According to Fleishman-Hillard, 89% of consumers begin their shopping with an online search. MOZ says, a whopping 71% of searchers click the first page results.
Knowing how to write SEO content that ranks on Google’s first page can take your business from zero to 100 in a few months.
The Aspect of SEO Copywriting No One Talks About
When people talk about SEO copywriting, they only think about the content itself.
But a deeper analysis of search engine ranking factors shows that what happens off-page is more important for ranking.
I am talking about factors such as organic click-through rate, backlinks and social shares. The key is to write quality content that people want to link to and share.
So, how do you write SEO copy that engages your readers, compels them to share and ranks high on Google search?
1. Make a List of Relevant Keywords
Not all keywords are created equal. Some have low value, while others are worth dying for (not literally).
I rank for “Landing Page Copywriting Services” but it has brought in zero traffic because no one is searching for it.
I wrote this page when I was just starting out. I didn’t know how to do keyword research properly and this was the result. On one hand, my SEO skills are on display. But on the other hand, what’s the point of ranking if no one sees the page?
It’s important that you make a list of target keywords before you begin writing your SEO copy, not after. Create an SEO content outline and…
Make a list of keywords you want to rank for based on your target audience, your topic, and the goal you want to achieve.
Having a list of targeted keywords keeps you focused on your topic and helps Google understand what your page is about.
2. Analyse Content That’s Already Ranking
One of the advantages of a competitive digital marketing landscape is that someone has probably written copy for a keyword that ranks.
Analysing the top –ranked content allows you to identify gaps you can explore and subheadings to improve.
This approach is widely known as sky-scraping. You look at the top results in Google for your chosen topic, and create a far better content.
As a case study, if you are writing on “wallpaper ideas for your bathroom” and the top sites in Google created a list of wallpaper ideas that ranges from 5 to 10 ideas, you can go one step further by creating “101 Inspiring Wallpaper Ideas for Your Bathroom.”
Why do these pages rank? Do they include videos? What is the length of the content? Are there gaps you can exploit to make your content better? If videos are ranking high for your chosen topic, then consider adding video to your content.
3. Craft Click-Worthy Headlines
David Ogilvy said “Five times as many people read the headline, more than the body of the copy”
This rings true for Upworthy’s co-founder, Peter Koechley, who said that they sometimes experience a 500% difference in traffic when they test headlines. Yes, 500% increase in traffic!
Your headline is the most important element of your web copy.
Because it’s the first thing readers see on search results. If it’s not compelling, they won’t read your piece. And if no one reads your content, your ranking tanks.
How do you craft headlines that your target audience wants to click on?
The best copywriters write multiple variations of their headline. They find one that stands out and use it. But it’s not enough. To really get it right, you have to A/B test your headline.
To write click-worthy headlines, build imagery with concrete words and show the benefit. Arouse curiosity and include figures where possible.
Here are effective examples:
Arouse curiosity: Use This Phrase to Calm Your Impatient, Angry Customers
Be hyper specific: Turning 26 Is A Potential Death Sentence for People with Type 1 Diabetes In America
Use power words when it’s appropriate for the industry: 30 Spectacularly Spooky DIY Halloween Centerpieces
Create excitement: 8 Content Marketing Examples That Turn Heads and Spark Engagement
Find a unique angle: 7 Scientifically‐Backed Copywriting Tips to Increase Conversion.
Trigger clicks with intensifiers in brackets: How to Write a Proposal and Get What You Want (Free Template Included)
As a beginner, one of the most effective ways to write better headlines is to draw inspiration from other copywriters. Build your headline swipe file – a collection of effective headlines you find online and offline.
4. Write Magnetic Introductions
Here’s something you should remember when writing an SEO-optimized blog post. The goal of the headline is to make the visitor click the copy. The headline persuades them to read the first line of text in your introduction. And every line has a goal to convince the visitor to keep reading.
When website visitors spend time on your copy, it increases user dwell time, reduces bounce rate, and boost your search engine rankings.
Your introduction should draw people in, immediately engage them psychologically, and nudge them to read further.
After reading your introduction, your target readers should have an I-can’t-wait-to-read-this feeling.
Here are several ways to craft a compelling introduction. Here are a few:
- Tell a brief, relevant story
- Counter a popular point of view
- Use surprising, sensational statistics
- Ask a thought-provoking question
Whatever approach you choose, ensure it meets reader’s expectation for the topic and ties into the overall theme of the post.
Before publishing your content, ask yourself, “Will I be hooked if I was reading this elsewhere?”
If your answer is not a resounding yes! then ditch it and write a better introduction.
5. Speak the Language of Your Target Audience
There are certain words your target audience uses when conversing with each other. A few places to find these words include Facebook groups, Subreddits, Quora and online forums where they hang out.
Often, the best approach is to write in a conversational tone. It’s the easiest way to establish an immediate rapport and form an emotional connection with your target audience.
No amount of search engine optimisation can save a poorly written content. On the other hand, a comprehensive, high quality content will attract links and rank well even though it wasn’t optimised for search engines.
You’d be creating bad user experience if you focus solely on ranking and not consider searchers’ intent.
Remember, a great user experience means longer dwell time, lower bounce rate, increased user engagement, high conversion rates, all of which directly impact your search engine ranking.
Chima excels in creating SEO-optimized web content that drives traffic and increases conversions for online businesses. She is an experienced copywriter who has published on numerous top blogs such as Jeff Bullas, Search Engine Watch, and Hacker Noon. You can find her at Zenith Copy.