SEO Copywriting 101: What it is and why you need it

Do you feel like your site isn’t as popular with Google as it should be? You’re not alone. There are many factors that can affect a website’s ranking in search engines, and SEO copywriting is one of them. If you want to see an increase in traffic on your site, read on…

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is about persuading Google (and other search engines) that your site or a particular web page is the best answer to a search query. There’s a lot of noise in the SEO world. One of the most confusing aspects of it all is copywriting.

  • What exactly are you doing when you write for search engine optimisation (SEO)?
  • How does writing for Google differ from writing for humans?
  • Why do you need to know about this stuff, anyway? Surely it should be enough to have a decent website.

This blog post will show you why applying SEO copywriting is essential if your marketing strategy involves organic traffic to your website.

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What exactly is SEO copywriting technique?

SEO copywriting is all about increasing your website’s ranking in search engine results by writing content that engages with users while also including keywords tactically. So we’re talking about the art of writing webpages that convince Google that:

  1. Your website should rank well on its result pages for particular search terms OR
  2. A particular page on your website should rank well for a search or group of searches

The search engine you’re tickling might be Bing, Yahoo or DuckDuckGo, but let’s be real: you’re concerned with impressing Google.

Are copywriting and SEO copywriting the same thing?

Copywriting is writing with the aim of persuading a person to do something.

SEO copywriting is writing with the aim of persuading Google or another search engine that your website or specific webpage is worthy of ranking on the first page of a particular Google search.

An SEO copywriter is someone who writes copy (words) with Google in mind. That’s why many companies advertising SEO services for copywriting know little about direct response copywriting. Their writing might persuade Google to rank your website, but they might not have the direct response copywriting skills to turn the visitors from Google into customers for you.

Is SEO copywriting enough on its own to rank in Google?

Google considers hundreds of factors before rolling out the top results for a search. The words on a particular page are an important consideration. So too are the words on the rest of your site. If Google thinks your site is about pizza, no page on your site is likely to rank well in searches for burgers.

If Google thinks your burger page is outside the overall scope of your site, it won’t matter how hard you work on the burger page. That’s because you’ll be competing with other sites that are 100% about burgers. Odds are, Google will consider pages on those sites are more likely to be good answers for burger queries.

In a competitive market, copywriting with Google in mind is unlikely to make a big difference to your search engine rankings except as part of a more complete SEO plan. That more complete plan will consider many of the other factors that Google looks at, factors that go further than the words on the page.

However, the words on the page will always be important. However deep the search element of your content marketing plan, your plan is still to convince Google to send visitors from your target audience who are looking for an answer. Someone has to write that answer.

When it comes to investing in Google ranking, the more competitive your area, the better and SEO plan you’ll need. In a competitive area, chances are your competition is fighting back. And SEO is a zero-sum game — if one website moves up the rankings, it means another website is moving down the rankings.

How are SEO copywriting services important?

You should write every page on your website as if someone important is going to read it. With that in mind, a copywriter can structure your webpage and the arguments to persuade that reader. SEO copywriting might have got the reader there, but it’s direct response copywriting that will turn that reader into someone taking action.

For instance, if prospects are prefacing searches with “specialist” or “trustworthy”, you know it’s important to prove on the page that you’re specialised or trustworthy. Local searches can also be particularly powerful (if location is important to your prospects (e.g. “copywriter Sydney”)

Search engine analysis is one step in Taleist’s copywriting research process. We use pro-grade search engine analysis tools to understand your prospects’ thinking. By using that information as we write, we naturally improve the search engine optimisation of the pages on your website. That’s because we’re using the language your prospects use and thus can relate to.

In addition, other aspects of our copywriting research process also teach us what language your clients use. We then turn all that information into high quality (and persuasive) web copy.

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How much SEO should a web copywriter know?

How much Google jitsu your web copywriter should know depends on the goals of your website and your marketing strategy.

If you’re engaged in direct response marketing online, it might make sense that your web copywriter understands some search engine optimisation (SEO). However, before auditioning a web copywriter for their knowledge of SEO, it’s important to be sure you are:

  • Clear on the objective of your page
  • Investing in a complete plan, not just copywriting as a standalone tactic
  • Not confusing copywriting with content writing

Your web copywriter should definitely know SEO if that’s your primary objective

The goal of SEO is to persuade Google and other search engines to show your webpages higher up the search results.

