Imagine you could get your search traffic to hang on your every word.
If every click from Google were to stick. People would glide down your page with ease.
And, by the end of it, transform themselves into your loyal fans. Or, ever better – your repeat customers. How great would that be?
But right now, that feels like it’s a whole world away, doesn’t it?
- Your bounce rates are through the roof
- Your on page time is less than the average sneeze
- Your conversion rates are shocking
But, it doesn’t have to be this way:
The secrets of the best SEO copywriters are only a few scrolls away .
And, all you have to do to learn them for absolutely free is scroll down the page.
Because in this article I’m going to show you exactly what you need to do to create SEO rich content that converts more highly than ever before.
Table Of Contents
- #01-#03: Use These Three SEO Copywriting Hacks To Kill Bounce Rates
- #04: Use These Simple Sentences To Boost Your On-Page Time
- #05: Create In-Content Links To Find What Your Audience Wants
- #06: Drop Hints About Future Points In Your Content
- #07: Make Your Long Tail Keywords Sound Natural With This One Simple Trick
- #08: Ignore Your Parents Meal-Time Advice
- #09: Remove Your Sidebars
- #10-#13: Create Tantalising Subheadings
- #14: Clear Up Your Bad Code
- #15: Write For A Middle-School Reading Level
- #16: Create Stand Out Title Tags
- #17: The Meta Description Hack You’ve Always Needed
- #18: Say What You Mean
- #19: Use A Serif Font To Mind Control Your Readers
- #20: Get Comfortable With Power Words
- #21: Use The Active Voice
- #22: Use Grammarly To Make Sure Your Content Is Up To Scratch
- #23: Link Internally (Like, All The Time)
What You Will Learn
This is a super long article – it clocks in at around 9,000 words – so you’ll probably need to come back to it a few times (that’s what the bookmark button is for, right?).
But here’s a taste if what you’re going to learn over the next few thousand words:
- How to write blog post introductions that slash bounce rates
- How to create emotional titles tags that boost your click through rates
- How to use Zombies to create better writing
- How to write tantalising subheadings
#01-#03: Use These Three SEO Copywriting Hacks To Kill Bounce Rates
You might think getting people to see your content is hard. But, the real trick is getting people to read your content.
And, without a good introduction, that’s never going to happen. Why?
Because the introduction is what grabs a reader’s attention and makes the want to read the rest of the page. Let me put this in SEO terms for you.
Imagine I’m looking to improve my overall Triathlon time.
I might search something like this in Google:
My intent here is to find out how I can improve my triathlon time. Go figure, right? But that’s something a lot of people forget.
So when I land on a piece of content from the search results below, I want to know that you’re going to answer my question.
The first page from Men’s Fitness, depsite being a big name in the industry, fails to do that.
The introduction is weak and doesn’t grip you:
With that introduction I’d switch off and bounce to another page.
Not ideal for the site owner.
And, if I move down the page, I find an introduction that actually resonates with me.
While it may be from a lesser brand, it’s told me it can answer my questions and hit an emotional chord with me. (I’m always looking at my old race times when I think about improving for my next race).
But how do you write better introductions?
Well, you don’t need hours of practice.
Instead, you can just employ these three introduction hacks to get better right now…
Hack #1: Start With A Question?
Do you know what’s amazing about human psychology?
It’s that we always want to create the complete picture.
And, questions are the perfect way to dig into that psychology. Why?
Because no matter how often I ask you a question…
You have the subconscious desire to find out what the answer is.
I’ve been doing it since the start of this article – and this section – and you’re still here.
Not only does it create interest in your article straight away, it also guides the reader down the page unknowingly – much like Bucket Brigades that we’ll talk about later.
This is such a simple hack that so many bloggers and writers overlook.
If you want an excellent example of this style of opening, head over to SmartBlogger. Jon Morrow and his writing team have this down to absolute perfection.
You take an emotion, or a common belief, and press them about it. Passive Income does sound enticing. And, you want to read the next section to find out exactly what’s so enticing about it.
Then he hits you with a bundle of emotions about the topic. Because he’s got you with the first question, he’s able to hit you with a big right hook of emotions.
I’ve used this same technique in my articles and got great success:
In the text box below I’ve included some copy and paste introduction questions that you can use to start your own articles.
Just fit your words into the gaps provided.
