How can a copywriter contribute to a website’s success? In many cases, the answer is you can rank higher with SEO copywriting.
Copywriters leverage two key techniques to boost webpage and blog post performance. The first is optimizing content with keywords. The second is creating high-quality, well-targeted content. Using these tools will help Google recognize that your copy will meet “searcher intent” better than competing pages.
How Does Google Determine Ranking for Search Results?
SEO copywriting involves three components. First, the writer must use techniques that indicate to Google that the page will best satisfy the “searcher intent.” In other words, based on the query the user puts into the search bar, Google will return, in priority order, the pages that the algorithm determines will be the most valuable and relevant to the searcher.
The second component in SEO copywriting is driving users to click on your snippet rather than those around it.
Third, the SEO copywriter must encourage user engagement beyond the initial click—encouraging the user to read through the article, share the article, and drive users deeper into the website.
Start Ranking Higher by Selecting the Right Keyword
The keyword is the central element of SEO. Yoast defines it as “the search term that you want a page or post to rank for.” In other words, when people enter that keyword or phrase into Google’s search bar, you want your webpage to have the top position so the users sees it first.
Why is this so important? According to Search Engine Journal, “a study of billions of search results finds over a quarter of Google searchers click on the first organic result.” The second positions drops to 16%, with the third position at 11%. This means that the first three results account for more than half of click-throughs. Even further, 75% of people will never scroll past the first page on a Google search.
Experts often recommended that small companies, which will have difficulty ranking for a generic word or term such as “roofing,” use a long-tail keyword, such as “commercial roofing in Boston.” Why? The term will have less competition and target a more select audience. The volume will be lower, but it will likely result in higher quality traffic.
Write Copy for your Audience First, Google Second
Don’t make ranking at the top your only priority. Think about user intent and write copy for your audience first. It’s best to worry about including target words in your headers and copy after the initial writing.
The first step is to know why your target audience is doing an online search. For example, say you have a Toyota dealership and want to attract someone looking for a used Toyota. You want them to land on your website page that shows what used Toyotas you have in stock or a page that describes Toyota models. It makes more sense to write a keyword such as “What Toyota model should I buy” rather than “How much are Toyota factory workers paid.”
There are several easy ways to start keyword research right on the Google SERP. For example, I could look at results for the keywords phrase “What Toyota model should I buy”. Make sure to type your keyword phrase surrounded by quotation marks. This will tell Google to bring up content with that exact phrase in it. I got these results when I plugged that into the search.
Look for Uniqueness with “No Results Found”
When I typed in the keyword, I see that no results were found–the keyword is unique. This is a good sign. Since the competition will be low, you have a better chance to rank higher.
Explore the Top-Ranking Organic Results
Check out the top-ranking results that Google placed at the top of page one. You’ll find words including reliable, guide, buying, model, vehicle, and more. These might also be good words to use in your keyword phrase, headlines, subheads, and body copy.
Analyze the Content on Top-Ranking Results
If you want to know what it will take to rank for your keyword, look at the content on page one. You might use these as models for content topics to include, which format to use, and ancillary keywords you might also rank for. You can also get insight into what Google crawlers are responding to beyond content, especially Google’s page experience signals.
People Also Ask Shows Related Searches
Another useful area on the page is the “People Also Ask Section.” Ahrefs’ definition of this box is, “The ‘People Also Ask’ (PAA) box is a Google SERP feature that answers questions related to the user’s search query. Each answer comes from a web page, and Google provides a clickable link to the source below each one.” These are useful phrases for a different keyword option, headlines, subheads, or elsewhere in your content.
Rank Higher with SEO Copywriting That Follows Practical Guidelines
We have discussed several concepts above, so let’s get down to more specifics. Copywriters can rank higher by following a set of rules that can be summarized as follows:
- Create pages that are easy to read, understand, and scan
- Use keywords appropriately
- Craft high-quality pages
Having an arsenal of tools in these three areas will help the SEO copywriter rise to the top of Google’s search results.
Rise in Google Rankings with Pages that are Easy to Read, Understand, and Scan
As mentioned above, your priority is your audience. No one wants to wade through a dense article to understand what it’s about and what it includes. Start by writing an H1 heading (the main title at the top of the article) that is descriptive and not full of hype. Then, following through on the headline’s promise.
Another tip is to avoid big blocks of text. Instead, break up the page using headers, images, bullets, and other formatting devices. This technique also allows readers to scan the text to quickly determine if the content is relevant and easily find specific pieces of information.
You’ll want to keep sentences short, free from jargon, and not “salesy.” Likewise, keep paragraphs short, no more than five sentences. Similarly, each H2 subsection should only include two to three paragraphs, have good flow, and relate directly to the heading’s topic.
Rank Higher With Readable Copy: The 5 Most Important Rules to Increase the Readability of Your Post
Find Out Why Making an article easy to scan is so important: How Do Users Scan Content (& Why You Should Care)
SEO Copywriting and High Page Rank Rely on Appropriate Use of Keywords
Make it easy for the user. Apply keywords in a way that sounds natural, not awkward or robotic. With advances in Google’s algorithm, it’s fine to use slightly different terms and synonyms that reflect your keyword. Also, make sure you’re not penalized for keyword stuffing—only use keywords where it makes sense. Finally, take advantage of voice search by making keywords that sound more like human speech.
The position of the keyword is also important. Include it near the beginning of the first paragraph since Google will only include the first 155-160 characters as the metadescription. This is the short description under the page title that helps users determine which article they should click on). Readers and Google will find it helpful to include keywords in headlines and copy, especially near the beginning of headlines and paragraphs.
Most SEO copywriters know the importance of backlinks from other sites. While you may not be able to control backlinks, you can make valuable contributions by including internal links. These allow readers to learn more about related topics, improve the site’s crawlability, and boost SEO metrics like time on page and pages per session. Another tip is to make your links descriptive, rather than “click here” or “read more. Get even more value by the keywords that linked content is optimized for as its anchor text.
Learn more about Ranking Better with internal Links: The Power of Internal Linking for SEO
High-Quality Content Keeps Readers on the Page
Like many copywriters, I’m biased toward the importance of content quality—and Google is increasingly prioritizing quality as a page ranking factor. One way people describe quality is with the E-A-T acronym, Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness. On the other hand, you’ll have a poor response if Google determines that users aren’t satisfied with the copy and have will get a poor “page experience.” more.
High-quality starts with being readable, as discussed above. This includes copy that is free of grammatical errors, typos, and other distractions. The SEO writer can signal the article is authoritative not only from high-quality backlinks but also by including facts and statistics, providing valid sources.
Studies have also shown that the perception of high-quality correlates with longer content of at least 1,500-2,000 words. Finally, don’t let your content become outdated. Review it occasionally to make sure it has recent data, to improve quality, and possibly try a different keyword to see if you can improve performance.
Learn More Tips for Content Quality: Avoid the Sloppy Copy and Content Mistakes
Final Thoughts On SEO Copywriting
As an SEO copywriter, you have the power to improve how your page ranks on Google results pages and how readers interact with it. Back-end SEO factors are important, and so are on-page techniques including readability, keywords, and quality. If you need high-performing web and blog article copy, contact Westebbe Marketing, providing creative content for strategic marketers.