What Is SEO Copywriting?
Search Engine Optimization Copywriting, or SEO Copywriting for short, is the process of creating written content that appeals to different target audiences over different mediums using SEO best practices.
While traditional copywriting is still very popular, many view SEO Copywriting as the new standard when writing content for websites and social media. SEO Copywriting combines the best practices from marketing copywriting and content, search engine optimization, and content/marketing strategy.
The goal of SEO copywriting is to rank higher on different search engines, such as Google and Bing, and to provide value for the reader as an expert on the subject you’re writing about.
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SEO copywriting is a job that requires the full attention of SEO specialists and experienced search engine optimization specialists, as teaming up and sharing expertise will only lead to higher ranks and better value for your customers.
Why SEO Copywriting Matters
Creating high-quality content using the best practices of search engine optimization has led many websites to rank higher on Google, leading to more traffic, better conversions, and eventually increased profits.
SEO Copywriting holds tremendous value and benefits, such as the following:
- Drives qualified organic traffic from search engines to your website by targeting strategic keywords and phrases. The incoming organic traffic leads to better ranking on search engines and increases sales and profits.
- Builds authority and trust by providing customers and searchers with valuable, engaging content, boosting your domain’s authority and credibility in the process.
- Connect with your target audience by speaking their language, meeting their needs, and addressing their pain points. In this process, you increase your ranking while attracting and retaining your desired audience.
- Allows you to outrank competitors targeting the same keywords by crafting better-optimized and more compelling content.
- Creates opportunities for links, shares, and engagement as you produce content that provides value.
- Allows you to reach customers during the critical phase of their buyer journey as they research products that can address their pain points and provide solutions they can rely on.
Effective copywriting assists you in selling your products and services, providing value for your customers. SEO copywriting provides value for your customers and helps you rank higher on search engines, increasing leads and prospects. It keeps your website and brand running smoothly.
How People Use Search Engines
The first step in SEO copywriting is to put yourself in the shoes of what people do on the internet. Learning the searcher’s intent helps you significantly boost your SEO copywriting process and write better-suited content for your different target audiences.
Use the data for your benefit, as most of the customers’ behavior is repeating and gives you detailed and predictive insights about the next step of the buyer journey.
For example, surveys show that roughly 40–50% of all shopping-related searches on Google have local intent. This means searchers are looking for businesses nearby that can provide a product or service at the moment.
People also use search engines extensively for research before making a purchase decision. Studies indicate that 49% of shoppers rely on search engines to research products and businesses. Additionally, 28% of shoppers search for coupons, deals, and promotions before buying.
Other top reasons people search include the following:
- Learning how to do something—tutorials, recipes, DIY guides
- Researching a health condition or medical issue
- Looking up background information on people or checking facts
- Finding entertainment options—movies, streaming shows, events, and more
- Checking the weather, traffic, directions, and local business information
- Discovering news and current events
All this means there is enormous opportunity for businesses that show up prominently in search results. Ranking well for product terms, local keywords, how-to queries, and other high-value searches can connect you with motivated customers.
SEO copywriting allows you to create content tailored to popular searches, so you can capture that traffic rather than letting it go to competitors. While it is still generally a good idea to leverage trendy and prominent ideas to write content for your website and social media, it is still recommended that a good portion of your website be evergreen content.
Evolution of Google’s Algorithm
Even if you, as an SEO specialist, just started your search engine optimization journey today, it is still highly recommended checking the evolution of Google’s algorithm over the years. This process helps you understand how the algorithm works, how to leverage it to your advantage, and what to expect next as an SEO copywriter.
In the early days of the internet, it didn’t take much to rank on search engines, as relevance and ranking were determined by the usage of keywords in a piece of writing. Whoever stuffs the most keywords ranks higher. Fortunately, search engines have become sophisticated in the past decades, relying heavily on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and neutral networks to determine value and relevance.
There has been a resolute evolution of Google’s algorithm over the years.
Here are some key developments, including the following:
- The Google Panda update 1. Launched in 2011 to weed out thin, low-quality content through improved content analysis.
