writing with SEO in mind

Do you know how to make SEO work for you?

Does Search Enging Optimization seem like a strange and mysterious practice to you? Something that only web coders and SEO specialists understand? Well, there’s a reason for that: Google (and other search engines, but we really only care about Google) does not share a lot about how its search algorithm works. It includes many variables, and Google refines them with each update. But that doesn’t mean you can’t understand SEO and how to make it work for your website.

SEO is about more than backend optimizations

Some SEO best practices focus on areas of the site the user doesn’t see, or may not pay attention to. These include building an SEO-friendly site architecture, ensuring canonical URL structure, making sure your pages can be indexed, and building a healthy link network. For these things, if web programing isn’t your specialty, you will want to work with a web developer who understands SEO and how their work is affected by it.

However, a great deal of SEO has to do with your copy. So if you aren’t writing with SEO in mind, you could be missing out on some big gains in your search ranking.

What part of your copy is most important for SEO?

There are two ways in which you your writing will influence your search engine ranking. The first is in its readability. If you copy is easy to read, it will lower your bounce rate. Your visitors will stay longer, and have a more positive user experience. You keep your copy readable by avoiding the use of passive voice, including a lot of transition words, and shortening your sentences. You want to be clear and concise, and your writing should lead your reader through from sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph.

The second way of writing with SEO in mind focuses on keywords. In days gone by, Google focused a lot on how many times a particular search term appeared on your page. Many sites tried to game the system by filling their copy with certain words, regardless of their relevance. The practice became known as keyword stuffing, and these days it can get you penalized. However, that’s not to say keywords aren’t still important.

If you know what words your ideal client searches for when looking for your website, you want to incorporate those into your copy in key areas. That includes:

  • Headlines and other headings
  • URLs for certain pages
  • Alt text on images
  • Any HTML text that appears on top of images
  • Your page’s meta description
  • Throughout your body copy

Writing with SEO in mind

You may not think of all these areas as copywriting, but they are. And you need to write those with an understanding of how they will affect your SEO. If you do, you’ll see the results in your rankings.

Published 10/07/16 by Laura Lynch