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Content Marketing 35 min read

SEO Writing For Newbies: How To Attract Readers And Search Engines

How to increase organic content with competitors semantics
Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing your content making it noteworthy for the different search engines (SE) to display it in a higher position on their results page. In simple words, if you want many people to visit your site and convert them into potential clients, you need to make Google, Bing, and the like to notice and approve you. Once the SEs acknowledge your content, they will push it ahead and show it more to their users. Here we will be looking in-depth at On-page SEO and content optimization in particular.

What is SEO copywriting?

Copywriting is the essence of On-page (On-site) SEO. It means creating helpful content that appeals to the users and fulfills the search engines' keyword and text formatting requirements. The goal is to produce valuable informational pieces that the public likes and shares. Thus, drawing an increase in the organic traffic to your site and indefinitely gaining higher rankings on the search engine results page (SERP).

Even if your site fulfills all technical and design requirements, if your copy is mediocre and lacks depth, the SE will not show it on the front positions. Remember, "Content is king." so put all of your efforts into creating helpful pieces that deserve to be then optimized.
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What are the different types of SEO content?

You can post many different types of content on your website, with each having its own specifics.
1
Product/service pages. They contain the essential information a potential client finds on your site. Depending on how well the pages are written, they can attract attention, raise the conversion rate and boost your performance.
2
Blog posts. A well-developed blog can help you increase your organic traffic and obtain a higher position on the results page for long-tail keywords. Link building also heavily depends on blog content, as the majority of external links are placed in the copy. Remember, people like to link to valuable articles, and we are not talking only about the text on your site. When writing a guest post, you also obtain a link leading to your website. Blogs are a great place to exchange new ideas and create fresh clickable content.

Depending on the topic of your post, your articles can have a different format.

Lists: readers love lists, as they are easy to read and contain much info. Posts like "The 10 Best SEO Strategies" or "200 Free SEO Tools" carry a sense of expectation and are overall far more clickable than a simple news article.

Guides: the second most popular type of articles are the guides. They are usually longer than the average blog post and contain detailed information about a given topic. The purpose of the article guides is to offer your target audience facts, advice, and tips to satisfy their needs and eliminate the desire to click on a competitor's page. You can use data both from your business or personal experience or from reputable external sources.
3
Videos. Ranking higher with an entertaining and educational video can be easier than competing with hundreds of sites using just plain articles. You can create elaborate tutorials about your services, test your products or use videos as teaching tools. Not to mention video materials are great for link building and are easier to attract attention to your site when shared on social media.
4
Images are a great tool used both to format and optimize your text. If you have just plain text, the user's eyes will get tired, and at first glance, your copy will look dull. A good trick is to add an image at regular intervals. Remember, the picture or graphic you choose to add to the text needs to be related and help illustrate the topic you are writing about.

As a rule of thumb, each time you scroll down to reveal more text, there should be a picture of some kind. Images can be optimized, as they have three distinguished elements:

File name: be sure to name the image with the right keyword corresponding to the page before uploading it on the website. Avoid file names as IMG782633.jpg.

Image title: this is essentially the heading of the picture. A user sees it when hovering the image with the mouse. Title also helps the crawlers understand it.

Alt tag: an HTML element, the alt tag is short on the pound description of the image. You shouldn't misuse it and "spam" the explanations with irrelevant keywords.

Different images can be combined to create fresh and unique content. Some of the most popular complex image types one can use in their content are:

Infographics. They present facts and ideas using different charts, images, and icons. The text is limited, but the idea is to visually present the data rather than plunge into long, monotonous explanations. Everybody loves looking at well-made images, so readers are likely to share and click on them more. However, you need to optimize the accompanying text to rank both for the image itself and the desired keywords.

Slideshows. This is a series of images that you can use to get your message across. Like infographics and simple pictures, the SEs can't read the actual text written on the image, so don't forget to write your image title and alt tag. You need to put your efforts into boosting the other elements of the SEO copy.
How To Find New Keywords And Expand Semantics
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What are the elements of SEO copywriting?

There are a couple of essential elements that influence content optimization. Some have a bigger impact in the short run, but they are all equally significant if you want to build and develop a stable long-term SEO strategy.

Headers

Headers, also called H-tags, are HTML attributes. They can be H1, H2, H3, ... tо H6. The first three are regarded as the most important ones by the SEs, and the others are used to improve the visual layout of the text.

  • H1 represents the title of your copy. Every page, regardless of its contents, must have it. The H1 tag needs to be put first, and there can't be more than one per page.
  • H2 and H3 are used to mark the beginning of new subtopics within the main theme. A good practice is to have at least two H2 tags in your content.

