5 must-do’s for effective SEO copywriting

August 17, 2015 | Basic SEO

The era of the Inbound Marketing requires copywriters to widen their set of skills. An interesting and useful copy is no longer enough.

If your content is not visible in search results and doesn’t drive enough traffic… Alas! Your copywriting efforts don’t pay off.

SEO copywriting is an indispensable skill for pleasing both people and search engine bots. In this post, we will cover five elements which are indispensable for a successful SEO copywriter, but which are often overlooked. Read on, and you’ll find an answer to the following question:

Which principles should SEO copywriters never neglect?

1. Align your SEO copywriting efforts with the conversion funnel

Conversion Funnel

Each piece of content should have a goal. As an SEO copywriter, you should always keep in mind what you are trying to get with your copy: to educate prospects, to let them download something, to make them subscribe to newsletters, to get a trial, or to let them buy a product.

To set a goal, you should first understand at which stage of the conversion funnel your content works. Conversion funnels can differ slightly depending on the type of business. A typical conversion funnel includes the following stages:

Awareness. At this stage, your potential customers are trying to find answers to their questions and needs and you are trying to solve their queries by bringing them to your website. Educational articles, valuable tips, or infographics are content types that will help you attract visitors.

Consideration. Once the visitors have come to your website, they then try to figure out how your product can help them solve their problems. And your ultimate goal is to convert them into leads. To get their contact information, you can craft whitepapers, case studies, e-books, etc. that can be downloaded in exchange to visitors’ names, email addresses, and phone numbers.

Purchase. At this stage, leads want to understand why your product or solution is better than others. To persuade them, you will need to deliver comparison datasheets, success stories, and performance reports. If your content was persuasive enough and your product or services match with your leads’ needs, they purchase and become customers.

Loyalty. Since we are often focused on attracting new customers, the loyalty stage might be neglected. Best practice guides, analyst reports, tutorials and other valuable materials can help you retain customers and improve their experience. If they are happy with your services and post-sale activities, you can expect good reviews and a positive attitude towards your brand.

Once you realize where in the conversion funnel your content is, you’ll be able to customize your message, apply adequate calls-to-action, and target better.

2. Identify your SEO keywords

KeywordsConverting visitors of your website to customers is only possible by targeting the right visitors. The right audience can be reached out with the right keywords.

An SEO copywriter should know which search queries potential customers are using to find answers to their questions, and wisely incorporate them into content.

You can get a list of keywords at your SEO department or use different keyword suggestion tools to build up your own list as well as widen an existing one.

Depending on prospects’ readiness to acquire your product or solution, keywords that they type into the Google’s or other search engines’ search bar may differ. For your convenience, you can group keywords by conversion funnel stages.

3. Support SEO with titles and meta tags

Title

Even if the URL of your website is among top search results, it doesn’t always guarantee high click-through-rates. To get desirable clicks, you should care about what your prospects see in SERPs.

Firstly, users see the title of an article. Make sure your titles are concise and compelling, and include the relevant keywords. You write the title, which appears in search results, within the <title> tag.

Keep your title tag under 55 character so that it is not cut and displays correctly in search results.
Don’t confuse the title of an article in SERPs with the title that appears on a landing page. The last one is written within the H1 tag and should contain text that is different from the title tag’s one. Duplicate text within h1 and title tags is a lost opportunity for using more SEO keywords.

As an SEO copywriter, you should also care about meta descriptions (up to 155 characters). Meta description tags should be unique, and include main keywords that a particular piece of content is targeting. They can form rich snippets in SERPs, and can dramatically increase click-through-rates.

Normally, Content Management Systems allow to edit these tags. If it is not the case for your CMS, contact your webmaster to get the access, or to install a required module. If you don’t add content by yourself, make sure your content integrators are filling out title and meta tags appropriately.

4. Structure your content

Structure your contentNobody reads online! This is a sad truth modern copywriters have to accept, and make their content well-structured and scannable.

To let your readers skim your content, and help search engine bots understand it easier, you should:

  • Organize headings and subheadings with H1, H2, H3 tags
  • Avoid multiple H1 tags, and assign a unique H1 tag to each webpage
  • Include relevant keywords into headings and subheadings
  • Use ordered or unordered lists
  • Break your text into short sentences and paragraphs.

Charts, visuals, quotes are also effective for optimizing readability and scannability.

5. Monitor your SEO copywriting success

To estimate your content’ SEO worthiness, you should answer these simple questions:

Do prospects come to my content?

Such metrics as views and unique views in Google Analytics will help to see how popular a piece of content is.

Where in search results does my content appear?

If there are not too many views, it might be happening because your webpages are not ranking high enough to grab visitors’ attention. There are different rank trackers which allow you to see which position your webpages are getting with a particular keyword.

One of my favourite tools is the SEMrush Position Tracking tool, which allows you to track any domain, URL or subfolder for any keyword for any location, and get daily updates.

Ranking Overview

I’ve also discovered RankWatch, which allows you to get keyword rankings for multiple search engines, Google, Google Locals, Yahoo, Bing and Baidu. The hidden opportunity feature shows you search queries for which your website has already been ranking well. Therefore, you can concentrate your SEO copywriting efforts on these keywords, and quickly enforce your content’s visibility.

RankWatch

Do users like my content?

To understand it, look at Google Analytics metrics such as bounce rate, exit rate, and average time on page. Checking backlinks is also important to see whether your content gains online authority.

Nowadays, social shares are also playing a huge role in content trustfulness. To evaluate your content’s visibility, check out the Buzzsumo tool, which shows he list of your website’s most shared posts.

BuzzSumo

With the ClickTale software, you can observe how your visitors interact with your content and whether there is something that blocks them.

Sometimes, it is not only about content but also about layout of a page and a website’s easiness-of-use. If you see some major issues, you’d better report to the UX team.

HeatMap

Does my content convert?

With GA metrics, you can also see whether or not users purchase after interacting with your content. Look at transactions, or track such events as clicks at the download button, filling out the contact forms, visiting the Price page, etc.

How long is my content alive?

Estimating your content longevity will help you to understand how your efforts pay off. With GA, you can see how long users continue coming to a page, and whether traffic has been dropping after a while or still growing. Therefore, you can see what works best, and create more content that your prospects or customers may like.

So here were some principles that go along with SEO copywriting. Of course, there are more tips for ensuring your content’s success. What are your must-do’s in SEO copywriting? Share them in the comments!

 

Share Your Thoughts

Share Your Thoughts

4 Comments

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  1. Elena, I must say, this has been a really valuable article! I particularly like the part where you address the issue of tailoring your copywrite according to the conversion funnel stage you are at.

    Would you be able to give me an example of a copy/keywords retargeted towards a different audience according to the funnel?

  2. Great work, Elena! This was a very informative article. Analyzing how visitors interact with content is something we haven’t done yet but I believe this a very important piece of the puzzle if you want to know what is the reason behind those bounce rates. For our copywriting we are trying to use “power words” to evoke emotions from readers and connect with them in a better way. Do you use them in your practice?

    1. John, used a heatmap software to analyze my page. It turned out that one of my paragraphs was too long and it was turning visitors off. After that I broke it down and added some images in between which really improved the readability. So yeah I would suggest definitely try some of these tools! Powerful insights!

  3. Hi Elena, really good info. I use BuzzSumo and find it particularly useful for gauging social shares. Incidentally, our organisation has developed a startup (Decibel Insight) which is an enterprise led behavioral insights tool, providing heatmaps, visitor replays etc. Feel free to give it a whirl 🙂

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