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Sagefrog’s Field Guide for Successful SEO Copywriting

By: Jack Clark

Search Engine Optimization is an incredibly effective marketing tool. While it can quickly become a complex and technical practice, the more holistic approach to SEO implementation through organic copywriting is often an afterthought. Yes, copywriters are often given specific research-based keywords to implement throughout a blog post or webpage. But, writers can take greater responsibility for executing successful SEO through these easy-to-leverage tips that can be applied to new content and to revitalize existing content.

Our Top 10 Tips for Successful SEO Copywriting

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1. Include Effective (Not Necessarily Top) Keywords in Meta Descriptions, Meta Titles, Title Tags, and H Tags

Longtail keywords, usually short phrases over three words long, drive the most traffic for B2B content. Head (one word to short phrase) or chunky, also known as medium-tail, terms (three to four words) may be challenging to rank for but not impossible.

Concise meta descriptions and titles also help with click-through rates as people will click on the terms they’ve searched for if it’s of value, and this includes SERPs and social media posts

2. Be Purposeful with Page Structure

Structuring a page to follow a hierarchal structure that utilizes H1s, H2s, and H3s (and so on), helps Google more effectively crawl your webpage and use your copy for search results. When the copy is on a webpage with no particular order, Google won’t read your page as effectively as it should, and neither will the actual readers. Following a traditional page structure that includes a title, headings, and so on will ensure that Google and human readers can better understand your webpage and read it more efficiently.

3. Write Striking yet Calculated Meta Descriptions

Aim for a meta description length of 155-160 characters (measured by pixels) containing one or two keywords. Avoid symbols and non-alphanumeric characters.

Meta descriptions are valuable devices for driving organic and social media traffic. We tend to forget that sites like Facebook and LinkedIn display meta texts when someone shares the link to your site or page, so even though this isn’t “traditional SEO” keep this in mind when writing your meta descriptions and titles, as they drive traffic to your page.

Avoid duplicate meta descriptions avoid copying and pasting copy from the body as meta descriptions, as this will make Google more likely to rewrite your words.

4. Keep Visitors on Your Page

Google notices when people click on your page from a SERP and then click away abruptly, raising your “bounce rate.” While keyword-driven SEO is important, none of those technical efforts will be meaningful without well-written and enticing copy that engages with the visitor by being relevant to or answering their search query.

5. Write Descriptive Anchor Texts

Use compelling and descriptive anchor text. No click here or learn more, and never use the URL. Keep it short and concise.

Appealing anchor text drives organic traffic to your website, so being mindful of this when writing calls to action or linking to other content is vital for executing an effective SEO copywriting strategy.

6. Utilize Keywords in URLs if Appropriate

Keywords in site URL’s have a minimal impact on ranking potential but can help boost “people SEO” by enticing searchers to click on your page if they see the keyword they searched for in the URL.

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Focus on Rich Results

These final tips focus on the pinnacle of SEO copywriting—rich results.

Rich results automatically bypass SERP ranking and will display at the top of Google’s search results—even past the number one ranked website.

What this means is that if Google deems your content to be appropriate to the search query and your webpage is optimized to display rich results, your page will be the top and most visually prominent search result, even past the top-ranked website.

7. Write Alt-Text for All Images, Videos, and Audio Recordings

Write alt-texts for blogs and general website images to boost SERP ranking by helping Google better understand your webpage and its contents, thus raising your rich result potential.

Not only will alt-text help Google identify and understand the subject of your image, but it’ll make the website more accessible to anyone who may be unable to see the image or video and will display or read the text in lieu of the image or thumbnail.

8. Create a Bulleted List at the Beginning of the Page

Create a condensed bulleted list at the beginning of an article or webpage aimed at answering your keyword’s search query to increase featured snippet potential. When the webpage answers the search efficiently, Google will be more likely to display your list at the top of the SERP, bypassing even the top search result.

Bulleted lists are an effective tool when creating new blogs and web pages and are a useful method of revitalizing older content as well. Make the lists short and direct, and limit them to only seven bullets per Google’s preference.

9. Write a Short Summary

Similar to making a bulleted list, create a short paragraph summary that’s less than 50 words (think TL;DR) to add to the top of the post to increase featured snippet chances. Feel free to take inspiration from snippets already featured for search queries similar to your keywords.

When searchers know what to expect before they click on a result, as with a summarized featured snippet, they’re more likely to engage and stay on the page to explore and learn more, increasing your site’s organic traffic.

10. Use Video and Imagery to Boost Ranking

Finally, add exciting content that repurposes or enhances existing content to increase rich results and ranking potential. This tactic can work exceptionally well when revitalizing older web pages or ones that may be high on a SERP but not quite at the top. Video is especially effective, but so are images, infographics, audio files, and more.

Research your keywords or similar terms and try to model what is currently successful on Google. If the top result is an image or video, one can infer that that type of content appeals to your audience and should be used to model your content and SEO strategy.

Final Thoughts

As writers, we are uniquely positioned to implement SEO strategies technically and organically. We can only plug in so many keywords, but that value is lost if the content is insufficient. By leveraging these tactics, copywriters will create stronger webpages that better utilize successful SEO practices to increase traditional SERP rankings and encourage rich result ranking potential—both of which are the key to successful SEO initiatives and driving success to your business.

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