What is the secret to writing great SEO copy?
- AuthorMatt Nicholls
Writing copy for SEO isn’t much different than writing for any audience, it just takes more research and planning to make sure Google can read and understand what your content is about.
It used to be that you could identify the ‘keywords’ that searchers typically use to find a piece of content similar to your own, include as many mentions of that keyword in your own content as possible, and rank number one in Google’s search engine. These days, there are many more factors at play, and Google is much better at detecting keyword spam and telling what is and isn’t quality content.
To get the best results for your content, it’s worth consulting an SEO professional, but if you just want some tips that will give you a better chance of ranking on Google, stick with this post.
How to do SEO content writing
If you want your content to rank higher in Google search results, consider the following advice:
1. Identify a primary keyword
Before you start writing copy for SEO, it’s a good idea to know what terms people are using to search for that type of content on Google. If you have access to paid keyword tools such as ahrefs or SEMRush you can simply type in the topic your content is about and find keywords related to that topic (there are also many free tools you can use to find these keywords).
So, if for example, you’re writing content for a page selling your divorce services, you could type ‘divorce’ into the tool and look at the associated keywords. Most keyword tools use ‘search volume’ to show you how many times a keyword is searched for on a monthly basis and the first thing you want to do is identify the keyword with the highest volume and the correct search intent.
2. Determine the keyword’s search intent
When you’re identifying search intent for a keyword, you’re just trying to understand what the searcher is looking for when they use that term and whether the content you’re writing fits that intent.
For example, suppose you are looking for potential clients who want to instruct your firm for a divorce. In that case, you don’t want to be targeting keywords like: ‘divorce rate uk’ because it’s likely that the people searching that keyword are looking for information on divorce rates and are not looking for a solicitor. You’d be much better off targeting a keyword such as ‘divorce solicitors’ which seems to be more of a ‘transactional search’ than an ‘informational search’.
If you get stuck trying to figure out search intent, we’d recommend searching the keyword in Google to see what results come up. If all the results are about divorce rates or are all blog posts for example, then they’re probably not right for your new divorce service page. If your keyword returns lots of other law firms’ divorce pages, then you’re probably on the right track.
3. Decide how many times you’re going to use your primary keyword
Once you’ve decided what your primary keyword is, you need to figure out how many times you want to include it in your content. A good way to do this is to search your intended keyword in Google and look at how many times the top 10 results use the keyword in their content.
There are other factors that determine the position a site appears in the search results for a keyword, such as Domain Authority, but if you’re just starting out writing copy for SEO, checking how often competitors are using a keyword is a good start.
For example, if on average the top 10 pages use your primary keyword five times, you could include it six times in your content just to make sure it’s used enough to have the best chance of ranking in the top 10.
4. Include the keyword in the right places
Your primary keyword needs to be in your page's main heading, wrapped in a H1 tag. So, if ‘divorce solicitors’ is your primary keyword it should be included in the H1, preferably at the start.
You can also include other mentions of this keyword in the first paragraph of your content and then sporadically throughout so that it isn’t overused in any one place. Again, there is more to keyword implementation than this, but this works as a general rule.
5. Find secondary keywords to target
You can copy steps one to four for other keywords related to the topic you’re writing on and make sure to include them sporadically in the content as well. These generally tend to be lower volume keywords that are more specific than the primary keyword and are known in the industry as ‘long-tail’ keywords.
It’s important to make sure they’re relevant to the page you’re writing about, so be careful not to get too intoxicated by the keyword volume and instead pick relevant keywords and queries that people looking for your page will want to see.
6. Create an outline for your SEO content
Once you’ve collected all the keywords you want to use, it’s just a matter of deciding where you want everything to go. This is dependent on the type of page you’re writing and how experienced a writer you are.
One thing to make sure of is that you use plenty of headings to break up your content so that Google can tell what each section of your page is about. These should include the correct heading tags, i.e., the main heading of the page should be a H1, any headings for sections under that H1 should be H2 and under the secondary H2 headings, headings should be H3 and so on.
If you’re struggling to find a structure for your article you could look at your competitors again by searching your primary keyword in Google and looking at how they’ve structured their articles. Take the best subheadings from across all the top results and make them your own.
You can also check the ‘People Also Ask’ box on the search results page to give you more ideas of what kinds of questions Google associates with your primary keywords and use them as subheadings for your piece.
7. Write your SEO copy
Once you’ve got your outline it’s time to write your content. At this point you’ve done as much research as you can; you have your keywords, you have your structure, and now it’s just about writing a quality piece of content.
If you’re an expert in your field, that knowledge will come through naturally, and all you need to do is:
- Make sure that what you’re writing is useful to your audience
- Make sure it’s interesting enough to keep them engaged and is relevant to the headings the content sits under
- Make sure you use your keyword in the correct places and the correct number of times
And the rest is up to Google.
One more thing to keep in mind is that Google is still somewhat biased towards long content, so the longer your copy, the better. Just don’t increase the word count by dragging out sentences and sections that don’t need it. If you’re going to make your content long, make sure you have enough new things to say.
Will these tips make you better at SEO writing?
As we explained in the opening of this article, writing copy for SEO is similar to any other writing, it just requires some extra research and planning.
You’re still writing for a particular audience but with SEO content writing, you’re equipped with keywords that you know your audience are using to find your content. This means that not only is your content useful to your audience, but it’s also easy for search engines to understand.
If you want to find out more about our copywriting service, contact our team on 0117 325 0200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.