Guide to SEO copywriting

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 15 min read
Guide to SEO copywriting

Table of Contents

Intro

No SEO strategy would be complete without content SEO. If you don’t have content, then you likely won’t find yourself ranking. This means that the quality of your content is critical. In this guide, we’re going to cover what you need to know about content SEO, so keep reading if you’re trying to create quality content.

The Basics of Content SEO

Content SEO is a practice in which you create content that will help improve the search rankings of your pages. This domain covers what you need to know about creating the content and then structuring it. In this guide, we’re going to address three areas that go into quality content: copywriting, site structure, and keyword strategy.

Since search engines crawl your site using the words that are on it, it’s essential to make sure that your site’s content is good. While technical features like the structure of your site and your UI also come into play, content is essential. If you don’t have quality content on your site, then you likely won’t end up ranking.

Part 1 - Keyword Research

The Basics of Keyword Research

When you follow a list of steps to figure out which keywords you should rank for, that’s known as keyword research. You’ll need to know what your audience puts into the search bar if you want to know how to approach your content creation strategy, and that’s what keyword research is. By doing this research, you’ll know what you need to put up.

Here are the four steps involved in keyword research:

  • Start off by determining your objectives

  • List out the keywords you want to target

  • Consider search intent

  • Come up with landing pages for each keyword

If your keyword research is conducted properly, then you’ll know what you need to put up on your site to ensure that people can find your site’s pages on search engines. In this part of our guide, you’ll see how you can write content for your site.

The Importance of Keyword Research for SEO Content

By conducting the right kind of keyword research, you’ll be able to determine what people search, specifically, what your audience searches. For example, we often deal with clients that use certain keywords without knowing what keywords their audience searches for.

If you’re optimizing your site for keywords that people don’t search for, then you likely won’t have a lot of success. Properly researching your keywords ensures that you will use those same keywords to ensure that all of the work you put into your site will end up paying off.

Common Terms Used in Keyword Research

Keywords

Keywords are the terms that people search for on search engines like Google. Keep in mind that this term can also encompass keyphrases that are made up of more than one word.

Long-tail Keywords

These keywords are longer and tend to be focused on a particular niche. This means that it will often be easier for a site to rank for them.

The Number of Keywords

So how many keywords should you have in your content? In most cases, you’ll want as many as you can fit into a piece of content, but don’t overdo it. Having too many keywords will make your content cluttered and hard to write.

In most cases, a site should have a few hundred keywords, and as a business gets bigger, it may even have up to a thousand, though that’s only the case for huge sites. You can use systems like WordPress to add content to your site over time.

By considering the priority of various kinds of keywords, you can come up with content creation strategies that target your high-priority keywords first.

Head and Tail Keywords

Be sure to determine what class your keywords fall into. Your head keywords will be the short ones that are common to other businesses. These keywords will have a lot of competition. Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are more specific and will require less work to rank for.

Come up with the keywords that will generate the most traffic for your site and target those before the other ones. Keep in mind that you’ll likely have fewer head keywords than tail ones because you often have keywords directly related to your niche.

The pages like your homepage and the ones directly linked to it should contain your more important keywords. You can then put long-tail keywords in content that’s a little further down in your site’s deeper pages.

Search and Keyword Intent

When you research keywords, you’ll want to consider the intent of someone who puts that query into a search engine. Determine whether the searcher is looking to make a purchase or if they are simply looking for additional info. It can sometimes be relatively difficult to determine someone’s search intent if it isn’t obvious.

Types of Intent

Here are the four kinds of intent you’ll come across:

Navigational intent: This means that someone already knows the site that they want to go to but don’t want to deal with the hassle of typing in the whole URL.

Informational intent: This intent means that someone is looking to answer a question.

Commercial intent: This means that someone wants to determine if a purchase that they’ll make soon will be worth it.

Transactional intent: This means that someone is currently ready to make a purchase and it’s just a matter of finding the product.

Remember that search engine algorithms are getting smarter and smarter with each day, and they can guess what kind of intent someone has when they’re making a search. This means that you won’t rank well if you mix up the intent that you’re trying to rank for, no matter how well you craft your content.

