SEO is a complicated beast. The more you know, the better your writing will be for SEO. Although keywords are important, it’s not about writing them repeatedly. It’s about writing good content that Google likes to rank well in search results.
Google doesn’t like spammy writing – they prefer readable, informative, original content. Therefore, to write optimally for Google requires an understanding of how it ranks websites and what it considers quality writing (which isn’t always easy). But don’t worry. In this article, I’ll take you through all the information you need to get started with writing optimally for SEO.
What’s SEO all about then?
SEO is all about writing web content that ranks well in Google search results. It’s about writing high-quality content that attracts clicks and engages readers. When you write for SEO, you need to consider how Google ranks websites. You also need to understand what Google considers to be quality writing.
Quality writing isn’t just about including multiple keywords. It’s about writing in a way that is easy to read and informative. You should also aim to be original and engaging. If you can achieve all of this, you’re on your way to writing optimally for SEO.
What’s the deal with keywords?
Keywords are words or phrases that people type into Google when they want information on a particular topic. People tended to focus on one or two-word searches like ‘SEO writing’ in the past. However, it’s much more sophisticated nowadays, and people ask Google complete questions. For example, if you wanted to find more information on writing for SEO, you might type ‘how to write for SEO’.
You can’t write optimally for SEO without analysing your keywords. Google ranks pages according to their relevance to search terms (AKA keywords). When you know what words people are using, it gives you an idea about how to rank for specific terms. Answer the Public, AHREFS, and Moz all include great research tools to discover what people are asking Google about your topic.
The difference between long-tail and short-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are search terms with three or more words. They are less popular than short, one-word keywords (short-tails) but carry significantly more weight. Long-tailing is a writing technique that involves writing for specific, low-competition phrases instead of writing for high-competition terms.
Low competition keywords are terms with less advertiser competition, which means it’s possible to rank high in search results for that term. This, again, gives you more of an idea about writing optimally for SEO writing.
Why is content important for your website?
This is where I will use the nerve-jangling phrase ‘Google Algorithm’. As a side note, if anyone tells you they’re an expert on Google’s algorithm, they aren’t. Along with ‘Who killed Kennedy’ and the KFC recipe, it’s the most closely guarded secret in the world.
However, we know that Google’s focus is on searcher intent. It wants to show the most relevant websites to answer the searcher’s question. How it does that is somewhat complicated. But, to simplify, it’s not only about your website having the keywords that match words in the searcher’s question. It’s about the quality of your website. Specifically, whether Google thinks you have a quality website.
How does Google know you have a quality website?
It measures every action a visitor takes when visiting your website. If you want to know everything, get Google Analytics, and you’ll see all your stats.
Two of the critical measures (from a copywriting perspective) are the bounce rate and session duration.
What is the bounce rate?
A bounce is when a visitor goes to one page of your website and then leaves without taking any other action. For example, if they go to your home page from a search and then leave it straight away. Clearly, a low bounce rate is desirable, but you’ll never get it to zero. As a rough guide, less than 40% is good. Google explains it in detail here if you want to know more.
What is the session duration?
Session duration is essentially how long a visitor spends on your website, so you want this measure to be high. Again, Google explains the detail here if that’s your bag.
Your content will directly affect both of these measures, so that’s where I’m focusing my attention.
How to improve your bounce rate
Let’s start by thinking about why someone visits your website. Apart from your mum, they haven’t gone there for fun. Instead, they have a problem that they believe you’ll help them solve.
They leave if they don’t see that you can help them with that problem immediately after landing on your site. Your bounce rate then goes through the roof.
As such, the first words on your website must get their attention. And the best way to do that is to ask a question that frames their problem.
For example, a legal firm’s website could start with, ‘Do you want to go to jail?’ (Ok, that’s a bold move, but it will get the reader’s attention). The following line could then be ‘Keep your freedom by clicking here’ and a button that will navigate them to the criminal defence page on your website.
The visitor has lowered your bounce rate by taking that action on the home page. Obviously, the next page needs to draw them in further and convince them of the firm’s ability to keep them out of jail, but that’s another blog.
How to improve your session duration
If you follow the advice on bounce rates, you will have already kept your visitor on your site long enough to view another page. So the content on that page has to hold their attention a little longer, then navigate them to the next page you want them to see.
However, there is a limit to how many pages a visitor will be bothered to click through. In fact, you actively want them to take the quickest route through to your ultimate desired action, i.e. the thing you want them to do, like contact you or buy your product.
So, it’s not a great idea to fill your pages with text to make them hang around longer reading it because they won’t. People scan websites, so you have to give them scannable content to solve their problems. A wall of text will have visitors bouncing away like kids on an inflatable castle.
How a blog can help your search rankings
There are other ways of keeping people on your website, and one of them is with a library of blogs to read. Blogs are great because they allow you to answer your visitor’s specific questions.
Using the legal firm example, they could have blogs on what a solicitor does, how to sue someone, reasons to take legal advice, and typical costs the options are endless.
Once they have a few blogs on different topics, they can then hyperlink them together, which means the visitor moves around the website and stays on it longer. Google sees the session duration increase and deduces that the website has interesting content, pushing that website up the search results when another person uses the same search term.
As those blogs are individual pages on your website, they are searchable. Nowadays, people ask Google complete questions like, ‘How much does a solicitor cost?’ So if that legal firm had a blog with that title, it would show up in the search results, and they will get a visitor that way.
There is no downside to creating engaging, informative, and helpful content on your website.
The best way to write for SEO is to create copy that helps the reader solve a problem. If they gain knowledge from your article, they spend more time on your website reading other articles. And Google loves people hanging out on your website more than it loves you spamming keywords through your text.
A skilled copywriter can help you craft the content you need to make Google see your website as high quality, which is a massive part of writing for SEO (I couldn’t resist that last keyword spam).
If you need some help creating content that Google (and your audience) will love, get in touch for a chat via https://thecopysurgery.co.uk/