Rank Higher with SEO Copywriting

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.

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7 Easy Steps to Reduce Bounce Rates

Reducing bounce rates is critical for SEO and lead generation.

How Can You Improve SEO? Reduce Bounce Rates

The scenario: Your SEO and content strategy worked and you’re finally at the top of the search engine results page (SERP). Your traffic escalates. Your next job is engaging visitors on your site. But what if your valued visitors only glance at the first page they land on and then leave your site without further interaction? That’s a fail, for sure—and it’s called a bounce.” Your next goal is to reduce bounce rates, the metric calculated by dividing single-sessions by all sessions.

What does Google think about Bounce Rates?

The bounce rate represents the percentage of visitors who land on your website and do nothing other than glance at a single page (note that I’ll use “page” and “article” interchangeably). They don’t click on menu items, calls to action, internal links, or interact in other ways. This lack of user engagement leads to a high bounce rate, from which Google infers that your webpage is poor quality or that it’s not drawing the audience it’s intended for.

What is a bounce? A bounce is a single-page session on your site. 
What is bounce rate? Bounce rate is a percentage calculated by sing'e

From an SEO perspective, a high bounce rate will cause your organic page ranking to drop—leading to less traffic, fewer leads, and loss of potential customers. If your overall website is “bouncy,” it can affect how Google ranks your entire site. If you can reduce bounce rate and increase “website stickiness,” the ability to keep visitors on your site, Google will reward you.

Learn more about website Stickiness.

Should you reduce bounce rates to get beyond your average?

What is your “average” bounce rate, and is it good or bad? Find out your bounce rate using Google Analytics or other tools. Once you know that metric, your next question might be, “is my bounce rate is good or bad”? The short answer is that there is no typical bounce rate, so it’s hard to say whether your bounce rates are good or bad–or you goal to reduce bounce rate. The percentage varies widely based on various criteria.

Examples of “typical” bounce rates:

  • Landing pages have an average bounce rate of 60-90%
  • The average B2B website has an average bound rate of 25-55%
  • Blogs have an average bounce rate of 65-95%  
  • E-Commerce and retail sites have benchmark bounce rates of 25-40%, while non-e-commerce sites are higher, at 35-60% (source: Kissmetrics)
  • Content-based websites have bounce rates of 40-60%, while lead generation sites with services for sale are lower, at 30-50% (source: Kissmetrics)

First, we see that the range for each statistic above is pretty broad. Further, “typical” or “average” bounce rates vary by industry, niche, B2B or B2C, where the traffic comes from, type of website, type of web page, and other factors.

No matter what the research shows about bounce rates for companies similar to yours, the only number that really counts is based on setting your own company’s benchmarks. You can reduce bounce rate only by benchmarking your current rate, analyzing factors that lead to bounce rates and, conversely stickiness, and then adjust your content and other website factors to improve results.

What techniques can a copywrite use to reduce bounce rates?

Bounce rate isn’t totally dependent on the written content of your webpage, blog article, or other content. You can also look at how a page is promoted, back-end SEO techniques, page errors, and other factors. However, the copywriter plays a major role in whether visitors leave after a single page or continue to interact with other pages.

Here are key steps for using copy to reduce bounce rates. 

Step 1:

Make quality and readability your top priority.

High quality, authoritative, easy-to-read copy should be your top priority.

If you read my blog articles regularly, you know I put most of my eggs in the “high quality” basket. That’s the single most important thing for keeping people on your site to reduce bounce rates and improve SEO.

The first aspect of quality deals with addressing a specific audience or audience persona about a topic they deeply care about. Second, respect your reader by making the content accurate, easy to read, easy to scan, and as error-free as possible. Third, give visitors a reason to stay by giving them opportunities to dig deeper, with internal links, resources, and tools.

Read these 5 important rules to increase the readability of your blog post.

Step 2:

Logically organize the page.

