Author: Marieke van de Rakt
SEO copywriting is both a key element and a big challenge in every SEO strategy. As search engines crawl web pages, the content of your website should be fine-tuned to the – ever-changing – algorithms of search engines. In addition to that, you should write clearly so that your audience both enjoys and understands your website. After all, we know that readability ranks.
This complete guide to SEO copywriting takes you through the process of keyword research as well as the 3 stages of the writing process. It will also help you write the readable and SEO-friendly articles your website needs! And last, but not least, we’ll give you some insights into writing content for international sites, and the challenges that come along with that.
This guide to SEO writing covers:
- SEO copywriting and holistic SEO
- Before writing: always start with keyword research
- Three phases of writing an article
- Phase 1 of the writing process: Preparing your text
- Phase 2 of the writing process: Writing your text
- Phase 3 of the SEO writing process: Editing your text
- SEO copywriting for international sites
- Conclusion: SEO copywriting is a process
SEO copywriting and holistic SEO
At Yoast, we practice what we call ‘holistic SEO’. This means that our primary goal should be to build and maintain THE BEST possible website. Ranking in Google will come automatically if your website is of extremely high quality. The reason for that: Google wants to serve its customers what they want. Their mission is: to index all the world’s information and make it universally accessible. In addition to this, Google, of course, wants to make money, but they’ll have to show people results they are looking for – otherwise, people stop using Google. So, we can agree Google wants to show people the best results. If your website is the best in your niche market, Google wants to rank it high up in the results.
Holistic SEO is an interdisciplinary marketing strategy aimed at making the best website in a specific niche market. In order to do so, the technical design of your website should be excellent, the UX of your website flawless and all security aspects covered. Most important, however, is that the content of your website should be well-written and targeted at the audience your website serves. This approach requires rather advanced SEO writing skills.
Write the best copy!
To make sure your website is the best in your sector, the text on your websites should be nice and easy to read. Without making any concessions to the quality of your content, you should tweak and fine-tune your text to the specific demands of search engines. The process of SEO copywriting is very much like the process of writing anything else, so it’s hard work and inevitably some of us have more writing talent than others. Unfortunately, we can’t all be Ernest Hemingway, but with a little training, anyone should be able to write better SEO copy.
Read more: 5 tips to write readable blog posts! »
Before writing: always start with keyword research
The very first step of SEO copywriting has little to do with writing. First, you need to decide what you’re going to write about. Which topics do you want to be found for? You’ll need to use the keywords you want to rank for in your copy, so the first step of SEO copywriting is keyword research. Keyword research is what you do in order to list the keywords and keyphrases which you want to rank for.
Proper keyword research consists of these three steps:
1. Formulate a mission statement
Before starting the actual keyword research, you should think about your mission statement. This is what makes you stand out from the crowd. While formulating your mission statement, you should consider questions like: who are you and what is your blog about? What makes it unique? Take your time to formulate and write down your mission statement. For more information on creating mission statements, read our post about the mission of your website.
2. Make a list of relevant keywords
Once you have formulated a clear mission statement, you can start making a list of all the search terms (keywords) you want your website to be found for. Once your mission is clear, you should have little trouble coming up with search terms that apply to your niche market and your unique selling points. These will be the keywords you want to be found for.
In order to come up with good terms, you really have to get inside the heads of your audience. How are they most likely to find you? What would they search for on Google? At the end of your keyword research, you should have a list of all the relevant search terms people might use. Also, think of combinations and variations of these terms. There are a few tools that can make keyword research easier. Read our post about keyword research tools and