SEO Copywriting 2023: 5 Common Mistakes and Tips to Avoid Them
There are so many copies out there that are meant to rank well in the search results but then it flops. Ever had that experience with your team? Perhaps this article can tell you exactly where you failed.
As many consumers nowadays are searching on the web whenever they need something. SEO copywriting is very critical for you and your business, it helps you make sure that your website and content will be seen by the target market.
What is SEO copywriting?
Let us first define what is SEO and copywriting.
SEO is the process of improving your website’s ranking in the search results, through practices that are based on data and guidelines. On the other hand, copywriting is the craft of creating persuasive messages that will inspire people to take action.
Now, what is SEO copywriting?
SEO copywriting is the combination of both, writing persuasive content that is not only engaging to your readers but also recognizable by search engines as relevant and value-giving when it gets crawled by it.
In simpler terms, SEO is the science, and copywriting is the art. Having a perfect balance of both ‘the science’ and ‘the art’ can definitely make you outrank your competition in the search results.
How beneficial can SEO copywriting be?
A great SEO strategy involves well-written and searchable content. From your landing pages, blog posts, or even your ‘thank you’ pages, all those pages need copywriting that is on point. This is to ensure that your website and its content will be visible to users browsing the search engine results page (SERPs.)
By utilizing SEO copywriting, you can:
- Increase your website traffic
- Create more leads
- Build your authority in your industry or niche.
So here’s the thing – you may be left in the dark with the wrong things your team might be doing when it comes to SEO copywriting, right? No problem – I’ve done the work and identified the most common problems and mistakes you could commit to prepare you to have the best SEO copywriting practices for 2023:
- Not Identifying your Target Audience
- Disregarding Keyword Research
- Failure in Organizing your Ideas
- Forgetting to Optimize your Content for SEO
- Ending with an Uncompelling Message
Now that I got that out of the way, I’ll clarify what these really mean for you on the points below as you read on:
Not Identifying your Target Audience
Before anything else, you need to identify who you are writing your content for. Who are they? What matters to them? What are they looking for? How can you help them?
To help you answer these questions, try putting yourself in their shoes and think like how they think to find out their pain points. It shouldn’t be hard for you since it is the market you desire to serve. Through this, you could create the perfect persona that will be your guide for the rest of your SEO copywriting efforts.
Using this persona you created as a guide, generate topic ideas to what questions you think that persona would have. Shortlist the ideas and try categorizing them from the topics that you have a lot to say about down to the topic that you need to do a ton of research on. From there, you can choose the topic that speaks to you most and what you think you can give out the most value.
Disregarding Keyword Research
In order for you to execute SEO copywriting effectively, you certainly need to be smart on your target keywords. These keywords will be a core part of your whole SEO strategy; as you’ll be integrating them all throughout your content.
But also know that it’s not about putting multiple keywords inside the body of your content, as this can hurt your reputation/ranking in Google’s eyes. This method is known as keyword stuffing and it is already considered a malpractice in the SEO industry. Some experts even go so far as to say that it is a strategy for black hat SEO.
Going back to our first point, put yourself in your target market’s shoes and think from their perspective. And through that, you now have to narrow down the list of keywords you want to focus on. Now you have to check if those keywords have enough users searching for them.
There are a lot of tools that can help you with this process, such as SE Ranking’s Keyword Research Tool. SE Ranking can tell you how much monthly search volume a certain keyword has. This helps a ton in allowing you to lock in the keywords you will center your SEO copywriting efforts around.
There are four types of search intent in SEO:
- Informational – to get information (who, what, when, where, why, and how)
- Transactional – to purchase a product/service (e-commerce)
- Commercial – to buy in the near future (reviews/comparisons)
- Navigational – to go to a specific website (brand names)
Tip: The best way to know the ‘search intent’ of a keyword is to search it on Google and see what type of content or suggestions shows on the search results page.
As an SEO copywriter, your main goal is to give solutions or answers to users searching on the web, that’s why your content should be suited to the intent of your keywords. So that whenever users search for it, you will be seen as the most value-giving website and crush the rankings in the search engine results page (SERPs.)
Failure in Organizing your Ideas
After gathering the needed information about your target audience and keywords, it is now time to write. In SEO copywriting, the flow of your content is very important. Bored readers are not good for you. Be clear, concise, and straight to the point. Creating an outline can really help you construct the structure of your content.
