Below is the exact method I had used to create this article, and I explain it through the use of 24 SEO copywriting tips.
Because the way we create content has changed. Any competitive article must be strategically created, even from idea generation stage, using a model that accounts for SEO. But don’t worry, it isn’t robotic.
In fact, SEO checklists have made content much better for readers. Especially if you want to learn something useful.
From researching, writing, and promoting the article — I have listed a great deal information you would need to know to create an effective SEO article.
SECTION I: RESEARCH
1. Do Keyword Research First, Then Find Topics
You may have a topic you want to write about, but maybe the keywords related to that topic are too competitive.
Let me explain, if we are a company selling dog leashes, we may think, “22 Benefits of Comfortable Dog Leashes” is a good topic.
So we’ll begin researching keywords related to dog leashes for our article in Google Keyword Planner (GKP):
Keword Results “high competition”
The majority of keywords above are highly competitive.
A lot of people are bidding on them for ad placement.
Although not directly related to SEO competitiveness, it can be indicative of it. Looking at the screen shot above, it’s safe to assume a new website would have very little chance on the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs).
That’s why keyword research should be first, then topic generation.
Imagine how much time you would have wasted if you had already written the article?
2. Generate a Topic Using Keyword Research
I’m going to be super honest with you. Keyword research is confusing.
And there is no program that will pinpoint “perfect keywords” for you. At times, it may seem like a guessing game, but is isn’t that bad once you’ve done it a couple times.
So where do we start?
Let’s define our services. Back to the dog leash example, we will define our service as a “retailer that sells dog leashes.”
This translates into Google Keyword Planner (GKP) as:
1. Your product or service: dog leash
2. Your landing page: Pet Smart’s website (because we need a pet retailer, you don’t need to use your own website)
3. Your product category: Retailers & General Merchandise
GKP Variable Search Boxes
Here are the results:
Poor GKP keyword results
A bunch of keyword phrases pop up that are extremely competitive and the only keyword with low ad-bid competition is “animal stores”. But that phrase is too general to target an audience. It’s time to find another sub-niche within the dog community. Let’s start by asking why.
Why do people need leashes?
1. To walk their dog (for exercise and health reasons)
2. To play with their dog outside.
This gives me an idea to search under the umbrella subject of “dog exercise & health”.
In GKP, we enter the following information:
1. Your product or service: dog exercise
2. Your landing page: Pet Health Network’s website (because we need a something related to pet health)
3. Your product category: Health
Better Search Variables in GKP
Here are the results:
Decent keyword results in GKP
Great Keywords with decent traffic!
I highlighted my favorite results in red.
Now we are starting to think like a keyword researcher!
We can write about dog nutrition, exercise, and maybe even health issues related to “not walking your dog” that could attract people who will later be interested in buying my leashes.
However, we can still do more to give this article a better chance of being found.
3. Find Long-Tail Keywords
Medium competition keywords may be challenging to rank for with your new website.
For that reason, we will search for long-tail keywords (keyword phrases with 3-4 words) because they have much lower competition.
Lets look at the three keyword choices we found:
1. Dog nutrition
2. Exercise for dogs
3. Dog health issues
“Exercise for dogs” is our best bet because leashes are directly related to bringing your dog out for a walk for exercise.
I only change the product or service to “exercise for dogs” and leave the rest the same:
New Search Variable in GKP
And I find two long-tail keywords to target and with low bidding competition:
Long tail Keywords Results in GKP
“Ways to exercise your dog” is the best keyword due to it having the highest search volume.
To be clear, 90 searches may seem small, but when you eventually rank for 20 long-tail keywords of the same search volume, that’s 21,600 searches that could end up on your website over the course of a year.
And long-tail keywords have targeted audiences that are far more likely to convert.
As well, the authority & trust you build will help you in the future when competing for higher volume keywords.
But is this the best choice? Now I will offer you a strategy that I have, without guilt, ripped off of Brian Dean (because it is deceptively simple & works tremendously) to generate long-tail keywords.
The Strategy: Google Search
Type “Exercise for dogs” into google, then press enter.
Afterwards, scroll down and you will see this:
Result located in related results in SERPs
Eight free long-tail keywords in less than 10 seconds. Let’s check them out on GKP:
1. In GKP, choose the option “get search volume data and trends”:
Choose search volume and trends
2. Type the keywords into the search
Keywords typed into “search volume and trends” GKP Option
3. Wallah, you have been rewarded!GKP Long-tail keyword results
That was easy, and now you have a bunch of long-tails to target.
Seriously, check Brian Dean out, he goes into much more depth, and his ebook on content and keyword research is unparalleled.
4. The Skyscraper Method
Keyword research is only 10% of the process.