Checking SERPs

Search results will give you the best idea of people’s search intent when they search for a particular term. Go ahead and search for particular keywords that you intend to target and see what pops up. This will make it easier to ensure that the content you’re creating is addressing what searchers want when they enter a particular query into Google.

Tools You Can Use for Keyword Research

You can use plenty of tools to research the keywords that you’d like to put into your content, but we’d recommend using the Ranktracker Keyword Finder. This tool is user-friendly and works fast enough to determine which keywords will work best for your site in short enough order.

Keep in mind that the tool won’t do everything for you. You’ll still need to combine your experience and insight with the keyword finder to determine what will work best for you.

Unfortunately, the best way to find the right keywords is through plenty of hard work because it takes a lot of hard lessons to figure out what will work in your niche. Even if you’ve worked in keyword research before, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll know the keywords for the particular niche that you’re working in right now.

Since niches can vary dramatically between each other in terms of search intent as well as the kinds of keywords you’ll find present in them, using the Ranktracker Keyword Finder will help you out dramatically.

You need a tool that is versatile and easy to use, and that’s exactly what we designed the keyword finder to be.

Keyword Strategy Adaptation

Remember that your keyword strategy needs to be as fluid as possible. If you fail to change your strategy based on how the market changes, you will likely fail. This is due to how frequently Google implements algorithm changes that can potentially turn your business upside down.

Keep your finger to the pulse of how things are changing in your company, as well. That will ensure that your SEO changes reflect how your business is changing. For example, you should increase the number of keywords that you have if you’re launching new products.

You should also expand your keyword lists when your business is moving into new markets.

There are several different ways that you can formulate your keyword strategies. For example, you can try to rank for longer keywords that are more niche first before moving on to shorter keywords. However, you can also adopt the opposite approach.

Whichever approach you take, be sure to stick to it instead of flip flopping between two strategies. Your strategy will be unlikely to work out unless you dedicate yourself to following through on it.

Part 2 - Site Structure

You’ll also have to account for how your site is structured. There is a certain layout that a quality site should follow. In this part of the guide, we’ll cover a few of the basics of how your site should be structured and we’ll also let you know how to implement these enhancements without fully changing around your site.

The Importance of Site Structure When it Comes to SEO

Here are two of the reasons why you’ll need to make sure that your site is structured properly if you want to rank in Google’s search results.

Your Site’s Structure Makes it Easier for Google to Go Through It

A good site structure will let Google know where it needs to look for the content that will make you rank higher than the competition. This is because site crawlers work in a pretty predictable fashion. When you structure your site properly, it gives Google clues as to where to look so that it can determine your site’s intent and purpose.

When you structure your site, you’ll want to make sure that you emphasize your content that has links as well as quality content on it. If one of these two factors is missing, you’ll have to account for what isn’t there.

Properly structuring your site means that some of your popular pages may also rub off on your less popular ones, sharing links to get them into the spotlight. Using the example of an ecommerce site, you can use your popular content pages to boost the search value of the pages that you use to make sales.

A Well-structured Site Won’t Compete with Itself

If you have articles that cover the same topics on your site, there’s a pretty significant chance that those articles will compete with each other if your site isn’t properly structured. You can probably guess that we have plenty of articles about SEO, and the best way to ensure that they don’t compete is through our site structure.

One of the best ways to ensure that this doesn’t happen is by internally linking your content properly so that you rank higher.

The Best Structure for a Site

The pyramid is a great example of how a site needs to be structured. For example, at the top you should find your homepage and pages that are linked directly to it. As you go lower in the pyramid, pages will be linked further away from the homepage.

When you’re coming up with a strategy for your SEO, you’ll need to structure your site properly and ensure that your strategy lines up with it when you come up with your keywords. As we mentioned earlier, coming up with a keyword strategy will allow you to determine how you target long-tail keywords and more competitive ones.

However, your site’s structure should also abide by these same lessons. You’ll need to ensure that your common search terms are there on pages like your homepage and the ones that are directly linked to it. Longer terms should show up later on in the pyramid, further from the home page.

