What makes a successful SEO copywriting strategy?11 July 2022 Reading time: 5 min
Long gone are the days when businesses could rely solely on the strength of their product or service to stand out from the competition. In our fast-paced digital world, it’s not enough to buy a domain name, create a service page or two and be done. High-quality offerings require an equally high-calibre marketing strategy. Enter: SEO copywriting.
SEO copywriting is the practice of producing compelling, engaging content that appeals to both users and search engine algorithms. Since Google accounts for nearly 90% of the market share, we’ll use “Google” to refer to search engines in general.
SEO copywriters must toe a careful line. If they focus too narrowly on appeasing Google’s crawlers, the content will be too robotic, and users will steer clear. But if they write copy while disregarding SEO best practices completely, the algorithm, and by extension users, won’t be able to find the beautiful or informative prose in the first place.
Though Google notoriously keeps the details of their algorithm updates and myriad ranking factors opaque, digital marketing research has revealed crucial insight into what makes SEO copy successful. Of course, if producing perfectly optimized content were as simple as following a checklist, digital marketing would be a lot easier and far less creative. That said, a sound SEO strategy combined with a skilled copywriter can set your business up for success.
When keywords meet quality content
Many marketing strategists think that keywords are the crux of SEO copywriting. And keywords are, well, key! But an effective keyword strategy isn’t just what words you choose—it’s also how you use them.
In the early days of SEO, it was common practice to game Google’s algorithm by including as many keywords as possible on a given page with no regard to meaning or context, a practice dubbed keyword stuffing. This led to copy that sounded unnatural at best and completely nonsensical at worst. Some particularly shameless sites would also insert the keywords as “invisible text” that search engines could read, but users couldn’t.
Thankfully for us internet users, algorithms have evolved and become more sophisticated over the years. They now penalize these so-called “black hat” SEO practices. Why? Because these webpages don’t actually fulfill Google’s mission to provide results that are relevant to users and satisfy search intent.
So where does this leave SEO copywriters who want to embrace white hat SEO? Savvy SEO copywriters will take the market research and provided keywords into account and create valuable, useful content.
While there is no firm consensus, market researches generally conclude that copywriters should aim for a keyword density of about 1–2%, meaning that the page’s keyword should appear every 100 to 200 words. This is a helpful rule of thumb, but copywriters should ultimately be able to rely on their judgment and experience to craft natural and useful content that makes smart use of keywords.
This is also where the importance of long-tail keywords (3–5 words) and keyword variation comes in. As the name suggests, variants are closely related to your main keyword and are used to extend its impact. Google is sophisticated enough to recognize words of similar syntax (plurals), synonyms, reordered phrases, and even words and phrases that have the same search intent. This leaves skilled copywriters plenty of room to incorporate artful variations that ultimately leave the prose sounding natural to human readers and useful to the algorithm.
Long-tail keywords are more specific than the primary keywords. They may get less search traffic overall, but they will usually have a higher conversion value because the results they yield are likely to correspond more closely to the search intent.
For example, if you’re a business that specializes in Québec-made artisan products, and you want to write a blog post about Québec-made furniture, your head keyword might be “furniture” or “Québec furniture.” But this will leave you with fierce competition! However, if you conduct keyword research on more specific, longer-tail terms like “Québec mid-century wooden tables,” you’ll often see this strategy pay off. While there may be fewer people in general searching for this very particular subset of furniture, you’re likely to rank high and attract the attention of those who are. Potential buyers who have something specific in mind are easier to convert into actual buyers.
Providing the copywriter with keywords and a marketing strategy beforehand will set them up for success. They will take these guidelines and transform them into content that aligns with your business objectives.
Now that we’ve covered the importance of keywords, it’s important to note that an effective SEO copywriting doesn’t stop after the first blog post! It can take several months to start to see results from this initial campaign. While this may seem long compared to pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, the goal of SEO is to generate quality leads from organic search results, allowing it to continue to pay dividends in the long run, providing a greater return on investment (ROI). According to Hubspot, companies that blog get 55% more web traffic and 70% more leads than those that don’t. After all, there’s a reason they say content is king.
A meaningful SEO copywriting strategy will therefore include a long-term plan for recurring blog posts. Google looks favourably on sites that publish informative, relevant content consistently. This also gives businesses the opportunity to experiment with different strategies and niches to find which resonate the most with their target audience. The ultimate goal is to attract new customers and cement brand loyalty. A DemandMetric study found that 70% of people prefer learning about a company through articles rather than advertisements. Additionally, the more blog posts you have, the more inbound links and indexed pages you’ll have, which will increase domain authority and rank you higher in the search results.
While understanding the power of consistency and keywords is a great start, the field of SEO copywriting is rich and ever-changing. That’s why SEO copywriting experts who are on top of the latest industry and market trends are such invaluable assets. When in doubt, it’s always a great idea to reach out to a professional who will evaluate your specific needs and devise the best content for you.