How to write copy that’s friendly to users and search engines.
A website’s copy has a huge influence on where a site ranks in Google. The most strategically planned out and well built website could fall flat on it’s face if copy isn’t properly crafted and executed. With Google wanting valuable content, the role of web copy and SEO copywriting is becoming more apparent now than ever. If budget isn’t allocate to SEO copywritng or you don’t have a SEO copywriter on staff, you might feel compelled to take this task on yourself. However, this can be quite challenging as I’ve had some excellent writers deliver some really crappy “optimized” copy to myself.
If you are going to write web copy for SEO purposes, here are some copywriting tips:
It seems like a given but I’ve received SEO copy that didn’t contain any of the targeted keywords that we were trying to rank for. Granted the person writing this copy had little experience but a clear explanation and list of targeted keywords were provided for each page of the site. In general, I recommend that one keyword phrase represents one page on the website. This makes it clear to Google on what you are trying to rank for and will avoid confusion. The targeted keyword will need to get integrated into the content at least 2 to 3 times as long as it naturally fits the copy.
But Don’t Over Incorporate Keywords
As this is called “keyword stuffing.” As content gets crafted with keywords in mind a tendency may arise to over use a particular keyword. SEO copy should not sound repetitive or like a broken record. The content should read naturally to a human and if you have any doubts about your content, try reading it out loud to a coworker. In doing so, both of you will be able to hear any annoyances or repetition in the copy. Trying to force keywords into the copy can penalize the site and hurt rankings. This over optimization penalty can be seen in Google’s most recent Penguin Update.
Add Some Links
In the copy try to contain links to other pages on your website. Google likes this as it signals relevancy between a site’s content. On top of Google, users like links as well as they act as a signal for more information around the linked term(s). Links to external sites aren’t entirely necessary but offer a good way to reference information that you’ve discovered. Linking out to another website’s content might also spawn a reciprocal link back from them. With Google using links back to your site as a popularity measure, any effort towards gaining a quality backlink is a good move.
Don’t Forget About Page Descriptions and Page Titles
Yes, these elements fall within the copywriting spectrum and are very important to rankings. Most of the time these items are forgotten about as they aren’t found in the main content area of a website but they are found on a Google search results page. Page titles should be keyword rich and contain the site name as well as the page name and should be no longer than 70 characters. Page descriptions should be no longer than 160 characters and should be keyword rich and offer a brief description of the page’s content. Think of the page description and page title like writing copy for an ad as you have a very short time period to grab a user’s attention.
Don’t Ramble and Pontificate
Avoid long lengthy rambling dissertations and try to wrap up your content in about 500 – 750 words. A lot can get said in 500 words and it’s a good number to shoot for when you’re generating copy as this doesn’t look too daunting to a user. If you find that a page’s copy is running long you might need to break the content down into further sub-sections. Remember to stay focused and relative to your specified keywords. Running off on tangents that having nothing to do with the subject matter will just pollute your copy and confuse Google on what you are trying to rank for.
Well, there you have it, 5 sure fire tips that will help the SEO copywriting process.