Copy and Paste Introduction Questions
What if I told you that [subject] doesn’t need to be [power word] or [power word]?Don’t know what a power word is? Keep reading this article to find out!
- What if told you that baking doesn’t need to be messy or dirty?
- What if I told you that photography doesn’t need to be hard or expensive?
- What if I told you that meditation doesn’t need to be confusing or boring?
It sounds [emotion], right?How many times have you tried to [subject] but found yourself in [undesireable situation]?
- It sounds scary, right?
- It sounds crazy, right?
- It sounds beautiful, right?Have you ever wished that you could [desired action] without having to [undesired action]?
- How many times have you tried going to the gym but found yourself bored and fat after two months?
- How many times have you tried forming a new habit but found yourself back to old ways in just days?
- How many times have you tried to learn German and found yourself not being able to get past Hallo?Do you [improved situation] when you [take action]?
- Have you ever wished that you could get a new phone without paying hundreds of dollars in monthly fees?
- Have you ever wished that you could eat carbs without having to worry about piling on the pounds?
- Have you ever wised that you could pick up girls without have to learn how to become a pick up artists?
- Do you smell better when you wear cologne?
- Do you get less injuries when you use a foam roller?
- Do you save energy when you use LED light bulbs?
All you have to do now is give them an emotional spike that makes them want to read the rest of your article because they know they’re in the right place.
Hack #2: The APP Method
This is an introduction method used by Brian Dean in his Copywriting Case Studies. And, it’s so effective I couldn’t not include it.
The methodology is simple:
- Agree: Recognise the reader’s problem, acknowledge it and agree with it.
- Promise: Make a promise about fixing their problem.
- Preview: Give them a taste of what you’re going to show them in the article.
This is one of the most useful frameworks you can use if you’re stuck for ideas.
Because all you have to do is fill in the blanks and you have an instantly good introduction.
Let’s take a look at it in action, shall we?
Here’s a sample blog post from Stencil. I’ve chosen this because I wanted to show you the method in action without Brian being the one to have written it.
The first step the author takes is to agree with the reader. Take the problem and go, “You know what, I agree, doing that is seriously not enjoyable”.
It’s simple, but it’s perfect. That first set of sentences instantly shows a reader they’re at the right article for their search query. You’ve matched their search intent.
The next step is to make a promise and give a preview. Now, there are two ways you can approach this. You can either roll them into one, or you can make them separate.
In my experience I’ve found either of them work, it all depends on your article and audience. Here – because they use shorter articles and have a short window to grab attention – they’ve rolled it into one:
To give you another idea of how this works in practice, take a look at the screen shot below from this very blog-
Although it is tweaked slightly, it follow the same premise.
They tell you the problem that they’re going to fix, and tell you what they’re going to show you in the article. It’s quick, simple and effective.
So, how do you use this hack for yourself? Well, all you have to do is take the example from the cheat sheet below and use it for yourself…
APP Method Cheat Sheet
I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say:
Doing [subject] is really [bad emotion or situation].
Or, is it?
Well it turns out that [achieving desired situation] may not be as [emotion] as you’d have thought. All you have do is [solution].
In this article I’m going to show you exactly how I [achieved goal/got result].
If you want to know more, all you have to do is read on…
Example Intro #1
“I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say:
Travel Hacking is really hard to wrap your head around.
Or, is it?
Well it turns out that getting all the points that you need to fly for free may not be as hard (or as confusing) as you may have thought. All you have to do is follow a simple system.
In this article I’m going to show you how I used this Travel Hacking system to fly return from New York to Sao Paulo for free, with a night’s free hotel stay thrown in too.
If you want to save money on travel and make sense of Travel Hacking, all you have to so is read on…”
Example Intro #2
“Learning to become a freelance writer can be daunting…
…and like most people:
You probably have no idea how to get started either.
But let me be honest with you:
Anyone can start making money online as a freelance writer, including you!
So in this post, I’m going to show you how to turn that freelance dream into a profitable career.”
Hack #3: Build ‘Em Up And Knock ‘Em Down
That was officially my favourite subheading to ever write.
And, it’s because it’s one of my personal favourite strategies.
With this method you utilise something call The Bridge Model.
It’s an old NLP method I picked up when I worked in corporate companies back in the UK.
And, now it works brilliantly to get people to read your articles.
It takes three steps:
- The Desired Situation: Let them picture where they want to be.
- The Current Situation: Bring them back down to earth.
