How to optimise your copy for SEO
Copywriting is not easy at the best of times. Put a blank piece of paper in front of even the best subject expert, and they can often struggle to put that expertise down on paper in a way that engages the audience.
Throw in the added challenge of optimising that content for search engines, and it’s likely the subject expert would quickly be scrambling for support from a skilled SEO copywriter.
Optimising copy for SEO requires specific skills that both allow for the content to appear authentic and “natural” whilst also including the relevant keywords that are most likely to increase organic traffic if and when that post ranks for those target keywords.
This is not as easy as it sounds. Trying to write naturally whilst also trying to include a set of keywords and phrases is challenging.
Copywriters tackle this in a couple of different ways. Some will have an idea of the keywords they want to include and try and fit these in as they write.
Others will write the piece with an overall topic in mind and retrospectively review and edit the post, adding the keywords and phrases that they feel are most relevant from an SEO perspective.
The best method probably lies somewhere between the two.
It’s important to know which keywords you are targeting before you start your piece as this will help you to plan and structure that piece of content to ensure you can write a free-flowing piece that naturally includes those keywords.
Trying to “stuff” those keywords into the piece retrospectively suggests that the piece would not naturally have included them (otherwise they would already be in the piece!) and therefore, your piece will appear unnatural and will not flow for the reader.
On the flip side, those that obsess over the keywords they “need’ to include in the piece can often change their writing style in order to fit in those keywords, even when it is not something they would usually write.
Finding the balance is crucial when it comes to writing optimised content for SEO purposes that also ticks all the boxes for your audience.
Here are a few tips to help you to write better-optimised copy.
Plan the structure of your content
One of the best ways to ensure you optimise your copy for the keywords and phrases you are targeting is to plan the outline and structure of your piece before you start writing.
This will typically involve planning out the sections of your piece, using the target keywords as subheadings throughout the content.
You might also include an FAQ section at the end of the piece that covers all the “People Also Ask” questions you find in the Google Search Results (SERPs) for the keywords you are targeting.
This will not only provide you with a structure that naturally allows you to include those target keywords, but it will also help you to include those all-important keywords and phrases in the headings on the page – a clear signal to Google about the content on the page.
Don’t try and write about everything at once
We’ve all read an article that has clearly been written for SEO purposes. It’s usually one that has the same keyword or phrases repeated over and over again throughout the content. As a user, it just becomes annoying to keep reading the same phrase repeatedly. This is sometimes referred to as “keyword stuffing”.
Instead, ensure you are focussing on the keywords that are most relevant to your audience.
Your content doesn’t have to try and include every single keyword relating to a topic. Whilst we have moved on from the days where we would target a single keyword on a single webpage, ending up with hundreds, if not thousands of web pages, we don’t have to try and cram every keyword into one content piece.
Instead, focus on two or three primary keywords relating to a topic and you will typically find that as you write about those keywords, you naturally start to include topically relevant keywords in your copy.
You will find your writing becomes not only more focused but much crisper and more natural.
Break up your copy
We’ve already touched on the value of headings to help you to structure your content piece and target your primary keywords, however, they also provide the benefit of breaking up huge walls of copy.
These can be daunting and difficult to read, especially on mobile devices.
Headings are one way to break up the copy and make it easier to digest, as well as letting people scan the copy and discover the key sections they are most interested in.
Images, graphics, videos, and other visual content is another great way to break up your copy and really help to keep your reader engaged.
Include images that are relatable to your audience and you will quickly find that people spend more time reading your content as well as converting if you have strong calls to action on the page.
Use subject experts
We talked at the start of the post about how subject experts can struggle to write optimised copy, however, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them.
Instead, you can help them by providing a clear structure for their piece, or by getting their input first and working that into your own copy.
Subject experts are what add the “E’ in E-A-T – Google’s push to improve the overall quality of content on the web. E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trust, and using subject experts ticks all three boxes.
Leading sports betting site, Betway Sports, has taken this approach, using subject experts to contribute betting insights, interviews with professional athletes, and outstanding video production. This helps them to add E-A-T to the content they publish which in turn helps with their optimisation, ticking all the right boxes when it comes to improved rankings.
Writing optimised content doesn’t need to be hard. Stick to these four tips and watch your copy improve, both for the reader and for Google.