What is copywriting and why does SEO matter to improve your business and search engine rankings? This useful guide covers all the important information you need to know.
What is copywriting
Copywriting means writing copy or text whose primary purpose is selling the products or services that we write about.
Copywriting is the process of writing content that contains relevant information to persuade people. It utilizes words that can persuade readers to take action and buy the products or services we are writing about. Copywriting is often used in advertising, where copywriters help create advertising copies for PPC ads, social media posts, product descriptions, emails, high-converting landing pages, etc.
The main goal of copywriting is to persuade. From an SEO perspective, we mainly want to create a copy with useful information that users are looking for and get them to take action on the website at the same time.
When done right, search engines like Google will understand your content well enough to rank it for relevant keywords. In short, copywriting from an SEO perspective is all about creating content that is both keyword-rich and informative. That way, your content can rank well in search engines and also provide value to your readers.
Why is important to consider SEO when writing copy?
There are a few reasons why it’s important to consider SEO when writing copy. First, as I mentioned before, it can help your content rank well in search engines. Additionally, it can also help to ensure that your content is reaching your target audience.
If you only focus on optimizing your content for search engines, nobody else will read it. And for this reason, you need to make sure that your content is engaging your target audience too. So lastly, it can help to make your content more shareable and share-worthy.
When you are writing for the web, you need to understand the basics of SEO and you should learn how to work with keywords and basic SEO factors in your text, which will help you rank better in search engines.
Who should write SEO-friendly copy?
In general, it's a good idea to have someone on your team who is familiar with SEO and copywriting. That way, they can ensure that your content is both keyword-rich and informative.
SEO-friendly content should be written by a person who understands the principles of copywriting and can engage the reader at the same time. To do this, they must also learn to master the SEO basics and understand on-page factors.
It might sound complex, but don't worry. This article covers all steps that will come in handy when writing a copy. We believe it will help you understand copywriting from an SEO perspective even without in-depth technical SEO knowledge.
7 steps to follow in copywriting (from an SEO perspective)
SEO content aims to increase visibility in search and to increase organic website traffic. Without SEO, your content may not show in search results and won’t attract qualified buyers. So how do you use SEO as a copywriter?
1. Master the copywriting basics
If you are reading this article, you might already have the basic knowledge of copywriting rules or you might even know how to write quality content without any doubts.
Just to be sure, let's take a look at a few basic copywriting rules to influence your content:
- Most users won't read your text thoroughly. They will quickly scan content across the page. Therefore you need to structure your article thoroughly. That's why you should use subheadings or bold important parts so that the user can find what they need while scanning your page.
- Don’t write about yourself in your copy. Remember to speak primarily to your readers. Don't talk about who you are and what you do, but be specific on how your product or service will solve the customer's problem. For example, instead of "5 tips on what I eat for breakfast", make it "5 tips on what you can make for breakfast tomorrow".
- Write as if you were talking to the customer in person. Don't use formal phrases and difficult-to-understand words. For example, instead of saying, "The products will be shipped on the expected date," say: "You will have it sent by tomorrow."
- Be specific and use examples. Instead of "We've been baking bread for years," say: "We've been baking bread for 11 years."
- Use the active voice instead of the passive one. "A new article has been published." This is a sentence in the passive voice, which sounds a bit like you're learning a new language from scratch. You'd rather say it in the active voice and directly, "We have published a new article."
- Be positive, not negative. We could have written, "This article won't teach you how to be a copywriter in one day." But instead, we wrote, "This article will teach you to understand the SEO basics that will come in handy when you're writing content."
TIP: For more tips on how to write good copy, check out Everybody Writes by Ann Handley, Copywriter's Handbook by Robert W. Bly, or On Advertising by David Ogilvy.
2. Learn the on-page SEO basics
We recommend you understand the SEO basics before you actually start creating content for your website. The following three articles we wrote should be the perfect start for you:
- What is SEO: If you have no experience with SEO at all, you'll need to first understand what search engine optimization actually is. How do search engines such as Google work and what do they use to decide what results to display in search? Simply put, you need to understand how search engines work for your chances to rank on the first page of search results.
- What is on-page SEO: SEO is a broad discipline that can be very technical, but also very creative. As a copywriter, you don't need to understand SEO in full detail. The most important things you'll be interested in are the on-page SEO factors, which will be an important part of your copy.
- Keyword Research step by step: To be able to write useful content that persuades readers and search engines, you need to know how keywords work and how your target audiences are searching for your content. Keywords are phrases that users type into a search engine to find content that answers their query.