The other 90% of the process is execution.
But I’m putting a emphasis on doing the proper research because executing takes much longer than research, but you can’t execute if you don’t find the right keywords.
Now that we have the right keywords, what do we do with them?
We are going to look at the highest ranking content for “ways to exercise your dog” and see if we can improve upon their work. This is the premise of the skyscraper method, take others work and make it better.
To be clear, I’m not recommending copying people, but building off of them.
For the sake of brevity, we will be using a long-tail keyword for this (don’t fall into the trap of only targeting long-tails), but it is hard to ignore their value when Amazon makes 57% of their sales through long-tails.
When searching for “ways to exercise your dog”, this animal planet article ranks the highest:
Looks nice, but they are forcing their readers to click through 10 webpages… that isn’t good for the user experience.
Just by looking at this, I know we can improve:
1. The user experience
2. Informational value (Most articles show only 10 ways to exercise with your dog, why not show 45?)
3. Link Building (They only have eight links.)
So all we have to do is create a badass piece of content that is better than everyone else’s so people will link to it?
Is it that simple!?
Almost, but let’s check the SEO competitiveness level of this website using Moz Bar.
PA stands for “page authority” while DA stands for “domain authority.
Animal Planet’s page is dominating, while the competition’s are squandering on 0-9 back links.
Now that we know each pages doesn’t have a significant page authority level, we can begin writing!
But before we talk about copywriting, there are a few more points to consider.
5. Understand Google Algorithm Updates (Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird)
Google released this update to weed out and demote low quality content while promoting high-quality content.
This is the reason why many copywriters and bloggers state “You should write for people, not search engines. So although many websites may have taken advantage of Google’s algorithms by catering to key word density, back link metrics, etc… their rankings still dropped because the content didn’t measure up to the SEO copywriting metrics we use today.
To ensure people’s understanding in what “high-quality content” is, Amit Signal created a list of requirements you can find here.
Googles released this update to prevent websites with unnatural backlinks to gain an advantage in rankings.
Black-hat SEO marketers will release low-quality content on content mills in order to create as many back links as possible to their website.
To avoid Penguin’s wrath, all you have to do is create great content people actually want to share.
Google released this update as a complete overhaul of their original engine (still using penguin and panda). Hummingbird better understands a user’s search and what they want from that search.
It’s the reason why the SEO guide “the Beginner Guide to SEO” by Moz ranks number 1 for the keyword “what is SEO” without even using that keyword phrase.
6. Use SEO Tools
Here’s a list of some awesome tools you can use:
1. Yoast SEO – For wordpress users, Yoast SEO is a great all in one plugin solution that helps you properly optimize pages for on-page SEO metrics while creating an XML map to make your website Google crawler friendly.
2. SEOmofo – this is a great tool to improve your meta descriptions and titles.
3. Google Adword’s Keyword Planner – The basic everyday keyword research tool. It takes a little more work than other tools to find great keywords, but it is a free program.
4. SEOworkers – This tool will help you get an overview of your SEO efforts when you plugin your URL and generate a report.
7. Follow the SEO Copywriting Process
The SEO process has evolved over the years. Fortunately, because of how intensive it has become to create content that provides a ton of value and reaches out to a community — it is more challenging to rank well.
There are a ton of moving parts to consider. For example:
1. Is the topic to competitive?
2. Am I capable of writing a comprehensive post?
3. Will my post be better than my competitors?
4. Who will I link to?
5. Do I also have smaller bloggers as well as authority websites that I am linking to?
6. Who will I reach out to for links?
7. Am I properly anchoring text naturally within my page?
8. What keywords am I targeting?
9. Is my keyword density optimized?
10. Am I breaking any Search Engine guidelines that will get my website punished?
11. Is the user experience as best as it can be?
12. Are my sources trustworthy?
The list keeps going… which is good because the more knowledge you have, the better your articles will perform.
This article on MOZ explains the new in-depth SEO process.
8. Solve Real Problems
If you aren’t solving problems, you are spamming.
SECTION 2: Writing
9. Write For People, Not Search Engines
You create content for humans, not machines!
Every year the amount of people creating content increases and Google must update its Algorithms to combat those who take advantage of keyword stuffing and black hat SEO techniques.
You see, most content sucks… For years people have been posting average articles on content mills for the sole purpose of creating unnatural backlinks. (And people still do it)
So the people at Google, being the genius’s that they are, found out how to create a ranking algorithm to give much more weight to the user experience. (Which I will talk about later)
According to Neil Patel, SEO copywriting is primarily judged by five factors…
Is the content:
5. Targeting Specific Keywords?
Google’s Ranking Algorithm factors 60% of your ranking on elements directly rated to user experience.
