Relevance, uniqueness, keywords, backlinks – these are the terms every SEO copywriter knows all too well. But there is much competing content out there, and it`s getting harder for copywriters to get noticed, much less appear on Google’s first page.
The other issue is that Google keeps some of its indexing factors pretty “close to the vest,” and it takes copywriters some time to figure out the details when algorithms change.
Still, there are certain aspects of SEO that are apparent, and there are tools to analyze your copywriting for search engine friendliness.
But before the analysis, you first have to write something. And there must be “tools” in your head to craft persuasive content that will get you:
- Longer time spent by visitors on your page
- Shares and backlinks
- Recognition as an authority
Here are those tools
Would it surprise you that the Upworthy staff generates 25 headlines for each article topic they plan to publish? According to Adam Mordecai, 20 of them will be crap, and when they settle on five, they “test” them internally to choose those headlines that pique enough interest on viewers.
If you are not particularly creative, enlist the help of others in your organization. There are also headline generator tools you can utilize. Already have that headline? Run it through Co-Schedule’s analyzing tool.
So, a reader has moved onto your introductory paragraph. Have you given that reader a reason to go beyond that paragraph? If not, they are gone.
Erin Galbreath, an editor with Top Writers Review, an agency that seeks out the best academic writing services, says: “The introductory paragraph of any piece of writing is what has to grab attention – a crazy statistic, a cool anecdote, etc. If you don’t have your reader in the first few sentences, you don’t have a reader who will move on.”
Bucket Brigade Transitions
“But wait, there’s even more.” This would be a compelling transition sentence placed at the end of a paragraph. The reader immediately asks himself, “What is it?” and moves forward. Each paragraph you write should have a transition that will motivate a reader to stay. This is how you get more time on your page, and Google loves time spent on pages.
You already understand this, if you are a copywriter:
- sentences should be no more than 20 words;
- readability level should be at about the 7th grade;
- paragraphs should be short (no more than 200 words);
- use sub-headings and bullet points for easy scanning.
If you need to check readability level, you can use Grammarly or similar tools.
About Those Keywords
Keywords are still critical to your content indexing and ranking. The operative phrase here is “long-tail.” Searchers no longer type in one or two words. They type in longer phrases.
Once upon a time, there were “head” keywords – one or two words that were used for a search. Examples: light fixtures, wholesale furniture, deck stain. But these are not specific enough. And they only get ranked for the “big boys” in those niches.
Let’s take those few examples and clarify them: “overhead kitchen light fixtures,” “wholesale living room furniture,” “deck stains with sealants.” These are the 4-word or longer search terms that let a searcher fine-tune his query.
Long-tail keywords can be a goldmine if you find the right ones. This will take some research but think about your niche and what you offer. Then go to a site such as Long Tail Pro, type in a keyword that relates to your niche and find the most popular long-tail keyword phrases.
This is a huge factor in search engine rankings. Are you testing how long it takes for your page to load? This is one factor Google is very open about. If your page isn’t loading within 2-3 seconds, you have work to do.
One fix is to use a caching plugin. And there many more which you will need to explore and test their effectiveness.
Some copywriters ignore the importance of meta descriptions. They should be compelling, pique the interest of searchers and let them know that you have exactly what they are looking for.
If you use WordPress, Yoast will allow you to add a meta description to your content. And here are a few tips:
- Use your primary keyword phrase in your meta description.
- Keep it to 160 characters.
- Be creative.
You should include two types of links:
- Internal Links which set up your architecture, and search engine bots can move around easier, for indexing purposes.
- Eternal Links that help to establish your authority with visitors, and there is some evidence that Google will reward content that does this. Obviously, getting backlinks from reputable and related sources is a big factor.
Length of Your Content Pages
It’s a misconception to think that shorter content will keep visitors. In fact, longer content gets ranked higher on Google. And if you format it well, you will give visitors the means to skim and focus on sections of specific interest.
When you create longer content, search engines figure you have plenty to say about a topic and that indicates that you are an expert. If you need proof, see how many times the content of Neil Patel appears on the first page of Google results. Some of his posts are 3,000 – 4,000 words long. Aim for at least 1500 yourself.
If a visitor accesses your page and leaves within several seconds, there is a message sent to Google. Your content does not match what the searcher was looking for. This will move you down on results pages. Getting visitors to stay longer is an accumulation of all of the above-mentioned “tools.”
There are Tools and Then There are Tools
You can certainly access any of the tools scattered throughout this article. But, in the end, it’s the tools in your brain and in the brains of your colleagues that may make the biggest difference in page rankings.
Author Bio: Daniela McVicker is an SEO content editor for the website, Rated By Students. She also serves as a consultant to many small businesses in their SEO copywriting efforts.