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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important for any business wishing to establish an online presence and sell online.
When we write engaging SEO content, Google rewards us by placing web pages higher in search results, giving you greater visibility. This can increase the number of visitors to your site, who may just turn out to be customers.
But creating optimized copy is more than just typing in keywords and hoping for the best. Incorporating SEO into your content is an art, and like any art, it takes practice and a bit of creativity.
So here is our guide to help you sprinkle SEO into your copy so you can rank higher in search.
Related: The 4 Pillars of SEO You Need to Know
1. Don’t overdo it with keywords
You may have seen articles that repeat the same words over and over again. This error is known as “keyword stuffing”, and it is penalized by Google.
Your writing should make sense. If you constantly repeat the same keywords, it will be unreadable and confusing, making it a terrible user experience. When considering your keyword usage, keep Google and your audience in mind.
Google wants to see that you are:
- Use keywords that serve your readers what they want
- Produce a high quality copy.
Your audience wants to read content that matches their search intent and they want the copy to make sense. If you produce content that your audience doesn’t want to read, you won’t rank well in search.
So when it comes to keyword usage, make sure you only use keywords where they make sense. Google is smarter than you think, and to rank well you need to deliver content that uses keywords in a logical way.
Related: Why Keywords Are Still Important in SEO (But They’re Not Everything)
2. Determine what your audience wants to see
Before you write copy, it’s important to determine your audience’s search intent.
Broadly speaking, there are three main types of search intent:
- Informational: About 80% of searches are informative. This is when the public is looking for answers or information. For example, they can search: “What are the best tables for young children?” »
- Navigation: This is when the user knows what kind of website or webpage they want to visit (eg, “Ikea website”)
- Transactional: This is when the user wants to buy something (e.g. “buy an Ikea wooden table”)
So before you write your copy, figure out what your audience wants. Do they want to know more about something? Are they trying to buy something? This will guide your copy and ensure that everything you write is relevant to your audience.
To know the search intent of your audience, use tools like:
- Semrush, this will tell you the exact search intent of your audience
- Google AutoComplete
- Google’s “People Also Ask” Section
Google prides itself on helping people find what they want, exactly when they want it. So, focusing on search intent is critical to your SEO success.
To use search intent in your copy, you can:
- Use search queries as titles and subtitles in your text
- Write entire articles on queries
- Optimize product and service descriptions to match what people are looking for
Related: 7 Ways Small Businesses Can Use SEO to Boost Customer Service and Growth
3. Make sure your content is relevant
Engines favor highly relevant and informative content. But sometimes creating relevant content is easier said than done.
When it comes to creating content, it is important to:
- Stay on topic
- Stay concise
- Be informative
- Make sure your content matches the search intent of your audience
Google also takes into account the time users spend on a web page. If people leave your page immediately, it indicates that your content is not relevant to them. So, create content that meets the needs of your audience, whatever they are, as this will ensure that your content ranks well on search.
Here are some additional tips to show Google that your content is relevant:
- Use the keyword your audience is looking for
- Use your main keywords from the start of your copy
- Answer questions posed by your audience
Related: Simple Ways to Dramatically Improve Your SEO
4. Speak like your audience
Your audience will search for things in a very particular way, and it’s important to emulate that in your copy.
If your audience is searching for “best chairs for kids,” use that phrase as a keyword. Mimicking popular search terms will optimize your copy, making it relevant to your audience’s search intent.
5. Don’t underestimate the power of headlines
We’ve already mentioned titles, but since they’re so important, they deserve their own section.
Let’s face it, when you search for something on Google, you’re unlikely to click on a web page with a lackluster title.
Headlines have the ability to grab your audience’s attention, so it’s important to make them count. They are also an easy way to tell Google and your audience what your page is about.
Here are some easy ways to optimize your titles:
- Make sure your titles are relevant to your body copy
- Use main keywords in your titles
- Use your audience’s popular search phrases in your titles
When it comes to titles, beware of their length. Headers longer than 60 characters are truncated by Google. So, to avoid cutting off your title, keep it short.
Related: Learning Google SEO Can Help You Grow Your Business on a Budget
6. Optimize your metadata
Metadata tells Google what your web page is about, and while it may not always be seen by users, it can be very valuable.
It is important to put your main keywords in your meta tags, meta descriptions and meta titles as this will help Google read your content and define its relevance.
When it comes to metadata, put effort into your headings and descriptions because not only can these shape the writing snippets that show up in your search listing, but they’ll also tell Google what your content is about. . Make sure your headings and descriptions are just as meticulously thought out as your body copy, as this will help Google index your web pages higher in its search results.
7. Write for humans
Above all, keep the user at the front of your mind. When writing SEO copy, it can be easy to get carried away with formulas, tips, and advice when in reality, writing for humans is the best way forward.
Engaging, unique, and informative writing will always trump content designed just for search engines. The goal should not be to rank, but rather to provide the information a user is looking for.
Ultimately, Google just wants to provide users with the best possible content for their search queries. If you can provide that in a more in-depth, unique, and engaging way than your competitors, you’re sure to rank well.