SEO — you’ve probably heard the term bandied around by us digital marketing folk, but do you know what it actually means? And how can you effectively ‘hack the system’ to improve your website’s ranking in search engine results?
In short, Search Engine Optimisation, more commonly known as SEO, affects how high up a website appears on search engine results pages. Search engines, like Google, rank websites based on how relevant they think they are, in order to improve the experience for their users, and there are a number of different ways that they measure a website’s relevance.
Why is this important, you ask? Put simply: the higher a webpage ranks on search engine results, the more traffic you’ll receive to your website. And, if you sell your products or services online, this could mean increased sales.
So, if you want to improve your ranking on search engine results, here are five things to consider when writing copy to improve the SEO ranking of your website.
- Keyword Research
Good SEO starts with great keyword research, and the first step in improving the SEO ranking of your website is compiling a list of so-called ‘golden’ keywords you’d like to rank for. The trick here is choosing keywords that are related to your business, to ensure the traffic you’re driving back to your website is relevant.
There are various online tools that can help you decide what keywords to choose, including Semrush which allows you to see the keywords your competitors are currently ranking for.
Remember, the more popular a keyword is the more competition you’ll be up against, so in-demand keywords will be much harder to rank for. It’s therefore important to have a balance of keywords that have a high difficulty score as well as keywords that are less popular.
- SEO Copywriting
Once you’ve compiled your list of golden keywords, you can then start writing your SEO content. As a general rule of thumb, shorter keywords belong on home pages, landing pages and other top-level pages. While for product or services pages, it’s best to use longer keywords that are really specific to the niche you’re talking about.
The key to successful SEO copywriting is making sure you integrate your chosen keywords naturally into your copy. Avoid keyword stuffing (the process of repeating words and phrases) and using keywords that aren’t relevant to your page topic. Not only will this mean your copy won’t read as well but, if you fill your page with too many irrelevant keywords, Google may also give you a ‘penalty’ that could result in your page being removed from any search engine result page listings entirely.
Having premium content on your website, that is both engaging and optimised for the keywords you want to rank for, is essential if you want to improve the SEO of your website.
- Image Alt-Tags
As well as tailoring the copy on your website in line with your SEO content strategy, it’s important that you optimise the images on your website.
Any image on your website that is relevant to your copy needs to have alt text attached to it containing your SEO keyword. This gives you another opportunity to rank for your chosen keyword.
Today, over 30% of Google’s search engine results pages show images — meaning no matter how good your SEO copywriting is, you could still be missing out on another source of organic traffic.
- Internal and External Links
To improve your SEO ranking even further, your copy should contain at least one internal link (linking to another page on your own site) and at least one external link (linking to an external page not on your site).
Internal links help to extend the customer journey by encouraging the user to click through to another page, as well as making navigation more accessible. These links are therefore rewarded by Google and other search engines.
External links can also help improve website credibility, and links that are trustworthy, highly ranked and relevant to your page content will also boost your authority score.
- Meta Title and Description
Last, but by no means least, you want to think carefully about your Meta title and description.
These summarise the content found on a web page, and show potential visitors a ‘blurb’ of what your page is about to help them work out if it’s relevant to them before they open the link.
To improve the SEO of a webpage, the Meta title should be between 50-60 characters long, and your chosen keyword needs to be as close to the very start of the title as possible.
Your Meta description needs to be between 120-156 characters and should also include your chosen SEO keyword. Treat this like it’s a blurb for a book, telling the user what content is on the webpage.
With so many businesses fighting to be seen online, and PPC ads getting more and more expensive, organic traffic through SEO is a highly effective (and cost-effective!) way of converting website visitors to customers.
So, if you want to drive more traffic to your website and be seen by the right people, SEO is something you simply cannot ignore when it comes to content creation.
If you want help to improve your SEO content marketing strategy and drive traffic to your website, click here to find out more about our content marketing services.