- Hummingbird update 2. Launched in 2013 to focus more on semantic search and understanding the searcher’s intent behind queries.
- RankBrain 3. Launched in 2015 as Google’s first machine learning ranking signal to parse language and better match pages to search queries.
- BERT 4. Launched in 2019 to help Google better understand the context behind search queries and content.
Nowadays, we have basically said our goodbyes to the days of stuffing keywords to gain relevance. It is quite the opposite, as search engines focus on more content that provides readers and customers with value, rather than content that’s just stuffed with relevant keywords.
While the content itself is the pillar of marketing your brand and providing value for your customers, there are still a lot of on-page SEO elements that, if not present on the page serving the content, will tank in ranking.
Pillars of SEO Copywriting
The writing process itself, without the inclusion of all the search engine optimization elements, is deep and takes a lot of time and effort. SEO copywriting takes time to perfect and get to the point where it sells and drives organic traffic to your website. But when you master all the elements of SEO copywriting, your ROI (return on investment) will be well worth the time and effort.
Here are the main elements of SEO copywriting; mastering these will help you create high-ranking, high-converting web content:
Conducting keyword research to identify terms and phrases with a substantial search volume and match your content goals is a fundamental process of SEO copywriting. Your copy should be centered around a focus keyword with long-tail variations that support the topic and cluster without over-optimizing the copy.
Many tools help you uncover promising keywords and their variations, like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Google Keyword Planner.
After conducting a thorough keyword research, consider placing focus and long-tail keywords in different places to increase ranking and authority, such:
- Page titles
- Headings (H1, H2, H3 tags)
- Image file names and alt text
- First and last sentences of paragraphs
- Meta descriptions
- URL slugs
Many copywriters fall for the trap of writing content for machines rather than humans. That’s why we find many awkwardly stuffed keywords in places they don’t belong. Avoid writing content that’s centric for a focus keyword, but write content that provides value for readers and customers, then strategically place keywords after refining your piece of content.
Your headline is the first touchpoint for connecting with readers in search results. Take time to craft headlines that create curiosity, highlight benefits, and compel clicks.
When choosing an appropriate headline for your article, it’s best to follow a set of tried formulas, such as:
- How-to headlines: “How to Choose the Right Marketing Agency”
- List-based headlines: “10 Must-Have Tools for Virtual Assistants”
- Question headlines: “Are You Making These 5 SEO Mistakes?”
- Direct benefit headlines: “The Easiest Way to Learn Excel Quickly”
Headlines with numbers also tend to perform well, as they create curiosity. Additionally, make sure headlines are short enough to not get cut off in SERPs.
Semantic Content Layout
On the web, people skim and scan content more than they read word for word. Breaking up long blocks of text with subheadings, lists, images, pull quotes, and other elements make content more scannable.
Formatting content with ample white space and clear sectioning helps users quickly extract information. This improves time on site and pages per session.
At the same time, list your subtopic ideas into logical listing. For example, this guide covered SEO Copywriting in this hierarchy:
- What is SEO Copywriting
- Pillars Of SEO Copywriting
- SEO Copywriting Process
- SEO Copywriting Bonus Tips
- SEO Copywriting Tools
This is called logical or semantic SEO content layout.
Images, videos, charts, and other multimedia make content more engaging and digestible. They also break up long stretches of text for improved readability.
When you’re writing your blocks of text, you need to remember that you’re writing to humans, not machines. Keep your tone conversational to keep the reader engaged and entertained.
Avoid excessive jargon or formal diction that feels stuffed and unnatural. The goal is to communicate clearly and connect with readers.
Address users directly with “you” language. Don’t be afraid to use contractions that feel more natural in the context of your writing. This friendly tone helps form connections with readers.
Quality Over Quantity
Ever since Google’s Panda update cracked down on thin content, quality and depth have become vital ranking factors. Each page needs to deliver a complete serving of useful information with actionable advice.
Cut any fluff or filler that doesn’t actually add value. While there are no universal word count requirements, content that is robust and well-researched tends to perform best.
Linking to other pages and resources on your own website serves multiple SEO and UX benefits. Inbound linking allows you to:
- Send authority and credibility across your site’s architecture.