- Offer A Bridge: Create a bridge between the two situations, and position your article as the solution.
Quite often you’ll find copywriters use just one step of this process. Maybe two, when they preview their article. But when you put all three together you really feel the benefit of it.
I even used it in the introduction of this article to drag you down the page.
Here it is in action, with the first step I build the big picture of what you want from SEO copywriting.
In the second step, I reiterate where you are now. That makes you feel the pain and discomfort of where you are right now.
That’s the current situation section:
Then, finally, I make this article the bridge that closes the gap on the two:
Boom! That’s the end of it. You’re hooked and can’t help but scroll down. It ticks all the boxes:
- Matches the search query
- Contains emotion
- Poses questions
- Adds a promise
- Previews the content
Want to use this for yourself? Here’s a cheat sheet to help you use it in your own articles.
The Bridge Model Cheat Sheet
Image you could [desired situation]. How good would your life be?
If you could [paint a picture of their ideal world. What they strive for and what they wish they had].
But, right now, here you are. Without any of that.
[Paint picture of their current situation]. What went wrong?
But, it doesn’t have to be this way:
There is a way you can start [subject]. And, it’s not too hard to do for yourself. All of the answers you need are right here in this article. To get them, you just need to read on.
“Imagine you could make all of your money through your blog. How good would it be?
You could lift up the lid of your laptop, write a few blog posts, connect with your readers – then sit back, relax and watch the money roll in. It’s the dream, right?
But right now, here you are. Sat in front of your laptop, reading this article, wishing that was your life.
You’ve tried all of the courses. You’ve listened to all of the webinars. And, you’ve poured your heart and soul into finding your passion. And while it feels like everybody esle can make a living from blogging – you’re struggling to put food in your belly.
But, it doesn’t have to be this way:
There is a way you can start monetising your blog. And you’ve been sitting on top of at all along. It doesn’t cost you any money, and you’ll find all the answers for free right here in this article.
All you have to do to get it is scroll down…”
#04: Use These Simple Sentences To Boost Your On-Page Time
If you’re a Brian Dean fan, you’ve probably heard him talk about Bucket Brigades.
When you use Colons and Ellipses to, well…
Drag someone down the page. And, because you are a completion-ist, you can’t help but read the next sentence, can you?
Nope. See. I did it again.
They are proven to reduce bounce rate and increase your on page time.
Not only that but when people bounce back to the search results from your site, that is a strong negative ranking factor that you want to avoid.
But they also aren’t just limited to colons and ellipses.
There are lots of phrases you can use to assist people down the page that will increase your on-page time (and if you do it right, your conversions, too).
- But wait, there’s more…
- It gets better
- Let me explain…
- Now, there is one more point I need to make…
- Yes, you read that right
Heck, if you combine them with Brian Dean’s Bucket Brigades from before, you’ll get have no chance of losing people on your page.
For example, if you’ve ever listened to Gary Vaynerchuck speak, you’ll notice he says one phrase more than anything else…”Let me explain.”.
And as soon as you hear it, it makes you want to listen to the next point he’s about to make.
It glides you though, naturally, what he’s about to say. And it’s no surprise that he uses it throughout his blog posts, too:
And you’ll notice in a lot of content by James Johnson, he uses the same techniques:
And with his latest project, he’s consistently able to get low bounce rates and high on page times on his articles.
You can simply go through your content and sprinkle them after you’ve written it.
Or, use data to figure out exactly where they need to go.
If you find people are dropping off after 15%, 20%, 45% and 65% of your content you can strategically place them there to get people to jump to the next stage and carry on further down the page.
#05: Create In-Content Links To Find What Your Audience Wants
Want to know which parts of your content your audience cares most about?
Well, in content links help you find that out.
If you’ve ever read one of my long blog posts, you’ll notice that they all come with a contents list.
Like this one from my list of every way to make money online:
By having these on my post not only does it make it really easy for your to navigate and for me to create a better user experience.
I’m also able to use a heat map – like the ones that come with SumoMe – to track where you’re clicking.
And that gives me valuable insight into the types of content that I should be creating.
For example, if everyone who was to come to my site was to click on…
- ‘Selling Your Own Products’
You may think this is obvious for a blog like mine. But, let me show you an insight.
It was a part of the post that gathered a lot of attention:
And I can use the links in all of the articles I’ve created in this format to see what content people are interested in, too.
