SEO Copywriting: Your Guide to Content Marketing Success
Search engine optimization and copywriting are two essential elements of the marketing mix for modern brands. You need to be able to attract organic website visitors and deliver persuasive marketing messages if you hope to grow your business. However, many business owners and marketers treat these as two separate functions. In reality, effective digital marketing relies heavily on SEO copywriting, a combination of the two disciplines.
Understanding how copywriting supports SEO and vice versa can help you to better market your business in the digital age. Below is an overview of how SEO and copywriting interact with and enhance each other as well as a short guide to getting started.
Understanding SEO and Copywriting
To understand SEO copywriting, you first need to understand SEO and copywriting individually. With that insight, seeing how the pieces of the overall puzzle fit together is much easier.
Search Engine Optimization
When you search for something on Google or another search engine, a complex algorithm analyzes billions of web pages to find the most relevant ones. This process happens slightly differently for each search engine, but the core functionality is the same: the engine finds pages in its database that may be applicable and ranks them based on what it thinks will be the most relevant to the user.
According to Google, there are over 200 factors considered when ranking search results. Plus, the number of web pages that have been crawled and analyzed by Google is enormous. Google is very secretive about how the algorithm ranks pages. However, many marketing experts have figured out various strategies that help pages they create to consistently rank well for certain keywords. This is the essence of SEO.
By optimizing web pages to rank well for target keywords and search terms, businesses can ensure that their web pages get seen more and visited more often by potential customers. Of course, your competitors are also trying to rank well. So, SEO is a complex and ongoing process of targeting, optimizing, evaluating and improving.
Some of the elements that are relevant to SEO include incorporating keywords on web pages, earning links from other websites, using a good structure that search engines can crawl and understand, and having a technically well-made website. A lot of SEO is about identifying which elements need the most focus in any given moment.
At a high level, copywriting is simply writing for marketing purposes. This can include the words used on advertisements, on websites, on social media, in blog posts and any other collateral that is used for marketing purposes. For the purposes of SEO copywriting, the most important forms of copywriting are creating copy for web pages and content marketing, particularly writing blog posts.
In a sense, anyone who has ever written something to promote a brand, product or idea has practiced copywriting. Of course, professional copywriters and copywriting services can spend years or decades fine-tuning the art to be capable of communicating with strong and persuasive writing. Knowing what tone to use in which contexts is also an important element of copywriting.
From a business growth perspective, the benefits of copywriting are likely obvious. When you have written content that attracts, engages and persuades an audience, you will have a lot of success growing your brand. However, copywriting isn’t just about being convincing. It is also about delivering value to the audience whenever it interacts with your brand.
How SEO and Copywriting Fit Together
The need for SEO copywriting is simple: search engine optimization requires content to earn good rankings on search result pages and copywriting requires SEO to achieve maximum visibility and impact online. Like many aspects of marketing, SEO and copywriting are at their best when they are used together in an integrated strategy.
This natural alignment is further boosted by the goal of search engines. Google and other search engines are trying to deliver value to their users by providing relevant, high-quality search results (of course, their main goal is to earn revenue by selling ads on their search pages, but that requires engaged users). Therefore, search engine algorithms are primarily looking for web pages that are useful to human beings.
The upshot of this is that good SEO and good copywriting often look very similar. Effective SEO needs to deliver pages that searchers will want to read and interact with. After all, there is no point in attracting website visitors if they aren’t interested in the content of your website. Similarly, good copywriting needs to deliver marketing writing that is engaging and effective.
Four Steps of Effective SEO Copywriting
With the above information in mind, it is easy to see why SEO and copywriting fit together so naturally. Plus, if you are familiar with one of them, you have a great head start on mastering the other.
The following are four steps for writing effective SEO copy. Everyone’s process is a little different, so the right steps for you may look a little different. Nonetheless, they will likely include much of what is explained below.
1. Research Keywords and Search Terms
SEO copywriting requires you to target your content for specific searches. Before you can do that, you need to spend some time researching what people are looking for. There are a variety of keyword research tools that can help you with this. There are a few elements to consider when picking keywords/search terms to target:
- How often do people search for that term?
- Is it a competitive term? Are your direct competitors also trying to target it?
- Is it sufficiently relevant to your business? Would someone searching for the target term be satisfied upon finding your website?
- Does the search term reflect an intent that is relevant to your page? In other words, are you targeting sales-related terms with product pages and informational terms with blogs and other resources?
When you have good search term selection, a lot of the rest of your strategy will start to fall into place. This aspect of SEO should be an area of focus for all digital marketers.
2. Plan the Content and SEO Strategy
Once you know what terms you will be targeting, you can start to plan out a more specific strategy. Your SEO copywriting will likely need a content schedule for new blog posts and other releases. Additionally, you may need to update some of your existing pages to optimize them better and make them more useful to visitors.
You should also take some time to consider the terms you found through research. There may be some that would work well for your brand, but that you don’t currently have relevant content for. Planning some new SEO copy for those terms could help drive your strategy.
3. Write SEO-Optimized Content
Next, you will need to create your planned content. This should be search engine optimized content. So, you will need to create high-quality pages and blog posts that will be useful to visitors and write them so that search engines rank them well. Fortunately, these two goals are often aligned.
There are a variety of factors that can play into how well you rank for keywords. These are a few of the most important:
- Canonical Organization: Search engines like web pages with well-organized headings. These should use H1, H2, H3, etc. headings. Make sure the headings reflect the content that follows them.
- HTML Tagging: Use HTML features such meta descriptions, page titles and image alt text. These will help search engines to better understand what is on your page.
- High-Quality, Relevant Writing: The quality of your writing matters too. Lots of spelling mistakes or confusing language will turn off not only visitors but also search engines.
- Keywords: Your target terms need to appear in your content. However, they shouldn’t be stuffed in there. Make sure they are used naturally. You can also experiment with different densities or frequencies of use.
- Links: Having links to your pages from other websites can greatly improve your rankings. You can earn these by having high-quality content. It can also help to link to others from your website.
4. Publish and Promote Content
Finally, you will need to make your content available online. It can be helpful to promote certain types of content with ads, social media posts and other channels. These won’t directly improve your search engine rankings; however, they will increase visibility and potentially earn links, shares and more organic traffic.
You will want to measure the impact of your SEO copywriting. Having a robust analytics strategy will help you to test both your writing and your optimization.
Keep in mind that the above four steps are not necessarily a perfect series. In many cases, you will jump back and forth between different steps. Plus, it is a continuous cycle that should be regularly repeated and improved. With time, you will master both SEO and copywriting, earning your brand more visitors and conversions.
Get Help With SEO Copywriting for Your Brand
Creating great content and getting noticed online is not easy. It is made even harder by the fact that millions of other businesses are competing for attention. Consider using copywriting services to help. BKA Content can provide high-quality, professional writing that is optimized for maximum search engine visibility. Contact us today to learn more.