Unlike SEO writers who can stuff keywords in a copy, writing for search engines is not something that I am comfortable with. I enjoy when I can craft my words keeping an audience in mind. But this does not make on-page search optimization and use of keywords any less important for online copywriting.
Behind every successful man is a woman. Behind every successful website is an SEO writer.
The above statement will be an exagerration if your concept of an SEO writer is a person who can write about just anything under the sun as soon as you provide the keywords. My personal experience with SEO writers has been terrible. They provide you copies that exist just for search engines. What good is a content that doesn’t help the reader?
Keywords alone cannot take your site on the top slot on a search result page. You need to have our site optimized by including a user-friendly design and good navigation. You occasionally find websites ranking high on search pages which have weak content and/or aren’t trusted. But these site are unlikely to hold that position for long.
Before we start talking about SEO copywriting and optimization of our content, we need to tell ourselves that our ultimate goal is to entertain, inform or educate our readers. SEO is just an aid for getting our content to more readers.
Two years ago, I wasn’t bothered about SEO copywriting. I knew that on-site optimization using the right keywords is important for getting search engine traffic, but I failed to realize that there is no other way. I kept on blogging and writing content as if I was writing for the print medium (which is my fulltime profession). The number of backlinks (including those from top blogs) were enough to corrobate the fact that the content that I was providing on my blog was good and useful. After a year or even earlier, Google ranked my blog 4 (Page Rank), which is pretty good for a new blog. Did I manage to taste success? No. I hadn’t bothered to optimize the content for search engines. So there was very low traffic to the blog. Ultimately, I sold off the blog for $1,100.
Was it the right decision to sell a blog that had been able to get a decent ranking and trust fom search engines and readers? Do you think I should have worked on improving the traffic? Under most circumstances, the choice is obvious. (I sold the blog because I had lost interest in it and wanted to start afresh. Also, I wasn’t very confident about the domain name after some time. I guess that justifies my decision to dispose of that blog.)
Content is king, but it needs ministers (backlinks) and an army (of keywords) to actually rule the Web.
If you have some unique content that readers enjoy, you just need to make is more easy to spot for search engines by optimizing it through SEO copywriting. This article is designed to provide you a quick idea of how to tell search engines that you have what its users are looking for. That’s what SEO really is.
Five vital SEO copywriting elements
Before we get into this, let me tell you that it is not necessary to optimize each and every article for building an authority site. You should forget about keywords for some articles. Write these articles to get people read and link to your blog to build the trust of the domain. This will make your job a lot easier when you want to rank high for some keywords.
However, if your’s is a news site, it will not be possible to optimize articles later. So optimize your articles for SEO as much as possible before publishing.
When you are optimizing an article for SEO, you need to include the target keyword in the title of your content. It is generally accepted that the closer to the front of the title your keywords are, the better.
You can have two separate titles—one which is visible to your readers and the other for the search engines like Google and Yahoo. You can use SEO plugins like WordPress SEO Plugin or All in One SEO plugin for WordPress to have an alternative title in the title tag (the snippet of the code which search engines pull the title from).
The emphasis on keywords in the title makes practical sense from a search engine standpoint. Title is the first thing that a prospectve visitor will see in search results. When people search for something, they would like to see the same keywords in the results.
You should keep the length of your title under 72 characters to ensure the full title is visible in a search result. It will increase the click-through rate. An incomplete headline may not have a very good impression on the user.
2. Meta Description
SEO copywriting involves making your content more presentable in a search engine. Generally, the meta description of your content is used as the description for the search result below the title. After the reader is satisfied with a title, he will look at this small sample of the content. This sample content plays a significant role in whether or not you get the click.
Though the influence of keywords in the meta description on the search ranking of the content is debated, you should try to use them. Begin the meta description with the keyword phrase and summarize the page. Make it a pitch to reassure the searcher that your content is what they are looking for.
Keep the meta description under 160 characters so that the full description is visible in the search result. Again, you can use SEO plugins to create a meta description in WordPress.
For SEO, the content should be strictly focused on the topic and centered on the subject matter of the keyword phrases.
It is generally accepted that a very small article may have a tough time competing with a page with more substantial content. Try to have at least 300 words in your articles.
Making the the first instance of a keyword phrase bold is also considered to help in improving rank.
4. Keyword Frequency
Keyword frequency is the number of times your targeted keywords appear in the content. Keyword density is the ratio of those keywords to the rest of the words in the content.
It’s generally accepted that keyword frequency affects ranking. Keyword density likely does not. But to make sense of an appropriate keyword frequency, you need to know the ratio of those keywords to the rest of the content. So keyword density is still a yardstick.
A keyword density greater than 5.5% could charge you guilty of spamming by stuffing keywords in the content, and your page may get penalized by Google.
5. Page Links
Links are the fundamental basis of the web. Search engines want to know that you are well “connected” with other pages and the web. Most people lay emphasis on getting backlinks with desired keywords as the anchor text. But outbound links to other pages also matter when it comes to search engine optimization.
Here are some generally accepted best practices for outbound linking:
- Link to relevant content fairly early in the content
- Link to relevant pages approximately every 120 words of content
- Link to relevant pages of your site or other sites
- Link with relevant anchor text
Again, these are just guidelines. Focus on the intent behind what search engines are looking for—relevant and quality search results that people find useful.
There are other on-page elements as well, such as URL structure, keywords in image alt files, tags and categories. However, these are secondary in nature. Adhering to the above five elements is the most important thing that SEO copywriter should focus on.