People’s attention spans are shorter than ever. They want to be able to see at-a-glance what the article’s about, know what topics are included, and quickly pinpoint specific facts and areas of interest. If they can’t scope this out almost immediately, they’re gone. Each web page should be set up with a hierarchy of heading tags, from H1 (your title) to H2 (your main subheads), and down the line to H3, H4, etc. Let’s look at these in more detail.

Step 3:

Create a compelling H1 page title.

What's the difference between Title Tags and H1 Tags? Title tags show up in search engines as the hyperlink that searchers click on and in the title bar at the top of the web browser. They do NOT appear on the actual webpage.
H1 Tags are what users see on the webpage. It is in large text and acts as a title for the page. H1 tags usually do not appear in search engines.

H1 Tags are the first opportunity to keep visitors on the page. Also known as the “post title,” this is the title that shows up on the webpage itself. Note that this isn’t the “SEO title tag,” which shows in the browser window and is the title used in the Google results page snippet. Your H1 page title is the first place where the copywriter can help reduce bounce rates.

Your page title should have impact, interest, and clearly state what your article is about and what the reader will learn. No hype, no self-serving angle, no misleading wording. The right title will get you more organic search traffic. Then, once readers land on the page, the right title will encourage people to move ahead with the article, rather than abandon it at first sight. On the other hand, the wrong title can cause visitors to abandon the page and your website.

Many writers and SEO experts view creating the right titles as something of a science—and spend a lot of time thinking of titles that will enhance performance. Just Google “blog titles” and you’ll get pages and pages of expert advice about how to generate titles that drive traffic. You can also find various blog title generators, such as this one from SEO Pressor or this one from Hubspot.

Step 3:

Guide the reader with logical H2 subheads

What is an H2 Tag? An h1 tag is for your title. An H2 tag is a secondary header that you can user to: emphasize secondary keywords; break up content to make it scannable and easy to read; highlight important pieces of information; saturate content with keywords

H2 Tags, or your main subheads, direct readers from the beginning to the end of the page.If your H1 title passes the first stickiness test, your reader will want a better idea of what they’ll learn from the page. At this point, they’ll either start reading your intro paragraph or scanning your H2 subheads to understand the content, relevancy, and flow of the article.

In addition to enhancing scannability, H2 subheads should guide viewers to information they are specifically interested in. Equally important, each subsection should focus on a discrete idea, and all content should closely reflect the subhead it falls under. If section content is redundant or doesn’t fit the subhead, you will confuse both Google and the reader. Also, include your keywords (or synonyms) in H2 subheads; don’t overdo keyword use or inappropriately force it, or Google and your readers will be turned off and your bounce rate will jump.

Step 4:

Write an intriguing intro paragraph.

Either directly after the page title or after skimming the subheads, your reader moves on to the critical first sentence of the intro paragraph. There are many techniques to grab the reader here, such as asking a question, sharing an intriguing statistic, or placing a relevant quote.

If your first sentence is successful, your reader will continue reading through the paragraph to get a general idea of what the article is about, what they’ll learn from it, and why they should care. If you do this job well, you have hopefully succeeded in encouraging the reader to plow ahead, deeper into the article.

Step 5:

Create ways to maintain the reader’s interest.

Good formatting techniques can help create visual interest, pinpoint interesting facts, and make an article easier to read—and this reduces bounce rates.

Your readers’ time is limited. They are busy and easily distracted, whether they are at home or in an office setting. Nowadays, with so many people working remotely, you’re competing again kids, home entertainment, and tasks of everyday life. Make it easy and enjoyable for them to move through and digest content.

Techniques to boost reader interest include:

  • Making sentences short, easy to understand, and varying in length.
  • Breaking up the copy with graphics, lists, subheads, callouts, and similar details to add some eye-calming white space.
  • Using bold and italic text to highlight words to call attention to certain items and to improve readability.
  • Using color as accents, sparingly.
  • Avoiding hype, jargon, or complicated words when an easy one will do.
  • Including interesting graphics, charts, videos, or other items that cause the reader to stay on the page longer.

