SEO copywriting is a way of using high-quality, relevant content techniques to rank well on search engine results pages. Using simple copy and microcopy methods, you can improve your website’s search position on Google.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a term bandied around and often daunts the lay-person. It is the process in which we optimize the quality and quantity of website content. And, at the same time, increasing the awareness of your brand through organic search engine results.
One common goal is to rank well in Google’s answer boxes. You can improve your chances of ranking here by writing your content to feature questions that your audience asks.
It is possible to gain high-rank results through SEO without quality content. But who would want that? Remember, you write content for your audience. If they trust your insights, they will come back for more.
Why Is SEO Important for a Digital Brand?
Most brands today are ‘digital brands’. Whether you sell software, clothes or bricks, your business must maximize its presence beyond its physical premises. And there is no better way than optimizing your brand through digital channels.
SEO is how you ensure that your brand is as high-up the Google, Bing and other search engine rankings as possible. And how you provide the best possible content for your audience to read, review and choose your business over its competitors.
Knowing your audience is half the battle. The clearer your understanding of your target audience, the better results you will find. Remember, readers read for information, not for you to affront them with excessive buzz words and rehashed ideas. This is where good copywriting comes into play.
Good SEO copywriting also provides an increase in site usability. By that we mean, navigating a site, where the content is successfully arranged and the method by which people search for you both externally and internally is the same. It always helps to be consistent. Like any content marketing strategy, knowing where you wish to end-up is often the easiest way to get there.
Examples of SEO Copywriting
There are many content management systems available. But most of you will be using and familiar to some extent with WordPress. This platform offers countless plugins and options for design and optimization of your website. But few businesses have time allocated to the research and implementation of such tools.
So, let us focus on some of the key elements to get you ranking. It’s important to base your copywriting process around these techniques.
SEO Titles and SEO Headings
Headings assist both search engines and your audience in a similar way to chapters in books. They signpost sections of the text that may be more relevant than others.
Headings can also be helpful for your readers that might have visual impairments. They allow such readers to see highlighted text and decide whether it is worth their time. Many digital reader devices allow for skipping through articles based on headers, titles and keywords. So signposting your content sections is worthwhile.
In the interest of variety and user-interest, headings should not be keyword heavy. Sure, you can and should use them, but not excessively. Synonyms are one option for varying your headers and always remember that content needs to be as natural as possible. No one likes to read dry and drab content for content’s sake.
Headers have 6 different levels within WordPress: <h1> to <h6>.
H1 is your heading/title on each page, similar to the name of a book or magazine.
On a category page, your H1 would be the name of that category. On a product page, it should be the product name.
H2 and H3 headings introduce different sections of your article – such as “First step in SEO optimization”, etc.
As you continue with your sections, you might wish to delve deeper into the nuisances of your subject matter and introduce sub-sections. Few blog posts go so far as to use H4 tags, but if it’s a long article and rather in-depth, it would benefit your niche reader.
What Is Microcopy?
Microcopy refers to the text that guides or instructs you to do something on a website, blog or app – like ‘Enter your details here’ or ‘Download now’. It can also be a mini CTA (call-to-action).
It is designed to engage users and direct them to functionality, a little like a tour guide leading and aiding users in their journey.
Most sites are succinct in their microcopy, hence the term and often humorous. Take for example 404 errors, where a page can’t be found.
There’s nothing wrong with adding a little smile behind your content.
The four steps to creating UX (User Experience) microcopy are as follows:
- Know your style/voice.
Your brand’s voice should be established, but if it isn’t, be aware of who your company is and how they sound and then, minimize for impact.
Brands that are successful in gaining and retaining users are often engaging, conversational and amusing.
- Be clear.
The reader rarely has time to read and review such micro-directions. Tell then what to do and ensure they feel confident in their choices.
- Help your user.
Provide a clear roadmap and if the user gets lost, have a prompt to get them back on track.
Additional SEO Copywriting Techniques
Signal words are those specific pieces of text that direct the reader, at a glance to the areas of the article they are searching for. Rating reasons to buy your product using signal words such as ‘primarily’, ‘firstly’ or ‘first thing’s first’ direct the eye and may, in fact provide the reader with the quick solution they’ve been searching for. You can also end your sections with signal words to clarify that your opinion on this matter is coming to a close.
Linking to previously published content on your site, that is relevant to your readers, shows that you can provide additional assistance and keeps their attention on your pages longer – increasing ‘on-page’ time and potential for brand affiliation ad ultimately sales.
Regularly writing and publishing optimized blog posts lets Google know that your website is active and worthwhile. Google crawls (reviews) sites regularly, and if you are less active, the chances of being crawled and ranked reduce.
How to Rank for the Answer Box
Firstly, why should you care about ranking in the ‘Answer Box’?
Well, the answer box is featured over and above all other results meaning, the chances your content will rank higher than others are huge!
And secondly (see what we’re doing here? – ‘Signal words’), digital assistants such as Alexa, Siri, and Cortana derive their voice search results from answer boxes – the ‘Answer Box’ is a wonderful way to get ahead of the voice search game.
So, that’s why, but what about the ‘how’?
- Identify and capitalize on keywords that already have answer boxes. If Google already believes these keywords are relevant, let’s make the most of it.
- It’s called an ‘Answer Box’ for a reason. Target questions to increase you chances of featuring first.
- Answer the question quickly. Succinct responses, 2-3 sentences at the most and Google will look to show you front and centre.
The benefits of creating brand-owned content are established and while you can write blog posts from now until the end of the internet, without properly optimizing your content, the chances of anyone seeing it are extremely low. With paid advertising, influencer marketing and other avenues of promotion, failing to fully ‘SEO’ your hard work is a mistake and one brands cannot afford.