When it comes to a business’s online presence, being at the top of the search results page is the ideal spot. This, of course, is easier said than done. Given the competition and the general accessibility of the Internet, it can seem difficult if not straight-up impossible to be number one.
This is where SEO comes in. If you’re an ambitious business owner who wants a larger online presence or a writer who wants to branch out, you’ve probably seen this term thrown around the Internet. However, what does it mean? What does SEO entail? And how do successful business owners incorporate SEO for their company?
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. This term refers to the strategies and practices used to bring up a website’s ranking on a search results page. While SEO strategies cover a wide range of options, from the design of your website to its coding, one especially useful and simple branch of SEO strategies is SEO writing.
In this article, we cover the definition of SEO writing as well as some of the easiest and most effective SEO writing practices for your website.
What Exactly is SEO Writing?
SEO writing is the process of producing high-quality, relevant copy for a website. Copy refers to the text on any given website. Whether it’s the landing page of the website or the description of a product, copy covers a wide range of different texts you can find on any website.
Copy has two essential purposes: to draw in potential customers to your website and to keep current customers informed as well as well-engaged. In SEO, copy also contains keywords and important content that search engines pick up on.
The way search engines work is that they comb websites relevant to an inputted search. Many aspects that search engines factor in are how fast a website runs and whether or not there are broken links within the site. Another aspect search engines consider is the content, and whether or not the copy contains the right keywords matching the search. In general, search engines are geared to provide the best user experience, meaning user-friendly and user-oriented copy will be favored. While nobody knows every single aspect of the algorithms used by search engines, and search engine algorithms are subject to change anytime, there’s no doubt that good website copy, and good SEO writing, are important in promoting your website.
With that in mind, the main goal of SEO is to produce content for a website that will help it get recognized by a search engine. Furthermore, good SEO writing will only help a website by bumping it up the search results. The more relevant and well-written your website is, the better results you will receive in the long run.
Who Does SEO Writing?
Depending on the business, your options for hiring an SEO writer will vary.
Larger companies with the ability to grant salaries may benefit most from an in-house writer. While you may have to go through a few hurdles to onboard a new staff member, an in-house writer will be more consistent with the language and mission of your company.
For smaller businesses, you may want to consider temporarily hiring a third-party or a freelancer. Especially if you’re not updating your website all the time, this can save you more money in the long run.
If you’re thinking about hiring someone else to do SEO writing for your website, consider these factors before signing a contract:
– Does the individual or agency have samples of their copy? A good SEO writer should have a portfolio ready. If they refuse to show any samples, this is a red flag.
– Does the individual or agency have a list of former and current clients who can vouch for their skills? Reviews are often the best way to gain insight into someone’s services.
– Does the individual or agency claim that they can make your website the top search result? This is a large red flag as no company or individual can do this for a website. The only factor that can determine whether or not your website can become the top search result is the algorithm of search engines. Stay clear of companies or individuals who use this type of language; they are more likely SEO salesmen than actual writers.
However, if you have a tighter budget and are ambitious, you can also learn to SEO write yourself.
Best Practices for SEO Writing
If you wish to learn SEO writing yourself or want to know what are the aspects that make up good SEO writing, then you’ve come to the right place. Below is a list of the best practices for SEO writing:
Practice Good Grammar and Spelling
While this may seem like an obvious pointer, the number of grammar and spelling mistakes in circulating copy is shocking. Furthermore, if a copy is to be considered user-friendly, this means it must be easy to read. If a piece of web content has poor grammar and spelling, at best it will be ignored by search engines, but at worst the writer and the website will be disparaged for it.
Like the old saying goes, first impressions count. The copy on your page acts as a representative of your business’s values, mission, and goals. A poorly written copy will only give the impression that your business is sloppy and not detail-oriented.
Be Concise and Watch the Tone
Part of good SEO writing is writing in a way that gets your point across immediately. SEO writing does not incorporate flowery language or poetics—save that for your creative writing projects.