Step 6: Include the right information and depth of knowledge.

If a webpage doesn’t have enough information, is too general, or is too complex (or not complex enough), it may lack the decision-making information your reader wants. Any of these situations can make your visitors leave and disengage. These decisions will also vary based on the type of page you are writing (blog article, product page, contact us page). Each type of page has opportunities to make it appealing, readable, and optimized to decrease bounce rates and increase conversion.

Here are some questions to ask before you write:

  • Know how much information and level of knowledge is right for your audience.
  • Are they looking for a casual read or more in-depth information?
  • Where are they in the marketing funnel?
  • How much time do they have?

Step 7: Include internal links to move them through the site.

Smart use of internal links promotes important pages on your site and gives readers opportunities to read related or more in-depth content. Up to several internal links on a page can help readers engage, but too many can be overwhelming, confusing, and difficult to read.

I’m going to repeat the previous paragraph in 2 different ways so you can see what I mean (Note that the links in the paragraph are fake!):

Smart use of internal links promotes important pages on your site and gives readers opportunities to read related or more in-depth content. Up to several internal links on a page can help readers engage, but too many can be overwhelming, confusing, and difficult to read.

Messy, right? Instead, cut down the number of links or find alternate ways to display them. Here’s the same paragraph—you still have internal links, but it’s easier for the readers to identify extra resources that interest them

Again, the sample paragraph below includes fake links.

Example 2 – fewer, but more useful, links:

Smart use of internal links promotes important pages on your site and gives readers opportunities to read related or more in-depth content. Up to several internal links on a page can help readers engage, but too many can be overwhelming, confusing, and difficult to read.

Read more about internal links here.

Here are more resources about readability.

Much better! The paragraph above shows that you can have several links even in a short paragraph without overwhelming the reader (and making them leave the site).

Successful copywriters focus on engaging readers to reduce bounce rates.

A copywriter’s first duty is to the reader. However, it would be silly to suggest that a modern copywriter doesn’t have to be mindful of website performance. It just takes a little more knowledge and practice. If you use external creative resources, look for a freelance copywriter who creates SEO-friendly content that engages your audience, and keeps them on your website.

For high-quality web content that boosts traffic and reduces bounces, contact Westebbe Marketing, a Boston-based agency specializing in high-performing original content.

Contact us online, call us at (617) 699-4462, or email us.

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#SEOcopywriting #BounceRate #WebsiteStickiness #MarketingCopywriter

Write Website Copy for Positive UX.

Website Copy that provides positive UX keeps users on your website.

Build a solid foundation when writing website copy for positive UX.

If you work on website content, you might not think about how to write website copy for positive UX (User Experience). UX may sound to you like a back-end term that’s best left up to developers. However, that’s a faulty assumption, especially if you’ll be working with designers and developers on websites and other online projects.

In my experience, writers can do a better job of contributing to websites when they understand the basics of UX. By broadening your scope in this way, you’ll provide more value to your client or company—and maybe even lead to more substantial work that extends your portfolio, gets you promoted, or helps you land that next job.

Let’s run through the basics of planning for positive UX using copywriting techniques.

What Does it Mean to Write Website Copy that Delivers Positive UX?

First, let’s start with a general definition of UX. According to Wikipedia, “The user experience is how a user interacts with and experiences a product, system or service. It includes a person’s perceptions of utility, ease of use, and efficiency.” This would include planning for clear navigation, fast loading times, and responsiveness on all types of devices.

Another way to think of UX from a copywriter’s point of view is that users have a good experience when the copy helps and motivates users to move through each page, understand the page, and move smoothly from one relevant page to another so they can quickly get the information they need.

Even if you don’t have input into the site’s design, functionality, responsiveness, and structure, writers can enhance this process by paying attention to areas including:

  • Research
  • Readability
  • Scannability
  • SEO
  • Formatting
  • High-Quality Content

Let’s look at how these can affect how you write copy for user experience.

