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SEO copywriting: seven steps to creating better content

A person sits at their laptop typing with a coffee next to them and a dog sat in the opposite chair

Regularly posting SEO-friendly blog content can make a big difference to how well your entire website performs. Here are some basic copywriting principles you can follow to give your blog the best chance of ranking well.

SEO (search engine optimisation) is a complex business. Google and other search engines use a wide range of criteria when judging how to rank website pages. To make things more difficult, they regularly change their algorithms. Your organisation’s SEO strategy will need to cover several strands of activity. This includes making any necessary technical adjustments to ensure your website performs well.

The good news however is that the basic principles of SEO copywriting remain the same. The really good news? Writing an SEO-friendly blog for your business means creating content that is accessible and engaging to your readers.

If you don’t have a professional copywriter to support you with creating blog content, small changes make all the difference.

1. Clearly define your topic

It sounds obvious but before you start drafting your blog, pin down what you’re writing about. Being crystal clear on your topic will help you to write purposeful content. This will also give your blog a better chance of ranking well.

If you’re working with a copywriter or SEO specialist, they may be able to carry out keyword research. This identifies which words or phrases people are searching for the most. These should consider your chosen topic, industry, or sector, and what the competition is like to rank well.

If you don’t have specialist support, simply spend time deciding which words or phrases best sum up your topic. Considering what your customers or clients are likely to look for is often a good approach.

You don’t just have to blog about high profile, topical issues. In fact, the technical blogs we write for our clients often perform the best. For example,this blog we produced for Coodes Solicitors  ranks first in an organic Google search for ‘new build management companies’. There’s less competition in the rankings for niche content so it could have more chance of reaching the right people.

  • Spend time choosing and researching your topic – it will make the blog easier to write.

  • Choose the word or phrase that you want to be your primary keyword.

  • Don’t discount niche topics.

2. Write helpful headlines

Some people love crafting clever, witty headlines. Playing with words is fun but it doesn’t generally work well for SEO. That’s because search engines are looking for content that will help their users get the information they’re looking for. Aim for a title that tells the reader what the piece is about. If it sounds informative and enticing, people will be more likely to click and read it.

Aim for a headline of between 50 and 60 characters (this blog’s title is 55 characters long). This is a good length for Google to display in search results. Include the primary keyword or phrase at the beginning in case part of the title gets cut off.

A very quick and simple way to make your text easier to read online is to  add subheadings. You could create a numbered list, or you could simply break up the piece into logical sections. Google and other search engines see subheadings as a positive. This is particularly the case if your subheadings include your primary keyword and others linked to the topic. As a result, subheadings could help your blog rank better.

  • Write a headline that tells the reader what the blog is about.

  • Include your keyword or phrase near the beginning of the headline.

  • Include subheadings in your blog – aim for a minimum of three for a 500-word piece.

3. Use keywords sparingly

Some people think that SEO copywriting means including your keyword or phrase as often as possible. Cramming your article full of keywords is a bad idea though. It can jar, making the piece much less enjoyable to read, and as a result, it’s less likely to rank well.

There is no definitive answer for how many times you should include your keywords. If you research keyword density online, then you’ll find a range of numbers. It’s not an exact science and you will probably have to follow your instinct. The amount of times you should include a keyword or phrase will depend on the overall length of the text.

Scatter your keyword throughout the piece a handful of times when it feels right to do so. If you find yourself adding it “just for SEO” then it’s unlikely to help. Don’t overdo it – if it sounds forced or repetitive, it’s probably in there too often.

Typically, aim to include a keyword in the title, the introduction and at least one subheading. It then pops up quite naturally through the text.

  • Use your keyword or phrase, but only when it feels right.

  • Don’t cram keywords into your piece.

  • Aim to use your keyword or phrase in the heading, at least one subheading and in the introduction.

  • If appropriate, also use other words and phrases that have the same meaning.

4. Get the length right

SEO copywriting is all about providing readers with content that will provide value and authority. For this reason, the longer the blog the better.

Views on the ideal blog length vary. To rank well, most experts say that a blog needs to be at least 800 to 1,000 words. Blogs we create for our clients are typically on the longer side. It’s not unusual for us to write 1,000 or more words on a topic.

Google and other search engines see longer copy as being more in depth therefore potentially more useful to people browsing. However, they will also know when the writer is waffling. Crucially, people will leave your website if they’re not getting the information they need.

Sentence length is important too. Search engines favour content that is easy to read and shorter sentences are seen as being more accessible. Aim for sentences of under 20 words if possible while still mixing up sentence length. This makes a piece flow well. We generally avoid sentences of more than 30 words and find that most which exceed this can easily be split into two.

  • Aim for 800-1,000 words as an absolute minimum. Most pieces will be longer.

  • Blogs of 1,000 words or more can perform well if the content is well written and relevant (and broken up into sections with subheadings).

  • Keep sentences short. Aim for most to be under 20 words.

5. Watch your language

When it comes to SEO copywriting you will also have to be mindful of writing in your company’s style too. If a professional copywriter is creating or editing your blog, then this is also something they will be mindful of. If copywriting isn’t your strong suit, you can make tweaks to give your blog the best chance of ranking.

Perhaps the most important consideration is whether your blog is easy to read. This will of course depend on your target audience. A piece written for people in your profession will differ from marketing to consumers with no specialist knowledge.

Generally, your blog should be accessible to the average person. Getting the sentence length as well as breaking up the piece with subheadings will help. Look out for any jargon and replace technical terms with commonly used words where possible or offer a brief explanation. You should also aim for active language as much as possible. For example, you could say: “We supported our clients to…” rather than “Our clients were supported to…”.

A variety of sentence openers, no repetition, accurate grammar, spelling, and punctuation are important when it comes to SEO copywriting. A professional copywriter should automatically write in this way however if you’re writing your own, double check these. Tools like  Grammarlyare great for checking spelling and grammar for free.

It goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) that you should never plagiarise copy in your blog. Ethical and legal issues aside, it’s an SEO no-no to run duplicate content on your website.

  • Make your writing as accessible as possible.

  • Avoid jargon (or explain any technical terms you need to include).

  • Use active language.

6. Copywriting with links

An SEO-friendly blog should include links to other content. This will ideally be a mix of both inbound and outbound links. Inbound links take visitors to other content on your website while outbound take them to other websites.

People generally appreciate the importance of including inbound links. They encourage readers onto other parts of your website. This could even lead to conversions when it comes to sales if this is relevant to your company. You could link to blog content on related issues or key areas of your site like the products page.

We sometimes come up against resistance from people who don’t want to add outbound links, and this is understandable. Why take people away from your website? Well, Google and other search engines look very favourably on external links because they make your copy more authoritative.

Naturally, you won’t want to encourage people onto your competitors’ websites. You should check any external links very carefully to make sure you trust them.

When adding a link, include it in the text either explicitly or through a hyperlink. For example, there are three different ways I could link to one of DCA’s blogs:

  1. Check out our recent blog on video content for social media:

  2. Click here to see our recent blog on video content for social media.

  3. Check out our recent blog on video content for social media.

In this scenario, version three is the best approach for both search engines and for your readers.

7. Write for the reader

Writing an SEO-friendly blog is really just the same as creating good website copy. If it engages your readers and provides them with the information they’re looking for, then it has done its job. All the tips I have shared here should help to make your copy rank better, make it more accessible and engaging.

So, if you find yourself doing something just for SEO – stop. Focus on what your readers want and need from you, and you can’t go wrong. Get in touch  to find out how we can support you to produce SEO-friendly blog content for your website.


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