“One of the biggest challenges that bloggers and content marketers face is writing content that’s optimised for search engines, yet will also appeal to people.”
– Neil Patel
Copywriting for search engines is all about striking a balance between content Google can understand and content that persuades your visitors. When done right, SEO copywriting encourages readers to take action and boosts your rankings for the right terms.
So, if you want to build your audience and improve your position in the SERPs, you’re going to have to get savvy with your content. Read on to discover our 9 tips for successful search engine copywriting.
9 tips for successful search engine copywriting
1. Master headline writing
In search engine copywriting, the best headlines will attract people’s attention and then encourage them to click and read further. Neil Patel believes if you have a strong headline, it doesn’t really matter where you rank on the first page of the SERPs because you’ll still be attracting organic website visitors.
But what makes a strong headline? It’s no secret that numbers resonate with people the most. People are fascinated by lists, so headlines which have numbers in are more popular. Not only do they promise something specific, but they assure the reader the content will be easy to digest.
Take the title of this post as an example. No one could deny that ‘Successful search engine copywriting: 9 tips for writing great content’ sounds much more interesting than ‘Successful search engine copywriting: tips for writing great content.’
2. Nail your title tags
Title tag optimisation is another fundamental component of any search engine copywriting strategy. When done right, title tags can help to boost traffic and win you the click even if you’re not ranked in the number one spot.
According to Moz, you should aim for 50–60 characters and stick to the following format as much as possible: Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name.
So, how do you write a good title tag? There are a few rules to follow, including:
• Don’t use all caps
• Give every page a unique title
• Put important keywords first
• Avoid stuffing titles with keywords
• Write for your customers
3. Craft persuasive meta descriptions
Meta descriptions are the next thing people read after the title tag and their purpose is simple: to get someone searching on Google to click your link. Designed to help searchers and search engines understand what the topic or focus of the post or page is, they need to be persuasive and accurate.
According to Yoast SEO, the right length doesn’t really exist. However, Google mostly displays snippets of 120 to 156 characters, so aiming for 155 characters is a good rule to follow. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to control what Google decides to display on the SERPs – they might choose a featured snippet of your copy instead – but keeping it short will ensure that if they do use your meta description, it will be shown in full.
Some extra tips include using your focus keyword, making sure it matches the content of the page, using active voice and including a call to action.
4. Write killer introductions
You’ve spent time crafting the perfect headline, meta description and title tag so that visitors are encouraged to click through to your page. Now that you have them there, you want them to stick around. To keep readers hooked, you need a strong introduction. You won’t have very long to convince them to stay, so get to the point quickly. Let them know what it is they will gain, how your content will help them and why they should continue reading. For more guidance, check out HubSpot’s article on writing stronger introductions.
5. Use the inverted pyramid
Originally used in journalism and media to hook readers into a newspaper article, the inverted pyramid is also highly effective when trying to attract online visitors. Put simply, you need to place your most important point first – don’t bury it halfway down the page! This links in nicely with our point above about the introduction. Essentially, what readers ‘need to know’ should be at the very top, and what is ‘nice to know’ should be left until the end.
6. Make your content readable
Visitors will skim your content before they commit to reading it, so it’s important you structure your copy with clear paragraphs so they can find the information they need. If you can’t avoid large sections of text, try splitting them up with bullet points, lists and images.
To ensure your content is as digestible as possible, write in short sentences. Similarly, while it’s important to educate your readers with brand and industry terms, you don’t want the copy to be too difficult to read. A tool such as the Hemingway App can analyse your copy and offer suggestions to improve readability.
7. Help readers take action
CTAs (calls to action) are valuable additions to your copy – after all, if you don’t tell your visitors what to do next, they’ll go elsewhere. It’s always beneficial to have one at the end of your content, but not everyone will make it there, so include a couple of well-spaced CTAs throughout your copy as well.
8. Target the right keywords
You should never guess at the right keywords — there is plenty of online software available today to help you conduct research. SEMrush, for example, will generate a list of semantically related long-tail keywords you can target based on your primary keyword. If it throws up a lot of them, pick a few that are relatively easy to target with a low keyword difficulty ranking yet solid search volumes.
9. Understand keyword intent
Keywords are useless if you don’t know why searchers use those specific ones, which is where keyword intent comes in.
Keyword intent helps you to understand the main reason or purpose behind keywords, and because Google aims to provide its visitors with high-quality search results, it’s important to pay attention to this.
There are three types of intent, which are:
Informational intent: Users are looking to find more information on a specific product, topic or industry. Example: ‘Best yoga mat’
Navigational intent: Users want to visit a specific site or webpage. Example: ‘Lululemon yoga mats’
Commercial intent: Users want to purchase a service or product. Example: ‘Buy a new Lululemon yoga mat’
Once you know what it is your audience is looking for, you can tailor your content to appeal to them through your keywords.
Create successful search engine copywriting today
High-quality copy plays a huge role in turning visitors into paying customers. Not every piece of writing will be effective in helping you convert leads, but it could still give you a boost in the search engines, which is why it’s important to always produce well-written content.