Do you know how to write website copy for SEO?
Wait, what does that even mean? And do you need to care?
Writing copy for SEO means creating content that helps your ideal customers find you through Internet searches. So yes, you do need to care.
And sorry if that’s not quite what you wanted to hear. We know that a lot of business owners get really overwhelmed by SEO and end up overcomplicating things unnecessarily and, frankly, can get it a bit wrong sometimes.
And we get that. It’s easy to buy into the fact that SEO is way too technical and complicated, but the great news is that we’re going to break it all down for you in a series of easy-to-follow steps that will help you become more strategic about the search terms you include in your copy. So you can get more people to find your awesome website!
And here’s the biggest secret we’re going to share with you today. Writing well for your readers and writing well for SEO are exactly the same thing! And if you remember this, and write copy with your readers in mind, chances are you’re going to get it right. Definitely more so than by stressing about the technical side of SEO.
So with that principle in mind, here are 8 tips to help you write website copy for SEO.
1. Start with keyword research
Doing some keyword research is crucial because it tells you what you should optimise your copy or content for. There is no point in you writing content about something no one ever searches for, right?
So you need to be clever and strategic about this.
- What problems are your readers experiencing?
- What kind of things do you help with?
- And what do you want to be found for?
The key is to find out what your readers are looking for and focus on that.
But how do you find the search terms or keywords you need?
Well, there are plenty of free or low-cost keyword research tools that allow you to search for words and phrases. Some of them even give you the average number of monthly searches, so you can decide which terms are going to work best for your business.
Here are a few tools for you to try out:
Start by writing down a few words and phrases that relate to your products or services and then use the tools above to gather a list of relevant keywords. Once you have a few, prioritise them, starting with the most relevant ones to your business and the ones that are searched for the most.
It really doesn’t need to be more complicated than that. Promise!
And if you want to find out more about how each of the above tools works, head over to section two of our blog post, SEO For Beginners: The Ultimate Guide.
2. Section your page, using your keywords to guide you
So now that you’ve got your keywords, it’s time to start planning the content for your website.
When you’re working on your web pages, you’ll want to break the content down into relevant chunks or sections, both visually (i.e. layout and presentation), but also in terms of how you organise the information to make it easy for your reader to follow.
Use the keywords you’ve identified during the research to help you decide what these sections are going to be about. And our advice is that each section should talk about one thing and one thing only.
So let’s say you’re a book editor for non-fiction business authors. You’ve done some keyword research and on your book editing Service page you might have sections that look a bit like this:
- Book editing for non-fiction business book authors.
- How does my business book editing service work?
- How much does non-fiction editing cost?
- What’s included within my book editing service?
- FAQ about my non-fiction book editing service.
- People who have loved my book editing service! (A testimonials/case study section).
Now, the whole Service page is obviously about your book editing service, but each section covers a specific topic. And these are all keywords!
So as you can see from the example, the titles of each section not only answer specific questions that your prospective clients are likely to have. But they also include the actual search terms that people would type into Google when looking for a book editor.
Can you see how writing for your readers and writing for SEO are actually one and the same?
So when you decide how to break down your page and how to title each section, let the keywords guide you, and don’t forget to optimise the title of each section – i.e. include your keywords in there!
Want an extra tip for writing Service pages? Always create a separate Service page for each of your services! If you’re a book editor who also edits school books and materials, have a separate Service page for that and break it down into relevant sections that answer your clients’ questions.
3. Fill out each section and go as in-depth as you can
Now that you’ve decided how to break down the information you want to cover and how to structure your page, it’s time to fill in each of the sections. But how exactly do you write copy with SEO in mind?
Well, it’s simple.
You write with the mindset of serving your ideal customers or clients. Put yourself in their shoes and focus on what they’ll want to know about your service.
Remember that the things you take for granted because you’ve been working in this space for years and years are probably completely new territory for your clients! Your job as the business owner is to break the information down in an easy, digestible way – without using jargon or fancy language.
Instead, use plain English and avoid being too formal. Simply explain things as you would to someone in an email or over the phone. Just because this is your website and you’re publishing the information on the Internet, it doesn’t mean you suddenly need to sound like a robot!
In fact, this is a brilliant opportunity for you to give your prospective clients a flavour of what it’s like to work with you – of what you sound like in real life. Don’t miss it! And if you’d like to find out more about this, head over to our blog post, How to Nail Your Tone of Voice.
