Both for brands that want to gain exposure and for marketing writers who want their work to be read, implementing SEO-supporting tactics into a business’s content-writing efforts is critical. But it can be challenging to do it well, as SEO copywriting is something of an art. Not only will overly keyword-stuffed content fail to achieve high rankings from search engines, it will also fail to engage any readers unfortunate enough to stumble across it — and it’s highly unlikely to keep them around for long at all.
So just how can a copywriter create the perfect blend of engaging content and search engine-friendly writing? Consider these eight SEO content-writing tips from the marketing copywriters at Brandon for crafting copy that can both appeal to readers and boost a business’s rankings with search engines:
1. First and foremost, serve your audience
While ranking well with search engines is an obvious goal for nearly all brands, the primary purpose for a business’s written content should be to provide value to the reader and convey the brand’s expertise on the topic at hand. Work to ensure that your content is genuinely interesting and of value to your target market and delivers useful, high-quality information to the reader. While the occasional sales pitch is acceptable and even expected, refrain from making all or even most of your content about your brand’s product or service. Instead, discuss topics that are of interest in your line of work and demonstrate your brand’s high level of industry knowledge.
2. … and answer consumers’ search intent
Further, make sure that the content you create and publish provides the answers that readers are looking for when they search for it. When consumers perform a search using Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other search engine, they’re looking for answers. And especially when it comes to new visitors to your site, your content should provide them clearly and quickly. So whatever your blog article or other piece of content professes to be about, ensure that it answers the most common consumer questions on the topic, preferably toward the beginning of the copy.
3. Master the meta description and title
When it comes to brand exposure, landing high on the search engine results page (SERP) is just half the battle — you also want to attract consumers to your website. And to do so, your meta title tag and meta description are key. The former contains the copy that will appear in the snippet on the SERP page, while the latter contains the text that appears under the SERP title. Each provides the perfect (and often only) opportunity you’ll have to earn the click-through. Make sure that both your meta title tag and meta description contain the keyword you’re targeting. Further, ensure that the meta description accurately describes the content that appears on your page — and does so quickly, as the copy is usually truncated on the SERP page.
4. Ensure strong keyword research
Your content’s primary keyword should reflect the main focus of your article — and obviously, the most popular keywords will bring the highest levels of search competition. From there, choosing and incorporating additional keywords that both support your main keyword and reflect the topics you cover in your content can help you stand out for specific search queries. Using keyword-research tools such as Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool, Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer and Google’s Keyword Planner can help you identify the short- and long-tail keywords that are likely to bring in the traffic that’s looking for the answers you’re providing.
5. … and optimal keyword density
While incorporating your selected keywords is a must, overusing them can make your content seem spammy — resulting in a lower SERP ranking and a disservice to your readers. Instead, incorporate your keywords naturally, mentioning them when it makes sense to do so, and without stuffing them into your copy.
6. Avoid long, gray blocks of copy
Especially online, few readers are going to jump into reading pages upon pages of long, dull blocks of gray copy. In fact, when most visitors discover this, they’re likely to quickly contribute to the page’s bounce rate and head elsewhere, hurting SEO efforts. But by breaking up copy into smaller, more digestible sections, writers can better keep readers’ interest and provide a better user experience.
A few leading ways to accomplish this include:
- breaking up the copy with headlines and subheads that accurately reflect what the content is about (which also supports easier skimming for online readers who are pressed for time) and naturally incorporate keywords
- using bulleted and numbered lists
- incorporating interest-grabbing images such as photos, infographics, checklists and charts (Be sure to optimize your images for SEO with descriptive image names and alt tags.)
7. Use short sentences
In the same “digestibility” vein of the tip above, writing shorter sentences makes your copy more readable. It also helps keep your brand’s website visitors reading your copy and on your website. And from an SEO perspective, when visitors stay on your site longer, it shows the search engines that consumers are finding your content helpful.
8. Leverage links, both internal and external
Link-building is an important component of SEO strategy. Links to other credible websites from your own site (external links) enable readers to dig deeper, and they often clearly exhibit your sourcing information. Links to other pages on your own website (internal links) help you build backlinks to your site when other websites pick up your articles. And all of these can improve the user experience and help you win favor with search engines. As a result, incorporating internal and external links in your copy is a great way to boost your SEO efforts and lend credibility to your content.
Find these SEO-friendly content-writing tips helpful, and seeking more ways to create alluring content that boosts the effectiveness of your brand’s SEO efforts and attracts more potential customers to your website? At Brandon, our team of search marketing experts has a wealth of experience building successful search strategies for our clients, and our content team is adept at crafting articles and other written assets that appeal to readers and search engines. And of course, both are eager to help your brand reach valuable new audiences. Contact us today to discuss how we can help your business grow.