Effective SEO copy is more than just the requisite percentage of carefully chosen keywords. The keywords boost the search engine rankings, but that is all they do.
To actually get the people who find the site to read it and make the leap to purchase, join or sign up for something, a website needs interesting and informative content.
To create compelling content that ranks well, it is important to understand the basics of great SEO copywriting.
How Copy Functions
To the search engines the content on the page is just a bunch of words. Without making this too complex, the engines analyse the words in an attempt to determine what each page is about.
If the web page covers too many different topics then it makes it difficult for the engines to determine which topic is prominent and deserves ranking. It creates a dilution of focus.
The search engines are just that – engines. They are not real people.
They analyse the page to see what it is about and determine its ranking within that topic. So the copy must be focused on a single topic or the search engine won’t be able to tell what it is about and how to rank it.
Keyword stuffing – the practice of simply putting a keyword or phrase into the text as much as possible with no regard for the quality of the content – will be detected by the search engines, and this will hurt the ranking.
But if the keyword or phrase isn’t used enough it won’t be picked up by the analytics, which is also bad news for the ranking.
Great Copywriting Is Good Writing
It is easy to lose sight of the basics when preoccupied with SEO analytics, but the basics of great copywriting are the same as they are for good writing in general.
Great SEO copywriting grabs the reader’s attention and holds it. It provides useful information in an engaging way. To sell, copywriting must point out a need the reader has and detail how the product or service will meet the need.
This holds true for any form of copywriting, whether it is for a blog, a website homepage, an article or a product listing.
Powerful copywriting should do four things.
Getting millions of page views means nothing if people click away immediately.
Understand the Reader’s Needs
People purchase things to meet their needs, and content is what explains how a product or service will meet a need.
The key is to demonstrate that the business understands and appreciates the specific need.
Pose a Question
Don’t just provide the answer – pose the question.
Asking a question about the need engages readers and gets them thinking.
Provide Useful Information
Make it worth the readers’ while to read the content by giving them information they can use whether or not they go on to make a purchase.
Explain how the product or service will meet the need, but also offer information that demonstrates some expertise in the area.
Four Tips for Great SEO Content
Striking the right balance between ranking high on the search engines and appealing to actual humans is not always easy.
These four tips will help.
1. People come first
The search engines are trying to meet the needs of real people, so content that appeals to people will generally appeal to search engines.
The reverse is not true!
2. Use key phrases, not just keywords
Again, think about the people.
People search with phrases, not single words, so the content should use the right key phrases.
3. Quality outranks key phrases
If a phrase is awkward, try using it as a subhead.
The writing should be natural and flow well.
4. Rely on words, not graphics
Everyone likes a page that looks good, everyone but the search engines that is. They don’t care, but they will be confused by text in graphics.
Keep them separate to rank higher.
Remember, too, that more and more people are looking at websites on smart phones and other small devices.
Focus on the quality of the copywriting, and the search engines will follow.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this, please let me know what you think in the comments below or if there is any techniques that have worked for you in the past.