In just a few short years, SEO copywriting has evolved dramatically. Then, it was all meta tags, HTML and inbound links. It’s still about those things — but now the emphasis is as much about making sure the reader has a positive experience from high quality, relevant content.

Google’s algorithms are so smart nowadays, they can spot ungainly semantics at fifty paces! Any form of ‘index-able’ online copywriting will be rewarded in the ranking stakes if it meets the new, slightly ‘old-fashioned’ criteria.

Google’s approach to SEO is changing all the time, of course (the better to keep ‘black hat’ SEO types out of the loop!) A good example is the demise of ‘keyword density’. Not too long ago, clients would say they’d like their copy to have a density of ‘at least 5%’. Looking back, this seems incredible.

Not only did it tax the skills of even the best SEO copywriter. In so many cases, it also rendered the copy unreadable! Fast-forward to the present: if any online copy approached anything like that percentage, it simply wouldn’t feature in the search engine ranking pages (SERPS).


Keywords are key — but so is content

Original content is probably one of the most exciting things you can feed a Google robot. Search engines are always looking to deliver optimal results in response to keyword searches. That’s not to say SEO copywriters have to re-invent the wheel every time they put pen to paper.

High quality content is certainly what the public (and Google!) want. And that applies whether the content is original or ‘re-cycled’ — just so long as it’s ‘relevant’. Either way, if the text is written in a clear, authoritative style, you will still be giving the ‘bots what they want – and, hopefully, that will come with recognition in the rankings!

Writing or appraising online copy calls for a basic understanding of the principles that search engine algorithms follow. There are also some important things to bear in mind when it comes to using keywords:

As a good starting point, with a new website it makes sense to include a primary keyword in the web address. The next best thing is to include relevant keywords in the URL of each page on your website.
It’s also important to remember that these pages should be optimised individually. They should each have their own unique keywords that are relevant to the subject matter on the page – which also means that each page will have its own ‘title’ and ‘description’ meta tags.
Keywords should be placed judiciously in the headline tags throughout the page. The main h1 title tag (the most important of all ‘h’ tags) should be around five or six words long and include the relevant primary keyword. You can also include secondary keywords in the h2 and h3 tags lower down the page.
As far as appropriate placement of keywords within the body copy itself is concerned, conventional wisdom has it that a mention or two of the main keywords (or ‘key phrases’) in the first couple of paragraphs is usually fine – and then rinse and repeat towards the end of the page-copy.
Keyword research is a big part of SEO copywriting, with Wordtracker and Google’s very own Analytics tool being two of the most useful for this. Google scores with the fact it’s free; Wordtracker is more comprehensive but you have to pay.