This is where your internal linking structure comes into play since you want to make sure that there are no orphan pages on your site that will dramatically affect your search rankings. Orphan pages are pages that are not linked to any other pages on your site, making them impossible for the search engine to index.

Actionable Advice for Improving Your Site’s Structure

Unfortunately, if you’re reading this article, it’s likely that your site is already live. This means that you probably can’t entirely change the layout of your site. However, there are a few ways that you can alter your site so that it will be more accommodating for search engines, getting you higher search rankings in the long run.

Come Up With Cornerstone Content

You’ll need to start by working on your cornerstone content. This will be the content that matches what your business sells and wants to put out there above all else. The topics addressed in these articles should be pertinent and to-the-point, and the articles themselves need to be written impeccably.

Keep in mind that the quality of the writing itself is only one of the things you’ll need to focus on. You’ll also want to make sure that these articles have keywords woven into them as skillfully as possible. These are the articles that will be the most responsible for making you rank.

If you don’t know which of your articles are your cornerstone articles, go through them and see which of them have the most traffic. If there are a couple of articles that stand apart from the pack, then it’s likely that those are your cornerstone articles and the ones you’ll want to focus on the most.

Also, you’ll want to make sure that you update these articles as frequently as possible because Google’s search algorithm prioritizes articles that have the most recent information.

Linking from Tails to Heads

When you’ve decided which of your articles are going to be your cornerstones, it will be a lot easier to come up with a linking structure. What you want to do is make sure that your tail articles are linked directly to your cornerstones. This will allow Google to determine which of your articles are more important.

You may also find tools that help you internally link your content based on the relevance of the articles that are being linked.

Using Tags

Tags will ensure that your site is structured in Google’s eyes, so if you’re not using them, you’re making a mistake. This will allow Google to determine which of your articles should be grouped because they discuss similar subjects. However, don’t overuse tags because it will get more confusing for the search engine and ruin the structure of your site.

Don’t Duplicate Your Content

You want to avoid having two pieces of identical content on your site, because even though your viewers won’t mind it, that will confuse Google’s search algorithms. This is because Google’s algorithm has been designed to avoid showing the same result twice, even if the results are slightly different.

Another thing to worry about is other sites linking to the two similar URLs, which means that neither of the two URLs will have a larger total number of links. If you’ve discovered duplicate content on your site, you can canonicalize it so that only one of them will show up.

Clear Out Old Content

Next, you should try to work with content that is too old because it will drag down your overall SEO rankings. There are a few things that you can do with older pages, including redirecting, merging, or updating it. This all makes up the kind of maintenance that you have to perform on your content.

Dated information should be removed as soon as possible because Google’s algorithm prioritizes information that is currently useful. If you had good links on a page with dated info, then avoid removing it so that you can retain those links, instead, you’ll want to redirect the page.

Redirects can be accomplished with the use of a plugin or you can do them manually. 301 redirects tend to be the most popular kinds of redirects, and they lead to pages that have replaced the old one. These can be pages with renewed information or they can be entirely different pages that are tangentially related to the old ones.

This ensures that you retain the links that were attached to the old page without having the old page ruin the structure of your site.

Fix Orphaned Content

Orphaned content is something that we mentioned a bit earlier, and it’s essentially content that doesn’t link to anything else on your site. This means that it’s harder for people to find the articles, but more importantly, it means that it’s harder for Google to find them.

This is because Google doesn’t put as much importance on orphaned articles. To fix your orphaned content, make sure that other articles link directly to this page.

Fix Content Cannibalization

Over time, it’s likely that you’ll amass plenty of articles, and some of them may end up addressing the same topic. If this is the case, your articles may end up having the same content in them which will confuse both the people searching for your articles as well as the search engines that are finding those articles.

As we mentioned earlier, this means that your content will end up competing with itself, lowering your search rankings for both pieces of content. If your keywords are cannibalizing each other, you should determine which of your articles are the most important and prioritize those.

