The Basics of Copywriting for the Web

writing press releases

There is a delicately balanced equilibrium that exists somewhere between SEO requirements and quality of writing. Finding the perfect balance will depend on the ratio to which you value quality against SEO. Personally, I like to aim for a 50:50 ratio that ensures solid SEO performance yet still satisfies my artistic integrity (writing is my life and I’m happy if this makes me a nerd). In order to help with the SEO side, I have compiled a checklist of five factors that you need to address.

Avoid Needless SEO Damage

Prior to working as a copywriter, I used to be employed in economic consultancy. This required me to research a vast spectrum of industries and prepared me for understanding how to write for all manner of websites. When I made the transition into copywriting, I couldn’t help but notice that quality would be compromised on occasion. But most surprisingly was that it was the clients doing damage to their own content.

Dated Approaches

Back when black hat SEO techniques were still possible, I worked with a number of clients that insisted upon hitting specific percentages for their various keyword ratios. It was almost as if I was formulating a code-breaking algorithm that would suddenly propel their site to the top of Google search results. Basically, they seemed happier to forget about the real factors that would aid the performance of their site.

The Real Work Begins

Thankfully, Google algorithms like Panda and Penguin – and their subsequent updates – have altered the thinking of webmasters for the better. Now it is accepted that specific ratios are rather daft and that keyword stuffing is best left in the SEO museum.

SEO Checklist for Copywriting

Outside of dramatically altering the coding and layout of your site, these basic factors can inject SEO performance into your content with relatively minimal effort:

  • 300 words – This is the golden length as outlined Google. If your articles are consistently beneath 300 words then they won’t excite Google (here is the complex PDF guide to prove it).
  • Cover a spread of keywords – Aim to cover at least five different keywords in your content and don’t just focus on one. Web users don’t share keywords, so ensure that more people can find your content.
  • Format the content – Utilise header tags, bullet points and various other types of formatting and Google will find your content more interesting, as will your readers.
  • Link to authoritative content – Where possible, add a few links that will take the reader to relevant content available from an authoritative source. This won’t take long and it will help improve visibility.
  • Provide dynamic media – You need to include an image at the very least. Google factors images and videos into its rankings so don’t miss out on this simple opportunity. Oh, and you can expect videos to rise in importance as Google further updates its algorithms.

Factors that You Control

Those are five simple requirements that you can use for your SEO copywriting checklist. SEO is an on-going battle and you need to use every weapon at your disposal. What makes this checklist so handy is that you have direct control over those factors. Best of luck using them in the future! (Photo credit to Shordzi)

By Mike Porter