Writing SEO copy can be one of the most difficult tasks for any business, especially when you have not had a lot of experience in posting content online. However, there are two main goals you want to achieve:
1. We want to Google to reward us with high rankings for our target keyword phrase(s)
2. We want visitors on our page to convert into a lead or sale depending on the end goals of the page
But how can we make sure that we are hitting both targets side by side with only one ball to throw?
On the one hand you want to put as much effort into your content to be optimised so that Google can understand your written work and it’s purpose. However, having content that is optimised so much might place you in a position that your readers don’t connect with what you are trying to tell them and in the end you could possibly lose a potential customer.
On the other hand you want something that resonates with your reader, something short, sharp and simple, that will have them agreeing to every written word on your landing page. So much that the conversion process for them should be very simple and they feel great after giving you their details and can’t wait for a call back. It seems great that you can write copy for your target audience, but it won’t do you any good if there isn’t an audience to read it because it was getting you organic traffic.
It might seem impossible to have both, but if you follow the steps below on how to write SEO copy that converts I’m sure you will understand there is a lot of flair that can be added to any SEO copy that can help you optimise your website’s page or blog post for traffic and conversions.
The Keys To Successful Webpage Copy Optimisation For Organic Traffic That Converts Viewers Into Your Customers
1. Understand your audience – who and what are they searching for?
You know your business better than any one else, but when you put on the shoes of your customer you need to remember they are not experts like you and don’t have all of the industry jargon and practical knowledge you do. I might be called a “Digital Analyst” which many people in the online marketing industry would understand as a person who can scope out the problems of your website as to why it’s not getting traffic by looking at data, and then provide a solution to reach your goals.
However, for people that actually use the service I provide, they would not have heard of that role before and in essence aren’t looking for a “Digital Analyst” but instead are looking for an “SEO Guru” or an “SEO company” for example. Thus the audience I want to attract knows bits and pieces of what organic traffic is so I need to market myself and the company for these keywords when writing for my landing page.
2. Undertake keyword research with Google’s ‘Keyword Planner Tool’
To make sure we are on the same track as the above point it is a good idea to see if people are actually searching for these terms. Google’s keyword Planner Tool will let you search for the keywords you are trying to optimise your webpage for and also provide some other relevant terms that may show you there is a better keyword phrase to optimise your page for. This is another tool that will help you understand your audience, as they are potential customers searching for information that you could be giving them.
3. Plan your copy before writing
Planning will always gives you the best chance to succeed. By planning your website copy before actually writing it, you can;
* Have time to get creative,
* Use what you know about your audience to pick the most important parts,
* Think about how to structure your content – what is the flow of information and how will it help readers convert,
* Where will you place keywords and a list of variations or theme based keywords,
* Add additional images or links,
* Revise your strategy in case another brilliant idea pops up or something you need to change can be taken out before spending lots of time on it.
4. Headings – The first chance you have to WOW your audience to click through
Who said headings weren’t important? You see when website copywriters need to make something that Google likes you will probably end up with something as bland as the keyword phrase – e.g. “How To Write SEO Copy”. Instead Google’s algorithm has changed so much since the enactment of the Hummingbird Update in late August 2013 that copywriters need to change their game in order to attract successful keyword rankings. Yes, the keyword maybe exactly what they are searching for but you need to think deeper about your heading.
Why do they want to know about the best way to write SEO copy? Is it only to rank really high on Google for keywords? Or is it because they want something like an article and need to understand what are the most important elements to have within your copy that will help me achieve traffic, reduce page bounce rates and increase lead or sale conversions. From understanding your audience, undertaking keyword research and having the time to plan and get creative you will have a compelling heading like “How To Write SEO Copy That Converts Google Visitors into Customers” which is something I know users will resonate with greatly.
I will showcase an example of how to structure your SEO content more effectively below by using an example for a landing page on a personal trainer’s website.
What is the audience looking for?
Easy answer right? It’s a personal trainer. But that’s where you make the same mistake as everyone else. The reader doesn’t want another PT, they are looking for an expert personal trainer that specialises in transforming their body. There’s your flair and you have immediately captivated your audience to want to read more as you have made your difference.
