How to Write Copy that Google Loves
Great SEO starts with first class hosting, superior hardware, and superior software. However, even the best network in the world won’t get you the traffic you need to build your company.
The bottom line is that if your website isn’t properly optimised, you’re going to struggle to succeed. The technical aspects of SEO are important, of course. Still, the thing that will really grab your readers and get them to stay on your page – and ultimately become paying customers – is your copy.
The copy you write isn’t just for your visitors, though. It’s for Google too. Don’t believe us? 93% of all online searches start with a search engine, and Google is the #1 search engine in the world. Not only that, the top listing on any Google search result grabs a whopping 32.5% of the clicks.
The good news is that it’s not difficult to tailor your copy to make it easy for Google to crawl and index your site. Here’s what you need to know.
How to Choose Keywords
When you choose a first class hosting company and superior network, you may already know the keywords you want to target on your site. However, there are a couple of aspects of keyword choice you may not have considered.
The first is voice search. SEO experts predict that by 2020, half of all searches will be voice searches. Voice searches tend to be phrased as questions or how-to statements. For example, someone searching for information about keyword use might initiate a search by saying:
How do I choose the best keywords for my website? or How to choose the best keywords for SEO
You can improve your rank on Google by using similar phrases in your copy. The more exact a match is for your copy, the more likely it is that you’ll get the lion’s share of clicks.
The second thing to keep in mind is something called latent semantic indexing, or LSI for short. LSI involves using words that are related to your keyword. An easy way to find LSI terms is to Google your primary keyword and scroll to the bottom of the search results page. Google will give you a list of related searches.
Sprinkling LSI throughout your copy gives Google contextual information about your page. Before you create content (or hire someone to create it for you), you should research to find the best LSI to use on your page.
How to Use Keywords to Your Advantage
Once you’ve got a list of relevant keywords and LSI, you need to optimise your website for your chosen keywords. In the early days of the internet, keyword density was the name of the game. Today, though, things have changed.
You don’t need to overuse keywords for them to help you rank on Google. What you must do is to use them intelligently. They should add to the reading experience, not subtract from it.
There are two elements of keyword placement you need to know. The first is technical and has to do with where you use keywords. Your top keyword for any given page should be used:
- In your title tag
- In your H1 and H2 tags
- In the first paragraph of content
- In your alt tags for images
You should also take at least one mention of your keyword and do one of the following things to it:
- Hyperlink it to a relevant internal page OR to an authority outside page; or
- Make it stand out with formatting (bold or italics)
As you can see, the key is to use your most important keywords in high-visibility spots on your page and to do whatever you can to signal their importance to Google.
The second part of keyword placement is subtly using your keywords. You don’t want to overdo it. Every use of a keyword should feel as natural and organic as possible. Weave them into your content and make sure that your priorities are readability and a good user experience. Your readers will appreciate it – and Google will reward you for it.
The Anatomy of a Great Blog Post (According to Google)
What makes a blog post great? As we mentioned above, Google’s algorithm and readers’ preferences didn’t always align. In recent years, though, they’ve made changes to prioritise the needs of website visitors.
Let’s talk about what that means in practical terms by looking at the parts of a blog post and how they ultimately affect your Google rank.
A Killer Title
Every blog post starts with a great title. The title is what readers will see first, and it needs to grab their attention. Certain elements can make people more likely to click. They include:
- Numbers (that’s why so many blog posts are lists or countdowns)
- Superlatives (best, worst, top, etc.)
- Questions (What are you doing wrong in your blog posts?)
- Provocative statements (Your blog posts stink)
You get the idea. Your title must be brief, compelling, and most importantly, it must be an accurate description of what readers will find if they read your post. Google will penalise you if you try to pull a bait and switch, so stick to what’s in the article and find a new and interesting way to spin it.
An Irresistible Opening
Your opening line should deliver on the promise of the title. It must be immediately compelling and capture the reader’s attention. It should also – as we mentioned above – include your top keyword for the post.
The first 100 words or so of your blog post must make the reader want to read the rest of what you have to say. It needs to be snappy, authoritative, and well-written.
Your content should be as concise as possible. Let’s talk about what that means.
First, it means that you shouldn’t be repetitive. Find the best way to share information with your reader. If you focus on fine-tuning your content, you won’t need to be redundant.
Second, it means eliminating unnecessary words and filler. This isn’t a school paper, and you won’t be penalised if it’s too short. Some ideas may warrant several thousand words. For others, 500 words may suffice.
Third, keep your sentences and paragraphs as short as much as you can. Sometimes a complex sentence is necessary, but often two short sentences will do. If readers get lost in a labyrinth of words, they may abandon your post halfway through.
It can help to read your content out loud and listen for repetition and lack of clarity. Delete anything you don’t need until you have a post that’s free of fluff.
Plenty of White Space
People skim when they read online content. You can make it easier for them to do that by using white space (that’s the space between paragraphs) and visual content to break up your words. A well-placed photograph or infographic can illuminate your text and make it more readable.
You can and should break up text with other formatting as well, including:
- Bullet lists
- Numbered lists
Anything you can do to break your content into easily-digestible chunks is worth doing.
A System of Internal and External Links
The final thing you need for a great blog post is a system of links. You should be linking both to internal content that’s relevant to the topic of your post and to authority sites in your industry or niche. External links are ideal for showing your sources, but they also signal Google that your site has valuable content.
Tips for Writing Compelling Copy
You know you want to keep your copy concise, but it’s also got to be irresistible to the people in your target audience. Your Google rank will be affected by how people behave when they land on your page. If they click the dreaded “Back” button, you may find yourself moving down the SERP and losing clicks.
Here are a few tips that can help:
- Use contractions and a conversational tone
- Eliminate unnecessary words (adverbs like very and really, transitional words like however and nevertheless)
- Address the reader directly by using the second person (you, your, etc.)
- Keep your use of technical terms and jargon to a minimum (unless your target audience will understand these things)
You won’t go wrong if your copy is compelling and easy to read.
Your Call to Action and Meta Description
There are just two more things to keep in mind to make your copy Google-friendly.
- You must end your content, whether it’s a blog post or the copy on a service page, with an irresistible call to action. The call to action lets the reader know what to do. The longer someone stays on your page, the better it is for you from an SEO perspective.
- Write a clear meta description. The meta description is the brief description that appears underneath your page title on Google. It should be between 50 and 300 characters and provide an accurate and compelling sneak peek of what readers will find if they click on your page.
These finishing touches will ensure that readers know what to expect from your site, which reduces the likelihood that they’ll bounce away from your site. The call to action is designed to keep them on your page by letting them know what to do next.
Writing fantastic copy that excites readers while also fulfilling Google’s expectations will help you get the traffic (and sales) you deserve. The guidance we’ve provided here can help you do both.
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