To explain the high percentage factors…
Link popularity: The metric measuring how many websites are linking back to your article and their authority levels.
Trust/Authority of domain: Time spent on site, engagement, and bounce rate measurement.
Anchor Text of External Links: The websites you link out to. It’s great for Google crawlers to understand you content based on other sources.
Even if search engines decide rankings, it’s the people’s reaction to your article that generates the most SEO benefits.
10. Create Clickable Headlines
A headline is the initial impression a reader gets before reading your article.
According to Victor O. Schwabs book, “How to Write a Good Advertisement”, he tell us what a headline is suppose to do:
“The copywriter’s aim in life should be to try to make it harder for people to pass up his advertisement than to read it.”
Although online article headlines differ from direct advertisement, the premise is the same…
Convey what your article is about, who it is for, and what it will do for them — in the shortest amount of words possible.
This is imperative in SEO copywriting because people will not click you website in the SERPs unless you have a good headline.
Let’s compare two headlines:
19 Headline Writing Tips for Viral Blog Posts
The WordStream headline conveys all the information we need:
1. What is it? 19 Headline Writing Tips.
2. Who’s it for? For people who want to write Viral blog posts.
3. What will it do for me? Help me write viral blog posts.
10 Tips for Creating Catchy Headlines
Koozai’s headline isn’t bad — but it doesn’t do as well.
1. What is it? 10 tips for writing catchy headlines.
2. Who’s it for? For people who want to write catchy headlines.
3. What will it do for me? Write catchy headlines… but why do I need to write catchy headlines?
Do you see the problem? Word Steam’s headlines promises a tangible result, while Koozai fails to represent the benefit or reward of reading its article.
People need to know what your article is about and what they will get from it, and by attracting the right audience your on-page SEO metrics will improve.
A headline isn’t meant to attract as many eyeballs as possible, it is meant to attract the right reader for your article.
11. Address a Reader’s Concerns and Questions
According to Forrester, about 4 out of 10 customers will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not answered.
People read your content for a reason. They have questions and they want them answered.
You improve the user experience, increase share-ability, and boost customer retention by understanding your customer’s wants and needs. This is a key factor to improve your on-page SEO copywriting metrics.
Attracting new customers is 7 times more expensive than retaining an existing customer, you don’t want to lose them.
Creating a buyer’s persona will help you keep up customer retention. Here’s how you do it.
Find out what your customer needs and wants. If you are selling click-tracking software, your customers will likely want to stream-line the sale process of their website to improve conversion. Find out what kind of people fit that role, and list out:
1. Why they want more sales.
2. How they can streamline the process of conversion.
3. How much return they can expect by streamlining.
4. Address the concerns of using your software (Will I make my money back? Is it complicated?)
5. What more sales could do for them personally.
Begin writing to that single buying persona and you can expect more engagement and retention.
12. Don’t Use “Impressively” Big Words
From whence came a inconspicuous Internet scribe who made it his quest to transport amiable content to appease his caste…
What the hell does that mean?
Make you wordings simple and don’t over complicate.
13. Be Conversational
Include bolding in your text to express importance or emotion in an expression. Use italics to mark questions. Write as if you are speaking with your reader…
It makes copy fun to read.
Don’t you think?
Your can make your copy P-O-P off the page with a little effort. Start experimenting.
14. Don’t Sell, Provide Value
Trust and authority are two important factors in improving your search engine ranking.
To develop trust & authority, you must provide value.
As Gary Vaynerchuk would say, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook!”
Which means, “give, give, till you can’t give anymore… then ask for a sale.”
Create great content that provides so much value the reader can’t help but share.
Then one day, maybe 6 months later, maybe 1.5 years later — make an ask. People will already be depending on your information, which will amp up on-page SEO metrics, and you will be able to create engagement and sales.
15. Use Power Words
I’m grateful for bloggers like Jon Morrow.
He freely give us a comprehensive list of over 300 power words to use.
Words are the essence of great copy.
Experiment with your wordings, phrasings, and metaphors. I do all the time.
Why? If Hunter S. Thompson can write like this at age 20, then the majority of us should feel shameful for thinking we were ever good writers.
At first you will feel like the naked writer who scurries away from public for fear of ridicule, but you will soon find you content performing an ass kicking of other-worldly proportions.
16. Proofread Your Content
Bad grammar, mistakes, misattributions, and dead links can diminish your credibility. Simply take extra care when editing your work, or better yet, hire an editor.
People engage with content they trust, but mistakes may kill your content before it even has a chance to rank.
17. Use Relevant Internal Links
This is my first blog on this website, but as I create new content I can later add internal links to promote easier access for crawlers to index my website.
