SEO copywriting refers to the art of writing copy that ranks well in search. It is relatively easy to do (if you have some experience), and it’s an excellent way to gain valuable web traffic without spending thousands of dollars on paid advertising.
But it’s not all about rankings and traffic. Writing search engine optimized content is also about engaging readers, building authority, and selling products. After all, what is the point of getting prospects to pages that do not serve a purpose?
To help you please both your readers and the search engines, we’ve compiled a list of 35 of the best SEO copywriting tips for rocking content, all of which are based on actual experience. We have also included a number of resources for writers and marketers.
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1. Know Your Audience
Knowing whom you are writing for is one of the best and most important copywriting tips anyone can give you. Your content can never really rank or sell if it doesn’t appeal to a particular audience/consumer. Do your homework. It will pay off.
2. Craft Magnetic Headlines
An irresistible, well-thought-out headline gets your article read (c-r-i-t-i-c-a-l) and sets the tone for your content. It’s also what makes an outstanding first impression. Throw some effective SEO into the mix, and BOOM… your content rocks, rolls, and ranks!
3. Number-Drop for Clicks
Really want people to read your articles? Use numbers in your headlines! Studies show that headlines with numbers (especially odd numbers) get more clicks. It’s psychological; our brains love lists. In addition, they promise something specific and suggest readability.
4. Try Headline Formulas
Save time and still get clicks. Some of the best, most compelling copy titles are just modifications of old SEO copywriting headline formulas, so don’t hesitate to take advantage. Here are 102 good ones that others have used with great success.
5. Use Subheads
A catchy headline reels readers in, but how do you get them to continue reading? Use subheads. Subheadings (header tags – h2, h3, etc.) make your articles ‘skimmable’ and guide readers through the text. They also describe your content to search engines.
6. Choose a Good Font
The right font (and font size) can make your copy easier to read and visually more interesting, increasing engagement. This is why copywriters and blog writers pay so much attention to copy cosmetics. Some fonts are also more ‘web-safe’ than others.
7. Check Your Case
Writing headings and subheadings in Title Case has become the norm, especially in blogging, but it may not suit every blog or purpose. Sentence case may be more suitable in some situations. Whichever case you choose, be sure to use it correctly and consistently.
8. Work in Bolds and Italics
Whether or not using bold and italics is a good SEO content strategy is anyone’s guess, but making certain words and phrases stand out can definitely enhance readability. The more digestible your text is, the more people will read your articles.
9. Write More Content
Does longer content rank better in search? It sure does. Look at these studies by serpiq, seomoz, and quicksprout. Longer posts (1,500 words +) also enable you to provide more value for readers, which helps you establish authority and expertise.
10. Shorten Paragraphs
While longer blog posts and articles generally outperform shorter ones, longer paragraphs do not. Chunky blocks of text just bore and intimidate readers – not what you want. For best results, it is best to keep paragraphs short (2-4 sentences).
11. Don’t Dock Long Tails
Ranking for terms with high search volumes can be tough, especially if your website is new. This is where long-tail keywords come to the rescue. By refining your keywords, you can minimize your competition drastically, as well as boost traffic and conversions.
12. Give Them Answers
Another way to take advantage of the long tail. When people have questions, they type them into Google. That is why Hummingbird came about. When you answer those questions insightfully and credibly as a content writer, your copy ranks, engages, and sells.
13. Power up Your Words
Great copywriters know the importance of using “power words” during content creation – they evoke emotion. Once you hit those emotional chords, you connect with and influence the reader. Additionally, power words tend to compliment keywords nicely.
14. Get Voice Active
Most content writers agree that using passive voice is one of several deadly copywriting sins; it makes your copy wordy and dilutes your message. Active voice, on the other hand, is direct, crisp, and energetic, which makes for persuasive writing.
15. Forget Keyword Density
Keyword density is a tireless SEO myth. While it is important to include strong keywords in your content and not “over-optimize,” there is nothing indicating that search engines favor a particular density. Who wants to read keyword-stuffed mumbo jumbo, anyway?
16. Speak LSI
Rather than focusing on keyword density, you may want to pay more attention to LSI. Using related keywords, synonyms, and grammatical variations not only improves your chances of ranking in the SERPs, but it also prevents redundancy in your copy.
17. Talk Your Reader’s Language
Do you talk like your readers? With blog writing, for example, it is best to adopt a conversational tone, using words and phrases that resonate with the target audience. As your readership grows, search engines will pick up on it, too.
18. Keep It Fresh
Updating your content regularly is important, for search engines and readers. Search engines favor posts that are more recent and relevant because that is what their users want. Your readers and prospects want the same thing – accurate, up-to-date info.
19. Cover Trending Topics
Since we are on the topic of freshness… Covering hot new topics and industry news is an excellent way to get to the top of the SERPs fast. Everybody wants to know the latest and greatest. You could even go the curated content route – but tread carefully.
20. Write Meta Descriptions
A lot of us ignore them because they take time to write. Nevertheless, good SEO copywriting is almost pointless without attention-grabbing Meta descriptions. They directly affect how much traffic a web page receives from a given search result.
21. Add Pics for More Clicks
Seeing that articles with photos, infographics, and other visuals get up to 94% more views, it’s safe to say that not including visuals is a colossal mistake. They also hold some weight in terms of search engine optimization – if you optimize them correctly.
22. Try Video
Videos don’t work for everyone, and some marketers argue that they do very little to help SEO. Yet, they can be an excellent way to boost engagement, sales, and conversion rates. There are pros and cons to using video. It’s worth looking into.
23. Link Out
Links to relevant resources and references in the body of your copy can support key points and provide more value for readers. What's more, search engines view websites with outbound links to trusted blogs and sites as more valuable.
24. Link In
Linking internally is equally important. As in, interlinking the pages on your own website. Why do this? Because, like linking out, it adds value and improves user experience. Your internal link structure also affects the ‘crawlability’ of your site in search.
25. Give Credit (The Right Way)
Sharing information is what the Internet is all about. But do it incorrectly and you could start receiving threatening letters from webmasters and their lawyers. Plus, it can lead to search engine penalties. Learn how to cite authors and blog writers correctly.
26. Be Unique
Plagiarism is another thing that gets content penalized. Not to mention that people don’t want to read regurgitated text. Be unique and original. Use plagiarism checkers to avoid unintentional duplication. Remember, “research” doesn’t mean stealing.
27. Utilize Writing Tools
Why work harder than you have to? There are tons of handy tools online to help with your SEO copywriting, and most of them are free. All it takes to find them is a quick Google search. Here are 9 tools no online writer should be without.
28. Utilize SEO Tools
Likewise, many free search engine optimization tools and resources on the Internet can help copywriters with their content marketing. Here is a comprehensive list of the best SEO tools by Moz content astronaut Cyrus Shepard.
29. Make the Most of MS Word
Did you know that Word has a “Find” feature that can help you spot overused words, or that there is a text to speech feature that can read text aloud? Here are a few MS Word tips and tricks to get you started, but you may want to play around and see what it can do.
You can write content that sings and dances, but one mistake and the grammar cops are all over you. Errors kill your credibility. Word processors don’t catch everything and people slip up. Ask a friend to proofread for you, or hire a freelance writer.
31. Monitor Metrics
Tracking things like page views, bounce rate, and SEO, as well as likes and shares, can give you a sense of how well people and search engines receive your content. This can give you the insights needed to refine and replicate it. Check out these web analytics tools.
32. Keep a Swipe File
Every serious writer should keep a “swipe file,” a collection of SEO copywriting templates, ideas, tools, and references, even keywords – anything that inspires you and helps you be more productive. It saves time and makes it easier to produce rocking content.
33. Remember the Call-to-Action
What is professional copywriting without an enticing call to action? It’s how you get your readers do what you want them to do, which is usually the purpose of the copy. Many strong, high-traffic keywords make great call to actions. Win win.
34. Buy Blog Posts
Let’s face it: not everybody is a writer. Even if you are, you may not have the time or desire. This is where a copywriting service can come in handy. A good blogging service or copywriting agency can handle the article writing and website copywriting for you.
35. Inbound Marketing Is the New SEO
How do you really get your SEO content to rock? You promote it! Get people to it. Ask people to read it. Encourage them to share it. Once search engines notice the increased activity, they will usually reward your efforts. The result is more sales.
Your turn. Did you find these copywriting tips helpful? Have we left anything out? Please share in the comments section below.