H-tags give structure to the text and make it easier for the users and crawlers to scan through the copy. The way your H1, H2, and H3 are formatted can influence where your site ranks. More importantly, they are a valuable copywriting tool, as headers can hold long-tailed phrases and guide the users towards the information they are looking for. A smart way to use the H tags is by converting frequently asked questions about a specific topic into heading and subheadings in your copy.

For example, you are writing an article about coffee brands and find out people are searching on the web "How to pick the right brand?" or "What is the difference between Brand X and Brand Y?". You can use those sentences as H2s. This way, you hit two birds with one stone. First, you can directly address the query of your users. Secondly, you are using words and phrases that the SE has already recognized as key.

The more on-point questions and answers you have in your copy, the better chance you will obtain the golden spot on the first results page — the featured snippet. This is a short piece of information that directly answers a given question, located on the top, above all ads and other links.
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H tags
Every page, regardless of the type of its content, must have H tags. See the following examples. The first image is from a blog post and the second — from a service page.
H tags of service pages

Keywords

Keywords are a special set of words used by people when searching for something on the internet. Finding the correct phrases can be tricky, and you must perform thorough research before even attempting to write your copy. Your content needs to have a specific keyword density to attract the attention of both the SE and users. Since search engines nowadays can understand the meaning behind the words, you can also use plenty of synonyms to avoid repetition.
How To Find Out The Keywords Of Competitors And Collect Borrowed Semantics

Content

The actual body of your page or article is where the useful information is presented engagingly. It has to be understandable, well-written, and most of all, your content needs to be valuable for your targeted audience. The text needs to flow naturally and contain the right number of keywords, both long-tailed and short. Mentioning your location helps the search engines pinpoint your area of operations. For example, if you work only with clients in the UK, there is no practical use to show your site to people from South America. The content is where you have to concentrate your efforts, as it is directly linked to the needs and desires of your potential clients.

Page links

Internal and external page links indicate to the SE that your content is likable, shareable, accessible, and most importantly - useful. Linkbuilding is an SEO art of itself as you can't associate your content with just any type of website. You need to seek reputable creators and professionals in your business branch that can indirectly help you build your site's authority.

With external links, you focus on showcasing your content on other platforms or include reputable sources in your copy.

Internal linking focuses on creating a solid structure of intertwining topics that will benefit your potential clients. For example, now you are reading an article about SEO writing, but you find yourself interested in linkbuilding. Wouldn't you find it helpful if there is a conveniently placed link to an article that can answer your recently formulated questions?

Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions

Meta titles and descriptions from different websites are the first things a user sees when searching in the SERP. They are one of the most important pieces of copy as they are responsible for grabbing the audience's attention and perking their curiosity to click on your link. And as we all know, first impressions are important, not only in the business world.
meta tags
The meta title or title tag is the heading shown on the SERP. In addition, it has to be no more than 60 characters in length to display correctly on the results page.
Meta descriptions are short summaries of what a user (or a crawler) would find on that particular page. They need to be 160 characters at most and have to contain keywords or long-tailed phrases.

These pieces of content are essential for the optimization of your content. If more people click on your page, your CTR (click-through rate) will increase. This is a clear indicator for the SE that you are a valuable source of insight for the public, and your content will be indefinitely shown amongst the top results on the SERP.

So your meta titles and descriptions should be appealing, straight to the point, and accurate. A good writing strategy for both meta titles and descriptions is to use call-to-action words or phrases that create intense emotions like urgency, loss, winning, etc. Another thing you can do is include a question you know people are seeking the answer to. For example, "Do you know what CTA is? Our experts at Company A are here to tell you!"

Meta titles and descriptions are an HTML attribute and should be added to the code of each page of your site. Thankfully, most platforms like WordPress or Wix have special plugins for that, so you don't have to write the code itself. Fill in the necessary information into the tabs.

Now that we covered the different types of content you may have on your page and their most important elements, it's time to get down to business. To create a quality copy, you need to have a solid strategy that will attract both users and search engines.

How to create a successful SEO content strategy?

Creating engaging and valuable content is not easy, as there are many factors you need to take into consideration. But first, you need to ask yourself, why are you doing all of this? What goal do you want to achieve with this strategy? Think about the following questions:

  • Do you want more people to read your blog content?
  • Do you want to monetize your copy and increase your traffic?
  • Are your service and product pages the ones that need to be showcased, whereas your blog is just a side dish?

The way your content should be written and constructed depends solely on your goal. After you got that one figured out, you need to move your attention to creating a strategy that will achieve it.

Define your audience

The most important thing you need to remember is you must write for your audience, not for the search engines. The way people react to your content determines the "behavior" of the machines and programs that process the data. That said, you need to have a clear view of your audience. Everything matters, so consider gathering information about your potential clients' for their:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Occupation
  • Preferences
  • Problems
You can use different analytics software and surveys to determine what is the general opinion about your products and services. Then research what your clients want and need (what are their Google searches). Once you know what your audience desires, you can attractively present your services/products.

