SEO and SEO Copywriting
Writing and publishing your article is only the first step to reaching a large audience. In order to turn that potential audience into an actual audience, there's one extra step you need to take, and that's to employ a bit of SEO copywriting.
Have we lost you already? No worries. Let's quickly review what SEO is.
SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it's basically a way of formatting your article or website to ensure that it gets a higher ranking in search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. The goal is to have your page appear as the result directly below the query box at the top of any search engine.
We're sure you know from personal experience that you rarely scroll past the first page (or maybe the second page if you're persistent) of search engine results. So, no matter how great an article is, if it isn't formatted to a search engine's liking, it may never see the traffic of a lower-quality post (from an editorial standpoint) that is loaded up with special tricks to attract search engine attention.Enter SEO Copywriting
How do you format an article to be better optimized for a higher search engine ranking? Enter SEO copywriting, which is basically how you write an article to generate that sought-after higher search ranking.
If you Google 'SEO copywriting,' you'll get a mind-boggling 1.72 million search results. Many companies invest a lot of money in trying to come up with all sorts of SEO tricks to win, and a lot of it hinges around SEO copywriting. Everyone is looking for a quick fix or easy answer to solve the SEO riddle, but like most things in life, the flash-in-the-pan approaches will come and go. What will remain are the basic, tried and true, steady rules that, if followed, will bring you success time and again.
Key In On Key Words
Today we're going to focus on just one rule, and that's to learn how to use keyword and keyphrase selection. All this means is that your article needs to use pre-selected keyword(s) and keyphrase(s) throughout the text to reassure the user that your article is about what they typed to get there. It's still up to you to bring all that good writing mojo to the table. Marrying the two isn't as hard as you think.
First, a note about content. More than anything, you want to focus on writing audience-friendly copy. Remember, content is king. At AOL, we aim to inform, engage, and entertain our readers with each piece of content we write. Your ultimate goal is to write something that speaks directly to your audience and meets their needs. Don't stress about SEO tactics while you're in the creative writing phase. Write for your audience first, and then optimize it for SEO to make it the best article it can be.
Follow these four simple steps to become an SEO copywriting rock star:
Step 1: Determine what your article is about
Take a moment to think about your post, and identify one or two keywords that explain what the article is about. Next, you'll need to perform keyphrase research to find the best fit for your article.
Keywords and keyphrases are simply words and phrases that users may use to search on a topic in a search engine. What is important to note is that this is your audience telling you, in their own words, what they are looking for. Powerful stuff. Take just a few minutes to utilize some simple tools in order to identify the term(s) that your content answers best, before you write.
Did you know?: Multi-keyword phrases tend to be easier to rank than popular keywords (ex. 'handbags and wallets' is a less competitive keyphrase and most likely will rank higher than 'handbags'). Why, you may ask? The more general the keyword, then there's a strong likelihood that others are trying to rank their content for that term, too.
Step 2: Identify keywords and keyphrases to describe your article
The question is, how do you find out just how people like us are searching for information? Are they really searching for "New Year's Eve" or is another phrase searched for more often? Using your intuition and thinking, "What search phrase would I enter to lead me to this article?" is a great place to start, but there are many tools that actually track and compare the rate at which certain words are searched for. Learn more about these free tools below.
- Verify popularity of selected keyphrase with Google Adwords Keyword Tool
This tool identifies the popularity of your keyword, as well as other terms people search for related to your keyword. Scan list to see if there are more effective search terms than the one you've chosen.
- Check out Google Insights for Search
Need more ideas to identify killer keywords and keyphrases? Then, you've got to bookmark this tool – that's how cool it is. Just type in a keyphrase and you'll soon see a list of trending topics. Pay special attention to topics that are 'rising searches.' These are keywords or keyphrases that are gaining in popularity in a recent span of time. You can also filter your search by category, country, date range, etc.
Phrase article title so the target keyphrase is as close to the front as possible. The reason for this is that search engines read, or crawl, left to right, your title. So, you want to place the higher-weighted (or higher-searched) words as far left as possible.
Bad title: Everyone will Remember Your Wedding Reception
Good title: Wedding Reception to Remember
Step 4: Incorporate target keyphrase into text
At the very least, use the term one time per paragraph AND in one of your headings. This helps search engine visitors establish what your page is about.
Take a journalist approach no matter if editing existing content or starting from scratch. Readability is king!
Afraid of repetition? Use a thesaurus. Semantically related keywords are encouraged.
There are many theories about keyword density and saturation. If we've lost you again, don't worry, because our advice is to gnore the rumors. The best rule to follow is to write for your user first. If you re-read the article and it sounds like a repetitious mess, then it probably will sound like that for your visitors as well. Follow these simple guidelines above, and you should be golden.
There's our two cents and it works. Don't believe us? Try it for a week on every article you write then come back and complain in the comments. We'll chat.
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