As a freelance copywriter, I always write for my audience. Because whilst writing for SEO is important, and will get people to your page, the overall goal is to convert those views to sales. And you just can’t do that with bad copy.
I’ve recently come across several pages that appear to have been written by bots, purely for SEO. The copy was completely unintelligible but stuffed full of keywords to make the site rank higher on search engines.
Yes, you need to focus on keywords to get your site seen in the first place. But you don’t just want visitors to your website, you want sales, right?
Here are a few key points I try to stick to when writing copy for my clients.
Length matters when writing for SEO, but choose quality over quantity
It’s true that Google gives a better SEO ranking to pages with longer copy. However, this doesn’t mean the longer the better. These pages are rewarded because people spend longer on them, which makes Google think they are of better quality.
If your blog post is 3000 words long, but you’re rambling on about nothing, you’ll send your readers to sleep and they won’t spend as long reading it.
The likelihood is that they’ve come to your page for a quick answer. If you give them reams of copy they’ll leave your site pretty quickly, increasing your bounce rate. Say what you need to say to get your message across, and no more. To be clear, Google won’t give you better SEO rankings just for having written more, it has to be good quality!
Copy that’s far too short is no good either. Make sure each page on your website is over 300 words; any less and Google won’t think it’s worth bothering with.
Writing compelling copy that your customers will want to read is the key here. Keywords are important too, but using a few in the right places works much better than cramming them in at any given opportunity! Great places for keywords are heading tags, title tags and alternative text for images. You can also dot a few keywords sparingly throughout your copy, but don’t over optimise.
Ten seconds to get to the point
When a customer visits your site for the first time, you’ve usually got about ten seconds where they make their mind up whether to leave your site or continue reading.
Posts that are written purely for SEO, stuffed with every possible variation of your keywords, will lose you your customer. Make those ten seconds count.
Research your keywords when writing for SEO
Rather than just being words and phrases related to your product, think of keywords as helpful research into what is important to your customers.
If the top search result is “Which dog treat is healthier?” then make sure you provide an answer. If it’s, “Where should I invest in property abroad?” give options, and reasons why. For, “How do you treat gout?” give facts.
Researching keywords when writing for SEO isn’t just about finding words to include in your copy, but learning more about your customers’ needs.
What is domain authority and how does it work?
Domain authority is one of the main elements that search engines use to determine rankings. It’s the way that Google measures how credible your website is. Along with other factors, domain authority is influenced by the number of links from other sites that point to your website.
If your content is pointless, boring, or spammy, people won’t want to link to it. Linking to poor content will undermine their own credibility. This is another reason why quality content is important.
Of course writing for SEO matters. There’s no point in having the most compelling copy in the world if no one sees it. SEO gets it seen in the first place. But it’s only the first step in the customer’s journey.
To get someone to click a link, make a purchase or fill in a form, you need to convince them that you can solve their problem.