The same goes for your blog content. For example, if you target audience in the 18-25 age group, you can include additional videos, funny or eye-catching images, and short but memorable casual-toned paragraphs. If you want to attract a more business-oriented audience from the 30+ group, focus on infographics, tables, statistical data, detailed explanations, and reputable external sources.

Research your keywords

As we mentioned, keywords are an essential part of your copy if you want to get noticed by the SE. The big questions are how to choose the correct words and phrases and then implement them in your content without sounding exaggerated or out of place. So the answer lies in the following 4-step process.
1
Determine your topic
What are you going to write about? Is it a copy going on your product page, describing your strong points and why you are better than your competitors? Or it is a how-to guide explaining in detail how a particular process or a piece of equipment works.

For example, if you provide carpet cleaning, the text of your service page should contain keywords directly connected to what you offer, like "professional carpet cleaning" or "carpet cleaning services." If you are creating a blog post or a guide, you need to do in-depth research and find out not only the generic search words people use but also examine the intent behind them. Here is a possible line of thought: since you are looking for ways to clean your carpet, you might also be interested in the type of detergents used in this process or would like to find how to identify a particular spot on your rug.
2
Research not only the keywords but the intent behind them
To find what your potential clients are searching for on the internet, you can use various free and paid tools. One of the best ways to find clickable phrases and understand users' desires is the Google search bar. Start typing words, and the SE will automatically suggest different ways to end the sentence. Jump from one suggestion to another until you have exhausted all the options within the chosen topic. You will end up with not only short and long keywords and phrases but with whole questions like "how to remove ketchup stains" or "how to write a successful SEO copy".

The semantic core is often built using competitor keys that can be found with the help of Serpstat. Just enter a domain to Serpstat search bar and export the Keywords report.
Would you like to learn how to use Serpstat to make up a semantic core?
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1
Arrange your findings
Write down all of the suggested ideas and start brainstorming. Create an elaborate article plan using the questions and queries people type in the SE. This is the skeleton of your future copy.
2
Make it more detailed
Once you have your plan, you can use some of the SEO keyword research tools to check for clickable phrases within the subtopics. Add your findings to your table, and you are ready. Depending on the topic and purpose of your copy, the whole process should take you anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple of hours.

Make a schedule

Consistency is key if you want your strategy to be successful. Blog content must be published and optimized regularly. To keep everything on track, create a schedule. For example, you will post two times a month and spend 10 hrs optimizing your new and existing copy. This way, your potential clients will know to expect fresh content, and the search engines will recognize you as a serious source of information. Not to mention it will be easier for you and your team to organize the work tasks.

You've laid out your strategy and have a clear view of how you want everything to be organized. However, this is not enough to gain you the desired results. You still don't know how exactly to grab the attention of your readers and the search engines. So let's figure it out together.

How to attract readers?

Why do people use search engines? The answer is simple — because they need information. Whether it is to find out the best place to go on vacation in Spain, how to peel a kiwi or what SEO tool to use, everybody is actively searching for some knowledge. Your job as a copywriter is to gather facts, go through countless trustworthy sources and synthesize easy-to-understand answers to the questions your audience has.

Forget about the algorithms and the requirements search engines have. First and foremost, you need to think about the people. Analyze their desires by researching the intent hidden in their questions. You can still land on the first page of the SERP even if you don't have enough keywords or are missing a meta title. Why? Because your content gives on-point, detailed information that is in line with the needs of the audience.

Let's say people are searching for "neck pain," "neck pain after sleeping," and "why does my neck hurt after waking up." The intent is clear — people feel pain in their neck after taking a nap, and they need to find why this is happening and how to prevent it. You can take two different paths when you write.

The first one is to tackle the scientific side of the problem. You can create an informative post about the human body's physiological needs, muscle contraction, and nerve damage. Of course, you would also use the appropriate medical terminology and sprinkle everything with a hefty dose of anatomical terms. Do you think everybody will understand your piece of content?

The second option is to write a guide on how your sleeping posture affects your body and choosing the right type of pillow to prevent it. Your article would be comprehensive without flashy words but informational enough that even a 5-year-old will understand why memory foam is good.

Both posts carry valuable knowledge; however, only the second one is created with the user in mind. Thus, it will land your site farther ahead in the rankings.
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How to attract search engines?

Summing up, I would like to note once again that the semantics of competitors is an effective channel for getting leads from organic. The main thing is to use it correctly. Let's repeat 4 types of pages that will help you get organic traffic for the following keywords:
Attract the attention of your users by fulfilling their need for knowledge.
Present the information in a comprehensive way for both humans and machines.
Make your content crawlable and easy to process from the bots by formatting it properly with bullet points, adding h-tags, bold lining the important parts, and everything we discussed so far.
Search engines and Google, in particular, are very demanding when it comes to the quality of your copy. Over the years, there have been various methods and strategies used to please this powerful AI. Sadly most of these hacks don't work nowadays, but they are still used more out of habit than necessity. These are the so-called mistakes in SEO copywriting you should avoid if you don't want to drop out of favor from the search engines.

