A Guide to SEO Copywriting

There are tons of SEO experts out there explaining how to optimize web sites, web pages and even blog posts. But the majority direct themselves towards someone who is writing their own texts. Here you’ll find similar information, but oriented for professional writers who want to offer SEO optimization as a service.

Note: If you already know how is a SEO optimized post and you just need someone to write it in Spanish:
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How to do a SEO copywriting service
“Tardy (77/365) flickr photo shared by LifeSupercharger under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

Before we begin, keep in mind that a truly SEO optimized post should be at least 1500 words. This is because Google picks based on quality first, and a post of that length has higher possibilities of offering enough information for the user to find what she needs. Secondly, with a 300 word text it will be hard to meet the requirements of the SEO-post.

Remember, Google likes things that are well done. This means that if you have to throw out one of these tips so that the text makes more sense, do it! In other words, a 1500 word post is great, but only if you have something useful to say for the whole 1500 words. If not, it’s better to keep to a short, but quality text.

SEO Copywriting – Step 1 Choose Keywords

Generally, your client will give you keywords. If so, you don’t have too much to do in this step. In any case, at the least, you should make sure the keywords seem logical. This is especially important if your client is foreign. The words might be direct translations from other languages that don’t work well in English.

It’s good to clarify aspects such as:

  1. The keyword has an infinitive verb, can you conjugate?
  2. The keyword is several words together. Can you use prepositions between them?
  3. The keyword is plural. Can you use it in the singular form?

By principle, you should use the keyword exactly as written. However, most of the times you will need to add prepositions in other to make your text look natural and you should do it. Again, quality is before anything else. In addition to this, it is also good to introduce some keywords variations. If not, Google might think you’re writing spam. In important areas such as images, titles and descriptions, make an effort to use keywords precisely without modifications. After all, the bottom line is that clients are paying you to think of the best way to say what they want to say.

How can you decide if a keyword is the right one?

The answer is simple. You need to use a word planner for Adwords. If you haven’t done it before, don’t worry. It’s very intuitive. For more details, look at Google’s instructions on how to use a keyword planner here.

Since in this post we’re talking about blog posts, the norm is to include only one or two keywords (but more than one time each, of course). If you’re asked to use more keywords for one post, it’s usually impossible to use them in all of the important areas, so the post may be not so well optimized. However, in most cases, the client is trying to improve the whole website (not the post itself), so it wouldn’t be crazy to try to include more than one keyword in each post. Anyway, in reality, clients will usually ask you to focus on just one.

Also keep in mind that keyword planning is also in your head. If your post is about something very specific that doesn’t get many hits on Google, don’t be afraid to optimize your post for that word. That means it’ll be easy to get a great position on the search engine. Keep in mind that what matters is keeping your keywords related to your content – otherwise Google will notice and you’ll lose your position. That doesn’t mean you should avoid writing about keywords that don’t get so many hits, especially if we’re talking about blog posts, since they’ll most likely be a great compliment to other pages on the website.

So, what you should do is figure out what way to say things is the most used. In other words, your priority is to write about what you have to write about (the keyword you’re given), but also to use the most useful language (thus your keyword investigation).

SEO Copywriting – Step 2 Use Headings

Headings and subheadings are some of the areas Google uses to get a feel for the content on a page. So, having a well-structured text with subheadings is a great way to show the search engine that you offer a lot of information about the key words.

Here, there tends to be a basic problem. What is your client’s webpage structure? Many sites use general H1 headings on all of their webpages, so that the title of the post you’re writing will be an H2. If you make subdivisions after that, you have to use H3. The problem here is that the effectiveness of H3 headings drops significantly. So, my recommendation is to use H2. Yes, this means that the overall title and subtitles will be in the same category, but if there’s enough content and information between titles and subtitles it shouldn’t be a problem.

If possible, try to use the keywords your client gave you in the titles. If you’re looking for information on how to write titles and subtitles for the web, you can read this post.

How many subheadings should you use? For a 1500 word post, you probably can’t get in more than four. But don’t force them in either. If the text only needs one, in the future there will be other texts that require more divisions.