Someone might search for a "sofa", but someone might search for a "couch". These are all keywords that may be relevant to your content. Not sure how to find out what people are searching for? Below, we explain how to find new keyword suggestions in more detail.
3. Find out what users are looking for
Before you start writing an article, you should have a structure and a clear idea of what you want to write about. If you know what relevant phrases users are searching for in relation to your topic, it will help you with the article structure.
There are several ways how to carry out keyword research for your article:
Google Search Suggestions
Google’s Autocomplete feature provides keyword suggestions as you type in the search box or address bar. As you continue typing, predictions will adjust accordingly to help you find common queries on a given topic.
Related searches on Google
Google Related Searches is another useful tool which can tell you what people are searching for based on your keyword.
For example, if you search for “search engine optimization” and scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, Google will suggest eight search results to help find other suitable keywords for your content.
Keyword suggestions in Marketing Miner
Once you start writing your content, you will have different relevant keywords to work with. You will want to find suggestions and related searches for all of these keywords that will help your article be seen in search results.
Marketing Miner can help you with this. Instead of searching for each keyword manually in Google and writing suggestions somewhere in the spreadsheet, you can upload them all to the Marketing Miner tool that analyzes data in bulk.
Firstly, let’s start with a few keywords that are related to your topic.
For example, when putting together keywords for an article about copywriting, we want to find new keyword suggestions for phrases such as
- how to write texts for the web
- how to write an article
- what copywriter does
To find new keyword suggestions, click on the Create Report button, select country and choose the following three Miners:
Add your keywords:
After analyzing data, you will get a report with many other relevant keyword suggestions:
Now it’s time to decide which keywords you should implement in your copy to make sure they are relevant.
For example, we know that searches for "what is copywriting", "learn copywriting" or "SEO copywriting" are related to our content. So we now have a rough idea of the structure of the article and what we shouldn't leave out.
But we also discovered other phrases that might be relevant to our topic, but not to the article we write about.
For example a “legal copywriting” keyword.
The very fact that we mentioned the keyword in this article might help us to rank for it high (if we had no competition for this topic).
But since it's just a keyword mention, we won't probably rank on the first pages of search engines. And even if we did (with no competition), we wouldn't be answering the user's question properly. Because we just mentioned the phrase in our article and we don’t explain it in more detail.
That's why you have to also understand what your target audience is searching for and what is their search intent when entering phrases into the search engine, so you can adjust the article to their needs.
Get keyword suggestions now:
4. Understand why they are looking for it
In SEO, the term search intent is very common.
As a copywriter, you should also understand why users are searching for a particular phrase.
Search intent can be:
- Informational. Users are looking for information. For example, "what is SEO".
- Navigational. Users who want to get to a specific page without knowing the URL. For example, they type "marketing miner" into a search engine to visit our website.
- Commercial investigation. Users want to buy some product or service, but they are not sure which one, so they look for more information. For example "what are the best SEO tools" or "best phones of 2022".
- Transactional. Users already know what they want to buy and now they are looking for a website that offers the products or services they want. For example, "red sneakers", "iPhone 14" and so on.
But what if someone searches for a general phrase like "SEO copywriting"? It's very hard to indicate what they're actually looking for, as there may be more than one option.
- Maybe they want to find out what SEO copywriting is. This means that producing an explanation video or article would be great here.
- Or they are looking for the services of an SEO copywriter.
- Or maybe they would like to take an SEO copywriting course.
That's why we first need to collect as many relevant keywords as possible, as we did above, and based on that information we should determine what is relevant to us and what we need to elaborate on.
For example, we know that we're not going to mention the "copywriting price" keyword in our article (even though we've now used it as an example). It is because our article is meant to answer keywords with informational intent. But the “copywriting price” query is more transactional than informational.
For some keywords, you can't determine intent that easily. This goes especially with some general phrases. That's why you should always check the search engine results and see what type of content the search engine serves for that specific keyword.
For example, this is what a search for “SEO copywriting” looks like:
For English searches, you will find primarily long articles and guides covering the SEO copywriting topic. But take a look at the search results appearing in Czech:
As you can see in the example above, the search results can vary a lot. However, this example tells us that we can rank for this keyword on the first page with an article, but also with a workshop or landing page for our services.
Let's explore another example of search results for the keyword “legal copywriting”.
For the “legal copywriting” phrase, it would be more efficient to create a landing page with services. The intent of legal copywriting is probably more transactional than informational.
Although, the first position in this search is covered by the ultimate guide that is helpful also for users with informational intent. In this instance, your content must be extremely helpful and authoritative to rank so high.