5. Create a list of relevant elements to include as sub-headings
Take note of the way this how to article is structured. You have probably realised that in order to break up your content you should include different types of headings. There are a number of benefits to this such as;
* Making it easier for readers to follow,
* It is visually more appealing,
* Time-poor readers of will skim large amounts of content for the main area’s that appeal to them (not everyone will read it all word by word,
* Google loves the use of headings to structure the relevant parts of your content.
What should you have as the sub-headings and how many?
By going back to the Personal Trainer example above, let’s look at what other sub-headings would go underneath the main heading as relevant elements that keep within the theme of the article. Firstly think about what else the reader wants to know about you and the business before giving you their details.
* How long have you been a Personal trainer for?
* Are you a mobile personal trainer or do you train clients in the gym?
* What benefits do you provide over any other personal trainer? (This is a must! By providing you point of difference you are literally telling readers why they shouldn’t leave right now)
* How much are your personal training sessions?
* Can you show me examples of previous PT clients you have trained?
These are all great questions that anyone would want to know before inquiring and can be used as sub-headings. The amount of sub-headings is up to your discretion, especially for the type of reader. If someone is looking for a PT in the CBD, you know majority of them are time poor, want to know the facts and how they can get it.
But if someone is looking for a PT in the hills district you main target could be a mum that has plenty of time to research and will read you content back to front if they have to. By including these sub-headings in your SEO copy you are breaking up your relevant content to make it easier for readers to follow, while optimising it for rankings by including keywords into the headings and making sure your content is theme based.
6. Theme based content
Content should be based around relevant topics inside your main topic. Some of these points as you will notice will intertwine with one another. The key is to make sure that during you planning stage you can think of 10-20 keywords or keyword phrases, synonyms and grammatical variations that are relevant to the main keyword phrase. For example with the keyword phrase “how to write SEO copy” I have used some of the following keyword phrases and variations of the keyword to keep within the theme:
7. Test your keyword density for over-optimisation
This is an area which seems to be more of a content writing myth recently than what it was originally made for. In 2011 Matt Cutts (Google’s Head of Webspam) posted a Webmaster forum video about a common SEO question “What is the ideal keyword density?”. You will see in his response that there is no specific keyword density percentage that will help. Obviously using you keyword in the SEO content will, however, by continually throwing it back and forth throughout the copy you will be doing more harm than good.
Over optimising your text mean’s placing keywords in unnatural areas of your content. In other words this is what the industry knows as ‘keyword stuffing’. By creating theme based content as discussed above, you content will naturally have variations of the keywords and other relevant keyword phrases that will help Google see you as an original content writer, instead of someone trying to beat the system. If you can take one thing away from this, let your mind flow and just write naturally.
8. Including links
When writing content that will help your website’s keyword rankings it is a very good idea to include links within your content. There are two distinct types of links when writing;
* Internal Link
* External Link
Internal linking is providing a hyperlink to another page or post on your website that will refer visitors to what you are talking about. This effectively will help them understand more about the topic. For example you can click here to see our home page
External linking is when you provide a hyperlink back to another useful site which explains or discusses a certain topic or point you were referring to that you have not written about on your website. You would have seen quite a few hyperlinks within this article as the content we are linking to is valuable and unique, and something that could provide more justification than we could writing another bog post about it.
Depending on the length and type of resource you won’t always want to send readers leaping off your website and to another, however, if you can make this hyperlink open a new tab in your browser by adding an additional attribute of your hyperlink to include target=“_ blank” at least your readers will still have the page open. You are thus providing them a reputable source of information, which you trust. If they agree, they should always come back for more content from you.
9. Call to Action (CTA)
Having a call to action will help more with the conversion element on your page. This is not something that can be optimised to help with you rankings, however, Google will understand from your copy that there is a specific goal you are trying to achieve such as an inquiry, blog subscription or purchasing a product from an e-commerce store. Having a call to action is not persuasion but more of an invitation to what you would like the reader to do next.
