By itself, SEO is a powerful skill.
You can say the same for copywriting, which has persuaded millions of people all over the world to buy or do something.
So, you can just imagine the power you’ll wield once you master the art of SEO copywriting.
But what is SEO copywriting, anyway?
In a nutshell, SEO copywriting is a technique used to create valuable content that targets specific keywords for better rankings and traffic, and at the same time persuade people to take action.
It might seem extra complicated, but it’s just copywriting with the insertion of keywords or phrases that help your audience find your content once they do a Google search.
These keywords should be incorporated into the content naturally so that they don’t disrupt the reading experience. After all, articles that rank high on Google are deemed as high-quality, credible, and authoritative, and they do one main thing: answer people’s concerns and questions.
In other words, SEO copywriting should target both your readers and Google.
Wondering how you can do that for your content?
Here’s are five actionable steps to use SEO copywriting and boost your copy’s value and ranking:
Tip #1: Know your audience
You can weave the best sentences and use the fanciest words, but it won’t mean a thing if you don’t know who you’re writing for.
That’s why creating a buyer persona is essential.
A buyer persona is a fictional person that represents your target market. It includes information like age, gender, economic status, hobbies, desires, fear, pain points—which you can all get from thorough market research.
Creating a buyer persona is an indispensable copywriting tool, as this allows you to understand your audience so well that you can influence them to act.
And one of the easiest ways to research your market is to lurk in forums where they hang out.
Have you ever read an email, sales page, or blog post that made you go, “It’s like he’s reading my mind!”
Well, reading forums like Quora and Reddit can help you gain insights on what exactly goes on in your reader’s minds.
You’ll find out precisely what your audience is struggling with without even having to ask!
You even get to speak their language by using the very same words that they used in the forums.
Pretty neat, huh?
Tip #2: Research your keywords
After knowing your audience, you have to know what they need.
And there’s no better way to do that than by knowing the keywords that they commonly use to search in Google and solve their problems.
Some of the free tools that you can use to research keywords and key phrases are Answer the Public, Keyworddit, and Keyword Surfer.
But aside from keyword research, there are also other ways to add keywords to your copy that’s a bit less mainstream, like the following:
- Add Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords
LSI keywords are synonyms and words that are closely related words to your copy. Google uses these words to understand what your content is all about.
Did you know that merely browsing the first page of Google rankings will also give you valuable insights on these related keywords?
When you do a Google search, scan the page for bold words and phrases that aren’t in your main keyword, and you’ll know what Google considers as LSI keywords.
You can also scroll to the bottom of the page to find searches related to your keywords—another goldmine for LSI keywords.
Sprinkle them over your copy, and you now have additional LSI keywords on top of your primary keyword!
- Know your user’s search intent
As Google gets smarter, you’ll see that keywords aren’t enough to make your page rank.
You also have to look at search intent, which is the reason why a Google user searched for a particular keyword in the first place.
Again, this is something you can figure out by looking at the first page of Google rankings.
For example, if you search for the terms “SEO copywriting,” you’ll see that how-to guides and lists of tips dominate the first page. Now you know what most people are looking for when they search for SEO copywriting.
Use this as a guide for you to know what works, both for Google and for your target market.
- Use long-tail keywords from Amazon
Amazon may be your main competitor when selling products, but you can also use it to research long-tail keywords to boost your product to the top of Google’s first page.
Type in your product on the Amazon search bar, wait for a second, and check out the suggested long-tail keywords related to what you just typed in.
And as always, sprinkle these keywords on your product copy.
Tip #3: Create compelling headlines
Did you know that the best copywriters spend most of their writing process just writing and rewriting headlines?
Without an eye-catching, attention-grabbing headline, everything you write afterward is useless. Your readers’ eyes will glaze over your site as they scroll through the search results.
So, if you want your copy to get clicked in the first place, you should perfect your headline.
Buzzsumo made a study of 100 million headlines and found out the following proven tactics on how to make your headline pop:
- Include numbers in your headlines. Headlines that begin with numbers 15, 10, 7, and 5 get the highest engagement rate on Facebook.
- Headlines containing 12-18 words receive the highest engagement.
- Some of the most popular phrases include, “X reasons why,” “X things to,” “X ways to,” and “need to know.”
You can also use tried-and-tested headline formulas and adapt them to your copy. Believe it or not, you’ll find lots of these formulas on clickbait sites like Buzzfeed.
The fact that they can make you click means their headlines work!
Examples of great but not over-the-top Buzzfeed headline templates are:
- 15 Things ____ Seriously Need to Stop Doing
- 9 Things That Will Change the Way You See ____
- Here are 7 ___That ____. And They’re Backed By Science
Tip #4: Make your introduction irresistible
Did you know that 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest of your copy? That doesn’t bode well for your article!
That’s why once the headline has done its job, it’s now your introduction that needs to work to engage readers and make sure they don’t leave your page right away.
Thanks to Backlinko’s Brian Dean, there’s a pretty straightforward template that you can follow to write a magnetic introduction: the APP method.
APP stands for Agree, Promise, Preview.
How do you use it?
First, start your copy with something that your reader will agree with.
It’s a surefire way to show them that you understand their problem and get them to trust you.
After you get them to say yes, it’s time to make a promise on how the article will benefit them.
Show them why reading the article is worth their precious time.
Give your reader a peek of what they can possibly achieve once they gobble up all the wisdom in your content.
And finally, end your introduction with a preview of what exactly they’re going to learn in your content — no need to beat around the bush.
Tip #5: Make your copy easy on the eyes
Joseph Sugarman, the author of The AdWeek Copywriting Handbook, said that the purpose of the first sentence is to get your reader to the second sentence. The purpose of the second sentence is to get them to read the third. And the third sentence… you get the drift.
Easy to say, but how can you make every sentence interesting for your reader?
- Use subheadings
Nothing repels readers more than a huge block of content.
Copywriting isn’t essay writing. If you want your copy to be read by people with the attention span of a goldfish, you must make sure that it’s divided into easy-to-chew, bite-sized chunks.
And the best way to do this is by having subheadings that break up your text.
You can also use the headline hacks above to make your subheads captivating.
- Use bucket brigades
Your site’s Google ranking rises the longer your readers stay on your page.
So, the fact that your readers only takes a moment to look at your site and immediately leave is hurting your rankings.
You have to make sure that they stay on the page longer—and you can do that with bucket brigades.
Bucket brigades are phrases that keep people reading from one line the next. It’s an old copywriting trick you’ll find in classic sales letters.
Phrases like, “Here’s the deal,” “You might be wondering,” and “Want to know the best part?” all serve to take your reader down a smooth ride towards the end of your page.
- Add media
Though images and videos aren’t exactly part of copywriting, these elements can help boost your copy’s SEO rankings.
Using high-quality images can help you rank on Google image search. But make sure that you optimize your images by having keywords in your file name, adding alt texts and titles, and compressing your images to make them load faster.
And of course, always make your images and videos relevant to your content!
SEO copywriting is a continually evolving practice. Google and other search engines will roll out new algorithms, and new tactics will emerge.
But as long as you keep your readers’ best interests in mind, you’ll be okay.
After all, SEO copywriting is merely quality writing.