We often get asked how much information you should include in each section. And that depends. But our advice is to go to town with it! Add as much information as you can in order to answer your customers’ questions.
Ideally, your sections would look roughly the same (because visually, that gives your page a nice, balanced feel). So if you find that you have much longer sections, perhaps consider breaking them down further. Obviously with SEO and keywords in mind.
4. Optimise your URL
This is a very quick and easy step but one that a lot of business owners forget about, and it’s crucial for SEO. If you want your prospective customers to find you, add the main keyword you want to optimise your page for in your URL, i.e. your web page address.
So if you’re the book editor above, your book editing Service page URL might look something like this:
5. Optimise your images
Another step we see a lot of website owners miss when writing copy for SEO is optimising images. But that’s a really easy thing to do to tell Google what your content is all about.
So when you add images to your pages and blog posts, make sure you optimise them. You can do this by accessing the file properties and including your keywords in the image title and the Alt-Text of the image.
In case you’re not familiar with Alt-Text, this is a short bit of copy bit that’s used to improve the accessibility of your images. You can think of it as your chance to describe to someone who can’t see what’s in the image. This is important for SEO because this bit of text also helps the Google bots ‘see’ that image. They’re only algorithms so they can’t see images like us!
6. Use internal links
Internal links are links that you include in your content that send your users to other pages or articles on your own website.
Adding internal links to your website content is another step that works fantastically well for your readers as well as for SEO. And that’s exactly why we say that writing for SEO is as simple as writing with your readers in mind!
When you think about it, adding internal links to other relevant pages or blog posts that you’ve created helps your website visitors find more information they’re potentially interested in. You’re doing them a favour by directing them to content they might want to consume, much like we do in our blog posts. Adding internal links to your content is basically good customer service!
But internal links work really well from an SEO perspective too. They tell the search engines how your website pages relate and link to each other. Remember that Google isn’t a person. Algorithms trawl through your content following lines of code. And internal links are just that, so they help the search engines rank your website better.
Plus, when you add internal links to your content, you’re also encouraging your readers to spend more time on your website. Without getting too technical, this is called dwell time. The higher it is, the more Google sees your website as trustworthy and interesting.
Of course, you don’t want to overdo it, so don’t add links that aren’t relevant. Think about your readers and what they might want to find out more about and point them in the right direction by including relevant internal links only. Focus on providing a great user experience, and you’ll get SEO brownie points too.
7. Optimise your title tag
The title tag is basically your web page title. It’s the clickable headline that gets displayed when you do a search on Google. It’s what tells you what the web page is all about. Plus, it makes your reader decide whether they want to go ahead and click on your content.
You probably know the drill by now, but our recommendation is to include the keyword you want to optimise your page for in the title tag. That makes it nice and easy for your readers to understand what your page is all about and (you guessed it) it’s great for SEO too.
So in the example of our book editor above, the title tag for their book editing Service page could be ‘Non-fiction book editing in Manchester’ or ‘Affordable business book editing in London’. Whatever applies. Just make sure the title tag describes the content of your page and contains a keyword you identified when doing research.
8. Write a compelling meta description that makes people click!
And finally, don’t forget to write your meta description. This is the text that displays underneath the clickable headline when you get search results through Google.
If you think about your own behaviour as a user, when you do an Internet search, you’ll quickly scan through the results of the first page of Google. And it’s only when you find a title that fits the bill (see why the title tag is important?) that you might then go and read the 3-4 lines of text that sit underneath.
That’s the meta description.
And you want to use that wisely. So, once again, write with your reader and with SEO in mind.
- Describe (succinctly) what that web page is all about. What is the key message? What’s the reason for that page to exist?
- Write something compelling. Tap into your readers’ curiosity, tease the content, and make it sound interesting and enticing. Remember, this is the bit of text that will help people decide whether they want to click on the page!
- Include the keyword you want to optimise your page for. So if you went for ‘business book editing’, that’s what you want to include in your meta description.
Again, if you’re on WordPress and have the Yoast SEO plugin, you can easily populate the Meta description section at the bottom of the page. The plugin has a handy visual traffic light system, which even tells you when you’ve hit the ideal length of text for your meta description.
Would you like more help with writing for SEO?
And there you have it. 8 easy steps you can follow to write copy with SEO in mind. If you need any more help visit our blog post, The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to SEO.
Or you can check out our SEO starter pack, which gives you everything you need you get your website ranking.