What are the common mistakes in SEO writing

SEO is a constant, dynamic process, and you need to stay on track with the newest changes if you want to maintain your good rankings. That said, the mistakes we will pinpoint had once been great strategies. However, with the development of search engines from simple programs to intelligent AIs, these SEO practices do not work anymore.

Too many keywords

Once upon a time, roughly 8 years ago, it was all about the quantity of the keywords in your content. The more, the better. Texts were cluttered with unnecessary words written more for the crawlers and less with the public in mind. You know what we mean, sentences like: "Your professional rent-a-car agency will provide you with the best rent-a-car services in Bristol, so if you need a great rent-a-car, call us today!". Now, imagine whole paragraphs written in the same style. Thankfully, that was in the past, and nowadays, the SEs are more intuitive and "intelligent". They can easily distinguish this sort of spammy content and misuse of keywords. Remember, it is not about the quantity but the quality. Keywords are a valuable tool; however, you won't rank successfully on the SERP if you rely only on them.

Duplicate content

Duplicate content has the same copy across multiple web pages on the same or different domains. For example, if we make a replica of the part from this article about Headers and place it on another post, or website that would constitute a duplicate copy. This is something you must avoid, as you might get penalized by Google. If you have mainly plagiarism content, your page or entire site can be deemed low quality and won't appear in the SERP. Try to write original and fresh content for your site. If you have to quote a particular statement from an external source, always link to that website and/or give credits to the primary owners of that information. Duplicate content is a very controversial topic, and we advise you to dig a little deeper into it to avoid making costly mistakes in the future.

Trying to make it long, not useful

According to recent studies, the ideal length of a blog post should be around 2.500 characters. However, based on what we know about the behavior of Google, the way it collects and ranks data, and the official "Best practices'', the length is actually not that important. The idea is to create value for your audience. A 1 000 piece of how to use a particular brand of screwdrivers can be more beneficial to your potential customer than a lengthy 2300-word post that explains the history and evolution of the different tools of said brand. As with the keywords, avoid focusing solely on one thing. Keep your goal and the audience's desires in mind and create a valuable copy.

Filler content

Another practice from the past deemed as a mistake today is the filler content. We are talking about those meaningless posts of 600 words that exist solely to promote your service or product. Consider "cleaning" your site from such copy a.s.a.p. It is perceived as clutter that slows down the crawling process and can even get you penalized by Google. If your blog consists of 20 pages of filler content, you are pretty much shooting yourself in the foot. Cut all of the unnecessary copy and focus your efforts on promoting the quality pieces on your blog.

Missing the evidence

The last two mistakes are focused on the blog portion of your website, whereas this one is pointed more towards your other pages. When writing a copy for your services, products, or company history, you need to include evidence of your superiority. For example, you describe your service as an eco-friendly alternative, so back up your claims with studies and/or certificates from a reputable source. Everybody can claim: "Our plastic is biodegradable", but a trustworthy seller will say: "Our plastic is biodegradable, and here is where you can check if that is true". A great solution is to create a page where you can display the awards and certificates your company owns. Remember to link to it when needed and back up your well-written copy with solid evidence. This way, both your potential clients and the search engines will know you are the real deal.

Summary

SEO is an ongoing, dynamic process divided into 3 parts — On-page, Off-page, and Technical. Content optimization is the heart and soul of On-site SEO, and you need to put a lot of effort into the way you write and format your copy. There are various types of content, and it is up to you to choose which will serve your purpose best. Be mindful of their elements and regard them as a whole. Do not prioritize one above the other, but optimize them equally.

Only when you know what your exact goal is, start planning the creation of your copy. To have a successful SEO strategy, you must be aware of the 3 factors that form the skeleton of each piece of content:

  1. The scope of your audience.
  2. The intent, hidden behind the keywords.
  3. A clear time-binding plan that will keep you on track.

To attract the attention of your audience, you must:

  1. Discover what people want.
  2. Give users a direct answer to their query.
  3. Understandably present the information.

To attract the attention of search engines, you must:

  1. Fulfill the 3 points from above.
  2. Optimize well all elements of content optimization.
  3. Stay on track with the latest requirements and avoid the "bad old practices"

Writing well-composed content may take a while, but we promise you it is worth the effort.

Stay positive and continue to create an excellent copy. Remember, nobody is born wise, so keep learning and developing your skills. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comment section below. Let's have a chat and discuss how to become better at copywriting.

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