SEO Copywriting- Step 3 Writing the Post

There’s a lot out there about keyword density. What’s true is that a text that offers information about something generally repeats certain words in its explanations. These repeated words should be your keywords. Although Google does fairly well analyzing synonyms, experience tells me that in a 1500 word text, your keywords should appear at least nine to ten times. I say this based on both mine and my clients experience. I don’t have any objective studies that support this more than the fact that it’s worked for me. Indeed it’s never a bad idea to put your keywords in bold.

Another important point for optimizing a text is including a few links external to the page where they’ll be published. These links should have key words related to yours or even the same ones.

A recurring problem is that clients don’t want to give “free publicity” to other sites. But the truth is having links to quality sites tells Google that you’re offering value to the user because while reading your page, they’ll find not only your information, but also tips to continue learning about the topic on other pages.

It’s also a good idea to include a few links to other pages on your own website. This tells Google that your webpage is coherent and offers lots of information about related topics. These links should also include keywords related to the landing page and if possible the origin page’s keywords as well.

SEO Copywriting – Step 4 Descriptions

A few years ago, I would have told you that it’s very important for the key words to appear at the beginning of a post. The truth is that with the tools available now to create meta descriptions, it’s less important. This is because before, the meta-description basically was the first paragraph, whereas now they can be separate texts. In any case, personally, I prefer to try to place the first keyword in the first paragraph wherever possible.

Writing a good meta-description is mandatory after you’ve finished your post. For those least informed about this topic, the meta-description is the small text that appears on the Google results page below each link. It’s important that key words appear here as well once or twice, but always within a phrase that makes sense. Don’t just repeat keywords, write it well.

There are many versions regarding the number of characters Google counts. In my opinion, 150 characters including space is optimal for SEO.

Don’t forget to optimize your title. You can change it a bit from the actual post title to add keywords that you want to add, but ideally they should be very similar. At most, the title should have 60 characters including spaces. The tricky point here is that you also need a suggestive title for humans.

One thing the search engines will look at is the click through rate that your page have when it appears in the searches. In other words, what percentage of people actually click to enter in your page when they see it in their search results.  This gives the search engine an idea about how well your page fits to the user intent related with that query. As a result, you need a persuasive metadescription with a call to action to make the users enter in your page.

Images also have descriptions

If the post will include images you should modify them to include a title that has to do with the image and also includes a keyword. The same happens with the ALT attribute of the image, which is the text you see when you move the mouse on top of the image. Tables are another good way to include keywords in a text, but that depends on the CMS that your client uses and the control they have over their HTML code.

Finally, you should write lead-ins for Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites where the post will be shared.

Once you have all of this together, you can say your post is optimized for SEO. As a writer, you won’t always have access to all of the functions and you won’t always be paid for all of them. This depends on the agreement you make with your client and how he wants to manage his site. Obviously looking for an image that’s appropriate for a post can be time-consuming and often requires a purchase. For this reason, content writers usually aren’t involved in selecting or placing images.

Look here if you want to hire a copywriter to write SEO-optimized texts.

Step 5 – Improve your content

It would be nice if you could finish your text and forget about it, right? Well, if you are just a freelance SEO copywriter that may be possible since this step is usually done by the owner or manager of the content.

However, if after sending the text you are still responsible for it (in other words, you also work in the site maintenance), you should keep tracking its performance. Check how it ranks with time, and if it doesn’t, try to improve it. Some ideas:

Search Console is an amazing tool to improve SEO optimizations. Once the text is published and it gathers data, look in Performance > Queries. There you will see the real queries for which your site is appearing.

Click on one interesting query, and then change the tab to Pages to see which page is ranking. You will see the page that Google is showing for that query. Check it, and see if you can optimize that page a little more for that real query.

Also, look at the click through rate. If a query has many impressions and a low CTR, you should try to improve the title and metadescription of the page.

This last step in the SEO copywriting guide can provide huge benefits by doing easy changes. Thinks that these queries are already being shown, so Google already think that the page is good If you improve it, it should get better rankings.

How to write a SEO friendly post infographic

How to Write a SEO Friendly Post

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I am a freelance copywriter from Spain