Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most effective ways of driving visitors to your website, is through a well executed SEO plan, but what is a visitor worth if it does not convert? Effective copywriting is what engages the reader, and pushes them towards an action, whether it be a click, an email submission, or a sale. Combine the two, and you have a one of the biggest powerhouses in online marketing. To keep things simple, the industry has coined a term which helps define the combination of both SEO and copywriting and this practice is known as Content Marketing!
Once upon a time, SEO and copywriting were not friends, and they were directly in competition with each other in the online marketing space. Nowadays, thanks to a maturity on Google’s part, the two have become a joint force, and the way in which a visitor can find the information they are looking for, is through a simple Google search.
The once hostile relationship between SEO and copywriting is now a match made in heaven. Who would have thought?
What Makes This Partnership So Effective?
With a similar relationship to sales and marketing, SEO and copywriting were once seen as completely different practices, but in this day and age, the two combinations work seamlessly together to completely sky rocket the results you can expect from a campaign.
What is SEO? It’s simply the practice of optimizing your website and it;s content, in order to attract search engines crawlers, which will ultimately decide where you deserve to be placed in the search results for a specific result. The more the crawlers like you, the higher you will place. It’s as simple as that!
Copywriting, on the other hand, is the art of creating content that encourages a viewer to take an action, whether it be buying a product, requesting further information, or clicking through to another website. The effectiveness of this relationship comes to life when your website ranks high in the search engines, and the content provokes the action, and seals the deal.
Striking the right balance between the two is an art in itself, and like most other forms of marketing, it usually requires a boat load of trial and error in order to find out what works, and what doesn’t. Wouldn’t it be easier to bypass this learning curve and learn directly from the people who have already been there, and done that? Well luckily for you, we have, and we are here to present you with 10 tips to help you get the most out of your content marketing, by creating a masterful piece of SEO content.
1.Pay Attention To Your Titles
Titles are the first thing what attract a visitor to check out what you have to say. You can have the greatest piece of content on the planet, but if your title is not on point, then nobody is going to see it. When it comes to creating a quality title, there are two things to keep in mind:
- Reader Attention: In order to grab the attention of your reader instantly, you must first put yourself in their shoes, and figure out what it is they are looking for. Once there, you can develop a title which you know would make you want to click.
- Keywords: Making your title SEO friendly is crucial to maximising your click through rate, and the quickest way to do that is to add at least one of your keywords somewhere inside it. However, keep in mind that reader attention is the number one priority, so if stuffing in a keyword would somehow compromise that, then simply forget it.
What is a good title without a good subtitle to accompany it? A subtitle can work as an extra pre-sell, so using both can be extremely effective at not only making your visitors click through, but also letting Google know you have what the searcher is looking for.
2. Pictures Paint A Thousand Words
We all know that saying, right? Well, when it comes to converting visitors, this couldn’t be any more accurate. You could be a world class word smith, but the fact that people respond to visuals more than words will never change. Not only do pictures help your content stand out from the rest, they will also help really drive the message home, by reinforcing the rest of the content, with it’s visual aid.
Do pictures help with SEO? Yes, in several ways. Optimizing the alt text, the captions, and maximising load times by using the correct file size can all have a huge benefit in the search engines.
3. Prioritize Social Sharing
As smart as Google are, they will never know exactly how relevant, or how useful a piece of content is, without taking into consideration the amount of people sharing it. Encouraging your viewers to share your content will not only help maximise the amount of potential eyes your content will attract, it will also tell Google that your work is of use to people, so much so, that they are willing to share it with their friends.
Not only will your visitor count increase, so will your positions in the search engines. It’s a win-win situation!
4. Know Your Audience
Knowing exactly what your audience are looking for is crucial to attracting a vast amount of readers. Knowing who they are, and what they want will allow you to customize your content to specifically suit their wants and needs, ultimately increasing your chance of conversion. This is easy for mass markets, but if you are in a smaller, more niche industry, then it’s time to start thinking outside the box, and creating pieces of content that really drive your message home.
Once the viewer is in, and hooked by your awesome title, it’s time to start enforcing your message with a story, or an inspirational piece of content which speaks to them, and solves their problems. Forget the fluff, and don’t focus on yourself too much. Make the message matter!
5. Welcome Your Visitors In With Proper Formatting
Believe it or not, it’s not just about the words any more. Knowing how to correctly format your content in order to attract the reader to continue reading is crucial, and failing to do so could leave your visitor clicking the back button without ever getting past the first sentence. Create content worthy of kings by following these few tips:
- Allowing for white space between your words will let the reader consume the information at their own pace, without feeling rushed into doing so. Give the reader room to breath, while making your website more aesthetically pleasing. You can’t lose!
- Bullet points are perfect for breaking up small chunks of content like the one you are reading right now, without leaving the reader overwhelmed. However, it’s important to remember that bullet points are there to compliment your piece of content, not replace it, so use them sparingly.
