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SEO Copywriting: A Guide to Creating Content That Ranks

  • Veselin Mladenov
  • 9 min read
SEO Copywriting: A Guide to Creating Content That Ranks

Intro

Indexed Web, a project which tracks the growth of the internet on a daily basis, shows that as of 2022 there are over _five-and-a-half billion _web pages available to access.

It is crucial that as a copywriter you are aware of the sheer vastness of the internet you’re producing content for.

In order to make your piece stand out from over five billion other articles, blog posts and landing pages – in order to ensure it ranks as high as possible – you’ll have to master the art of SEO copywriting.

SEO Copywriting: A Guide to Creating Content That Ranks

SEO Copywriting: A Guide to Creating Content That Ranks

So what is SEO copywriting?

Whereas copywriting alone denotes the act of creating written content (or ‘copy’) for yourself or a client, _SEO _copywriting is a specialized form of writing which adheres to an ever-evolving set of rules and principles dictated by search engine algorithms.

In order to determine what content is likely to be most relevant to each individual user’s search, search engines like Google, Ecosia, Firefox, and Safari use a series of filters and crawlers to locate the very best copy-written web pages on the internet for display in their SERPs.

Whether you’re looking to hire an SEO expert, or take on the challenge of SEO copywriting yourself, it’s worth getting to grips with the best practices behind successful ‘Search Engine Optimization’.

Understand and Match Search Intent

There are various tricks to the sort of language you use, the HTML coding you employ, SEO tools you rely on, and the format of your articles which contribute to higher ranking. Nevertheless, before any of that, it is crucial you focus on getting to know your readers.

What is Search Intent?

When someone, including you, uses a web browser to search for something, there is a specific reason they do so. Think about it, in order to find this article, chances are you started out by typing a question into your favorite search engine. Your intent, in this case, was to acquire a greater understanding of how to create great SEO content which ranks.

There are three core types of search intent which most internet searches involve at least one of:

  1. Navigational intent: The user wants content which helps them find something they are looking for.
  2. Informational intent: The user wants content which helps them learn more about a topic they’re interested in.
  3. Transactional intent: The user wants content which helps them buy a product or service online.

How to Implement Search Intent in Your Copywriting

When determining what kind of content to create, a good starting point is to consider the search intent you want to serve.

If, for example, you have a storytelling podcast showcasing short genre fiction, then the content you produce should cater to _navigational _intent – it must help search engine users _find _what they are looking for: i.e. an entertaining podcast or short form audiobook.

Once you’ve established which search intents you’ll be serving with your content – as well as which types of people might be behind those searches – you can tailor your keyword research to incorporate this intent.

Choose the Right Keywords

And speaking of keyword research…

One of the first things you’ll read about when researching how to create content that ranks, and what the current trends in SEO are, is keywords. Keywords are words which feature frequently in internet searches. The more relevant keywords you use (and use relevantly) in your content, the higher it will rank, because in doing so you’ve widened the field of prospective search queries your article covers.

Keyword Research

Before you put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard), you _must _conduct proper keyword research if you want your content to rank. To do so, you have two options available to you:

  1. DIY: Search for articles on your chosen topic yourself. Read those displayed on the first results page, and make a comprehensive list of every useful keyword which comes up.
  2. Use a Keyword Finder: Save yourself time by using a dedicated AI keyword finder which trawls the internet for you and makes a list of the most popular keywords, ranked by popularity.

Keyword Clusters

Keyword clusters are a current SEO copywriting trend it’s useful to be aware of. By combining multiple relevant keywords into longer phrases, you can both expand your content’s potential reach _and _double-down on the types of search intent you tailor your writing for.

For example, here are three different sentences:

  • Tony’s in Brooklyn serves three different types of pepperoni pizza.
  • You can choose from regular, hot, and super-spicy pepperoni pizza.
  • The best slice of pepperoni pizza in Brooklyn can be found at Tony’s, whether regular, hot, or super-spicy.