However, that doesn’t mean all content created by SEO writing has to have a neutral, professional tone. You should write in a style that best matches your business’s culture and attitude. While there’s no harm in playing it safe, the most important point of SEO writing is engagement. Without engaging the reader, the reader won’t be as tempted to sign-on for your business’s products or to share your business’s services.
Know What You Want
What’s your business’s goal? What do you want to achieve via your business’s website? You should always ask yourself these questions before outlining your website’s copy. If you only want to convey your company’s mission, then focus on that. If you want potential customers to buy a certain product, write with that goal in mind.
You can take the shortcut and write whatever sounds good for your website copy, but in the long run, you want your website to help your business achieve its goals. SEO writing is just one pathway to that, and knowing what you want before hitting the text editor will help with your writing.
Find Your Keywords
Keywords are the most essential part of any piece of SEO writing. Keywords are like the lights along an airplane runway. Just as those lights guide a landing aircraft, keywords guide the search engine algorithms to your content. Keywords are the main bridge of relevancy between your website and a specific search. Because of this, it’s important to choose the right keywords.
When picking keywords, the process may seem daunting. A few questions you may ask yourself include: which keywords should I include? Which keywords are the most relevant to my business and are commonly used?
You can try brainstorming for relevant keywords on your own, and also try via these free tools here:
– Answer the Public: This useful website compiles the phrases that users input for specific topics. The phrases are compiled in a straightforward graphic for your convenience.
– Infinite Suggest: While this tool won’t show you the number of searches made per keyword, it can spit out helpful deviations of specific keywords to boost your website copy.
– SEORCH: Through SEORCH, you can check out the keywords used by a competing website. This handy tool also shows the keyword density of the page, or how many times does a particular keyword appear.
Incorporate Keywords Naturally
Once you find your keywords, the next step is to incorporate them naturally into your website copy. SEO writing is a fine balance between including the right number of keywords while fitting with a specific writing style. However, keep one thing in mind when incorporating keywords: the way individuals input their search into a search engine is very different from proper English grammar usage. After all, nobody types out full sentences when using a search engine.
For example, if someone is looking for a lawyer, they’re more likely to search “local lawyer Encinitas” versus an actual sentence. You may be wondering: how am I supposed to put those three words in a grammatically correct sentence? In this type of situation, you have two options. Luckily, for SEO writing, punctuation, participles, and prepositions aren’t factored in as keywords. So for the above example, you can get away with the following sentences:
“Looking for a local lawyer in Encinitas?”
“If you’re looking for a local lawyer, Encinitas has multiple options thanks to our firm.”
With these pointers in mind, writing smoother sentences for SEO purposes is easier than ever. Just make sure to check up on your spelling and grammar at the end!
Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing is the particular practice of putting in as many relevant keywords as possible in a piece of copy. After all, if search engines pull up the most relevant sites to a search, doesn’t it make sense to put in as many relevant keywords as possible? The issue is that keyword stuffing doesn’t necessarily mean your copy or content is more engaging or relevant to a user’s search.
Keyword stuffing makes website copy repetitive and bloated with the same terms. Keyword stuffing also doesn’t guarantee that you’re providing new or relevant information as well. Furthermore, if you’re caught keyword stuffing by a search engine algorithm, your website will incur a penalty. This typically means your website will be ranked lower in future searches, which can be damaging and have indefinite, negative side effects.
Using keywords is important, but using them in a concise way and with user experience in mind is essential.
When in Doubt, Proofread
There’s no such thing as a perfect first draft. Always be sure to proofread your copy before publishing it. If you follow nothing else on this list, simply taking a second glance at your copy the next day will improve the quality of your work immensely.
If possible, also try to get a colleague to look over your writing. Sometimes even the most obvious mistakes aren’t visible to the writer but to a third-party.
Writing is never an easy task, whether it’s for a cover letter or a website. We hope through this article you have more knowledge about SEO writing and the best practices to boost your website’s online presence.