How do you set this up? Well, it just takes a little knowledge of HTML.
You can find out everything you need to create links within your content by following this tutorial right here.
Once you have links set up you’re able to track them using tools like the Free Heat Map tool you get with SumoMe. All you have to do is hook it up to track the post.
Then, hey presto, you have insight-driven content ideas and a much better User Experience that Google will love. Win, win win!
#06: Drop Hints About Future Points In Your Content
A few years back I picked up a copy of a Copywriting Book from a local book shop.
It was one of those second-hand ones with thumbed pages and someone else’s notes pencilled into the margin.
It wasn’t a great book, but it did teach me one really important lesson:
Always tease your reader about what’s about to come.
In traditional copywriting – what it was originally intended for – this was about getting people further and further through a page or an advert.
In today’s SEO copywriting the rule still stands, because you want people to read as much as they can. This increase on-page time, social sharing and interactions on your page.
All of which influence rankings.
Stuart Walker does this really well over at Nichehacks. In his content you’ll find that he often alludes to the next points that are coming up in the post:
What this does is it keeps your reader, well…reading. Even if they bounce from the section on your page, they’ll be more likely to skip ahead to that section of your content.
This is a wonderfully simple way to increase the time spent on your page and bring people even further down your content.
I’ve even employed the trick in this article. (You may be picking up on me doing that throughout the article).
You can even combine this with the last point and link ahead to the points that you’re making in your article, too. You can track the clicks and drop hints.
Incorporating this into your article is easy, too. If you’re writing you can drop it in when you find a point that’s related. Or when you’re editing you can go through and drop them in.
#07: Make Your Long Tail Keywords Sound Natural With This One Simple Trick
Long Tail Keywords are great for search engine traffic. But the problem with them is that they don’t always sound natural.
What people type isn’t exactly the same as what they speak.
You’d never walk into a shop and say, “Fix iPhone 7 phone speaker”, because you’re not four years old. But that’s what people search.
And, when you try to blend these words into your SEO content, they don’t always sound natural:
So, how can you as an SEO Copywriter make them sound more natural and blend seamlessly into your content?
After all, a page optimized for an exact match keyword will still rank more highly than one that isn’t (or for a variation of).
Well the answer is simple, and you’re going to smack yourself when you hear it. Ready?
Make them sound natural.
While an exact match Keyword is ideal you just can’t make Fix iPhone 7 Phone Speaker sound natural.
But, Google is smart enough to rank your page as highly with just a few extra words.
So, don’t be afraid to add extra words where needed.
My only real advice would be to not dilute your keyword so it’s not recognisable.
Instead just add one or two words to make it sound more human.
Here are some SEO copywriting examples:
Keyword: Fix iPhone 7 phone speaker
New Keyword: Fix your iphone 7 speaker
Keyword: Dog walking Manchester
New Keyword: Dog walking in Manchester
Keyword: Free Apple Mac Video Software
New Keyword: Free Apple Mac Video Editing Software
It is honestly that simple.
If you can make your keywords blend in without editing them, then please do it, but if they stick out like a sore thumb all of the time, then you need to employ this strategy.
#08: Ignore Your Parents Meal-Time Advice
Did your parents ever tell you to ‘save the best until last’ when you were younger?
Well, it may be great advice for getting you to eat your Brussel Sprouts; but it’s awful copywriting advice.
When you go to University, or you learn to write in School, you’re taught that good writing – like a novel – builds up to an amazing finish. It’s all about the ending.
Well, the truth about Copywriting is that you most people aren’t there for the ending. In fact, only about 30% of your readers will be there.
So it’s in your best interest to put the most important content at the top.
You know, what’s going to make the biggest impact. And, while all of your advice is valuable (you lovable little brain box you), you also have to be prepared to kill your darlings.
Okay, so the standard new copywriter structures their articles along these lines:
Starting at the top with the least important information and building to a crescendo of amazing information at the end of the article.
But by the time your at the middle import info, almost all of your readers are gone.
Instead, what I suggest you do is structure your articles like this:
This way – much like when you read a newspaper article – your audience can gather the information they need and drop off the page filled with the information that they need.
Now, this may sound a little against the grain. But, you’ll be surprised.
For example 6 out of 10 people will share your article without reading the full thing. So by giving them the information sooner, rather than later, you’re almost optimised for sharing.
In terms of conversions, you can even front-load your buy in’s and lead magnets, so people can take action at these parts of your articled too.
