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Copywriting & SEO: What You Need to Know
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a way of writing and/or looking at articles from the standpoint of a search engine and tweaking pieces accordingly. There are some great tools to help copywriters learn and understand SEO and how it impacts their content, such as Scribe, but ultimately SEO is an evolving animal that modern copywriters will need to get to know well. A few changes to SEO algorithms and content that once rated very high could now be effectively useless. If one is not writing with SEO in mind, then they might as well not be writing at all.
With That in Mind, Get Some Tools
There are a handful of different tools worth looking into for copywriting, but the best tools will do the following: offer basic SEO analysis, provide logical feedback and suggestions, and possibly handle alternative keyword strategies. In some cases, multiple tools will be needed to accomplish the same task. Which combination of tools one ends up using, learn from them but never forget to remain humble. Failing to learn from SEO tools will make one a continual slave to such tools, but the constant evolution of SEO means that one might constantly need such tools anyway; it is the circle of modern copywriting life.
Remember That Readers Come First
One of the biggest problems with copywriters who focus on SEO is that it becomes somewhat easy to get carried away. This is doubly true with software that offers ratings and scoring for texts; the temptation to earn points can quickly result in the butchering of an article that was otherwise very well written for humans. Humans are the purpose for copywriting in the first place, so a smart copywriter will never lose sight of the purpose behind their task.
The crux of the issue is that the very heart of SEO is a complex series of algorithms that look for certain trends. Appeasing these trend-seeking algorithms is important, but if it results in uninteresting texts or articles that suffer readability problems then the entire exercise is utterly pointless. Likewise, imminently readable texts that rank low on search engines will never be seen by human eyes. A balance must be created and can be very difficult to learn how to manage.
On Page Factors – Things You can Control
While a large portion of modern algorithms factor in things out of the copywriters control such as external links and trust factors, there are a few things that should not be overlooked when formatting your content.
Titles – These are arguably the most important on page factor that copywriters have control over. This is the area that appears in the top bar of your browser. Make sure the keyword(s) you are targeting is included in this all important area.
Header Tags – Header tags are HTML tags that specify important content. These tags often call attention to content subtitles and are used to break up content making it easier to skim and read. You will want to make sure that your keywords are included in these, while still adding value to the reader.
Meta Tags – These are often overlooked and shouldn’t be. Be smart, when you have the opportunity to give search engines more information about your content, do so! Meta descriptions are also particularly important because they are often used as the description text in search engines which is often the first point of contact with your reader. Let’s take a look at a good and bad example of meta descriptions.
Bad example of a text with a keyword of ‘hot rods’:
Hotrods are great. Hotrods are cool. You want hotrods. Hotrods in your house, hotrods in your driveway, hotrods in you dreams! Buy our book on hotrods and learn all about hotrods today!
Good example of a text with a keyword of ‘hot rods’:
Our latest book on hotrods covers everything from the history of these unique cars to modern examples being produced by Detroit’s Big-3.
Do Not Forget Links
Many people overlook links when copywriting, but smart copywriters will not forget to insert plenty of text that can be used to create links. Links that simply say ‘here’ are not the most effective links, so be sure to look into effective link writing techniques to help increase readability and SEO efficacy. Constantly building ‘click here’ texts into an article is a bad idea from both an SEO and readability standpoint, so be sure to learn as much as possible about the creation of effective links. For example, a link like this is very effective: visit our copywriting section for more information. A less effective link is one that says: click here. This also applies to links from external websites pointing to yours. The more often the keyword you are targeting appears in external links, the better.