SEO copywriting, as I’ve said before, is a bit of a misnomer: all good copywriting should already be some degree of SEO copywriting. But, that said, there are still a few steps to take that can make your copy more likely to show up on a search engine results page, particularly if you are writing content.
It used to be that SEO copywriting meant just jamming as many keywords into an article as possible, with the end result that it usually sounded absurd.
Today, SEO copywriting is almost an unnecessary term; good copywriting should automatically incorporate the kinds of words that people would naturally use (and search for) regarding a topic.
However, to make your copy or content even more appealing for search engines, there are a few specific tactics to use.
SEO Copywriting Checklist
Use this checklist as you’re writing and to check your draft before submitting it to a client.
1. Choose one, impactful keyword/phrase for the page/post.
Don’t try to make a page rank (show up on a search engine results page) for a bunch of different terms; choose the one word/phrase that’s most important and focus your efforts on that one.
Also, when you use it, use it in exactly the same way. For example, if your keywords are “men’s sherpa-lined slippers,” don’t vary it by also using “men’s slippers” or even “men’s sherpa slippers.” You can use those in the post, but you may not get credit for those in your SEO score.
2. Put your keyword(s) in the first paragraph of the copy.
This one is pretty straightforward: use your keyword in the first paragraph, and as close to the beginning as possible. The algorithms for search engines are mysterious, but the tips for good SEO copywriting aren’t.
3. Put the keyword(s) in the title.
Your keyword or keyword phrase should be in the title, and as with the first paragraph, aim to have them at the beginning of the title. This may not always be possible, but it’s worth trying for.
4. Put your keyword(s) in at least one subhead.
If your copy/content has subheadings, try to put your keyword in one of them, too. This isn’t absolutely necessary, but it can certainly help with your page ranking.
5. Get your keyword ratio right.
For best results, aim to get your keyword(s) in your post/copy two or three times per 400 words.
6. Put your keyword in your meta title and meta description.
Meta titles and Meta descriptions are special tags within the code that designate copy as important for search engines. SEO copywriting doesn’t necessarily dictate that your meta title and your page/post title be the same.
Your meta title is the title that shows up on a search engine results page, so it should be geared toward that audience. Your page/post title, while probably very similar to that, should be geared to your target audience and the way in which they’re most likely to come across it. And the same thing, of course, goes for the meta description.
7. Keep your meta title and descriptions the right lengths.
For best results, keep your meta description length between 150 and 160 characters and your meta title under 55 characters. Remember that these characters include spaces!
8. Put the keyword(s) in the URL.
If you have any influence over what the page/post’s URL will be, try to include the keyword(s) in that URL. So, in our slipper’s example, the ideal scenario would be something like “http://www.jimsshoeshop.com/mens-sherpa-lined-slippers.”
9. Eliminate stop words in the URL.
Again, if you can influence the URL, be sure to eliminate unnecessary words in it, also referred to as “stop words”. These are the most common words in the English language and, while there’s no definitive list, you can safely take out words like “the,” “is,” “at,” “and,” “for,” etc.
10. Include images.
Pages with images tend to rank higher in search engine results. Even if you can’t include an image within the post, choose an image to be the “featured image”—this will show up when the link is posted/shared on Facebook and some other types of social media.
11. Include the keyword(s) in the alt description.
Because it can sometimes take longer for images to load than copy, all images can have an “alt description”—copy that shows up in place of the image until it loads. This alt description should be short and straightforward and, yes, should include the keyword(s).
12. Include links.
Links to both pages/posts on the same site and links to other, authoritative site help to show your page and site’s legitimacy. Include at least one link in each page/post.
Your turn! What questions do you have about SEO copywriting that we haven’t yet answered? Let us know in the comments below!
Last Updated on September 20, 2022 by Kate Sitarz