It helps Google understand your website.
Just make sure each internal link is relevant to your post and is naturally anchored within the text.
18. Properly Use Images
Images are a great for breaking up content. It keeps readers engaged when you accompany your writing with extremely relevant photos.
For example, sometimes blogs just throw random images as if people want entertainment:
Yes, we are talking about an Internet related subject, but why post a photo of some guy looking at a laptop? It serves zero purpose for creating depth, visualizing my words, or anything really.
Readers don’t want eye candy. And to be frank — it’s lazy.
As well, Google documents your images, tags, and captions that you put on it. Make sure to use a relevant description and optimize your image file sizes as it affects site speed which affects your web page’s ranking.
19. Spend Time On Your Meta Description
The meta description is located under your title when your website comes up on Google search.
Don’t stuff keywords in here. It is meant to educate and advertise your website so people click on it. Spend some time on it, make it concise and persuasive, and include only relevant keywords that will make people want to click your website.
20. Hire Someone Else To Write Your Content
This may seem a little off topic, but are you a great writer?
Are you a great designer?
Maybe you are the sales rep, not the marketer of your company.
Whatever the case maybe, if you are not great at the medium you wish to communicate in, find someone who is. Time is limited, and we should use our time focusing on what we are best at.
Websites like Upwork can be a good start to find a copywriter for your website.
SECTION 3: Promote
21. Create Blogs & Articles That Add to a Community
When creating this blog, I did a TON of research. Luckily, this research pays off in several ways. I have better content, more sources, and more people to create relationships with.
Why is it important to reach out?
Because the whole point of creating content is to provide value and engage (which really means socialize).
This method of content creation will speed up the process in which you garner back links to your articles from other sources.
Make sure to properly source your material or you may be getting angry lawyer messages. As well, don’t just use huge authority websites. Do research from smaller blogs and see what they have to say.
A great way to reach out is to make a list of the top 90-100 bloggers in your space. Find a way to contact them, and divvy them up into a tier list, so you can create a proper outreach plan to generate back links.
Foster relationships with higher tier blogs and cold email lower tiers to generate links.
Here is an email template to help you out:
Email Template to contact Influencers
As well, Google favors anchored links naturally within the text like this when you are linking to others. Keep that in mind.
Lastly, you want to give incentives for people to act on your information in some way. You could ask a question at the end of your post, put free ebook links within the blog, and many other tactics.
Just get them interacting with your website.
22. Publish Consistently
The pace which websites gain backlinks is used in Google’s algorithm according to David Vallance.
Most websites either publish consistently or create quality, but the key is to release high-quality content regularly.
Consistently publishing increases trust, authority, and opportunity to rank for keyword phrases. As well, Google considers “fresh” content highly favorable.
23. Make It Easy To Share
Put share buttons on your page!
Share your content on Twitter, Linkedin, and other relevant social media platforms.
Search engines factor in social engagement when ranking your content.
24. Write In the Context of a Content Marketing Plan
Randomly throwing out pieces of content doesn’t work, which is why you need to consider SEO and content marketing together when releasing articles. According to Brian Dean (backlinko.com), great content isn’t enough anymore. You need to have a plan.
Just starting your content marketing efforts?
Why not focus on one subject like “SEO Copywriting” for a month and build a comprehensive list of resources on the topic?
Link them all together, and google crawlers will have much more information to decipher your website’s purpose.
What is the advantage of doing this?
This blog alone has over 20 relevant outbound links. Imagine 3 more posts, of the same quality, linking together on your website. Google crawlers will have a much more comprehensive resource to rank your website.
(But don’t throw outbound links into your post for no reason, they have to be their for a reason.)
As well, readers will better understand your authority on the subject and see that you are posting great information, not shallow/spammy posts.
But here is the key, you are trying to create valuable content influencers in your niche will gladly share to.
Using the proper email approach (stated in section 24), and foster relationships with larger blogs through links, sharing, and social media/blog comments to find people to share your content.
To simplify everything above:
Do a lot of research so you can have quality information backed by a bunch of sources.
Later on these sources can be used as part of your promotion.
Find the proper keywords, don’t skimp on keyword research.
Write to your reader directly, be conversational, and informative.
Create the best content.
Promote your work to the sources, influencers, and bloggers in your niche.
Understand basic on-page SEO techniques like text anchoring – property for sale on the Costa del Sol, keyword density, and article length.
Use SEO tools like Yoast on your wordpress site.
This is a ton of information to take in, but I recommend using this as a resource when creating content. As long as you follow a few simple golden rules like “make the best content possible” & “do really good keyword research” & “promote”, your SEO efforts will be on the right track.