As every marketer knows, SEO copywriting is a complex science which blends useful and interesting content with a specific set of rules concerning the placement and frequency of keywords to help a website rank higher on Google. It takes talent, care and attention to detail to create a balanced blend of readability and keyword density.
However, it takes more than that to ace at SEO copywriting. First of all, the game master, Google, keeps changing the rules and what you successfully apply today may become irrelevant tomorrow. So, you must keep learning the new rules and mastering them. Secondly, good on-page SEO goes beyond the text itself and involves clever keyword placement in other areas, some of them not visible to the website visitors, but used by search engines in the page ranking process.
Despite the constant changes of ranking algorithms, some secrets of the trade still work and will continue to work. Learning and applying them in your work will help you produce better copy and grow your reputation as a skilled SEO copywriter. Here are some of them:
- Become a Master of LSI Keywords
LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing and it basically represents synonyms of phrases and keywords you want to rank for. It is a known fact that Google penalises keyword stuffing, and so do readers. Let us be frank, when you see a word or phrase repeating with annoying frequency in a text you are reading, you stop enjoying the lecture and instead you think “so they’re trying to rank higher for this”.
By comparison, LSI keywords create a natural flow in your text and also help you rank for your main keyword. If you are not sure how to create a full lexicon of LSI keywords, you can use various online tools, such as LSIGraph or Übersuggest.
- Craft Your Meta Description Carefully
The meta description of an article or piece of content with an individual URL is not only useful for ranking for a specific keyword. It is also the snippet of text which appears under the title and URL in Google searches and many people read it in order to decide whether the respective link is what they are looking for BEFORE they click on it.
Thus, a clearly worded meta description which presents the core topic of the article will not only help it rank higher on Google searches for the focus keyword, but it will also increase the number of visitors who click on the link.
- Organise the First Paragraph According to the APP Rule
The APP rule is simple: Agree, Promise and Preview. Let us get into detail with each element of this rule:
Agree – start your article by getting the readers on your side with a statement everyone agrees with. For example, the first sentence of this article is a perfect instance of this, because it starts with: “as every marketer knows”. In stating something your readers will agree with, you win their goodwill and determine them to keep reading.
Promise – give readers reasons to keep reading the article. Make a promise that the content of the article will give them useful information on a topic, help them solve a problem or learn something new, or provide a solution for their inquiries.
Preview – in a short sentence, make a summary of your article, including the key aspect you will be touching on later in the body of the content.
- Take Advantage of All Available Keyword Placements
As we have mentioned earlier, keywords do not go only inside the body of the article. A fully optimised webpage has keywords strategically placed both in the front end (what visitors see) and back end (the control panel for editing the website). The best-known placements for keywords are:
- Webpage title
- Article heading
- Subheadings (H1, H2 and H3 tags)
- First and last paragraph of the text
- Meta description
However, you should also include keywords in the title, description and alt text of each photo or graphic file which will be included in the article, as well as in the meta tags of audio or video files, if applicable. These items are not visible to website users, but they are searched and indexed by Google spiders.
- Craft the Headline Carefully
The headline of an article is like the first impression you make of a person on meeting them for the first time. If it is good, the person will keep reading. If it is bad, they will move on.
A well-crafted SEO title contains the keyword in a naturally flowing placement and stimulates the interest and desire to read on. Although the word now has a negative connotation, the key to creating a compelling headline is to use the “clickbait” approach. Promise something useful, interesting, helpful, or entertaining, without giving away too much of the content. Make people curious, but make sure that you do satisfy their curiosity and that the content of the article matches the promise made in the headline.
And last but not least, remember that the ideal keyword density agreed by Google is 1%. You may have a higher density, but anything above 5% is treated as keyword stuffing and the URL will be penalised by lower ranking.