Writing for search is an essential skill for anyone producing digital content. Here are 10 tips to improve your SEO copywriting
1. Don’t stuff keywords
It’s tempting to think that adding in keywords as many times as you can will improve your site’s search rankings. In fact, this just makes your content harder for users to read, and you may even get penalized by search engines for keyword-stuffing
2. Think (and talk) like a web user
If you want to optimise your page, you’ll need to pick your keywords. Take a look at your content and think about what kind of words a user might type into a search engine in order to find it. Use plain language – remember they’ll be searching for the words they use to describe your product, not the branded terms you might use to market it.
3. Do your homework
Once you have a few search terms in mind, you can use Google’s AdWords service <https://adwords.google.co.uk/o/Targeting/Explorer?__c=1000000000&__u=1000000000&ideaRequestType=KEYWORD_IDEAS&defaultView=2> to research the kind of words people are actually using in their searches. You’re looking for the search terms that have a modest number of hits – too many and you’ll find there’s too much competition. You might rank in the top 10 for “mock croc handbags”, but optimising for “handbags” isn’t likely to get you anywhere near the first page of results.
4. Don’t crowd the field
Ideally, you should be optimising each page for a single keyword. If you put a lot of different keywords on a single page, they’ll just compete with one another and confuse search engines. On the other hand, if you know there are a few different terms people might be using for the topic of your page, you can include them. Using a few different synonyms makes your copy flow more naturally, and you’re likely to pick up more search traffic that way too.
5. Positioning is everything
Search engines pay more attention to some parts of your page than others. Sub-headings, link anchor text and page title tags are all important places to put keywords – and they tend to fit naturally there too. Make sure your copy is broken up with sub-headings that clearly guide a user through your content. It makes the page more usable.
6. Don’t forget the long tail
As the internet becomes more crowded and users become more confident in searching, we find them using longer and longer search terms. These very specific queries might not occur often individually, but taken together, they can add up to a lot of traffic. Take account of “long-tailed” searches by making your content as granular and specific as possible.
7. Take it from Google – content is king
While the guys at Google are tight-lipped about their search algorithms, they’re very clear about one thing – to write well for search, you have to write well for your users. Write clear, helpful content that’s easy to navigate and process.
8. Write content people want to share
The number of inbound links your page receives, and where they’ve come from, can affect your search rankings. A genuinely useful or interesting piece of content is likely to be shared through links from other places around the web. Use engaging headlines and clearly organised pages to make sure the quality of your content shines through.
9. Link out and share the love
Adding relevant links to other sites isn’t just helpful to your readers – it makes your page more credible and lends weight to your search rankings.
10. Work with search engines, don’t try to trick them
The days of “gaming” search engines with keyword-stuffed meta-text and meaningless content are well and truly over. Today, if you want your website to rank high in search, you’ve got to have a good website. The tips here can help make sure your content gets the ranking it deserves, but there’s no shortcut to producing high quality web content