They’re getting the highest perceived value of your content, and they’ll be inclined to convert more early on.
#09: Remove Your Sidebars
This is a really small change you can make to your content that will have a big result.
Over the last few months I’ve been toying with using blog posts with no sidebars to capture email addresses.
I’d heard a lot of talk about them not being effective, and I was a little behind on testing it for myself. I ran a test with three different types of post:
The results I found on my search traffic blog posts were brilliant. Take a look at the results I’ve achieved from split testing wider posts without side bars:
Both of them have an over 90% chance of outperforming the original style post. My bounce rates went down, on page time went up and I’ve converted more subscribers overall.
I’ll be converting all of my posts to the wide format in the very near future.
This is a simple SEO copywriting tip but it can evidently make a big difference to your results.
After looking at this, you’ll probably realise you’re losing hundreds of visitors for no reason.
#10-#13: Create Tantalising Subheadings
Subheadings are an often overlooked part of your content. But, after your headline and your introduction, they’re the next most important element. Why?
Because 79% of your readers are scanners; they don’t read everything that’s been written. A sub-heading sells your readers on that section of the content. Let me demonstrate.
I’ve just broken the chain on my bike. So, I’m going to Google How To Change A Bike Chain. Here’s what comes up:
I’ll choose an article and click through. Now your first instinct is to read the introduction (or at least some of it) and then scroll to find the part of the article that I need:
I know how to remove my bike chain, so I’ll completely bypass this part of the article:
However as I scroll I find that the chain needs measuring – something I don’t know how to do – so I’ll stop here and read what I need to do to get the result I want:
This subheading sold me on this part of the article and I was engrossed in it, reading every word.
I may only have read 30-40% of the article in total, but the subheadings helped me get the answers I needed.
This doesn’t just work in the practical how-to articles, either.
This is important no matter what your article is about:
- Wedding dresses
- Nature commentary
- Family planning
- Health or games reviews
But how do you write good subheadings for your articles? Well let me show you.
There are 3 different types of high-performing subheadings, and they work for different articles in different ways.
I’ve highlighted the article type you should be using them for.
The Storyteller Strategy
Best For: How To, Long-Form Content, Commentary Pieces
The Storyteller approach is simple. Starting with your article headline you begin to tell a ‘story’ as your article carries on.
This is also a great way to structure your article before you’ve written it. Here’s an example…
Main Headline: How To Relocate To Costa Rica
Subheading #1: Leaving America – What You Need To Prepare At Home
Subheading #2: Finding Employment, Schools and Accommodation
Subheading #3: How To Transport Your Belongings
Subheading #4: Visas, Customs and Essential Paperwork
Subheading #5: Cultural Differences To Be Aware Of
Subheading #6: Learning The Language
Subheading #7: Staying Safe In Costa Rica
It’s not the most exciting style in the world. But, for search, it works. You’re able to capture scanners and pull them in at the points in the content that they want to read.
If you want to use it for a non-how-to article – like a social commentary – you can even spice it up a little:
Main Headline: Why Coffee Saved My Life
Subheading #1: Before Coffee I Was Weak And Feeble
Subheading #2: But After Coffee…What A Change
Subheading #3: My Observation Skills Went Through The Roof
Subheading #4: I Became More Productive At Work
Subheading #5: I Save Hundreds Of Dollars
Subheading #6: But I’ve Not Slept In Six Months…
Just be sure to follow the story of the promise that your headline makes.
The SmartBlogger Technique
Best For: Blog Posts, Tutorials, Commentary
SmartBlogger are excellent Subheading writers. And I’ve stolen some of their tactics for my own use in the past.
Their subheads, as pointed out in this great guest post by Gary Korisko, are based on:
Creating this mixture of emotions might sound hard, but if you follow these next few points, you’ll do it easily.
Don’t give away the answer: Don’t tell your reader what they need to know in the subhead. For example, “Eat Five Fruit and Vegetables A Day” becomes, “The Real Amount Of Fruit and Vegetables You Need To Eat…”
Don’t just attach labels: A label just tells you what the next section is, for example, “Important Coffee Ingredients”. Adding intrigue here can capture more scanners, for example, “The Coffee Ingredients That Improve Your Focus” would be more benefit driven and interesting.
Don’t be cryptic: In trying to create curiosity it’s common to mask the point altogether. For example, if you’re writing an article about baking, creating a subhead that says “Don’t Whisk Away Your Dreams!” doesn’t make much sense out of context.