Here’s an example of how you can outline your idea:
- Title (Headers)
- Intro Paragraph
- Bulleted list with explanation 1
- Bulleted list with explanation 2
- Bulleted list with explanation 3
- Paragraph with Supplementary Information
- Summary and Closing Paragraph
This makes it so much easier to construct the foundation of all the topic ideas you gathered on one page. Always remember that you’re writing for people first. Optimizing it for search results can come later. Your main goal is to answer all the questions you have come up with in the rough draft thoroughly.
Then polish your draft. This part is where you improve the readability and fix all the errors in your copy.
Here’s a checklist of things to do while polishing your rough draft:
- Check for grammatical errors
- Add images (supplementary visual aids)
- Break up long paragraphs
- Assign headings for each section (H2 and H3)
- Utilize bullet points or lists wherever necessary to make it easier for your readers if possible
- Lastly, try reading it out loud (this is to know if it sounds as good as it is written.)
Forgetting to Optimize your Content for SEO
As most copywriters write just for readership, the searchability aspect of their content tends to be forgotten. No matter how valuable and well-written your content is if it is not visible to users when they search on Google, then it is ultimately going to be an opportunity lost and consequently, we can consider it a wasted effort.
In optimizing your content, you now transition from writing for people to putting in what matters for search engines too. This is the time when you make use of all of the data you gathered from your keyword research.
Let’s start with metadata such as Title Tag and Meta Descriptions as these will be the first two things that search engines will see when they crawl your website.
Here are some tips for writing your title tags and meta descriptions:
- Title tags:
- Include your keyword at the beginning of the title tag
- Place your brand name (towards the end)
- Keep it within the limit of 65 characters
- Make sure it is a satisfiable summary of your content – much like how a book’s title or subtitle tries to capture the essence of the book
You can check out how we did the title tag for one of our clients, Dynamiqes for their keyword ‘SAP Business One’ here.
- Meta Descriptions:
- What will the reader get out of your page?
- Keep it within the limit of 155 characters
- Support the title tag’s promise to the reader
- End it with a call-to-action (click here, learn more, etc.)
SEO-optimized content contains a balanced number of keywords all throughout its headings and body. A good rule of thumb is to have a keyword density of at least 1%. Make sure that you have at least one keyword placement in the introduction, H2 heading tag, and in the body of the content.
Tip: Remember not to overdo it as this can result in ‘keyword stuffing’ that could affect your site’s ranking.
Look for variations or synonyms of your keyword as this can help with your article’s readability, depth, and SEO. Try checking out the ‘People Also Ask’ and ‘Related searches’ features from Google as this shows how people really search on the web. You can indirectly use these questions as a guide in looking for the variations of your main keywords.
And lastly, take advantage of linking strategies. Many copywriters disregard link building. But this, in fact, is a critical part of your overall SEO strategy.
This will help boost your website’s authority when you link to other websites as sources or even to your own website as you install relevant internal links. Also note that you should be building links only from reliable and credible sources, as you don’t want your website to be linked from low authority or low trust, questionable domains.
Ending with an Uncompelling Message
SEO copywriting all goes down to achieving that one goal, whether it may be selling your product and service, or simply convincing readers to subscribe to your email list. Your writing must be persuasive in order for you to achieve that goal – and that’s why you should always end each copy very strongly coupled with a “call-to-action.”
People shy away from hard selling techniques, such as absurd claims and overpromises, you do not want to sound like a salesman who’s blasting a product or service at your audience’s faces right?
But, how can I sound so persuasive without being pushy?
Think, act and sound like a consultant. People don’t like the feeling of being sold to but they love the feeling of someone assisting them in answering their life’s pressing questions.
From the introduction of your copy all the way to the call-to-action, you should be considering your reader’s point of view. Assure them that you understand their pain points and that you can help them in making those concerns go away.
Let me give you an example.
You just finished writing your article and you would want them to subscribe to your email list. Instead of bombarding them with a “SIGN UP NOW!” button, explain to them how your article has helped them and how your future articles can further help them improve their lives.
I hope that by pointing out these common SEO copywriting mistakes you are able to avoid committing them in your next article. It’s not difficult to be very good at SEO copywriting but it takes a lot of intentionality and practice.