- Using smaller paragraphs to break up your content not only makes it look more inviting, it also allows the reader to consume the information more efficiently. They are easier to read, and because of this, your readers will remember more of what you had to say by the time they reach the conclusion.
- Try segmenting subheadings into your content. In terms of the look and feel of your content, nothing else will have a bigger impact. Subheadings help organize the content your visitor is viewing, and it allows them to move between the separate pieces of information, without having to reread paragraph after paragraph. Including benefits, and questions in your subheadings can help increase the perceived value of your content, so keep that in mind.
While short content can be helpful for the reader, you don’t have to make every paragraph as short as possible. Some pieces of content require more words to get the point across in one go, so don’t shy away from longer paragraphs too. However, if you are an authority in your industry, or if you want to be perceived as such, then long-form content will help deliver that impression Knowing how to keep long-form content precise, and free from fluff will be the difference between a good read, and a bad one.
6. Don’t Forget The Meta Descriptions!
Creating a killer piece of content can take a lot of time, and a lot of brain power. So much so, that it’s often easy to forget about the simple, but effective practice that is meta descriptions. Knowing how to pack as much information into the small 150-160 character snippet is almost an art in itself, and it can have massive impact on the overall effectiveness of your content.
In terms of SEO, a meta description is what let’s Google and the other search engines know exactly what your content is about, and while the use of your main keyword in this snippet is still up for discussion, it’s certainly worth sliding in a few different variations of it, to attract a wide range of viewers from a wide range of searches.
Simply put, a meta description is the boundary between your catchy title, and your quality piece of content. It further peaks the visitors interest, and helps them decide whether or not they want to continue reading what you have to say.
7. Provoke The Action
While it’s important to focus on the grammar, the structure, and the overall readability of your content, you must never forget it’s sole purpose; To entice the reader into actually doing something. This is what good copywriting is. It’s about taking the user from a simple Google search, to an action which will benefit you both. A good call to action (CTA) is what will deliver results, so make sure you get it right.
How do you do this? Let’s have a look at a few things that your reader may be looking for:
- A solution to a problem
- Immediate help
- A way to save money
- Facts, or further information on a specific topic
Keeping these things in mind when constructing your CTA’s will really help drive home the results for you, as well as providing the reader exactly what they were looking for.
8. Make The Most of Your Title Tags
While title tags have little in relation to copywriting, they do have a massive impact on your positions on the search engines, and considering that they only take a few seconds to write, the work to reward ratio is huge!
To maximise your SEO efficiency, then we recommend keeping your title tahs as short, and as simple as possible. Add your main keyword, add any secondary keywords, then add your brand name. For the sake of a few seconds, you will have a fully optimized title tag what will attract those search engine crawlers, and force them to give you a boost in the SERP’s!
9. Practice Proper Linking
Often at the forefront of SEO controversy, along with keyword density, is linking. While the bad rep they receive can be justified to a certain point, it’s still worth noting that backlinking is crucial for an effective SEO campaign, and making proper use of linking on your website is still required.
What is proper use? Well, there are two types of linking in SEO:
- Outbound Linking - Outbound links are links to external websites, and are usually sent to websites which have authority within your industry. Be wary of the amount of times you link out to external websites. Once or twice per article is more than enough. Not only will this look good in Google’s eyes, it will also enhance the readers experience, ultimately improving your reputation in their eyes.
- Internal Linking - These links are built in the same way as external links, howver, instead of sending the reader to an external website, you simply send them to another piece of content on your own website, which you think will be useful for them. Again, use these sparingly, and only link out to pages of your website which the reader will appreciate. Too many links will make your content hard to read, and will take away from the point of internal linking.
The key to proper linking, be it internal or external, is to make sure they fit into your content naturally. You should never compromise your readers experience, just to add a link. It’s just not worth it!
10. Use Topics Instead Of Keywords
The days of stuffing your content with 100 keywords and ranking at the top of the search engines are long gone, and all it takes is a quick read on an SEO blog or forum to realise the amount of hate that keywords are getting nowadays. Is the hate justified? That’s open to discussion, but it’s worth noting that keywords are still one of the major ranking factors, so it wouldn’t be wise to disregard them completely.
Keywords will worm there way into the content naturally. It would be difficult to not include your main keyword at least once in your content, as the entire topic of the piece is directly related to the keyword you are trying to target, however, the readability of the article should still be the main priority, so compromising on that in order to stuff a keyword will not do you any favours.
One way to battle over-optimization is to try and use long-tail keywords, which are different variations of your keyword, which will attract the same audience, but from a wider range of Google searches. Long-tail keywords are usually easier to fit into your piece naturally, too.
The days of completely disregarding one or the other are finally over. SEO and copywriting make the perfect marriage, and ignoring one or the other could spell disaster for your website, and your results will show you exactly that.
If you keep these 10 tips in mind when constructing your next piece of content, and you focus on creating a natural, easy-to-read piece of content, you will certainly reap the benefits of effective content marketing.