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A few years ago, writing content for the sake of attracting backlinks used to be a horrid but widely popular SEO practice, but with all the algorithm updates Google has pushed to date, many SEO copywriting practices are now ineffective.
Many industry experts claim that content should be written for users and not search engines, but that’s only partially true. Content should be written for users while making sure that it adheres to Google’s Webmasters Guidelines so that you stand a chance of ranking better in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Keep reading to find out the best SEO copywriting practices to consider when creating content for your website.
Optimizing titles for the same keyword phrases as used in the content is critical to telling search engines what your website is about. Due to Google indexing only the first 57 characters of the title, including spaces, you should try and place the keyword phrase that you’re targeting as close to the front of the title as possible for the best results.
If not possible, you should make sure that the keyword shows up in the title, although in a different position.
It’s important to create unique titles that will make your content stand out from the competition. Instead of “How to Secure Your WordPress Website” (which likely appears on a gazillion of other websites), you could try a more original approach with a luring after-thought – i.e. “WordPress Security – it’s the least you can do, don’t be irresponsible about it.”
The targeted keyword phrase (“WordPress security”) stands at the front of the title, and the whole construction is very attention-grabbing.
What’s more, having relevant keywords in your titles encourages other websites to link back to you and include those specific keywords as anchor texts. This, in turn, will show Google that your page is extremely relevant and provides high-quality information to the topic, ranking your website higher in SERPs.
High-quality content is the key to SEO copywriting, but for your optimization efforts to be really efficient, you should create content that delivers relevant and accurate information on the subject matter of the keywords that you’re optimizing it for.
As a rule of thumb, you should always make sure that your articles are at least 300-500 words in length to stand a chance of ranking higher than your competitors. With less than 200-300 words written, you can’t expect to do better than a website that publishes at least 700 words per article, thus providing more substantial information that’s guaranteed to drive traffic and build a solid readership.
According to Brian Clark of Copyblogger, putting the first keyword occurrence in bold or as part of a bullet point list may help search engines crawl and better rank your website, although this is still largely debatable.
Placing keywords in subheadings is another thing you should consider doing as part of your SEO copywriting efforts, as subheads are a smart and natural place to include keywords in, specifically since they’re usually easier to see by users.
If you’re going to hire SEO services in London, make sure to choose a company with years of experience in the field, as they surely know the best SEO copywriting practices for content creation and keyword placement.
3. Keyword Frequency
Many webmasters still confuse keyword frequency with keyword density due to their relatively similar meaning. But while keyword density is essentially the ratio of a given keyword to the rest of the text, keyword frequency is the number of times that a specific keyword shows up in a piece of content.
Keyword frequency will certainly impact how your website ranks in Google, as it makes your pages more relevant to search inquiries that use the same phrase. On the other hand, keyword density is no longer a metric used by search engines to determine whether a website or web page does provide on-topic information.
Interestingly, identifying the best keyword frequency for a specific piece of content can be achieved by calculating the right keyword density first.
It’s generally agreed that you should aim at a keyword density of 2 to 3 percent. And since Google’s algorithms are pure mathematics, we’re going to determine the right keyword frequency based on the number of words in the piece of content.
To calculate keyword density, you would use the following formula: (keyword frequency / total number of words in the text) x 100. But we already know that the optimal keyword density should be 2 or 3 percent, and we also have the approximate word count of the article – say, 500 words. To calculate keyword frequency, we’re going to replace the keyword density with 3 and word count with 500 in the formula:
(keyword frequency / 500) x 100 = 3
keyword frequency = (3 / 100) x 500
keyword frequency = 0.03 x 500
keyword frequency = 15
But obviously, you can’t have a long-tail keyword consisting of 3 or even 5 words mentioned 15 times throughout 500 words, as that will obviously increase keyword density. A better formula would be: [(keyword frequency x number of words in the keyword) / word count] x 100.
For a 500-word article, a 4-word keyword phrase and a keyword density of 3%, the formula will look like:
[(keyword frequency x 4) / 500] x 100 = 3
keyword frequency = [(3 / 100) x 500] / 4
(keyword frequency = (0.3 x 500) / 4
keyword frequency = 15 / 4
keyword frequency = 3.75 (we’re going to round this number up to the nearest hundred, so we will have 4 instead)
Once you find the right keyword frequency, you can start writing the content with that number in mind.
4. Meta Description
Although Meta description is no longer as important for SEO as it was a few years ago, it can certainly increase traffic if you create compelling and attention-grabbing texts. A Meta description is essentially the presentation of your content in search engines – a very short summary of an article inviting the user to read more.
It’s still debatable whether or not sprinkling one or two keywords in the Meta description can influence how your website does in SERPs, but you should definitely include at least one keyword occurrence to reassure the user that your content will properly satisfy their needs.
You want the full description to show up in search engines, so keep its length under 160 characters, spaces included. It’s always a good idea to simplify the optimization process by using SEO plugins that allow you to individually create Meta descriptions for each post right from the “Add New Post” page.
5. Outbound Links
The exact opposite of inbound links, outbound links are links placed on your website that point to other websites across the Internet. Having a few outbound links within the body of your content is a good way to show Google that you’re most interested in providing complete and accurate information to users and not in trying to rank as high as possible in SERPs.
Moreover, outbound links also show that you have done research prior to creating a specific piece of content, meaning that your information is factual and can possibly solve a user’s inquiry.
A few important aspects to consider when it comes to outbound links:
- Include outbound links every 120 words of content.
- Include a naturally relevant anchor text.
- Link to the page that you’ve used for basing your article, not the homepage of the website.
- Include outbound links early in the article.
You may occasionally want to include one or two links pointing to other pages of your website that are relevant to the topic of your content. At the same time, you could also include all outbound links as part of a Reference Box to show both users and search engines that your information is factual, not made up for the sake of including references to case studies on the topic.
SEO copywriting is completely different from article writing, and should be addressed accordingly to ensure that your website shows up in SERPs. Due to the complexity of the process, you may want to consider looking for SEO services in London to handle the job for you, as this will help ensure that you won’t make mistakes that will cost you traffic, leads and sales.
About the Author
Digital Search Group Ltd specializes in providing innovative Web design, powerful application development, Google AdWords paid search campaigns and smart, effective SEO services in London, UK. Our services are all geared towards a goal we have in common: the prosperity of your site and the profitability of your business.
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Image source: author-owned