SEO can seem pretty confusing – and it seems that many in the game like to keep it that way.
Since starting on the track of SEO Copywriting just over six months ago, I’ve learnt a whole lot from SEO gurus Reload Media & SEO Copywriter Glenn Murray.
From lists, headings, bold text & captions, to tricks to check you’re on track; here are some of the top tips I’ve picked up along the way.
Wordle is a nifty website that can help you see your web copy much the way that Google sees it. It will show you by way of a word cloud visual which words in your copy are the most frequently used. All you need to do is enter your text into the box and hit ‘Go’.
Considering we are a web design agency, and they are among our most prominent words in the image – we can see we’re on track with our copy – letting Google know what our site is about, whilst still (and most importantly) making perfect sense to humans.
Secondly, it’s important to target one keyword per page, or group of pages. As a web design agency in Brisbane, we would of course target web design – but what about everything else we offer? SEO Copywriting, Email Marketing, Domains & Hosting, Internet Strategy and Updates & Support (to name a few!) also need to be optimised.
The great thing about that is – if a page is about SEO copywriting, it makes sense that you’ll be using that phrase a whole lot anyway!
When it comes to the actual copywriting, here are some hints, using the way both humans and Google read & understand copy as a starting point.
Humans love headings – it helps us decide what it is we’re reading about very quickly, without having to take in the whole body of text. Google recognises that & so it rates headings as one of the most important factors in deciding what a page is about. So, the moral of the story?
Optimise your headings! BUT – make sure you don’t just use your keywords out of context, headings should be totally indicative of that section. Your readers come first!
An example of this is: SEO Copywriting – Making Sense To Humans & Google
Read: Keywords – Context
Another device that helps readers make sense of large bodies of information is the trusty list. They’re great for:
– Scanning over & getting a quick summary,
– Persuading the reader of the key points; and
– Optimising your copy – again, Google knows people like lists, so Google likes them too.
– If possible, limit your bullet points, lists lose their value if they go on & on. Also, the closer your keywords are to the bullet point, the better.
People use bold words as hooks. And yet again, Google has taken its cue from the way a human visitor acts – bold words are important to us so bold words are important to Google. Glenn Murray points out though – what is important to the customer might be different to what’s important to a reader looking for benefits. So it’s important to strike a balance.
When linking to other pages, Google assumes that the first two words of the link are really important & indicate what the page you’re linking to will be about. It will assume that what you’re linking to is relevant to the content you’re covering too.
The thing is, if you really want your audience to follow the link (& find it helpful & in turn, find your page helpful) then engagement should come first. A ‘read how’ start to a link might be better than keywords in the long run.
Used to describe images, captions are mostly redundant to the human eye. BUT – Google can’t understand imagery, so captions are a very important way for Google to figure out what you’re on about. With that in mind, ALWAYS start captions with keywords.
Google is smart enough to know that if your page is about SEO copywriting, your page will also use stems or variants of that phrase. It will pick up on lots of different combinations so you can mix your keyword phrases up as much as you can creatively manage whilst still making sense. You can also break your phrase up with grammar.
For example: Need help understanding SEO? Copywriting tips from leaders in the field….
That said, keep the words in the phrase right next to each other where possible, they’re much more effective that way.
When it comes to SEO, word count is important. Here’s a rough guide to what you should be aiming for in your copy, courtesy of Glenn Murray.
100-150 words for a homepage – it’s important for most valuable information to be “above the fold” (in view without needing to scroll down), 250-500 words for pages lower in the site hierarchy – this might include product or service pages or “about us” pages; and 300-1000 words for blog posts.
And lastly, true to being a copywriter – Murray reminds his readers that it’s all about the benefits to the reader. So, to get people to read your site you need an effective headline and description for your Google listing.
Your description meta tag isn’t used for ranking – so think of it as ad copy and don’t bother trying to optimise. But your heading? It’s of utmost importance.
The four criteria for a successful headline:
Spark personal interest,
Offer a quick, easy way,
Share some news; and
Sarah McVeigh is Bluewire Media’s lead copywriter. Sarah’s areas of knowledge span SEO copywriting, on & off site SEO, email marketing, blogging & copy editing. She applies methodical & creative thinking to achieve clear business communications.