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Elena Terenteva

Copywriting Tips for SEO Success #semrushchat

Elena Terenteva
Copywriting Tips for SEO Success #semrushchat

As we already determined on our previous SEMrush Twitter Chat, SEO does not compete with any marketing activities, rather it complements them. Content marketing is a part of the process, and it's probably one of the most important parts.

Last week we were discovering SEO copywriting tips on our chat with Stephen Kenwright, Head of Search at Branded3.

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The key question we are facing: does SEO copywriting differ from other types of copywriting? And if you are a good writer, does it automatically make you great SEO copywriter? What are the main features of a good SEO copy and how if it different from other types of writing? Let's find out!

Key Features

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In talking about content marketing and SEO, we are faced with a chicken-and-egg question. Which comes first – a list of keywords that need to be interlaced into text, or a great article that solves users’ problems?

A great article based on a set of keywords that reflect your audience’s wants and needs and be the answer. First step – “figure out user intent a need behind the search”- Samuel Scott ‏@samueljscott

Your next step should be keyword research. Perform it wisely – you don’t have to put every related keyword in the article. A balance between head and long-tail keywords is essential. While head keywords tell us the main idea of the story, long-tail ones fill it in with details and context. “Include keywords that make sense and flow well” -Devin ‏@DevDawg.

While performing keyword research, don’t forget that there are a lot of fields to explore.

After your piece is written, it’s time to optimize it. It’s really, really difficult to write something when all you can think about is stringing together keywords. It’s better to do the opposite. Keep your keywords in mind, but don’t allow them to dictate what you do. They should come to the stage in the end.

And of course, from the beginning of your keyword search until the final edit, remember that, first and foremost, you write for people. They are your actual readers, not machines.

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If you went into marketing because you thought it doesn't involve a lot of numbers, or if you became a writer because you are allergic to technical issues, you are in the wrong field. I do like Dan Shaffer’s (‏@ShafferDan) advice: “Know HTML!”. But if you think this is too much, at least learn some basics.

This is just a drop of water in the ocean of SEO. Do you want to know what a real-deal checklist looks like? Pradeep Kumar (@SPradeepKr) shared with everybody his own handwritten checklist: “Even though these tips are basic, there's a lot of them...here is my handwritten notes.”


When applying all these techniques and choosing keywords, keep in mind that everything should be balanced.

Giving credit to your source and to the people you have mentioned is always a good idea.

Think about your article’s structure – well structured text is not only easy to read for users, but also for machines.

I never get tired of repeating that the most important thing to keep in mind is your reader. Don’t overthink; keep your ideas clean and don’t deviate from the topic just to include a few more related keywords.Writers should remain writers first and foremost: “Train writers to be SEOs, not the other way around!” Peter Starr Northrop ‏@SEMStarr.

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Measuring results is a pain in the neck for most marketers. If you are one of them, let’s try to heal your pain.

First of all, every journey needs a map; and in your case, role of the guideline will be a reasonable KPI (key performance indicator).

Google Analytics is good for that - Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools are very useful for every level of your research. You can use Google Webmaster Tools for tracking changes in rank for particular keywords.

Dan Smith ‏@itsdansmith otherwise recommends “staying away from rankings - instead, look at the impact content has on organic traffic or conversions.”The ThinkSEM team suggests concentrating on the same metrics.

It's very important to keep an eye on bounce rate.

Stephen Kenwright ‏@stekenwright A4 cont. Again, keep an eye on Bounce Rate. If it’s going down then the signs are good that rankings should improve

Generally speaking, every metric that is connected to behavioral patterns should be the center of your attention.

If you want to find out more, this article is for you: "How To Track The ROI Of Your Web Content". 

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What are some common SEO-related problems and mistakes copywriters face? The most common source of SEO trouble for people who deal with words – not understanding how keywords work.

As we mentioned before, you should do your keyword research first: “It helps your brain to include the keyword naturally as you go - and it increases your SEO” Tracey Wallace ‏@TraceWall. And don’t overuse keywords when optimizing content!

Other basic SEO issues are also often ignored.

Very often the “glamor” of the text and the title should become the highest priority. A catchy title and a hot topic are must-haves, but they shouldn’t be out of sync with SEO.

Keep a balance and don’t go to extremes. Meaning comes first, so don’t become “so obsessed with Google that you think less about the users who will consume the material” - Samuel Scott ‏@samueljscott.

Thinking that once an article is live it’s the end of the story = fail. There's always time to make changes that will help your content rise in SERPs.

To avoid these problems, make sure your SEO and writing team cooperate. Knowing the basics is good; applying them – very good. But the SEO work should be done by SEO people.

If you want to dive into this topic, you'll love this article What Exactly Does Google Consider High Quality Marketing Content? from blog.hubspot.com. 

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Tool time! Let’s take a look on a toolkit that will alleviate the suffering of dealing with SEO. First and foremost, your common sense is most important. No tool in the world will do your job and make a better decision than you can.

Ok, this is it for today! We hope you enjoyed it!

Guess you know very well where and when we are going to meet next time - Wednesday at 11 a.m. (EST). Use #SEMrushchat to join!

Elena Terenteva, Product Marketing Manager at SEMrush.

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