Long after the workday ends, your company’s online presence is working to advertise products or services. Compelling search engine optimized (SEO) on-page web copy can support that effort by increasing the likelihood that your target audience will discover, trust, and ultimately patronize you. It works by helping a site rank on Google and similar search engine results pages (SERP) so your target audience can easily discover it.
But simply getting on your audience’s radar is half the battle. Even if web copy is factually accurate, long-winded or poorly organized material can cause visitors to bounce soon after finding your website. Since search engines correlate a high bounce rate with diminished authority and may consequently lower the website’s SERP status, it is also important to write copy with user engagement in mind.
Below are six best practices for writing truly effective SEO web copy that will keep your target audience coming back for more.
1. Find the Words
The first step to writing optimized copy is knowing which keywords you want torank for. Short keywords like “Accounting” or “Consulting Services” are often difficult to rank for because competition is high. You might want to aim to rank for long-tail keywords instead. Long-tail key words are more specific keywords that target relevant search users farther into the buyer’s journey. For example, if you were selling second-hand sneakers on your website, ranking for “Sneakers” would be near impossible. Ranking for “White and red used Nike sneakers for sale” is much easier and could help you reach a more targeted audience who may be further down the sales funnel.
2. Know Your Audience
Internet search trends can tell you a lot about your audience, especially since people frequently type their questions directly into the search engine bar. Consider incorporating phrasing from these questions into your headlines and webpage copy. And of course, try to offer answers to popular questions on your website for SERP prioritization.
Search trends can further indicate your target audience’s journey and intent. Are they searching to find a site, learn about a topic, research a product category, or commit to a purchase? Use that information to tailor your content accordingly.
3. Scope Out the Competition
A simple search can help provide intel on your competition and their SEO efforts. Note where competitors rank on relevant SERPs to identify opportunities for outperforming them. Linking frequently asked questions to keywords and identifying low competition phrases relevant to your offerings can help separate you from the crowd.
Try these tools to find low-competition, high-yield keywords:
4. Craft Attention Grabbing — and Accurate — Headlines
Did you know that 80% of readers don’t make it past the title of a web page or article? Headlines, or H1 header tags, are a significant factor in page performance. They are one of the primary ways search engines determine page topics for SERPs. Certain headline formats perform better than others, including ones with:
- Words or phrases that evoke strong emotions
- Well-known names or brands
- A primary or “focus” keyword
- The phrase, “How to”
- Around 65 characters
Subheadings should similarly be used to describe the content you’re presenting. Known as H2 header tags, they can have almost as much impact on SEO as your H1. Be sure to organically weave a primary or secondary keyword into your H2 whenever possible.
5. Open Strong
Search engines assess your page’s headline and opening paragraph to determine when and where it shows up on SERPs. The primary keyword of each page should appear in the first paragraph and a few times thereafter. Just make sure not to overdo it – keyword or phrase density should not exceed 3%. In other words, your keyword shouldn’t appear morethan three times per 100 words used.
If you feel like you’re overusing a keyword orphrase, turn to the thesaurus for synonyms. Google’s algorithm has advanced to the point ofunderstanding synonyms and their link to keywords. They can be a great way to showcase your authority on a topic without sounding like a broken record.
6. Structure Strategically
Google and other search engines “scan” text to assess the subjects you talk about and the relative authority your site has on them. Well-structured text results in higher engagement and user activity, which can lead to a higher SERP ranking.
The content you write should be transparent and concise. Use transition words, short sentences, and paragraph breaks with clear subheadings to keep visitors on the page. If you need a little incentive, keep in mind that the optimization of one page can help draw visitors to another. Consider including hyperlinks to other pages on your site with relevant or related information that might also be of interest to visitors.
Following the six best practices outlined above will position you to climb to the top of SERPs, where you’re more likely to reach and retain the attention of your target audience. Good luck!
By Ryan LaMarca and Alannah Dragonetti
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels