SEO copywriters are some of the most skilled copywriters there are. Not only do SEO copywriters know how to write content that appeals to search engines, they can write optimized copy that compels an audience to take an action.
On the surface, it sounds easy enough, but SEO copywriting is more challenging than it seems.
And if you choose to specialize in SEO copy, I can tell you with 100% certainty that you are going to be in high demand.
No matter whether you want to build your SEO copywriting portfolio exclusively or you just want to better serve your clients, today I’m going to share with you 8 SEO copywriting secrets you absolutely need to know.
1. Write for User Intent
Writing for user intent means first knowing your audience. Why is someone coming to a specific page? And what questions do they want answered?
The goal of search engines has always been to provide the most relevant information to their users–and search engines, especially Google, know when you’re writing for only SEO and when you’re writing for users.
And they want you to write for users.
There’s a couple of ways to go about this.
If you’re writing web copy such as a landing page or a sales page, you can utilize the Hero text and include the primary reason your audience is searching for you.
For example, my Hero text right now is “JUMPSTART YOUR FREELANCE COPYWRITING
BUSINESS” with the subheading “COPYWRITING COURSES, TOOLS, TEMPLATES & RESOURCES.”
My homepage is optimized for “copywriting courses,” AND it includes my UVP (which is Unique Value Proposition). So, I’ve optimized it for sales and SEO at the same time.
2. Use Internal and External Linking the Right Way
Internal and external linking is a SEO copywriting secret you should absolutely know. Internal linking is when you hyperlink to other pages on your website, and external links are links to external pages. Pretty self explanatory, right?
Let’s talk about how to use both internal and external links in your SEO copy.
First, let’s look at internal links. There are multiple kinds of internal links, but we’re going to talk about contextual links.
A contextual link directs users and search engines to related content on your site and tell search engines which content is highest value. The more links a page gets, the more important it seems in the eyes of search engines.
For example, in my article on the highest paying copywriting niches, I mention the phrase “copywriting career.” I then link the words “copywriting career” to another article on my site titled Copywriting as a Career.
This shows Google that the page I’m linking to is valuable and it gives my audience relevant content to read next.
Now, let’s move into external linking. External linking is important because it signals to Google that your website is reputable (after all, you’re giving references to back up what you’re saying). Quality websites commonly link to other quality websites. And if you want the content you write to be considered quality, external links to reputable websites is a great way to do it.
Let’s look at external linking using the same example article. In my article about the highest paying copywriting niches, I reference something called YMML, or “Your Money or Your Life” websites. I linked the words “Your Money or Your Life” to a related article on a reputable external website.
In this case, SEMRush, who is an authority on SEO.
To find reputable sites, you can go to Google and type in your search term and “journal” or “study” or “scientific” and get some really high quality articles to link to.
And, it should go without saying that anything you link to should be related to your content. Remember, contextual links are supposed to be contextual.
3. Pay Attention to User Experience
Here’s a dirty little SEO copywriting secret that not a lot of copywriters know:
UX totally plays a role in SEO, even if it’s indirectly.
UX (or user experience) includes knowing not just how to say things, but WHERE to say them.
And say them clearly.
For example, on a services page, you might create a bulleted list of benefits of an offer that leads to a specific sales page talking about that specific offer.
Or you might break up big walls of text into short paragraphs so the user doesn’t feel overwhelmed with information and click away.
The time spent on the page is a ranking factor in SEO, and a copywriter who incorporates UX is more likely to retain an audience’s attention.
4. Use Alt Text
As an copywriter, you might be asked to source images (or create them–charge extra) for your pieces. You can help give your clients an SEO boost by using SEO naming conventions on for any images your include.
Let’s look at two different ways you might do this.
If You’re Uploading Directly to a Website
If you’re the kind of copywriter that uploads your work directly to your clients’ websites:
- Save the image using the keyword or phrase you’re trying to rank that page for.
- Upload image to the site.
- Use the title, alt text, caption, and description fields to write a short description of the image including the keyword or phrase.
This is an example of what it looks like on the backend of WordPress.
If You Turn Files into Your Clients
If you don’t upload your content directly to your clients’ websites and instead send them a Word file or Google Doc, DON’T JUST PASTE IN THE IMAGES.
- Save the file with SEO naming conventions
- Write out the description, alt text, title, and caption
- Send everything in a folder with instructions on how to upload it correctly.
Yeah, it takes a little more time and effort on your part, but the results your clients see will make it worthwhile.
5. Utilize Your Headers
Beyond your headline/page H1, you can utilize your headings to further optimize your copy. Search engines LOVE this because your headings signal what your page is about and what subsequent content is found under each heading.
Use at least ONE of your H2s and include your primary keyword.
But….don’t over do it.
Which brings us to….
6. Don’t Keyword Stuff
Keyword stuffing is the opposite of an SEO copywriting secret. It’s actually one of the worst things you can do if you’re trying to rank a page.
Keyword stuffing is when you use your keywords over and over and over again in an attempt to rank your content.
But it has the opposite effect.
Google knows when you’re keyword stuffing and you will see your rankings drop.
There are several free online tools to test your keyword density. Run your copy through one before posting.
And if you want to eyeball it, if you’re reading it and the way you’re using keywords sounds unnatural, rework it.
7. Use Synonymous Keywords
One way to avoid keyword stuffing AND sound more natural in your SEO copywriting is to use what’s called synonymous keywords.
Google and other search engines are smart enough to understand nuance, which means their technology is advanced enough to read a page and determine that a page that mentions “SEO writing” and “writing for SEO” are talking about the same thing.
Using keyword synonyms can help your writing flow better and even give Google a more clear explanation of what your page is about.
Learn to Write for SEO
While not every copywriter or content writer will need to understand every nuance of SEO, understanding the fundamentals of optimization is a huge benefit.
Putting these SEO copywriting secrets into practice is going to give your clients a search engine visibility boost and boost your skills as a copywriter.