- Keep users engaged by offering additional resources.
- Provide context and connections between related content.
Outbound Linking & References
Linking to authoritative external sources demonstrates you’ve done research and gives validity to your own content.
References like research studies, expert quotes, and statistics from reputable organizations help establish subject expertise as well.
Any claims or facts cited from other sources should be properly referenced with links.
Adding social media sharing buttons helps encourage readers to spread your content. This can expose your content to new audiences while also signaling engagement.
Place prominent share buttons on all webpage layouts, and craft compelling meta descriptions that give readers a reason to share your content on social media.
The SEO Copywriting Process
The SEO copywriting process generally involves three main phases:
1 – Research
- Perform keyword research to identify high-potential targets. Examine search volume, competition, and relevance.
- Analyze top-ranking content to identify gaps, opportunities, and benchmark standards.
- Define your audience, including their intent, pain points, and motivations.
- Develop an outline and content strategy, including format, length, subtopics, etc.
2 – Writing
- Optimize content for the right keywords and intent, while avoiding over-stuffing.
- Craft compelling headlines, intros, and titles. Hook the reader in.
- Write for humans first, search engines second. Focus on being transparent, practical, and persuasive.
- Include multimedia elements like images, videos, and infographics.
- Link out to authoritative sources and reference data/research.
3 – Optimization
- Ensure critical keywords appear in crucial areas like titles, subtitles, and meta descriptions.
- Add alt text, structure markup, and relevant internal links.
These phases are what make for a perfect SEO copywriting process. Let’s get into detail about every one of them:
Phase 1: Research
Your research phase is all about information gathering and planning—thorough research positions you to create helpful content that targets suitable topics and keywords.
Conduct Keyword Research
The most important SEO copywriting task is choosing the right keywords and search phrases to target. Keyword research provides data-driven insight into questions like:
- What are the most in-demand topics in my niche?
- What specific product and service terms do users search for?
- Which long-tail keywords have decent search volume but low competition?
- What informational queries and commercial buying keywords should I target?
Tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Google Keyword Planner help uncover this keyword data.
Here are some clever ways to approach keyword research:
- Start broad—Identify overarching themes and categories using seed keywords. Then drill down into more granular long-tail keywords.
- Go beyond one-word keywords—Target multi-word keyword strings like “content marketing strategy” rather than “content marketing.”
- Combine keywords—Create keyword combinations like “yoga poses for beginners” to find very targeted phrases.
- Mine related keywords—Use keyword research tools to find additional semantically related keywords to target.
- Analyze trending keywords—Identify rising and breaking keyword opportunities based on search volume growth.
A well-organized list of primary and secondary long-tail keywords will guide your content production and help you rank higher in search engines.
Analyze Top-Ranking Content
Take time to analyze the content already ranking on page one for your target keywords. This competitive analysis provides valuable intel such as:
- What types of content dominate the SERP—articles, videos, guides?
- What length and depth does top content have?
- What elements do high-ranking pages have in common?
- What questions are answered in the content?
- What can you do better than the competition?
- How they are optimizing the on-page SEO
Isolate what works well for top results, then brainstorm how to create something even more helpful. The goal is to identify gaps that still need to be filled.
Understand Searcher Intent
Every search query has intent behind it. Do users want to:
- Find specific info or learn more about something (informational)
- Navigate to a specific website or webpage (navigational)
- Research options before purchasing (commercial)
- Complete a transaction and purchase right away (transactional)
The type of content you create should align with fulfilling the searcher’s intent. So research keywords to understand the likely intent behind queries and map your keywords properly.
Creating customer avatars and empathy maps also helps understand your target audience’s goals and motivations.
Create an Outline
Creating an SEO content outline helps map out all the elements of a well-structured, comprehensive piece before you start writing.
Include the following elements in your outline:
- SEO-optimized title
- Meta description summarizing content
- Target primary keyword
- Secondary keywords
- Subtopics and sections
- Types of supporting content—facts, examples, expert data
- Multimedia—images, charts, videos
- CTAs and lead generation offers
Fleshing out these elements in your outline means you can jump right into writing without constant stops and starts.
