January 2020 Update -
With content still being key in SEO copy, we're bringing this article back up the blog. The only slight alteration we'd make is to suggest a minimum of 500 words per content now. Google and the world of SEO is always changing. If you have any questions, be sure to get in touch for some industry expert advice.
We’ve all been there – staring at a blank Word document with no idea where to begin.
Writing for your website can be a real challenge. You know your business inside and out, but when it comes to putting pen to paper and thinking about what your potential customers want to read, suddenly you draw a blank.
It’s difficult enough trying to write copy that your end reader will find engaging and useful, but if you rely on Google for hits to your website, you’ve also got the added pressure of making sure your copy is well optimised with relevant keywords and phrases (without coming across spammy and sounding unnatural!).
So, how can you create content that fulfils both objectives? Content that ranks well with Google, while also persuading your potential customers to take action? That’s what SEO copywriting is all about, and in today’s post, we’ll be sharing some of our most valuable tips with you…
Produce great quality content
While Google’s algorithm is increasingly complex and uses hundreds of different factors and signals to rank a webpage, in recent years, quality of content has become one of its biggest considerations.
Google is on a mission to provide its users with the best possible search experience. This means only ever delivering search results that offer useful information and satisfy the searcher’s query.
For this reason, it’s vital to ensure that the content on your website is useful to the end user, or helps them to solve a problem they might have. To do that, you need to put yourself in their shoes and think about what they would expect to get from your home page, news article or product page. The more information you can provide the better – pages containing over 1000 words worth of high quality content will earn you some serious brownie points in Google, and will surely sit well with your readers, too.
Finally, and it should go without saying, it’s important to make sure your content is free from spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Not only are they annoying from an end user’s perspective, Google is not a fan. So, be sure to proof-read your work before it goes live, and if you find yourself going a bit snow-blind, have another pair of eyes check over it for you.
Make your content relevant
As with your webpage’s meta title and description tag, its on-page copy should be laden with relevant key words and phrases. This relies on you having done the appropriate keyword research and planning, and is massively important for optimising a webpage for search.
Page relevance is one of Google’s biggest ranking factors, and the best way to demonstrate that your webpage is relevant to a search is by ensuring it contains much of the same words and phrases. So, if you’ve written your web copy with no real consideration for the actual words that are being searched in relation to your products and services, you could be missing out on significant traffic.
It’s no use trying to guess your keywords, either. You’d be surprised to learn the difference between the way you describe your products and services and the way that your potential customers do.
Once you’ve done your keyword research (talk to us if you’re not sure what this entails) and know your most important words and phrases, start to work them into your copy wherever you can (headings, subheadings, paragraphs and calls to action). If possible, you definitely want to try and get your primary keyword into the page heading, as this lets Google know straight away what the rest of the page is all about.
This is where things can get complicated. You need to include your keywords wherever you possibly can, while also making sure that your content reads naturally. There’s no point trying to get onto Google’s first page if the content you’ve written is unlikely to convert. And more importantly, if Google finds you guilty of keyword stuffing, you could be penalised for trying to trick the system and banned from the search engine altogether.
We suggest that you aim for a keyword density of around 10% per page. If you find that your content is difficult to read, or you feel that it no longer makes sense, you’ve probably gone a bit overboard!
Unless you’re a professional copywriter, striking the right balance between keyword density and readability isn’t something you can expect to master overnight - it can be frustrating. But don’t worry if you can’t get it right straight away. Practice makes perfect! You’ll get the hang of it.
This comes back to our earlier point about providing your readers with good quality content. If you’re found guilty of repurposing someone else’s copy, Google is not likely to consider you a trusted information source. Instead, you might see a drop in your rankings, which has been the case for many website owners since 2011, when Google began penalising sites containing a high quantity of duplicate content.
Everything you publish online should be as unique as possible. Always cite any written material that you take from other sources – and make sure you’ve got permission to use it in the first place.
Google loves fresh content, so keep on top of making regular updates to your website. By gradually adding content, you can prove your reputation to Google as a trustworthy and up to date source of information.
Keep adding content!
The bigger your site, the better. More content means more information that Google can use when deciding if your website is relevant to a search query or not.
Make sure each page of content contains at least 350-400 words, and continue expanding your website by adding in new pages wherever possible. This might sound like a challenge, but it’s easier than you think. Here are a few tricks you can use to grow your website:
- Create an on-site blog – Blogging is a great way to expand the size of your website without making any changes to its core pages, and allows you to add a little personality to your brand. Gradually build your blog by uploading one 350-400 word post each week, and before you know it you’ll be the proud owner of an extremely targeted and useful information resource that your consumers (and Google) will love.
- Add testimonials and case studies – Not only is this a great way to add more information to your website, it can also have a positive impact on conversion rates. In one study, adding testimonials to the top of a website’s homepage increased conversions by 34%.
- Publish news articles – Let your customers know what you’ve been up to, for example that you’ve just employed a new member of staff, or that you’re sponsoring a local charity event.
- Add FAQs – Think about the questions your customers are constantly asking you, and provide answers to them on your website. Not only will this help to expand your site, hopefully it will mean you can stop repeating yourself!
- Create how to guides – Make it easy for your customers to use your products and services, and they’ll come back to you again and again.
- Publish monthly newsletters – if you send out a monthly newsletter, why not publish it on your website? Repurposing content from an email doesn’t count as duplicate content, and it could help you to capture more sign-ups.
- Add a forum – Let your customers do the work for you by adding a forum to your website. By monitoring the conversations, you could even pick up ideas for new business opportunities.