Search engines are smart but you still need to think about SEO if you want to rank highly. Sorry.
And if you are writing your own blog posts or your own online marketing, you must have SEO in your mind every time you touch your keyboard.
But who has time to SEO everything they write?
Well, you do and I’m going to take you through some optimisation 101, showing you the minimal SEO copywriting techniques to improve your search engine ranking without wasting time (or compromising your brand).
Let’s start with keywords
Keywords are dead, right? We don’t need to care about keywords? Wroooong.
Search engines are getting very good at working out what content is about and how to accurately match it to searches BUT if how is a search engine supposed to know your fresh new blog post is about pug harnesses if you never mention those words or variations of those words.
You’ve got to give out some signals about your topic, and that’s where keywords can help.
Good SEO copywriting uses your keywords to maximum effect while keeping your reader engaged and interested. After all, it ain’t Google handing the cash over!
Find the right keywords
Keywords are the words (and phrases) your target market use to search online and it is worth doing your homework.
People won’t usually search for your business name (unless you are number 1 in your industry – go you), they look for more information about their problem. Then they look for a solution. And they are the most motivated shoppers you can get because they are actively looking for that solution.
Minimalist Tip: Get smart by looking beyond words that describe your business to the problems that are driving the questions people are asking – to which you are the answer (of course).
Extra tip: Look for synonyms and related words you can use so you’re not overusing one phrase.
To find the right keywords, use one of the many free keyword tools. They usually have paid options but you can learn a lot from the free versions. Neil Patel published 10 Free Keyword Research Tools to Help Plan Your New Site.
Use your keywords wisely
As smart as search engines are, it’s important to remember that they can’t see your website pages. They look for simple signals in your copy and code to figure out what you’re saying, and if it’s relevant to searches.
Don’t just write more copy. Use your keywords strategically, putting them in:
- Links between pages / blog posts
- Links back to your website
- Title and description tags
- Alternative text and image tags
Minimalist Tip: A few carefully placed keywords will get you farther than a whole page of keyword-laden copy. Breaking up your text with choice formatting will also make it more readable.
Don’t over-egg the SEO pudding
You might have heard of “keyword stuffing”, the process of repeating your keywords so many times that you leave the reader with a bad taste in their mouth. A bad taste and a grimy keyboard for having visited your site.
You need to use your keywords as frequently as is natural not as frequently as is possible. You should always keep your reader as your number 1 priority. To test your keyword frequency, you might like to read The secret confession of a Wordle junkie.
Minimalist Tip: Look for the quick wins. Ask yourself if you could be more specific about your products or services. Exchange “our products” for “our reflective pug harnesses”
Your SEO strategy doesn’t end with your content
Your search engine ranking can feel a bit like a popularity contest. You have to give people a reason to hang out with you. You have to hang out in the right places and you have to other people to give you a rap. When it all comes together, voila you’re the coolest kid in school AKA a voice of authority.
If your web page or blog post isn’t getting any traction then lots of keywords in all the right places isn’t really going to help you.
Keep the eyes of potential customers on you by being a voice of authority:
- creating and sharing valuable content
- promoting your awesome content
- commenting on blogs and forums
- getting talked about on other blogs
- talking and linking to the leaders in your industry
Minimalist Tip: Don’t try and be everywhere. Look at where your target audience and influential people in your industry are hanging out, and target them with your content.
Is this everything you need to know about search engine optimisation? No. Not even close. But it’s a great start and if you chip away at your SEO, you’ll be high-fiving page one before you know it.