Three steps to take when writing for SEO
When I signed up for an SEO copywriting course last year, I was apprehensive about how helpful it would be for my role. As a creative copywriter, writing for SEO sounded like something that was more relevant for developers than me. But I can now gladly admit that I was wrong!
SEO is not only important because it’s cost-effective for individuals and businesses alike, but people searching for information or products trust the results that rank towards the top of the page. And it’s this trust that makes them click.
From keyword management to persona development, a lot goes into creating copy that is going to attract people to your site — and importantly, keep them there. So without further ado, allow me to share the three most important steps I’ve learned for effective SEO copywriting.
1. Understand your target audience
As is the case with selling a service or product, trying to make your site appeal to the masses simply won’t work. It’s important to take the time to understand who it is you’re trying to attract by creating a persona. To do this, consider the four following areas in relation to your target audience:
- Demographics — age, marital status, gender, occupation, education
- Sources of information — what they read, what websites they visit, what social media they might use and how
- Values and goals — what they want to achieve, what they care about most
- Fears, frustrations and pain points — what’s getting in the way, what discomforts they experience regularly, what they worry about
By identifying important information about your target audience, you’re able to start uncovering the kind of keywords you should be including on your page and in your metadata. This process will result in more visibility of your site for those who are searching using the keywords you’ve implemented.
2. Analyse your information
Now you have your keywords, it’s time to understand the metadata behind your site. I recommend downloading ‘SEO meta in 1-click’, a Google Chrome extension which allows you to view what the tags of your page have been set to. When you’re on your site, click the extension to get a breakdown of what information appears for each element of the page.
The most important elements are your title, description and keywords, so if any of these are missing, it’s important that you populate them to make your page as visible as possible to searchers. You can do this by coding manually in your website’s HTML or by using a plugin such as Yoast SEO.
3. Optimise your content
The hard part is getting the right people onto your page. Now that’s in the bag, it’s essential that you make them want to stay. This is not only because the longer they’re on your site, the higher the chance of conversion, but also because if enough people click on and then off your page quickly, it falls in the rankings.
As well as ensuring you include clear, relevant and insightful information that offers credibility and shows your expertise, using your page’s real estate wisely is also key. Try to lead with words and imagery that will resonate with the reader. Give your page lots of white space, bolding, bullet points and scannable content to make it feel manageable. Try not to overwhelm, but to inform.
In terms of the language you use, consider following the 4Ps (or persuasive writing structure):
Promise: be explicit about what you’re promising to the reader if they stay on the page
Picture: use storytelling to allow them to imagine experiencing and enjoying that promise
Proof: back up what you’re saying with figures, facts or testimonials
Push: guide them towards the next step you’d like them to take
Writing for SEO might feel intimidating, but by breaking it down into these manageable steps and spending as long as it takes on each one to ensure you get it right, it’s one of the most valuable things you can do for yourself or your business. All that’s left to do is get started! See you on the results page.