Instead of telling a story about a brand, trying to stuff as many keywords as possible into a headline or paragraph inevitably led to a string of gobbledy-gook sentences that made readers feel manipulated.
But, today, search engines algorithms have become far more sophisticated. SEO copywriting is now more about crafting a compelling story that naturally makes others want to share it, thereby increasing trust in the brand.
Suddenly, great writing seems to be coming back into vogue – we’ve finally got weary of the hard sell that came with old school SEO.
Now telling a thought-provoking, relevant story is more likely to catapult your rankings to top spot than repeating a keyword ad infinitum – and that’s just the way it should be.
Writing for clicks: 5 things old school SEO content writing has taught me.
However, there’s no need to throw the baby out with the bath water. I think there’ll always room for some traditional SEO know-how in every web page. Here are 5 things that mastering SEO content writing has taught me that I still use every day.
- Put your top keywords in your title.
Before I write a blog, I check the top-ranking keywords for the subject matter up front using a tool like Google Adwords Keyword Planner because:
- It gives me a quick snapshot of what web users searching for the subject are most interested in,
- Pouring over keywords for a blog is like writing a quick blog plan – it gets my creative mind thinking about ways I can structure a blog for maximum interest.
The optimal length for your title is under 72 characters – that means it’s unlikely to get truncated in a search engine – and it’s also a good idea to use your chosen keyword are at the front of your title, like I have above, for better click-through rates.
2. Think carefully about your meta descriptions. Ranking’s not the only thing you have to worry about – how you present your SEO content also counts.
One of the questions I get asked most often is: “What’s a meta description?” Generally, it’s the snippet of copy you see describing what a business does when you search for something online.
You’ll know from your own adventures in Google search that the more relevant and interesting a meta description, the more likely it will get clicks. I always start my meta descriptions off with the keyword phrase for my blog – it helps searchers know whether the content is exactly what they’re looking for.
Lastly, to make sure your full description is visible in a search result, keep your meta description under 170 characters.
3. Remember Goldilocks. When it comes to keyword frequency, it’s important not to use your keyword too often… or too little. Keep it to around no more than 3% of your total word count – so that’s around 10 times per 350 words, or 12 times per 400 words. Any more than 3% could risk the wrath of Google. But make sure it appears natural – if this seems like a lot of keywords when you read your blog back, dial it down a notch.
4. Link it, baby. The web is really just one big round of links, so who you connect to is important to search engines.
Try to link out to another page, including your own relevant internal pages, around every 150 words of content (or approximately 3 links every 400 words), but again, keep it organic – never link just for linking’s sake. It’s also a good idea to link early in your blog for optimum results.
5. Finely crafted, regular content is still imperative. You know the drill. Updating your unique SEO content regularly makes search engines happier.
Aim for at least 350-400 words of on-topic, keyword rich content to grab their attention and give your blog the best chance of ranking highly.
You can also bold your first use of a keyword phrase to further emphasise its importance and pop them in sub headings (but only if they make sense in the story you’re telling, please!).
Basically, the name of the game with SEO – traditional or otherwise – is to make it really simple for others to find and search for your content. If you keep this in mind, you’re unlikely to go wrong. Write to attract readers and your business will gain a reputation for trustworthiness and authority – two things search engines now love.
Want an expert SEO content writer to take a squiz at your blog to make sure it’s working harder for you? Talk to us today!