Part 3 - Content SEO Copywriting

Copywriting is a huge part of ensuring that your content SEO strategy works out since this is how you’ll come up with your content in the first place. You want to make sure that the articles you publish look good and are a fun read for people visiting your site if you want them to stick around.

However, your content will also need to be optimized so that Google will also think that it’s of higher quality and boost your rankings. You have to strike a fine balance between ensuring that your content is SEO-optimized and making it fun and pleasant to read for humans and not just machines.

Come Up With an Original Idea for Your SEO Copy

When you’re determining what kind of content you want to populate your site with, you’ll want to make sure that your ideas are as original as possible. This will ensure that people will want to read it instead of looking like content that may already be present on other sites that they’ve already seen.

Using our Keyword Finder, you likely found a wide range of keywords that you want to insert into your copy. You’ll want to choose the related terms from this list instead of trying to fit them all into a single article. When you have the keywords, you can come up with an idea for the overall article’s direction.

Remember that your content doesn’t necessarily have to be never-before-seen if you want to ensure that it’s as original as possible. Look at your content from an objective stance and determine if it’s something that you’d be likely to see on the sites of one of your competitors.

Consider Your Audience

You’ll also have to account for who you’re trying to target with your content, so you need to know your audience. Here are some things that you should ask before coming up with your content:

  • What’s the message you’re trying to send?

  • What are you trying to get across to your audience?

  • What is your article’s purpose?

  • Do you want your audience to do something specific after reading the article?

All of this will help you determine an idea for how your post will go.

Content SEO and Content Design

This process will help you determine how you should create your content based on what you think your audience needs. Remember that this doesn’t mean your content should be based on the wants of your users but rather their needs, which is a very crucial distinction to make in the first place.

When you know what your audience needs, you’ll know what kind of tone you need to use in your articles. In the vast majority of cases, you’ll want to avoid using jargon and technical terms and explain things in a way that’s easier for the layman to understand.

Copywriting and the Importance of Readable Content

If you’re going to create good content, you’ll want to be sure that it’s easy for your audience to read. You may think that this is just for the people reading your articles but you may be surprised to learn that Google’s algorithm also cares about readability.

It will be easier for people and Google to understand the point that your article is trying to get across if it’s easy to read and understand. If this is the case, then your article will be far more likely to rank on Google, giving you a higher chance of getting to the top of the front page.

There are a lot of things that determine how easy it is to read an article, including the clarity of the paragraphs, the length of the sentences, and the structure of the text. Keep in mind that these skills can take a long time to learn, even if you’re working with a competent writer.

Search Intent, Content, and Context

Google is gradually beginning to know more about how site content should look because of how machine learning has been progressing these past few years. Gone are the days when you could easily pull one over on Google and take advantage of its machine-like algorithms.

Google now understands the context in which keywords appear, so you won’t be able to stuff your content full of keywords that you think are relevant to your audience. This means that search intent now matters more than the keywords that you put in your articles, which dramatically changed how content needs to be created.

This has allowed writers to create content that flows better instead of trying to tick off boxes that they believe the algorithm cares about. Consider what your readers would want to see in your articles and fill them with content like that to ensure that you match all of their needs.

Optimizing Your Content for Readers and Search Engines

So how do you optimize your content so that it fits the needs of the people searching for it as well as the search engines that they’ll use to find it? Believe it or not, it’s becoming more and more about writing naturally and answering the questions that your content set out to solve.

As long as you ensure that you have some keywords in your content and you’re matching the intent of the people who will be searching for them, there isn’t a whole lot more to care about. Being overbearing on your writers or overthinking your content will result in mistakes more often than not.

Keep in mind that you can also use tools to determine if your content is properly optimized but remember that many of these tools are making educated guesses at Google’s algorithm. This is because Google is notoriously tight-lipped about how their algorithms work in the first place.

Conclusion

Your content SEO is one of the most important parts of your site’s SEO strategy, so don’t let it go by the wayside in favor of other forms of SEO. Remember that SEO is an ecosystem in which each part needs to play its role and work with the other parts to ensure that you get the best search results.

We hope that this guide has given you the info that you needed to develop your content-based SEO strategy.

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