Phase 2: Writing The Content
Now that your outline is set, it’s time to draft the actual written content.
Match Keyword Intent
Keep the searcher’s intent for your target keywords in mind as you write. Fulfill their needs by providing:
- How-to instructions for informational queries
- Product specs and comparisons for commercial queries
- Deep analysis for research-based keywords
If you satisfy the intent behind the keyword, search engines like Google are more likely to determine your content is relevant.
Optimize Without Overdoing It
Keyword optimization remains essential in SEO copywriting. But avoid awkwardly stuffing target phrases where they don’t belong.
Seamlessly weave in keywords to places like:
- Page titles
- First and last sentence of paragraphs
- Image alt text
- Meta description
- Bolded in-body text
Pay attention to how top-ranking competitors are optimizing content without going overboard.
Create Compelling Headlines
Don’t underestimate the power of your headline. Compelling, benefit-driven headlines can significantly improve click-through-rate from search results.
Follow the principles of excellent headline writing:
- Target important keywords when logical
- Focus on benefits and outcomes for the reader
- Use psychological triggers like “how to” or “X ways”
- Keep headlines short, scannable, and compelling
Spend time crafting and testing headline options to determine what resonates most.
Make Content Scannable
From headlines to page layout, ensure your content is structured for how people read online.
Make pages scannable with the following:
- Short paragraphs of 2–3 sentences
- Subheadings to break up sections
- Use table of contents to wrap up your headings
- Numbered and bulleted lists for quick skimming
- Bold, vital terms and phrases
- Generous white space and clear page structure
Scannable content has consistently higher readership, lower bounce rates, and improved conversions.
Search engines can’t hear or see multimedia yet, but users certainly appreciate it.
Insert relevant visual elements:
- Instructional videos
- Infographics and charts
- Statistics visualized as graphs
- Product photos and comparison tables
- Maps, flowcharts, and diagrams
- Quotes formatted as text graphics
These all break up heavy text and boost engagement. Just don’t let multimedia distract or slow page speed.
Link Out to Authority Sources
Inline citations and links to research studies, credible media publications, and expert sources help build trust.
Link to authoritative sites when:
- Citing statistics, quotes, and data points
- Referencing research reports and studies
- Providing examples of something in action
- Recommending resources for further learning
Quality outbound links demonstrate your command of a topic.
Stiff, formal writing has no place on the web. Adopt a conversational tone that feels like speaking directly to the reader.
Elements of conversational writing include:
- Using “you” and “we” language
- Avoiding passive voice and technical jargon when possible
- Incorporating contractions like you’re, don’t, etc.
- Asking questions and writing in second person
This style keeps readers engaged and creates a personal connection.
Revise Content for Maximum Value (Fact-Checking
Don’t move on after your first draft. Set time aside to revise content for maximum usefulness. Try the YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) topics in your drafts for maximum value.
- Trim any unnecessary fluff or filler
- Clarify sections that seem confusing
- Strengthen arguments with more evidence
- Add supporting stats and multimedia
- Fill in any gaps with a deeper analysis
Phase 3: Optimization
With your draft complete, you can apply the finishing SEO touches:
Include Target Keywords
Confirm that primary and secondary target keywords appear in critical areas:
- Page title and headlines
- Image file names and alt text
- First and last paragraphs
- Meta description
- URL slug
Enhance On-Page SEO
On-page optimization elements like meta tags, alt text, and structured data should also be complete.
Confirm you have the following:
- SEO meta title between 55–60 characters
- Meta description between 155–160 characters
- Proper heading structure using H tags
- Anchor text on internal links
Interlink Related Content
Linking to related content, resources, and blogs helps readers navigate your site. It also passes authority and relevance signals between pages.
Ways to interlink internal content:
- Link keywords to deeper content pages from your blog posts.
- Create content clusters around topics and link relevant pages together.
- Link to the home page, about us, and contact from footer navigation.
- Connect product and category pages through linked text.
- Link to related blog content from product pages where applicable.
Natural, contextual internal links lead to better user experience. Don’t force links just for SEO value.