Research Helps You Develop Copy that Results in a Positive User Experience.

High-Quality Content. Arrow aimed at bullseye target. Boston-based Westebbe Marketing

UX generally takes the lead role in researching background areas that will ultimately drive the structure, functionality, and look of the website. However, it will serve you well to do your own research, as you will need different information than the design and development team.

Some key areas to research when you write for website UX are:

How does the company want to be portrayed? Is their personality conservative, professional yet easy-going, fun, data-driven, or something else? Your copy should reflect a personality that the user will relate to and find credible.

What is the company’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP)? How can you create copy that highlights what the company does best, its value, and why the visitors on your website should care? There may be obvious ways to include USPs, but they can also be woven subtly throughout the copy.

Who are you talking to? You’ll want to think about who you are currently talking to, as well as additional audiences you’d like to attract. Do background work on who your key audiences are, what their concerns are, and the information they want on the pages you are writing. This may vary from desktop to mobile, so determine which type of device is most common among your users.   

How does the company fit in the competitive landscape? There are different ways to compete in the market and your niche. You may offer the lowest price, the best service, or the most creative solutions. Make your best qualities shine, putting them front and center as part of your brand.

Readability Provides a Positive Experience for Website Users.

One of your main goals in planning your website for positive UX is to keep people moving down the page. The best way to do this is to make it easy and enjoyable. If it feels like a chore, they’ll click away.

Some of the key rules of thumb for assuring website readability include:

  • Write short sentences, and also keep paragraphs short (three to five sentences max).
  • Don’t use a complicated word when a simple one will do.
  • Edit without mercy, and then proof, proof, proof.
  • Avoid needless jargon that is either cliché or difficult for laypeople to understand.
  • If you’re working with a design, think about how you can highlight copy with interesting images, icons, photos, and videos or podcasts.

Related Reading: The 5 Most Important Rules to Boost Readability

Scannability Requires On-Page Organization.

Image of Eyes: To improve UX, write website copy that reflects how users scan webpages.

The major of visitors to your website will scan each page, rather than through the copy top to bottom—so plan your website accordingly. You have several main tasks when it comes to scannability. First, make it easy for them to find the information they care about. Second, get them to read content more comprehensively. Many of the tips in this area also make it easier for Google to index and serve up your pages in search results.

Some ways to improve scannability of website pages include:

  • User hierarchical heading tags, with your title as an H1 heading, main subheads as H2 headings, and sub-topics under your H2 headings as H3-6 (although I rarely go past H3).
  • Use H2 headings every two or three paragraphs.
  • Place important words closer to the left of the page, at the beginning of headlines and sentences.
  • Keep your thoughts in logical order. Use discrete paragraphs that fall logically under a relevant heading. Remove redundancy between sections.

Related Reading: How Do Users Scan Content? (And Why You Should Care)

Related Reading (NN Group): How Users Read on the Web

Support SEO When Creating UX-Focused Website Content.

Website SEO 2021

Using copywriting techniques for front-end SEO, which refers to what the user sees, enables your website pages and blog articles to get more attention from search engines.

Note that Google’s new AI-driven algorithm focuses on context—how a keyword is used in a search term—rather than merely isolated keywords. In addition, given the rise of search through voice recognition, use natural-sounding language that echoes the way a user speaks in everyday language.

Related Reading: 16 Fool-Proof Tips for Optimizing On-Page SEO

Here some copywriting tips for front-end SEO:

Keywords: Using only one search term per page will prevent Google from thinking you have redundant pages, which prevents proper indexing. When researching your keywords, look for long-tail keywords that sound like what users would say when searching on their mobile phones or speech recognition software. Then, put keywords, keyword-related terms, and synonyms in H2 subheads and the first sentence of paragraphs.

Content: Anticipate user needs and expectations on each page, then create high-value content to keep them reading, scanning, and interacting. Write to your specific audience—their demographics, expertise, function, level of decision-making, and other factors.

