Written by Copycat Staff
May 28th, 2020
Written by Copycat Staff
It’s 3am and you can’t sleep. You just finished reading Fight Club, and now you’re wondering if your life is going to descend into anarchy, and at what point does the voice inside your head make you crazy.
Like right now.
You’re listening to a voice inside your head read these words. Is that your voice? Is this normal? Also… do you need to learn how to fight?
Maybe it’s best you turn your attention elsewhere. How about learning SEO copywriting best practices? It’s okay. Copycat will help take your mind off this.
I Am Jack’s Reassuring Hand.
Never talk about SEO copywriting rules.
You do not. Talk. About. SEO Copywriting rules.
Seriously, there are no rules. There would be rules if marketers had access to Google’s search ranking algorithm, but they don’t. Google doesn’t release that information.
Instead, marketers have “best practices” when it comes to SEO content writing. Guidelines that arise from lots of testing, trial and error, and keeping up with the changes that Google does announce.
And that’s what we’re here to discuss.
(Aka skip to Part 3 if you just want a quick list of best practices—oh, don’t we know our audience?)
Let’s break down the words: Search Engine Optimization.
You’re optimizing (improving, designing, streamlining) your content so that search engines (Google, Bing, Duckduckgo) place your web page in the top ranks of the search query, thus in front of people.
To do this, you have to appease two groups:
For Google (or any search engine) to know what a web page or website is about and what search queries are relevant to it, they have “spiders” crawl a page and index it. The spiders scan the written content and create maps of relevant keywords, phrases, and their context to string together the purpose of a given web page. When a user searches something on Google, the search engine will pull up the most relevant pages.
This is why you’ll need to understand the technical aspect of modern SEO, including:
These (and more) will be discussed in length in Part 2: Practice.
As a company made up primarily of cats, we understand the necessity of humans. Scratching that one spot behind the neck, food, and unwanted-but-accepted affection, to name a few.
The few non-feline team members also seem to understand the necessity of humans. Without a readership, someone to read your content about mufflers, FinTech services, surfboards for dogs—whatever it is—all your SEO writing practices will fall flat.
What you need is good copywriting.
This isn’t just the desperation of a writer hopeful hoping to have a job, either. “Human factors” are inscribed into the SEO algorithm. You may have heard of these:
Putting these together (among others), Google understands how Readers interact with your content. Are they taking one look and “noping” right out of the page? Are they engaged, scrolling from top to bottom, and then clicking through links to other pages on the site?
If the former is true, Google is going to realize that your content is not what people are looking for and push your rank down.
If the latter is true, Google is going to notice that you are producing compelling content and push it up. Continue to do this, and you’ll start to build some authority in the space in the form of page authority and, even better, domain authority.
Again, these will be discussed in Part 2: Practice.
They say that left-brained individuals are statistical, systematic, and data-oriented, while right-brain dominant individuals are more creative and intuitive. While it looks like this proverbial “they” in “they say” got it wrong, it’s still useful for an analogy about SEO content. Thus, we’ll use it.
See, SEO copywriting best practices use the best of both types of writing. It’s a few teaspoons of methodical, mixed with a helping of creative to bake the perfect content cake—and everybody loves cake.
Even robotic spiders.
Data-sucking octo-bots (like the ones that crawl websites) love spinning a geometrically pristine web between search queries and relevant search results. To communicate with them, ensure each of your web pages have…
Hold on, I’m going to copy and paste the list we made earlier:
There we go.
The simplest way to think about “keywords” is to equate them with what search engine users are searching for. In other words, if there is a specific keyword that people are using to search for a given topic, you can use it as your primary keyword in your writing to improve your SEO copy.
If you wanted to find a good mouse, you might search “Best computer mouse” or even “Who makes the best wireless mouse for tablets.” To find this page, you might’ve searched “SEO copywriting best practices” or “SEO copywriting checklist.”
For marketers, keywords are separated into one of two categories:
When you’re new to a space (i.e., you haven’t established domain or page authority), you’ll find it hard to rank for short-tail keywords. The SEO market is flooded with short-tail, and in the shoe examples above, you’d be competing against Nike, Adidas, etc. Long-tail keywords have less competition in the top results but are less frequently searched.
Long-Tail Bonus Tip: Long-tail keywords are highly specific, which means that when a User searches that keyword phrase, they know what they want. Should your product rank high for long-tail keywords, you’re more likely to be their answer and convert a sale.
To find what relevant keywords to rank for, you can use platforms like SEMRush or Google Analytics. Performing this keyword research is a vital component of creating SEO-friendly content.
For a full comprehensive SEO strategy, you’ll need to optimize these keywords across multiple different search engines. For smaller teams, focusing your efforts on Google will return 90% of market share.