The first two sentences each hit just one type of search intent (navigational and informational, respectively). The third, on the other hand, uses a keyword cluster to hit all three types of search intent at once (navigational, informational, and transactional).

Using keyword clusters like this acts as a funnel for users looking for specific, localized answers to their queries, thus elevating the usefulness – and thus the ranking – of your content.

Keyword Clusters

Analyze Competitors and Other Top Ranking Articles

There’s one piece of advice which can be applied to just about every aspect of life, and it can be boiled down to just two words: Market Research.

One of the best ways to become an SEO copywriting master is to read other SEO writers’ articles. Determine what they do best, what could be improved, and why their articles appear first on the first Google SERP for your _specific _query.

Having analyzed the competition, you can apply your learnings to your own SEO copywriting.

What to Look For

There are a few different things you want to be looking out for when you read other top-ranking articles for your topic niche.

  • Length – The length of an article plays an important part in how highly a search engine will rank it. Too long, and the algorithm decides it’s going to bore readers. Too short, and the algorithm decides it’s not informative enough. Find out how long the articles of your competitors are and aim to roughly replicate the average length.

  • Language – Search engines pay great attention to the readability of an article (which we’ll explore in greater detail later). Again, it’s all about getting the balance right between righting articulately and with authority, yet making the language accessible enough that anyone who needs the information contained therein can have it.

  • Angle – Google and other search engines really like articles which add genuine value to their users’ experiences. You’ll find that of those 5+ billion web pages we mentioned earlier, a majority of them will ostensibly be replicas of each other. If you can find a niche angle on your topic which hasn’t been used by your competitors, take it!

  • Format – They say content is king. Well, format is queen! We’ll discuss format a little more in a second, but for now it’s worthwhile pointing out that the highest ranking articles will be formatted to make the experience of reading them straightforward and enjoyable, not just for the human user, but for the search engine bots as well.

Content is King! Create Easy-to-Read and Enjoyable Articles

At the end of the day, it’s important you don’t lose sight of the reason you’ve set out to write your article in the first place.

Below all of the SEO jargon is this simple fact: You’re creating a piece of content which you want other people to read and enjoy.

E-A-T: Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness

Google’s big thing at the moment is E-A-T, which stands for ‘Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness’. In essence, for your content to rank, it has to be 100% accurate and written from an authoritative standpoint. With so much content floating around out there, search engines are trying to promote only the most verifiably reliable pieces.

In order to write to E-A-T standards, it’s imperative you first conduct your research. This _does not mean _merely reading the first few highly-ranked pages on a SERP and paraphrasing them. This means really, truly, honestly getting to grips with your subject matter, to a degree at which you can provide new and valuable insights to a community looking for dependable information.

Readability and Accessibility: How to Format

At the same time as optimizing your content for E-A-T, however, you must also ensure it remains readable and accessible. Use of language is important to SEO and how high your content ranks. Search engines prefer content tailored to the average reader, rather than to the lowest or highest brow.

This can be hard to perfect, especially for those of us with particular writing styles which we’ve constructed over years and decades. Thankfully, however, there are tools available to help you achieve an ideal ‘reading age’ by assessing your writing in real-time, just like Ranktracker’s SEO Checklist.

Readability and Accessibility: How to Format

Optimize Your Metadata: Tags, Description, and Headings

Metadata is the coded language which search engines read whilst determining which web pages to rank. It’s not always visible to the end user, nor evident on the web page itself, but it plays perhaps the single most important part in getting your content noticed in the first place.

Here’s how to optimize metadata to ensure your content ranks:

Meta Tags

Tags are like #hashtags attached to your content. You can typically apply meta tags through whichever website builder or blog provider you use. Tags help not only to identify the core themes of a piece, but also to associate the piece with others on your site, thus informing search engines of how much of an authority on a given subject your site is. Use only the most relevant tags for best results.

Meta Title

The meta title of a post refers to the blue-highlighted clickable title which appears on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). The meta title you use for your content should be different to the H1 Heading title you use in the actual article, but should still retain your top keywords. It’s also important that your meta title is no longer than 60-70 characters.