If better search ranking is your number one goal, your web copywriter should be knowledgeable about SEO.

However, as we discussed above, Google considers hundreds of factors when it ranks your website. Your copywriting is only one of them. This makes it limiting to consider your copywriting in isolation of other search ranking factors.

You’re extremely unlikely to rocket up the search rankings for competitive terms just by employing an “SEO copywriter” to create content. There are too many other factors at play. Anyone who tells you different is misleading you.

If SEO is your primary goal, you should be looking to a specialist agency to design a complete plan. The agency might recommend copywriting as a tactic, but they would include other tactics as well.

Most SEO agencies don’t have direct response copywriters on staff. They usually have content writers who can write content designed for Google. That content is good at persuading Google to send you visitors, but that’s not going to be enough if you need to persuade the humans Google sends you.

(If you don’t have a good SEO agency, feel free to contact us. We’ll tell you who we recommend to our clients.)

Is your webpage even eligible for SEO copywriting?

Many landing pages have a particular place in a sales funnel. Because the page is designed to be seen only at a certain point in the funnel, the designer of the sales funnel doesn’t want anyone to finding the page randomly through Google.

For that reason, your landing page might be configured to be invisible to search engines. And if your page is invisible to search engines (or should be invisible), you don’t need your web copywriter to know any SEO.

Whether your page is or isn’t hidden from Google, if you are looking for conversions — to persuade a human to take action, not an algorithm — your first call should be to a direct response copywriter.

Similarly, if you’re buying your website traffic from Google Ads, Facebook or elsewhere — and you’re not planning to invest in a specialist agency — you’d get better results from a direct response copywriter than from SEO copywriting.

7 things you should know about writing for Google

There are only three ways people end up on your website:

  1. You tell them about it
  2. Someone else tells them about it
  3. Google sends them there

If you’re hoping for Google to send potential customers to your website through the power of SEO, there are some things you need to understand about how Google works.

The good news about writing for search engines

Are these two things true of your business:

  1. You’re running an honest business where you want to give people a product or service that’s worth their money.
  2. You want them to have a good experience and you’re genuinely trying to help them.

If those things are true, good news! The search engines want to help you. Everything search engines do is about connecting searchers with good information and great businesses. If that’s you, your goals and Google’s are aligned.

Here are seven other things you should know…

1. Google does only one thing: answer questions

Every search typed into Google is a question. Google responds by listing the web pages it thinks have the best answer to that question.

If someone types your name into Google, you’ve got a good chance showing up, especially if they type in something a bit descriptive with it (“in Sydney”, “works for Taleist”). But if you want to show up for something other than your name, read on.

2. Gold, silver and bronze winners take all

The websites that come at the top of a Google search get the lion’s share of all clicks. The first three sites in any search will scoop more than half of all the clicks.

If you’re in the other seven on the first page, you’re fighting for scraps. If you’re on page two or beyond, forget about it. That’s why you have to take your SEO tactics seriously if organic traffic (traffic from search engines) is important to you.

3. You are not Google’s customer

You, the website owner, are not Google’s customer. The person using Google to search the internet is Google’s customer.

Everything Google does is about giving its customer, the searcher, a good experience. (Because if they don’t have a good experience, they’ll blame Google and eventually look for another search engine.)

A long time ago there were sorcerers’ tricks to fool Google into thinking a website was a good answer to a question. But Google found all the sorcerers and smacked those sites out of its listings.

That’s good news for honest sites. If you work hard to give your visitors a good experience in the form of good well-structured content, you will be rewarded.

4. Having a narrow ambition is better

Being at the top of the search page for a broad search like “tennis pro” or “shoe shop” is nearly impossible. Getting there would take serious work and (probably) a whole lot of money.

It’s more realistic to aim for narrower searches, such as “tennis pro in Rozelle” or “shoe shop specialising in heels”. And there’s a better chance someone searching for a tennis pro in your area will buy from you than someone searching from miles away.

5. You’re losing a heap of traffic if your site isn’t mobile-ready

A website that’s mobile responsive is one that adapts itself to a small screen so the user isn’t pinching, zooming or squinting. Mobile experience is so important to Google that it will consider the mobile-friendliness of your website before considering anything else.

