Posted on November 06, 2017
After spending some time yesterday listing how to find niche keywords, today we’d like to explain some basic SEO copywriting best practices.
In fact, the words are sometimes the worst optimised parts of web pages, but they can be the most important part of the Search Engine Optimisation of your site.
If we had to synthesise the most important rule of SEO in 2018, I’d say it it is to forget all the previous rules.
This means, for example, that we should never keyword stuff: we would lose points, repeating a keyword 10 times in a single paragraph, or repeating it in each H2.
We want to have a balance, the keyword in our title, in the beginning, but we don’t want to have an H1 with an exact match: we want it to be natural inside our copy.
Multiple subtitles are also important, but they need to be different variations.
With SEO in 2018, we could say that the hardest thing is not to learn how to rank today, but to unlearn how we used to do for a long time. (tweet this).
Now, after being so creative with keyword research yesterday, now let’s try to think like a robot, to see it like Google does. Google’s robots scan the page with some specific attitude, ignoring the “common words” like he, she, the, a and searching for the important words.
Let’s think of a sentence like:
“the cat eats the fish”.
Google would strip of it the and a and would keep cat/ eats/ fish.
It would also be able to consider the synonyms, grouping together the important word cat with feline & cats, for example. This is why Google recognises it when it is pretty much the same content.
You can test it yourself: try searching on Google “the cat eats fish” or “feline eats fish“. You get pretty much the same results because Google knows that what you search for is similar. You need to know that Google knows the synonyms and will ignore the words that are not important. However, do keep them in your sentence if they make the copy more natural, authentic and appealing.
Most people don’t put enough important words on a certain theme. Cat, cats, feline are the theme words, the ones that determine the relevance of a page. A sentence like:
“Can cats eat fish? Yes, but it should form only a fraction of your cat’s diet, fish bones must be removed and it should be cooked”.
provides a lot of relevance.
Whenever you are using many theme words, like for example cat, collar, pedigree, Siamese, Persian, that collection of words is going to provide your web page with a positive footprint.
Now that we know some of the rules of the “game”, let’s see some SEO copywriting best practices, starting from the very beginning of an article.
- The first thing you want to do is a keyword research to make an outline of the article. In addition to the ideas we listed yesterday, today try browsing the top 10 results of Google for a certain keyword, write all the important words that keep on repeating frequently: for this reason, Google will determine them as important theme words.
- I find so often in websites H2’s that mean absolutely nothing, like “Conclusion”. These don’t tell anything of what you should be ranking for: it is such a wasted opportunity, considering that H2’s can provide the ultimate relevance. All the H2’s of the article should revolve around your outline through the keyword. Google and your readers will find them often, but in a natural way, always around the same subject, complementary but related.
I find very neat and useful, for the reader and for Google, when I find, added to some articles, a table of content like this:
SEO copywriting best practices in a nutshell:
- Keyword research
- Positive Footprint
- Theme words
- No keyword stuffing
- How to write the outline
- The First draft: the first paragraph
- The linear writing of the rest of the article
- The first revision & checks
- The Hummingbird revision
- The Grammar revision
- The Negative Footprint
Each of these points should be internally linked with HTML anchor points to the different sections of the article.
Once you’ve written the outline, it’s time to get to the writing itself. The start of an article is particularly important. In the first paragraph, you want to have a lot of themed words to give Google a positive footprint as soon as it starts scanning the page. You still get a bit more power, if you use them, naturally, somewhere near the beginning. If they sound weird to be used in the beginning, you don’t have to use them exactly. You can use variations.
After the first paragraph, your writing can be much more linear. Since you have your outline of the article, you won’t risk going on a tangent and you will stick to your plan and topic.
The first revision, once you have finished your first draft, will be just a few little checks, asking yourself
- if the subtitles are relevant to the keywords,
- if they contain variations,
- if you are using theme related important words,
- if you followed the outline, and so on.
After this, you will do a second revision, that you can imagine like a Hummingbird, the algorithm update which changed so much the SEO already four (!) years ago. After Hummingbird, now Google tries to answer questions, ranking the pages that answer the most, while it used to try to find your question, before. You will try to provide answers with your article because whenever we provide answers, we will always rank higher, that’s like a secret trick, something you want to implement at revision number two.
Revision number three must be done because Google has a Grammar algorithm, so make sure you don’t have any grammar mistakes, using a grammar corrector like grammarly.com.
Then you will have to increase the relevance. Once you have corrected the grammar, you can use a site like ntopic.org, that will evaluate your page and tell you how close you are to getting all the right theme keywords. You should use the keywords you had missed, sprinkling them into your content so that Google will find the most relevance in your article.
Together with the positive footprint, at the end of your revisions, it’s time to consider that there is also a negative one. This is how Google determines if you are still presenting the same things as everyone or if you are using unique words in your page. Whenever you finish adding all the power words and the theme words, you want to have unique words, unique for your page. If you just use the same words as anybody else, Google will think that you are just copying and you won’t stand up in any way because it will consider that there is no added value, that you are probably mentioning the same things as all the others and that it has no incentive to rank you higher than anyone else. Google looks for unique words in your page that represent your angle, words that are not in the top ten results right now.
Now that you have a big list of SEO copywriting best practices, it’s time to try and put them into action. Just remember, that when you make content changes, it takes more time to show you the positive effects in ranking, than it does if you do some link building. The result of content changes is never instantaneous. In the final article of the keyword optimisation series, we will show you some ways to track the positioning of your website with certain keywords.
At this link, you can request some quantitative professional keyword search, if you like and if you don’t have time for managing all these tasks on your own, that’s pretty normal, don’t worry. Just drop us a few lines and we will take care of this for you, with great pleasure!