7 Steps to Writing Good SEO Website Copy that Humans Will Read

Today, there are really two purposes of website content:

*To communicate with search engines

*To communicate with website visitors

The problem is, search engines and site visitors speak different languages.

And that right there is the paradox. If you write it solely for the search engines, you may get better rankings but visitors will bounce off your site before they can read your second stuffed keyword. If you write just for visitors, it’s likely nobody will find your site to read your beautiful verbiage anyway.

It’s a delicate balance communicating with search engines and people at the same time, or in other words, mix good, persuasive writing with the right SEO keywords. Talented writers can do it seamlessly, however, without sounding like they speak a foreign language. Here are 7 steps to writing good SEO copy that doesn’t suck:

1. Solve Your Audience’s Problem

Whether it’s creative, engaging or whatever, everything written on a website should essentially be a solution to the visitor’s problem. First you must know your prime audience and what problem they want solved, then show how you will solve that problem.

2. Write as if SEO Does Not Exist

Get the message across first. Communicate to humans first. Write it powerfully and simply without the shackles of keywords. This will make a more compelling message that punches the visitor in the face. Afterwards, it’s easy to insert the right keywords and links.

3. Consult SEO Specialist, Do What He/She Says (Mostly)

Keep that guy or girl in the loop. The SEO dude (or dudette) has done the research, knows what keywords will drive the right traffic, what keywords should be linked to what page, etc. You can be creative to fit in most of those suggested keywords. After you write it, make sure the SEO specialist approves.

4. Sacrifice Keywords for the Good of Art

Most SEO now depends on getting the right links. If keywords are making it TOO clunky and awkward, you may be forced to get rid of them. Otherwise the visitor will think you are a robot from the Philippines. If the SEO guy has problems, tell him to build more links.

5. Sacrifice Art for the Good of Keywords

Sometimes there are keywords that must be in the copy or h1 tags. Those big, money making keywords take precedence. This is the delicate balance where a writer and the SEO specialist have to come to terms.

6. Use Right Format, i.e. “h1”

Your main headline should be written using the h1 tag and should include the main keywords you would like your particular page to rank for. If you’re really serious about SEO-ing your page, the keywords in the h1 should essentially match the keywords in the title tag for the page (If you’re curious about what a title tag is go here). Also, here’s a post about other basic on-page optimization tips, which include stuff about h1′s and h2′s.

7. Beware of Spammy, Blackhat

Keyword stuffing, duplicate content, cloaked content – all that stuff is bad news. Despite having the search engines put you in the doghouse for it, users hate it too. That stuff is bad for your image from a marketing and PR standpoint, and I don’t even need to talk about how that stuff negatively affects website conversion.

Do you agree with these steps? Have any other advice for writing SEO website copy? Please comment.

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10 Comments

  1. Ivan says

    Hi Dan,

    and… I’ve noticed that Google sometimes displays the second sentence in the search returns – not the first – so I pay a little attention to how I word this.

    It also seems to have an interest in the About the Author section in pages.

    Ivan

  2. Michael Foy says

    Website content that communicates both for search engines and website visitors is a great challenge. Thanks for imparting useful ideas on SEO.

  3. Supplements says

    I have two questions about blog writing:
    1. When writing blog articles, and including a couple of links within the content to your inner pages, is it also a good idea to link to other trusted and related but not rival websites? If not, it seems like your blog writing is too biased. Also, the most trusted blogs all seem to link externally. I would be interested in the answer to this question for self hosted blogs and off-site blogs, i.e. domain.co.uk/blog/ and domain.wordpress.com/
    2. Bearing in mind anchor text links are more SEO friendly than alt text image links and that Google only counts the first link to a single page, is it a bad idea to have a home page logo link at the top of the page above all the other code? I get the impression that any links in my blogs pointing to my homepage will be discounted as they are the 2nd or 3rd homepage link and so the anchor text in the blog articles will be ignored.

    Thanks

    Martin

  4. Jesse Dictor says

    I would say the best method is to hire people at random who just are hungry for a job, and then patching up there work afterwards. They always do good work and with there lack of understanding they have a harder time messing it up.

  5. Rahul Batra says

    I think writing a blog articles with a unique content is the most important thing and adding 1-2 links on keywords in this doesn’t make spamming.

  6. says

    @Jesse,

    I have to disagree with hiring random people who are just hungry for a job. It can be more expensive and more time consuming to patch up poor-to-mediocre work. It’s always better to hire high-quality copywriters who also understand SEO.

  7. kered says

    I do like all your points above and they are very interesting.

    I have just started out doing seo and find it very hard. Any pointers would be great or any good tools to find relevant back links.

  8. Michelle Taylor says

    Great tips for someone (like me) who is just starting out in SEO and trying to take in tonnes of new things everyday. 
    Thank you ! 

  9. says

    Good article. We’ve been doing our own in house SEO for the past few years and something I’ve always found good when writing content is points 1 and 2. In our industry, we find that a lot of people get worried about environmental issues of sky lanterns so we write content that basically helps to reinforce our companies ethos and what we want to do in order to try and put peoples minds at ease. Then when it comes to writing for the customers and not for the search engines, this really helps too! If you write for the search engines, you tend to see bounce rates and exit rates creep up.

    Good articles though, great tips!!! 

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