Promote Your Content
Simply publishing new content isn’t enough. You need to promote it as well to maximize value actively.
Content promotion tactics include:
Share new content on social media channels.
Send email newsletters or alerts showcasing new content.
Outreach to influencers and journalists with relevant content.
Run paid ads pointing to high-priority content.
Prominently showcase recent content on your homepage.
Driving early traffic and social engagement signals to content helps it rank faster and higher. So have a promotion plan ready.
Refine and Improve Content
Monitor your content’s performance with analytics. Identify any that are underperforming for tweaks.
Ways to refine content:
- Add more supporting facts and backlinks.
- Improve page speed.
- Strengthen calls to action.
- Increase shares and engagement.
- Fix thin or duplicate content issues.
- Improve keyword targeting.
Constantly refining evergreen content keeps it ranking strong for the long haul.
Bonus SEO Copywriting Tips
These additional tactics can level up your SEO copywriting success:
Use Short URLs With Keywords
Keyword-rich URLs can improve click-through-rate. For example:
Short URL: https://dbrandria.com/blog/what-is-seo/
Creating cleaner, compressed URLs helps pages perform better in search.
Target Related Long-Tail Keywords
Head terms like “email marketing” are hard to rank for. But related long-tails may be easier, like:
- types of email marketing
- email marketing services
- effective email marketing strategies
Use Question-Based Queries As Headings/Subheadings
People increasingly search Google looking for answers. So question-based headlines can boost click-through rates.
- How Many Emails Should You Send Per Month?
- Do Pop-Ups Increase Conversions?
- What is the Best Ecommerce Platform?
Just keep headlines short so they don’t get truncated in SERPs.
Wrap Content in a FAQ
Creating content in a question-and-answer format allows you to rank for various keyword questions and get listed in rich results like : People Also Ask (PAA Boxes), Featured Snippets and Google Knowledge Panel
How Often Should You Post on YouTube? Ideally, upload 1–2 times per week for the best results. Consistency is key for YouTube.
What Should You Include in Your YouTube Videos? Include keywords, links, cards, end screens, subtitles, hashtags, etc. Optimize each element.
This helps you rank in featured snippets to answer common questions.
Create Linkable Assets
Creating resources like tools, calculators, quizzes, and guides can attract high-quality backlinks.
For example, Moz’s Keyword Difficulty tool ranks for thousands of long-tail keywords and has over 700 referring domains.
These “link magnets” pull in relevant links because of their usefulness, not just to manipulate rankings.
Focus on EAT—Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness
Google wants to surface content from credible sites with expertise. Demonstrate this through:
- Author bios showcasing credentials.
- Links to authoritative resources and data.
- High-quality and accurate content.
- Expert interviews and quotes.
- Customer proof through testimonials and case studies.
EAT signals helps convince both search engines and users your content is reliable.
One innovative link-building technique is identifying broken links on other sites relevant to your content. You can then ask them to replace it with a link to your content.
For example, a resource page on a university site has a broken link to a productivity study. You have a blog post discussing that same study they could link to instead.
This works well for earning links while providing value.
You can also create link-worthy assets like:
- Free online tools and calculators
- Interactive quizzes and assessments
- Templates, checklists, and worksheets
- Research reports and e-books
- Resources pages and guides
Tools and resources like this attract links because they offer unique value. Promote them through outreach.
Add social sharing buttons, so readers can easily promote your content.
To support your content to be more social media-friendly, consider the following:
- Craft meta descriptions that function like social ad copy.
- Research what content types get high engagement on each network.
- Add click-to-tweet boxes into your content with shareable quotes.
- Create share-triggering emotions like humor, surprise, and inspiration.
More social signals mean more visibility and traffic—design content for sharing.
Leverage The Power Of Q&A Websites
Q&A questions like Quora or Reddit have high domain authority and directly answer people’s questions. You can tap into this by:
- Finding popular questions related to your business or products.
- Posting helpful answers with a link back to your content.
- Uploading images and videos to make answers more engaging.
If your answer gets upvoted and shows high results, it can bring referred traffic.
Interview With Experts In Your Space
Interviews with industry experts make content more authoritative. They also provide angles you may have missed.
