SEO Web Copywriting Blueprint: 3 Copy Elements You Control
What if you really could provide better SEO web copy? Boil your nearest competitors right out of the pot and be a serious and confident go-to SEO web writing pro?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a recipe, a set of ingredients. Once you understand how the elements of web copy SEO work and you apply them to your online writing, then you know exactly what you need to work confidently and even creatively.
Definition: SEO Web Copy
You see some version of this ad everywhere: “Web writer with proven SEO copy skills needed….”
But what exactly is SEO web copy?
Search engine optimized webpage copy is on-page writing that has been created and written with the search engines in mind. Search engine crawlers “read” webpages. The key is, they read text. They can’t read visual designs or images, so the words visible on the page and those in the background matter. And in fact some webpage designs are the leading stop factor, a major obstacle, to web crawlers.
Text “behind the scenes” that’s important: one of the key elements of a sound search engine optimized webpage is a clear and targeted page title. The page title is written into the page’s HTML script, inside these common HTML tags:<title></title>. The title of this page you’re reading right now is SEO Copywriting How-To Guide - Three SEO Techniques a Web Writer Must Master. It’s located up near the top of the browser bar. No, I didn’t write this as part of the body of page text. I wrote it as part of the page HTML. You can see the page source for yourself: go up to your web browser toolbar. Click View > Page Source. This new pane that opens is the actual HTML script that gives each webpage its final look. You’ll see the webpage title and the description. The description tag is also important. When you search for something in Google each search engine results entry consists of the webpage title, which is why it’s so important—it’s innately connected to the keyword and key phrase search-- and a brief couple lines of description about the webpage. This is what is written in the description tag.
Elements of “SEO” Web Copy that are Your Job
A lot of clients want web copywriters with SEO experience. Optimizing content and page copy so it’s palatable for the search engines can be a big benefit for website performance. BUT it’s often overdone. In fact when you are hired to write SEO copy don’t necessarily expect to turn out any brilliant piece of writing. Truth is your buyer or client may have little idea what he or she is doing. Many buyers of this type of hard and fast page copy end up with unpalatable pages of keyword over-stuffed pages that can become awkward and top-heavy really quickly. And that’s exactly what they asked for and paid for.
Boiled down: The measure of any webpage’s SEO-friendliness goes well beyond the copy that a web copywriter creates. It’s as much about web design, meta tags and text links – all processes in which you may have no part when it comes down to writing the web copy for the site. And ultimately the real key to driving web traffic is site promotion and marketing.
Right now here’s what you should learn about SEO that is crucial to you as a working web copywriter:
SEO that’s Out:
- Keyword density metrics
- Keyword ‘stuffing’
SEO that’s IN:
- Relevant and focused page copy
- Page Title
- Meta Description Tag
- H1 and H2, or page heads and subheads
- Use of bold, italic, underlined embellished chunks of text
- Text links
In the above list of IN strategies, only 3 are the responsibility of most web copywriters: craft relevant and focused page copy (this will always be at the top of the list), include keyword targeted heading tags (h1 and h2 in html script) and use bold or otherwise highlighted text to emphasize important (keyword-driven) points and concepts.
These are what you need to know. Anything else and you’re doing more than writing SE optimized web copy.
Let’s learn to control and deliver SEO webcopy elements that are in your hands.
Write Effective H1 and H2 Heads and Subheads
The H1 and H2 tags, <h1></h1> and <h2></h2>,are the head and subheads for your page. Don’t confuse the H1 tag with the webpage title. For example:SEO Web Copywriting Blueprint: 3 Copy ElementsYou Control
is the main heading for this particular page. I use subheads throughout the page to logically divide the content and to feed the web crawlers highly targeted keywords and phrases consistent with my subject matter. And you should, too.
Many of the best SEO pros believes that here, in the h1 and h2 heading tags, is where you feed the web crawlers the real keyword juice. So take extra care when writing them. The page title tag is important, too, but in most cases you are not responsible for crafting this element.
When You Get to Write the Title Tag: Key SEO Element
In many cases you may not be responsible for writing the page title tags, but if you are part of writing the page title tag here are some tips:
- Create a meaningful title between 60 and 64 characters in length. This is debated throughout the SEO industry. You’ll find arguments for writing title tags all the way up to 500 characters or more. But if you’re using the title as a leading headline or hook then keep it brief.
- Include the most targeted/relevant keywords or keyphrases you believe your audience will use to search for this particular page/content.
- Keep in mind that this component is the first thing returned in a web search. It will determine whether a user will click on your page or not. So it’s important.
- The page title should be distinct from your h1 or main heading tag, but still close enough so your readers are clear they’ve found what they intended.
Use Bold, Italic and Bulleted Text
A good rule of thumb:
Any time you can strategically highlight or set apart small keyword chunks or key ideas from the rest of your page copy, it will likely get more attention from web crawlers. Use them carefully.
Bold, italic, underlined and bulleted text elements are also KEY for creating reader-friendly copy and crafting persuasive copy. So you have two tactics at work here that could compete if you overdo it or under-do it.
Tips for Crafting the SEO Copy on Your Web Page
Web design alone offers nothing for the search engine crawlers.
H1 and H2 tags don’t get the job done either.
The body content on the webpage, the online words you write play a lead role in the success of any one webpage, from engaging a reader to feeding the web crawlers.
- Write naturally. Cut out the big vocabulary words. Boil down your concepts.
- Learn the language of your target audience. Say you’ve been hired to write about the stock market. Read a couple of the top websites in the industry. Hear how the writers put words and language on the webpage, then make a quick go-to list of industry terms, slang phrases and verbs (action).
- Be aware of the keywords and key phrases that drive traffic. This doesn’t mean you need to pepper your page copy with them. Just BE AWARE of them. It’s likely that in the course of writing a 350 to 500 word webpage on some aspect of the stock market that you will naturally include keywords and keyphrases. Just keep your mind wide open to all the natural language of the particular topic and industry. Remember, keywords become powerful because they are part of the standard lexicon not because they possess any hidden fairy dust.
That’s it. Your job as a working web copywriter is to write as agilely as you can. Be nimble and continue to learn as things change. Become a better SEO web writer.
By Far THE Best SEO Copywriting Training on the Planet
Aaron Wall of SeoBook is one of the longest running SEO gurus around. He’s personable, approachable, sincere and passionate about his work. He’s been blogging on the business of SEO for years and personally guiding both newbies and advanced practitioners to online success. Begin with his SeoBook Blog, and download his killer SEOBook Toolbar or the SEOBook handbook. If you like what free information he shares on the blog, sign-up for the SEOBook personal training course—get the really tasty, actionable stuff he keeps under wraps--fresh new SEO tips and tricks for marketers, and copywriters. I wholeheartedly endorse his program. Don't you want to become THE go-to SEO copywriter?