How to write copy that’s friendly to users and search engines.
A website’s copy has a huge influence on how 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 promoted. With Google wanting valuable content, the role of web copy and SEO copywriting is becoming more apparent now than ever. If you are going to write web copy for SEO purposes, here are some copywriting tips:
1. Incorporate Keywords
We recommend that one keyword set represents one page on the website. A keyword set is a grouping of 4-5 similar keywords/keyword variations with one base – overarching keyword. Having a honed vision of these terms makes it clear to Google what you are trying to rank for and will avoid confusion. Ideally, 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. With this base keyword set identified variations and similar terms can get worked into the copy in an effort to provide proper relevancy and semantic signals to Google. Don’t forget about headings and sub-headings as these are areas where keywords should be incorporated as well.
Keyword Usage Factors
2. Don’t Over Incorporate Keywords
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 Penguin Update.
3. Add Some Links
In the copy try to contain links to other pages on your website. Google likes links and the inter-connectivity of content will help boost a site’s relevancy signal. Keep in mind Google’s core goal is to provide relevant content to its users. Beyond 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 strategic but offer a good way to reference information that supports your content.
4. Don’t Forget About Page Descriptions and Page Titles
These elements fall within the copywriting spectrum and are very important to site optimization. Most of the time these items are forgotten about as they aren’t found in the main content area of a page 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.
5. Don’t Ramble and Pontificate
Avoid long lengthy rambling dissertations and try to wrap up your content in about 500 – 750 words. Alot can be 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 have nothing to do with the subject matter will just pollute your copy and confuse Google.
6. BONUS: Add Images
A page with no images will not be appealing to a user. When optimizing a website, we need to cater towards the user experience. Users will interpret images before text and having appealing images will further engagement and interaction with the site and content. Images that relate to copy will help boost a page’s relevancy signal. Although not a major influencer, images should support the content and incorporate keywords in the alt text and title of the image and are a best practice for both users and search engines.