Who to interview:
- Recognized thought leaders on your blog topics.
- Authors of articles and studies you reference.
- Influential executives at major companies.
- Notable figures in your space.
Optimize for Voice Search
More people are searching Google by voice. Optimize for it by:
- Using natural language and conversational wording.
- Structuring content around common questions.
- Creating content optimized for local SEO.
- Focusing on long-tail, intent-driven phrases.
- Making content mobile-friendly.
SEO Copywriting Tools
There are a lot of tools to help a copywriter and an SEO specialist develop the perfect draft for better SEO copywriting. Here are our favorites:
- Yoast SEO: Analyzes on-page optimization and readability. Shows how to improve.
- Ahrefs: Reveals untapped keywords, content gaps, competitor strategies, and link-building opportunities.
- SEMrush: Tracks keyword rankings and position. Finds related keywords. Compares domains.
- Surfer SEO: Checks issues holding rankings back. Gives content and technical seo optimization tips.
- Clearscope: Research keywords and outlines content topics and structure.
- Google Search Console: Provides data on search performance and traffic sources. Identify issues.
- Grammarly: Checks spelling, grammar, punctuation, tone, clarity, and conciseness.
- Hemingway Editor: Assesses readability and suggests improvements to simplify the text.
- Google Trends: Identifies rising topic opportunities and seasonality of keywords.
- BuzzSumo: Uncovers trending content topics based on social engagement.
- Google Sheets: Useful for organizing keywords and content calendars.
- Frase: Find related questions, keywords, and LSI terms for research.
- Canva : Creates optimized images, infographics, and visuals for content.
Final Tips for Improving SEO Copywriting
To continuously hone your copywriting skills for SEO, keep these ideas in mind:
- Read high-quality copy from authoritative sites in your space.
- Constantly research new keywords and update underperforming content.
- Avoid over-relying on automated tools.
- Be helpful, honest, and add value for readers.
- Check Google Search Console for optimization opportunities.
- Study metrics like rankings, traffic, and engagements to spot what works.
- Keep researching competitors for new strategies and benchmark standards.
- Take training courses and stay up-to-date on best practices.
- Split test headlines, metals, images, calls-to-action, etc., to improve performance.
SEO copywriting is an iterative, continually improving process. There is always room to elevate results and move up in the SERPs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some common SEO copywriting questions:
What is the difference between SEO content writing and copywriting?
SEO content writing focuses purely on creating content optimized for search engines. Copywriting focuses on persuasive writing to influence people. SEO copywriting blends both.
How important are keywords in SEO copywriting today?
Very significant. But it’s about using them strategically and naturally while focusing on overall high-value content. Don’t over-optimize or force keywords. Quality content optimized with relevant keywords will rank the best.
How long should a good SEO focused article or post be?
Ideally, aim for 2500+ words to cover topics thoroughly. But quality trumps length. A 1000-word post that comprehensively answers a question can outperform a 5000-word article with fluff. Focus on value first.
How do you optimize a post for SEO?
Follow on-page best practices: Meta title and description. H₁ and subheadings. Keyword density around 2-5%. Image SEO. Fast load speed. Strong page structure. Good internal linking. Compelling headline. Quality content. Promote it well and monitor results.
How often should you publish blog content for SEO?
1-2X per week is ideal for most sites. But take a strategic approach tailored to your niche. Assess what top competitors are doing as well as your team’s capacity. Focus on quality over quantity.
Should you use AI tools for SEO copywriting?
AI tools can help generate ideas and assist with certain tasks, but they lack true originality. Use them strategically, while still maintaining the human touch. Manual research, drafting, and editing results in higher quality.
SEO copywriting is all about mastering the delicate balance of creating content for both search engines and people. By leveraging proven optimization tactics and solid copywriting techniques, you gain an advantage in competitive SERPs while also attracting, engaging, and converting website visitors.
As Google’s algorithms continue to evolve, taking a holistic approach focused on delivering exceptional expertise, authority, trust, and user experience becomes even more important. Generating organic traffic today means going far beyond just keyword stuffing.