I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was a child. Back then, you had to publish a book or get on with a newspaper or magazine.
Most people rely on the internet for their content now. For that reason, anyone with writing skills that has a computer and an internet connection can become a writer.
There is A Huge Need For Content Writers
Two years ago, my eyes were opened to the need for content writers. Ever since I started taking on clients, I haven’t had a single week where I didn’t have work.
One of the best things about working with so many different people, is that I have been given the privilege of learning the ins and outs of developing great SEO copy.
I’m going to discuss with you some of the ins and outs of SEO. At the bottom of this article, I’ve given you the main ideas you need to walk away. Those points will sum up the most important information.
What is SEO?
I had no idea what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was when I first started in this job. It took me a while to understand the importance of this concept.
You benefit from SEO on a regular basis. When you do an internet search, the search engine has to determine what is brought up in the results.
It is the job of a search engine to scan all of the content available and bring up it thinks will benefit you most. It won’t matter what awesome things you have to say if your content is not optimized.
The search engine decides if your content is what a person is looking for based off of certain components.
SEO is very important to the clients you write for. They need more than just great content, the need content that will be brought up in searches.
What is SEO Copywriting?
There are a lot of things that developers and programmers do to get their websites noticed by search engines. However, not all SEO is wrapped up in the back end. SEO copywriting requires you to write content in a way that will bring it up in search results.
As a copywriter, you have a vital role in getting content picked up on search results. I’m going to outline what your content needs to have in order to be optimized.
If you spend a few minutes looking at major websites, you will notice that their content is laid out in the same way I’m going to show you.
What is a Readability Score and Why You Should Care
I was first introduced to readability scores several years ago. I was told that my content was too hard to read for the general public. As an avid writer, I was proud of that. As an SEO copywriter, I had to re-evaluate.
It is very important that you write content that the general public can read. First of all, there is an SEO strategy behind this.
Search engines are less likely to show harder to read content to the general public.
Second, content that has a lower readability score is easier to skim. People spend a lot of time skimming the internet. If you have content that looks too clunky and unorganized, many people will leave your site.
What Determines the Readability Score?
A readability score for website content is based off of a few things such as:
- Length of sentences
- Length of paragraph
- Syllable count
Shorter sentences and paragraphs will keep your score lower.
In school, you are taught to have paragraphs that are 5-8 sentences long. That doesn’t work for SEO copywriting. Paragraphs should be 2-3 sentences in length.
Shortening my paragraphs was a very difficult thing for me as a writer. I had to learn a new way of writing and it took getting used to. It was worth it for me to learn how to write this way.
What Readability Score Should You Shoot For?
To reach the general public, you need to keep your readability score between 5 and 6. I was introduced to a free resource that is designed to grade your content.
The Hemingway App grades your content. Not only that, it highlights sentences that are hard to read. All you need to do is rework the highlighted sentences and it will bring down your readability score.
Check it out here:
The Importance of Headers
There are several reasons you will want to use headers in your content.
- Search engine crawlers read headers to determine what the content is about
- Headers allow people to skim an article and grab the main points
- Outlining an article with headers helps a writer stay focused
If you use Google docs to write your content, you can set which header you would like to use. There is a drop down menu in the toolbar that will allow you to select the header. Click the “Normal Text” button and the menu will drop down.
When you upload your content to a website, the headers will stay in tact. Your client will not have to do anything additional at this point.
What Header Should I Use?
You will notice that there are 4 or 5 different headers you can choose from. It is important that you select the correct header for your needs.
When in doubt, always choose header 2.
If you want to use HTML, you need to keep these rules in mind when selecting headers. Headers can be explained as using the imagery of a map.
- Heading 1– country in which you live
- Heading 2– the state in which you live
- Heading 3– the city in which you live
- Heading 4- house in which you live
Think of headings as going from a broad topic that gets more specific as it goes down. In your content, headings would be used like this:
- Heading 1– title of the article or page
- Heading 2– title of the following section
- Heading 3- sub-point of the section
- Heading 4- sub-point of the sub-point in the section
You will not need to worry about heading 1 at all. That is taken care of by the person inputting the article into their website.
The rest of the headers should be used in descending order for each section. Always start with heading 2 and then use heading 3 if you would like.
When you get to a new section that needs to be titled, go back to heading 2. It would be the same concept as starting a new chapter of a book.
I’ll say it again if you aren’t sure which headings to use, stick with heading 2.
What Makes Up A Good Header?
Now that you know what headings to use for your content, you need to know what makes a good header.
For the sake of the reader, you want to make sure that the header will give them an idea of what to expect from the following few paragraphs.
When it comes to the SEO aspect of the header, be sure to include keywords and location markers when possible. Like I mentioned before, search engine crawlers base the content of the page off of the specifics in the headers.
Do what you can to create specific headers that include the keywords a person would use to search out the content.
How to Make Content Easy to Skim?
People consume content at a rapid pace. They click an interesting article title and then skim down the page reading the headers, bullet points, and bolded words.
A reader will base the value of the content off of what jumps out at them.
In order to make content easier to skim, use these tips:
- Write a new header every 2-4 paragraphs
- Keep paragraphs to 2-3 sentences
- Use bullet points to draw readers to important details
You can also bold the most important sentence from each paragraph to draw a reader’s attention to the main point.
Correct Poor Grammar
As if good grammar wasn’t always important, it is even more important than ever for good SEO copywriting. Bad grammar can be detected by Google. You should read over your work for erros and revise your copy.
I like to use grammarly to help me spot grammar issues in my writing. Also, I like to use grammar checker to highlight hard to read words. It also shows me where I’ve used the passive voice so I can change my copy. Both of these resources are great to write stonger copy.
Summary Of Good SEO Copywriting
I know I’ve given you a lot of information and it can be a bit overwhelming. Here are the top things you should be doing to make your content easier to read and SEO friendly.
- Use descriptive headers with keywords
- Use proper HTML with headers (header 2, 3, 4- header 2,3, 4)
- When in doubt, just use header 2
- Write a new header every 2-4 paragraphs
- Write paragraphs that are 2-3 sentences long
- Use bullet points to highlight key points
- Keep your readability score between 5-6
- Make sure you use proper grammar and your content is error free
With these tips, your copy will look professional and get noticed. It takes some getting used to in order to format your content this way. In the end, you will find that it makes it easier to write.