near my house. I didn’t swim because the water was cold.
Instead, write like this:
It was a pretty good day. The sun shone brightly, and my mother baked a delicious pie, which I ate with pleasure. After finishing my meal, I went for a long walk and took my dog with me. We came to the river near my house, but I decided not to swim because the water was freezing and I didn’t want to catch a cold.
The difference is huge. And we didn’t do much. All we did was:
- adding some new words to spice things up;
- connecting shorter sentences together to create longer ones;
- using a more elaborate language.
Create a Clickable Table of Contents
Users need navigation to be able to switch to the most interesting parts of your post. That’s what a clickable table of contents is designed for. It can help your website visitors quickly find the piece they are interested in without manually scrolling the page down.
If you’re planning to write a post that will be longer than 2000-3000 words and you want to describe many things (some of them may not be connected together), it’s better to have a table of contents. If you’re going to write a shorter post, a table of contents isn’t required.
Use Images and Videos
People are visual beings. Adding images and videos that are relevant to your content will make it more interesting and easy to understand.
We have made a comprehensive post on how to leverage video content in an SEO strategy. When writing it, we found out that videos can increase conversion rates, gain more backlinks to a website, and help businesses build brand awareness.
Imagery is equally important. People usually remember no more than 10% of information three days after reading it. But adding informative images may improve their recall by up to 65%. Articles with relevant images are the game winners because they get 94% more views than articles without any image. Keep that in mind when writing your next blog post.
To Sum It Up
Well-structured content is crucial. And the best way to prove it is to illustrate it with an example.
Here is how the unstructured piece of text looks like:
This post is hard, almost impossible to read. Let’s try to copy it to a Word document and structure it a little bit.
Now, this piece of writing looks like this:
Yes, it’s still pointless, but now it has structure, which immediately makes this easier to read.
Tip #4: Write Meaningful Content for People
Google loves long reads. No wonder most TOP1 articles in SERP typically have a length of 2416 words. It doesn’t mean you should write longer posts and stuff them with tons of keywords. It means you should retain visitors’ attention, and the only way to do that is by writing meaningful content.
Search engine algorithms are ever-changing, so it’s always better to focus on your readers first.
Don’t think about optimization, think about your writing. If you manage to make your content appealing, you will increase users’ average time on the website, which will lead to higher rankings in SERP.
So how do you write meaningful SEO content in 2020? Let’s get straight to the point.
Analyze Your TOP10 Competitors
Before writing a blog post, analyze your TOP10 SERP competitors. You can do this by simply typing a specific keyword in a search bar. You need to find content gaps in your competitors’ articles and try to write a more comprehensive, interesting, and memorable blog post.
You can easily find your competition with the help of the Top Analyzer SEO tool. It will show you the results for any keyword, location, search engine, and language. This tool will provide you with a title, description, readability index, the relevance of a title, and other useful data of every site in TOP10.
Give it a shot. We offer a 14-day trial for free.
Speak Your Visitors’ Language
This blog post is written for copywriters and digital marketers. As you may have noticed, it has lots of technical terms, such as SERP, search volume, search engines, SEO, keyword, and so on.
You should use professional language as well, especially if you know who you are writing for.
However, don’t make it too hard. Even though you are writing for professionals, you still need to offer explanations for some of the terms. At the same time, it is important not to explain everything because it will make your article too long and boring. Try to find the best balance and always proofread your writings from your visitors’ points of view.
Answer All Possible Questions
Ask yourself what questions your visitors may have when they go to a particular blog post. If you want to keep them satisfied with the content, you should answer all possible questions.
That’s what Google’s “People also ask” section can help you with.
Let’s say we want to write a how-to article. Let it be “How to make fire with a rock”. First of all, we need to answer the main question in the title — that’s pretty obvious. But what else should we cover? Let’s google it and find out.
After typing the search query, we got this result.
So these are exact questions people often ask when they try to find the info on how to make fire with a rock. Some of these queries may be irrelevant to our topic, so we don’t need to desperately try to answer all of them.
To Sum It Up
Let’s sum up.
You can say that your content is high-quality if:
- It has some new information, something that wasn’t covered by your competitors.
- It is written in the language of your website visitors.
- It has answers to all possible questions related to the topic.
Here is an example of good content. It is an insightful and extremely useful piece of writing that probably has the answers to all users’ questions.
Here is an example of bad content. As you can see, it is short, and it has a poor structure and just one image. It doesn’t cover all possible questions and has no original information. No wonder it is on page ten of SERP.
Tip #5: Keep Your Content Simple
According to The Literacy Project, the average American reads at the 8th-grade level. It is disheartening. And yet, you should keep that in mind when writing content.
These tips may help you to get better at writing simply:
- When writing content, be as clear as possible.
- Replace the difficult words with the easy ones.
- Write short sentences.
- Use the active voice.
- Express your thoughts the simplest way.
- Use SEO automation tools to measure the readability of your content.
Consider trying our Site Auditor tool. It will show you the readability index of every scanned page of your website. This tool will enable you to see which content is easy to understand and which not, so you can edit it to improve user experience.
And now, let’s get back to the art of simplicity.
Writing simply doesn’t mean that you have to just use fewer words. Writing simply is actually difficult. It requires attention to detail, careful consideration, and lots of proofreading.
To illustrate this point, let’s take a look at the following example.
As you can see, this text has lots of difficult words, long sentences, and too many passive voice constructions. That’s why it is hard to follow. If you write something like this, don’t expect users to read your article to the end.
Let’s try something else. Here is a fragment of a pizza recipe.
This piece is well-written. The text is pretty easy to understand because there are no difficult words and no excessive use of passive voice. And it should be that way. If you want to entertain your readers, keep your writing simple.
What It Takes to Write SEO-Friendly Content
It must have taken a pretty long time to read all of this to the end. We want to thank everyone who finished this — that means you truly want to become a sought-after copywriter or marketer who creates meaningful, entertaining, and insightful content that is valuable both for people and search engines.
So let us sum up everything we have written before. Here is the checklist of what you should do to make your copy SEO-friendly:
- Choose the right keywords with clear search intent behind them.
- Write a catchy headline that includes the main keyword of your content.
- Structure your post to make it more understandable.
- Write meaningful copies for your visitors, not only search engines.
- Keep your writing simple, so that you can be easily understood even by an eighth-grader.
And last but not least, use SEO automation tools to speed up your workflow, get useful data about your website’s pages, and track your content’s performance.