Bottom line: Google will not show your website at all to people searching on their phones if your website is not mobile responsive. That could mean more than half of your potential visitors.

6. Google cares about things you probably haven’t imagined it cares about

That includes:

  • Spelling and grammar. Google reasons that people who take their time over their writing are probably giving their visitors a better experience.
  • How fast your site opens. (Which is a better experience for the Google customer: a site that bursts open or one that oozes in like treacle?)
  • The quality of the coding on your site
  • Whether your site is easy to navigate (yes, Google can tell)

7. Google knows things that will blow your mind

Google is not just Google. It’s Chrome, YouTube, Google Maps, Waze, Gmail, Google Docs and dozens of other tools. Take all the information produced by the software Google has given the world, put it all in one place and you’ve given Google a mind-blowing amount of information about most of us. Some of it is about you personally and all of it tells Google something about us statistically.

When it comes to how people use your website and what they think of it, Google can draw on information it gets from how they react to you in the search engine.

And Google can go even deeper if your visitor is using Google’s Chrome web browser. If you’ve installed Google Analytics, Google Ads or a Google remarketing pixel, you would also be unknowingly feeding Google’s algorithm.

Here’s just a handful of things Google might know about your website:

  • How long someone spends on your site. (If Google sends a searcher to a site and they bounce back in five seconds, Google knows the site probably wasn’t much use. It might also get that information from Google Analytics or Chrome)
  • Which pages on your site are the most popular
  • Whether people buy things on your site
  • Whether people email or call you
  • How your site shapes up to the competition
  • Whether the writing on your site is original

And it’s using all of that information to make decisions about where to put you in the search results.

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5 tips you can use right now to impress Google

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2gdGZtVaac

1. Carry out keyword research

Keyword research means researching the words people type into Google when they’re looking for someone like you.

For example, Taleist specialises in website copywriting. Hence, we would use keywords like “website copywriter” on our website. However, there are probably a lot more people searching for “website content writer” instead of “website copywriter”.

Google probably recognises that the two terms are semantically similar. But it might still prioritise the website that calls itself a “website content writer” if those are the keywords typed into Google search. That is why it’s more effective to try and connect your website content with the actual words that are being typed into Google.

Thankfully, Google is becoming more and more adept at recognising semantically similar keywords. For example, if you owned a riding school, Google would likely understand that keywords such as “saddle”, “horse”, and “equestrian” all belong in the same category. A website that uses all those keywords would then be a good answer to someone typing “Best riding school near me”. So conduct some research around semantically related keywords to improve your chances of getting noticed by Google.

2. Use headings

When you’re writing website copy, it’s useful to break up your content with headings. Firstly, headings and subheadings make your copy more reader-friendly. And secondly, you can use related keywords in your headings to boost your website’s visibility to Google.

Google looks for ways to confirm whether the information on your website is relevant to the questions being asked. The keywords you use in your headings are a signal to Google that your website contains important information that readers are looking for.

3. Increase the length of your content

Google works on a rule of thumb: All other things being equal, a page with more content on it is more likely to be useful than a page with less content on it.

Imagine if you owned a dog-walking website, and your landing page had about 150 words of content related to dog walking. Google would surmise that a landing page with 300 words on the same topic is likely to more interesting to people looking for information on dog-walking. So Google would probably place the heftier webpage ahead of your own.

4. Persuade readers to spend more time on your website

Google tracks the amount of time someone spends on your website. The longer a reader stays on your website, the more it reinforces Google’s perception that your website is relevant to what the reader was looking for. So one of things you can do to boost your Google ranking is to encourage your traffic to spend as much time on your website as possible.

One of the ways you can do that is by writing longer webpages. A longer webpage means that readers would have to scroll down to finish reading it. If you’re using Google Analytics, it will inform Google that your readers are engaging with your website. That is one of the reasons clickbait sites entices readers to scroll with phrases like “Click to read more”.

Another way to get readers to engage with your website is to invite them to click elsewhere on your site. It signals to Google that the site was useful enough to readers that they’re now exploring other parts of the site. That also increases the time readers spend on your website.

Videos are also a good way to get readers to spend more time on your website. Readers who click to watch the video would end up spending a a few more minutes on your webpage. These additional few minutes are a confidence booster to Google that they sent someone to the right results.