The key with their style of headline is to make a point and draw the reader in, without letting the reader walk away from your article full of knowledge from just the headlines.
The Benefit Driven Subheading
The final type of SubHeading that I recommend is the Benefit Driven style.
That means your headline should display the benefit of reading the next step in the article.
This is quite easy to do. Instead of looking at what your next section is about, think about what it allows the person to do after they’ve read it.
Let’s say you’re writing an article about How To Write An eBook. Which of these two subheadings would be more appealing?
#1: How To Choose The Right Cover Design
#2: How To Choose A Cover That Sells More Books
Probably the second one, right?
Because if I’m writing a book I want to make money from it. If having the right cover design helps, then I’m in.
When trying to choose a benefit I find it asks the question, “Which allows them to do what?”.
Choosing the right cover design = selling more copies of the book = How To Choose A Cover That Sells More Books
Choosing the right font = people will read more of your book = The Fonts Your Audience Will Love To Read
Free formatting tools = you spend less money on your book = How To Format Your Entire Book For Free
It’s simple, easy and effective for getting people to dive into the next section of your article.
#14: Clear Up Your Bad Code
As Hobo Web point out here, Google was built to read bad HTML.
It can read any code, as long as it’s used in the correct way. After all, not every site will be perfect, and not everyone is a web designer.
I’m still a firm believer that having clean code, with as few mistakes as possible, has an impact on rankings.
With all of my clients sites, and my own sites, I like to make sure everything is correct (much the dismay of Guest Bloggers sometimes).
And when you’re writing blog posts – especially if you use Microsoft Word or Google Docs – and putting them into WordPress, you can find yourself with a lot of crappy code that makes your site harder to crawl.
Let me show you:
Take this blog post excerpt that’s been created in Google Docs. It looks all fine and pretty here, right?
Well, let’s take that and copy it into the WordPress Visual Editor as most bloggers and copywriters would do. Again, it looks all find and okay from a user point of view.
But if I go ahead and click the Text tab at the top of the page, you’ll see that it unlocks an absolute HTML nightmare behind it.
That you, or I, would never notice. But those Google crawlers are highly aware of:
There are Span Tags everywhere:
And you’ll find that there are unneeded spaces around Bold and Italic words that just don’t need to be there.
Ideally, you want your code to look clean and easy to read on the back end. No spaces, unusual tags or pointless other code that doesn’t serve a purpose.
Google is trying to find the answer to a query as quickly as possibly and you need to make that as easy as possible.
That’s why making your back end code look like this makes all of the difference (this is the above, cleaned up):
You can make this clean by using a Word Processor, so don’t fret if you’re not sure what you’re doing. Just copy it back, with the code, and then select the pieces you want to remove:
Then, once it’s all clear, copy it back into the text section of WordPress and it’ll go onto the site without the extra code.
You can even go back and do this through all of your existing blog posts and improve your crawl-ability in a heartbeat.
#15: Write For A Middle-School Reading Level
Have you ever wondered why most corporate blogs are so freaking boring? Well, it has a lot to do with the type of words they use.
Not only are they boring, they’re actually really hard to read. The long terms, business speak and buzzwords all make them difficult to interpret. But, why is that?
Well, most people who come to your site don’t read English to a high level. That goes for most of the world’s population.
Firstly, take a look at this screenshot from one of the Internet Marketing sites I work with:
Six out of ten countries on that list of countries will have learned English as a second language.
Meaning their English probably won’t be at a native reading level. They may even be using translation tools to help them understand.
But then, let’s look at America as a country, where a large chunk of that traffic is coming from. 50% of Americans struggle to read beyond a 5th Grade (11 years old) reading level.:
And it’s not just that way in the USA, either, the UK has a similar problem with 16-24 years olds.
So if you’re writing at above this level, you’re going to be creating content that people just can’t read (at least not enjoyably).
But, what does that mean for your SEO? Well, allow me to explain…
If people aren’t able to read or enjoy your content, they aren’t going to be able to:
- Link back to your content
- Share your content
- Understand what you’re saying and build your brand
- That means you’ve wasted a lot of time writing content for no gain at all.
- Let’s go through an example together. Take a look at these two quotes about language learning. Which of these two quotes is easiest to read?