When you look on a Google search results page, you’ll see the title of the page and then a quick description below. These are your Title Tag and Meta Description and they’re an important SEO strategy.
Ensure that your title tag and meta description are not cut off. Do your own Google search and look at from a User’s perspective. If it is cut off, rewrite to fit.
There are three types of linking to be aware of for SEO optimization:
Consider your industry when thinking about each of these types of linking. While it’s not one-to-one, here’s a good rule of thumb: external for thought leadership, internal for sales funnel, backlinks for everyone.
Remember, spiders aren’t the only ones you’re trying to please. There’s also the audience with one-fourth of the legs: bipedal, cat-scratchin’ humans.
This part of SEO is a lot more fun to consider—if you enjoy dealing in the creative, that is. The human factors mentioned earlier will greatly influence your website content… which, those are… hold on… copying… and… pasting… now:
“Click-throughs” are when someone accesses your page and then clicks on a link you have embedded to dive deeper into your website content. This tells the search engine that the information provided to the Reader was correct, and that the website was what the Reader was looking for when they typed in their search.
Google rewards you with a higher rank.
To gain click-throughs, you need your Reader to trust you and enjoy what you’re writing. To do this, as a content writer, you must swear an oath to high-quality content. Quality content is:
Build trust with quality, compelling content and your brand (and SEO ranking) will be rewarded.
“Bounces” are when someone clicks on your title tag and then after a few seconds closes the tab or goes back to the search engine page. This tells the search engine that the information was not what the Reader was looking for.
Google demotes your search rank for that keyword.
To avoid this, give your Readers what they want, and don’t make them work for it.
Burying the lede is when you intentionally funnel a Reader down the page by hiding the answer to their question deep in the article, while continually hyping up the answer. It’s frustrating as a Reader.
You might be tempted to bury the lede, considering it’s been shown to double sales and convert as much as 16% of COLD traffic.
But if you do decide to use this tactic, there’s one crucial piece you have to integrate into your content writing.
If you do this ONE thing right, you’ll enjoy double the sale.
Don’t believe it? Here’s how it’s done.
…see what’s happening?
Don’t you hate articles that read like this? Or maybe you’re a masochist who loves them. Either way, they existed for a reason—they were effective. Now, Readers are attuned to this and they’ll lose interest like that* (I snapped my fingers, but you couldn’t see).
By the way, those stats were made up.
Take this article’s structure as an example. While yes, the checklist of SEO content writing tips is technically in part 3, it’s not burying the lede for two reasons.
One, the full article is “SEO Copywriting Best Practices: Everything You Need to Know.” This means beyond the practice, you’re also going to learn the theory behind it. This isn’t meant to be a sugary snack; it’s meant to be a comprehensive meal.
Two, right in the beginning, the entire article was outlined. If all you wanted was an SEO copywriting checklist, it was stated that you should skip to Part 3. It’s the opposite of burying; it’s honest content.
And that’s the point.
“Dwell time” tells the search engine how engaged the Reader is when on your site (i.e., how long they dwelled). If a user clicks on the rank 1 article and after 30 seconds returns (bounces) to the search result page and clicks on rank 2 article and reads for 5 minutes, this is going to positively boost rank 2’s article.
One way to keep Readers on your page? Write to them, for them.
You wouldn’t speak to your parents how you would to your children or friends. You cater your language, your topic of conversation, and even your mannerisms to match your recipient.
Do the same for your SEO content. Know who you’re targeting; know their interests, wants, needs. Write to those interests; write for their wants and needs.
Know whom you’re speaking to, give them what they searched for, and do so in a professional, honest manner. This is how you appeal to people when writing content.
SEO copywriting is both yin and yang. It’s part form, part function. Part technical, part creative. You must appease the 8-legged robots and the 2-legged cat lovers.
So, ready for your SEO copywriting cheat sheet? Great.
These SEO copywriting tips are not dissimilar to the fundamentals every content writer understands. In some capacity, it’s the form and function of narrative. It’s the same building blocks that keep you up at 3am, unable to put down the last chapter despite it completely messing with your head.
Reading a good book—one that takes you on a breathtaking, sleep-robbing journey late into the night—is a reminder of something buried deep within ourselves. The want, or even need, of a narrative. The power of story is something discussed between writers. It’s the well from which we draw our strength.
It’s the God behind the craft of Writing. Always driving writers to mastery. Or to madness.
This doesn’t disappear in content marketing—narrative, that is. Though it can sometimes hide amongst the weeds of search engine optimization, it’s always there. Because everyone…
I mean everyone…
Needs a good story.
For that, there’s Copycat Copywriters.