SERP analysis with Marketing Miner
So, what now? You probably don't want to go through the top ten results for each keyword manually, do you?
What if we tell you that you can analyze the search results in bulk for multiple keywords at once and have it all together in one report?
Again, you can set all this up in a few clicks in Marketing Miner using the SERP Analysis tool.
Once you enter all keyword suggestions from your previous report, you can then analyze the search results on the first page for each keyword.
Sometimes the URL and title will make it more or less clear what the page is about and you can quickly distinguish whether it's a blog post, review, how-to article, etc.
If it's not clear, simply click on the link from the report (just as you would in a search engine) and see what type of content is on the site.
5. Produce better content than your competition
A lot of websites that write about copywriting or SEO copywriting might not be considered our competition when it comes to the services that we offer.
However, we all compete in the search engine regardless of the fact that our services are not entirely the same.
We're all fighting for the attention of our target customers and readers, and if the copy doesn't catch their eyes within seconds, then they quickly leave and look for information somewhere else. If you want to rank better even for competitive keywords, your content simply has to be the best.
It sometimes happens that even very bad content can rank at the top of search results, especially when there is not much competition.
If the user stays on the site, engages with your content, and doesn't close your website right away, that's one of the positive signals to search engines that your content is actually of high quality and matches the user's intent. This can also help you to rank better in the search results.
Even if you are trying to beat your competitors and rank number one, you should still explore your search competitors as well. Take a look at the content type and format of their individual landing pages to see what Google responds best to.
Is it tutorials, product landing pages, or reviews?
Do they mention quick tips or more detailed information?
That's why you should read articles in-depth and explore other pages that often compete with you in search results to produce better content. In this case, we talk about producing content that is more attractive and helpful than your competitors’ one.
Ideally, you should put something unique in your content that shows your expertise, which takes us straight to the next step.
6. Give your content something extra
What do we mean by that? Add anything extra that will help your content stand out and attract even more users. Add something different that your competitor’s content doesn’t have.
Run a survey, market research, or add examples
Adding your own data or statistics to the topic will definitely make the content more compelling. For example, we ran a little survey for the Czech SEO community before writing our article about Barnacle SEO. We wanted to know how to translate the “Barnacle SEO” term into Czech. Would people prefer to keep it the same or come up with a different term in the Czech language?
The result of our survey was clear. More than 40 % of Czech SEO specialists wanted to keep the English term, so we kept it.
Get the experts involved
Expert quotes will make your content more valuable and credible. Involved experts will more likely share the content on social media or link to your resource from their website too. Such off-page SEO activities can also help you rank higher in search engines.
Visuals, videos, images
Sometimes an image or video is worth a thousand words. So use it to your advantage. We do this very often with our content as well.
This is an example of us explaining how the link juice works in the article about link building.
Use your own words
When you write your own how-to guide or similar content, you can also create a completely new name for it. Even though you will come up with a completely new name that no one else is using at the moment, it can become popular over time and will be trending soon.
In the copywriting and content marketing industry,
You may have heard of the term "Skyscraper technique" which is very popular in the content marketing industry. It was originally created by Brian Dean from Backlinko. And now, almost every SEO specialist or content marketer knows this term too.
7. Check your keywords and metadata before publishing content
Now you know how to work with keywords. You also understand how search intent works, how users read online, and what is appealing not only to them but also to search engines.
Now, after you used relevant keywords in your content, optimized its structure, and linked to internal and external sources, it's time to publish it.
For some copywriters, the job ends there. However, some of you still need to do one more thing at the very least, and that’s adding metadata.
- URL: The URL for the page should be short, concise, and contain the target keyword.
- Title: Your title should mainly determine what your page is about. Aim for approximately 50 to 70 characters and don’t target to include your target keyword. First impressions matter!
- Description: It should represent a short summary of your page that demonstrates useful information and attract the reader. The ideal length is between 120-160 characters. Don’t forget to include your keywords in a natural way.
For example, the metadata for this article about copywriting and SEO perspective looks like this:
- URL: marketingminer.com/en/blog/seo-copywriting
- Title: SEO and Copywriting: The Ultimate Guide
- Description: What is copywriting and why does SEO matter to improve your business and search engine rankings? This useful guide covers all the important information you need to know.
Copywriting, like SEO, is a broad marketing discipline and there’s a lot to cover.
In this article, we covered all basics and shared useful resources and tips that will help to pump your knowledge. And we hope you'll be able to navigate your way through it.
What's the most important thing you took away from the article? Don’t forget to incorporate them in your next copy.