Hubspot is an inbound marketing software company that has great CTAs and lots of blog topics for conversion. One post specifically shows the best way to select the right CTA for every page on your site. Needless to say this is a great read and will help you with your overall strategy on writing SEO content that converts.
10. Other areas that will help optimise your page or post
There are a few other areas which include on-page optimisation to help Google identify some great things you have done to engage the reader and also format everything correctly.
Inserting great image references and optimising them with ‘Alt Tags’
Writing SEO content needs that visual appeal to keep showing your point of difference. Most people are visual learners, so if you can show them an example of your topic through a picture or video tutorial they can understand what you are talking about.
Alt tags are the best way to optimise and image for your SEO content. As Google-bot literally does not have eyes they need to find out what the picture is. Google-bot does this by reading the alt tag. You can see how to insert an alt tag in the image below. It shows how to write alt tags the correct way and how not to (which is what we mentioned before about keyword stuffing). This is my alt tag for the image below.
- <img src=”alt tag demonstration.png” alt=“How to insert an alt tag without keyword stuffing”>
Note: it is a great idea to save your image file under a relevant name.
Write a compelling ‘Meta Title’ and ‘Meta Description’
A Meta title and Meta description is the first thing that a Google user will see from a link to a website in the search results. Below is an example for our company Complete Online Marketing. This is anther area where people are funny about making sure it is optimised. My advice would be to insert the keywords naturally; Google will highlight the keywords in the Meta title and description if they come up.
However, I would highly recommend writing something that catches the reader’s eye and is completely different to every other business that is competing for the same keyword.
Reviewing your article and formatting
Once you have finished writing your SEO copy, including all necessary links and images, and optimising them correctly, it is a good idea to review your content. This will make sure; firstly you are free from public criticism on your spelling or grammar, and secondly you might find areas that you could either condense or expand upon to make the readers experience a whole lot better.
Formatting your content will help the optimisation process for SEO as explained before. Make sure that all headings tags have been completed and the structure of your article flows the way you want. From there, see if there is anything you need to make stand out by applying bold text with this attribute – <strong>”insert text here without quotation marks”</strong>. After completing this task check that all internal and external links go to the correct URLs and the anchor text is not over optimised.
The permalink or better known as “the slug”
This is the last thing to include in your optimisation and conversion process. The permalink is the permanent URL to a web page or blog post usually seen after the domain. A simple example of this is shown below for one of Complete Online Marketing’s blog posts.
If you are using a WordPress CMS, your permalink is automatically generated from you’re the title of your content. It may be shortened by WordPress taking out words like ‘why’ and ‘a’. You can change this immediately but it is a good idea not to change it after you have distributed it to social media accounts or it is ranking in Google for a particular keyword phrase.
After you have done this you should be ready to go!
Post That Content!
Your SEO content should now be ready for publishing online. Hit the publish button and keep your fingers crossed that you have the best, optimised and converting content anyone has ever seen. That was a joke, because by now I know you have followed all the steps necessary on how to make the best SEO content that converts.
Now it is time to sit back and relax, right?
The short answer is no. You don’t want to be like everyone else, remember? You want to be different. Now is the time to share your content to your community or list of clients, on social media and especially Google + (remember Google will reward you for using their services). If it is the best content, people will share it for you and also create link backs to your content because it is relevant to what they are writing about. Having back links pointing to your SEO content is essential to provide extra strength when ranking for keyword phrases in Google’s search engine. This area will be discussed in more detail later, but if you have a company completing SEO work for you this should be done every month for your specific landing pages.
I hope this guide has helped you understand how to write SEO content that converts. More importantly I am looking forward to hearing all of the leads and sales you have made online because your content has been optimised for Google but is written for humans. Oh and if you forgot about the question I had in bold on the first page – the answer was to arm yourself with a bigger ball that is as large as the two targets. By following these steps you will arm yourself with the best strategy of hitting both goals with only one piece of content that can generate loads of organic traffic and still convert them. Nothing is impossible.