Meta Data: If you’re using WordPress or another CMS (content management system), write your title tags and meta descriptions to appeal to the users and clarify content for Google. Your title tag, the clickable blue link at the top of your Google snippet, should be 50-60 characters and include the page’s keyword. Your meta description, the text below the title tag, should be 155-160 characters and include the keyword early in the first sentence.

Related Reading: Understand Outbound Links—And Why You Need Them

Format Your Copy for UX with Visual Comfort.

Writing using proper formatting improves the user experience.
Chunking the article increases engagement and readability.

Correctly formatting your copy is good for readability and scanning. On the other hand, dense copy can give your reader a headache.  Open up the pages so your copy is easier on the eyes, preventing discomfort that can turn them away from the screen. The designer often takes the lead in providing plenty of soothing white space, but you can help.

Some copywriting tips for opening up the page include:

Keep sections short: “Chunking” copy into small, logical sections that flow into each other. Use frequent H2 subheads, small paragraphs, short sentences, and language free from hype and industry jargon.

Highlight Details: Use (but don’t overuse) methods to emphasize important facts and details using bullet points, numbered lists, pull quotes, and other formatting techniques to break up the page,

Optimize Font Size and Spacing: If it’s up to you, rather than a designer, choose large, easy-to-read fonts (at least 16 points), Use a family of only several fonts—perhaps one for headlines, one for body copy, and one for captions. Keep line spacing at around 130-150% as a percentage of the font size.

Related Reading: 12 Surefire Practices for Website Formatting

Let High-Quality and Value Drive Website Copy UX.

The number one thing website users want is relevant, high-quality content that is easy to find—content that provides information that will meet and exceed the user’s expectations and needs. And, as usual, what’s good for your visitors is also good for SEO.

Some ways to drive copywriting quality on websites are:

Address their concerns: Understand, anticipate, and deliver the content your users expect and need—keeping in mind the audience’s level of knowledge about your industry, products, and services. One way to do this is to think about the questions prospects and customers ask when researching, evaluating, comparing, purchasing, and retaining your services—and the answers that will move them closer to purchase. This will help you write copy that is most relevant to your prospect’s and customers’ concerns.

Stay on brand: Keep your tone and “personality” consistent with the brand. Also, use consistent messaging about your company’s unique strengths and how you provide value to your customers.

Boost your “EAT” factors: When Google raters (real humans) evaluate your pages for quality, they look at factors known as EAT: Expertise, Authority, and Trust: You can increase your EAT score with high-value “extras”, such as research studies, testimonials, case studies, and reviews. Plus you can provide outbound links and resources to sites that are highly respected in your industry.

Look professional: Keep your copy free from grammatical errors, typos, and lackluster copy. Copy with these problems shows a lack of caring; after all, if your copy is sloppy, what else don’t you pay attention to? Learn how to avoid Sloppy Copy and Content Mistakes.

Are You Ready To Plan Your Website Copy for Positive UX?

Plan to write website copy that results in a positive User Experience (UX).

Don’t let designers or marketers that UX is only the development team’s job. The copy is an integral part of the user’s experience. Using the copywriting techniques above, you’ll play a valuable role in keeping readers on each page and enhancing their experience on your website.

For high-quality content that always focuses on your audience, contact Westebbe Marketing, a Boston-based agency specializing in high-performing original content. Contact us online, call us at (617) 699-4462, or email us.

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12 Surefire Best Practices for Formatting Website Copy

Properly formatting website copy makes your webpages easy to scan.

VISITORS COME TO YOUR WEBPAGE. BUT DO THEY ACTUALLY READ WHAT YOU WRITE? Probably not. More likely they scan the page—and this is where the art of formatting website copy is essential.

Users today take only seconds to decide if they think a webpage is worthwhile; If they don’t immediately think the page has what they’re looking for, it’s just so easy just to go back to the search page and pick the next entry.

Continue reading “12 Surefire Best Practices for Formatting Website Copy”