5. Write on the same topics consistently

Taleist is a website copywriting agency that has been around for a while. Our agency frequently releases content that is related to our services. As a result, Taleist might show up on Google search results if someone was looking for a copywriter in Sydney.

However, if we were to write a blog post about plumbing, that would not rank as well in searches for plumbers. Even if we wrote about making YouTube videos for marketing, we’d have a harder time ranking than we would for a post about copywriting.

In short, while Google might consider Taleist to be an authoritative site when it comes to copywriting, and to a lesser extent marketing, it won’t be as impressed if Taleist suddenly began writing about unrelated subjects.

Businesses need to produce consistent content about their area of expertise. That is where blogging comes in. The more you write about topics that Google recognises as related to your core business, the better your website is likely to perform in searches.

You will also need a long-term SEO strategy if your goal is for Google to recognise you as a high ranking site. If your website is brand new, Google is not likely to grant you much credibility even if you have good quality SEO content. Just like with your client market, it takes time to build a trusting relationship with Google.

6. Links to your site

In ranking websites, Google also takes into account the number of links to your website. The more people promote your website, the more confidence Google has that your site is a good source of information.

If you can, get other sites to share links to your website. You can also send “social signals” to Google with links from sites like Facebook and Twitter. (These social shares can give your rankings a boost.)

How can Taleist help with SEO copywriting?

Our copywriting research process immerses us in how your prospects think and speak. When you know that, you know what’s important to them and what they’re likely to type into Google. That research can naturally produce long tail keywords.

This becomes ever more important as voice searching — speaking your search request into Google — becomes more prevalent. Spoken searches are even more likely to use natural language than typed searches, so you need your copywriter to be extremely familiar with the concerns and priorities of your prospects.

If you’re not happy with the way you’re ranking, we can also recommend the best SEO experts in the business because we’ve worked with them all — not only do they refer their clients to us, they get us to write their own agency websites.

A final note about incorporating SEO into your content marketing strategy

SEO is a useful tool for generating traffic and ensuring your website gets noticed by Google search engines. But achieving high website traffic is only part of the equation.

In order for that traffic to convert, your copywriting still has to appeal to the people visiting your website. Don’t sacrifice persuasive copywriting in favour of SEO. You could end up with plenty of visitors and no more sales to show for it.

Good SEO is a long-term game. Building your website’s authority with Google doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and consistency to establish a relationship with the search engine. But on the bright side, by building and faithfully implementing a sound SEO strategy, you will product results that benefits your website for years to come.

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A glossary of SEO terms

What are long tail keywords?

Long tail keywords are those with lower volumes because they’re more specific. For example, “financial planner” is not a long tail keyword, but “financial planner specializing in early retirement” is a long tail search. Long tail keywords can be incredibly valuable because they indicate the searcher is zeroing in on what they want.

What is a meta title?

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A meta title (1) is a title designed to show up in a Google search results as the title from your page. The meta title can be the same as the title people see when on your website. Often, however, websites want the title that shows up in Google to more clearly tie-in to the likely search term. When that’s the case, the website can suggest an alternative title (a meta title) to Google.

What is a meta description?

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Similar to a meta title (1), a meta description (2) is a description of the contents of a webpage that the website owner suggests Google uses on the search engine results page. Google will choose to accept the description or to extract words of its choosing from the page depending on the searcher and the search term used.

What is a SERP?

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A SERP is a Search Engine Results Page — the page generated by a search engine like Google in response to a particular search terms and searcher. While SERP refers to the whole page, it is often used in SEO to refer to how a particular website is presented by Google on the page.

What is technical SEO?

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SEO copywriting is only one aspect of hundreds of important considerations in getting a webpage to rank on Google. Other important considerations include aspects like how fast the site loads and how it is structured. These other aspects are known as technical SEO.

What is SEO copywriting?

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SEO copywriting is the art of writing a web page in a way that persuades Google and other search engines that the page is a good answer to a particular search or group of searches.

What is local SEO?

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Local SEO is the process of optimising your website to rank better in search engines when the searcher is looking for a business in a particular area. Local SEO is, therefore, important for businesses with a local customer base or businesses in a place where people travel for service. Obvious examples are businesses that provide service on the premises, e.g. restaurants, doctors, gyms and so on.