Meta Description

A meta description is the short block of text which appears below the meta title of a page displayed on SERPs. Your meta description should also include a few key keywords, but should not be stuffed full of them. It should be brief, to the point, and tailored to cater directly to the search intent of the user. Maximum length for meta descriptions is 120 characters for mobile users and 160-170 characters for desktop browsers.

HTML Headings

We said earlier that format is queen, well, HTML headings are what you use to perfect your content’s formatting. H1, H2, H3, and H4-H6 are the types of headings you can employ in formatting your SEO copywriting.

  • H1 – For the title of your piece, best used just once at the very start, to indicate to search engine bots exactly what your content is all about. Should contain your main keyword.

  • H2 – For the different main sections of your piece, acting as clear guidelines to the reader for which specific elements of the overarching topic are being covered. Should also contain relevant keywords.

  • H3 – For breaking sections into subsections of even greater detail, to make the overall reading experience a little easier and more accessible.

  • H4-H6 – For breaking subsections down even further, only to be used when truly necessary.

Add Calls-to-Action

And finally, our top tip for improving your SEO copywriting and creating high-ranking content is to add some calls-to-action to your piece.

What is a Call-to-Action?

A call-to-action is exactly what it sounds like: a phrase or sentence – sometimes a well-placed backlink – which encourages the reader to actively do something.

For the purposes of increasing the rank of your content, you really want the reader to engage with your site more, and for longer. At the end of the day, Google, Firefox, Edge, etc. all want to provide their users with content which will keep them engaged and active online for as long as possible.

How to Use a Call-to-Action

There are different ways to use calls-to-action depending on your intention for the reader.

If you have a product or service to sell, for example, then your calls-to-action should be framed so as to encourage the reader to make a purchase. A link to your product would work, especially combined with a gentle reminder that the product is, let’s say, on sale.

Whereas if you’re a blogger, you might want to write a call-to-action which encourages the reader to move onto another blog post once they’ve finished the current one.

Use a Content Optimization Tool: Introduction to Ranktracker

You can master SEO copywriting independently of tools and apps, sure. However, doing so is going to take years of serious dedication (I should know!).

On the other hand, you can learn much faster, and arguably perform much better as an SEO copywriter by relying on one of the many exceptional AI content optimization tools available today.

Our favorite, of course, is Ranktracker. Ranktracker offers countless tools to help you ace SEO copywriting and get your content ranking highly, quickly.

Tool #1: Rank Tracker

The Rank Tracker tool keeps real-time tabs on where your web pages are currently ranking for various related searches across different search engines and in different localities. You can filter the Ranktracker Rank Tracker to display your website’s performance under any number of different KPIs and metrics.

Tool #2: Keyword Finder

The Keyword Finder tool from Ranktracker gives you instant access to the most frequently searched-for words and phrases relating to any topic, and in any country.

Tool #3: SERP Checker

The SERP Checker tool is a pretty unique piece of kit. It allows you to find out who’s ranking on Google for any specific search term, and then also shows you how easy (or difficult) it’s going to be to compete with them. If you’ve got a shot at ranking, you can start creating content in that niche. If you’ve got no chance, however, then you’ve saved yourself wasted time.

Tool #4: Web Audit

The Web Audit tool from Ranktracker is the tool you’ll use to bring your website up to speed, as well as each article as you write it. The auditor identifies SEO scores and any issues across the entirety of your site, then tells you how to fix them.

The Backlink Checker tool determines how your top competitors are using backlinking to improve their SEO and get their content to rank, so that you can copy – and improve – their technique in order to create something even better.

Conclusion

SEO copywriting may at first seem a daunting prospect, especially if you’re used to writing without SEO in mind. Let us reassure you, however, that with this comprehensive guide to creating content that ranks, as well as with the proper tools – like Ranktracker – you’ll master the skill in no time.

Conclusion (Image Credits: Pexels, Pixabay)

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