“When you embark upon learning a new language it can often be difficult to differentiate between the different tones, nuances and inflections in people’s voices.
This is because they all originate in different areas, with their own dialects. To become proficient at this you need to invest lots of time and dedicate specific blocks of time throughout your week to be able to become attuned to this plethora of vocal ranges.
If you would be interested in learning how to listen to a language more effectively, please feel free to download our manifesto from the link below”
Or, Quote B:
“When you first learn a language, listening can be really hard! People’s voices sound really different, and it’s rare two are the same.
This is because each region has it’s own type of language called a dialect, and this can change how words are being said.
But, don’t worry!
By taking some time to practice throughout the week, you can start to understand all of these different tones of voice.
And, if you really want to get better at listening, you can download our manifesto below!”
It’s quote B, right? Because it uses simpler words and it sounds like someone talking to you.
Nobody speaks like that first comment. You’re engaged, connected and don’t need to stop to look up any of the words in a dictionary.
But, how do you measure what level your text is at, and what should you be aiming for? Well, that’s pretty simple.
In your Word Processor you should have a Readability statistics option. It’ll more than likely come under Spelling and Grammar. That will show you a box like this:
The bottom paragraph, the readability stats, are what you care about here. More importantly the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level.
Now, I won’t bore you with what all of that is. Instead I’ll tell you this – the number used is the grade of school that can read your text.
You want to aim to get this between a 7 .0 and 8.0 for most of your blog posts.
If you can get it down to a 5.0 or a 6.0 even better. But, it’s hard if your niche does have some specific industry terms.
The best way to do this is to go through your content multiple times and figure out if you can explain it in a more simple way. Or, if it’s how you’d actually speak.
Take out the big, unimportant, words and make it as easy to access as possible.
#16: Create Stand Out Title Tags
Brian Dean sent out an email a little while ago that talked through exactly how he managed to boost his organic traffic by 45.5% in just 7 days.
Here’s a snippet of the email if you missed it…
In it, he talks about adding emotion to your Page Titles Tags.
If you’re not sure what a title tag is, it’s the headline people see in Google for your article (which can look separate to your actual headline).
Like in the image below:
Adding emotion isn’t hard, either. According to Brain all you need to do is add one positive or negative emotion into your Title Tag.
Either will work and they’ll improve your CTR.
For example, let’s say I wanted to create a headline about different types of Fashionable Hats for Men.
The base headline would look like this:
10 Hats For Your New Outfit This Spring
That’s an okay headline, and it gets straight to the point. But, how do you make it emotional?
The simplest way is to add a power word (more on those later) at the beginning of the headline.
Awesome! 10 Hats For Your New Outfit This Spring
Snappy! 10 Hats For Your New Outfit This Spring
Phwoar! 10 Hats For Your New Outfit This Spring
Already you can see that’s added a new feel to the headline. It’s eye-catching, hits them with an emotion straight away.
But are there any other ways you can do it? Too right there are!
One I like to experiment with is sprinkling a power word into the headline at different points.
Let me show you…
10 Sexy Hats For Your New Outfit This Spring
10 Hats For Your Dazzling New Outfit This Spring
10 Hats To Ruin Your New Outfit This Spring
This makes the headline much more appealing, interesting and emotional. (Why will these hats ruin my new outfit?).
But how do you set up your Title Tags? The simplest way is to use the free Yoast SEO tool. It tacks onto the end of your blog posts and you can edit everything there.
You’re able to see how it’s going to look in Google, too. Meaning you can get the job done right the first time!
Split Testing Your Titles Easily
For every post I publish on this blog, I always write 3 different titles and split test them.
How do I do that?
Just install this free plugin and then create as many title variations as you want-
Once a winner is found, the plugin will automatically default to the most effective title.
It’s a great free plugin that everyone should be using!
#17: The Meta Description Hack You’ve Always Needed
Meta Descriptions are what people see when they find your content in a Search Engine. You know, that little box that shows up right here:
And they’re an often overlooked part of your article.
Because, well…if you’re not an SEO you don’t really have much experience with them. But they can have a big impact on your overall SEO.
Google is quite open about the fact that they don’t use Meta Descriptions as a ranking factor.
However that’s not what you should be worried about here.
This Meta Description provides a window into your content. It helps people decided before they look at your page if they want to read your content.
Now, most of them end up being just a snippet from your article, like this:
But they are totally editable – I’ll show you how to do that in a second – and you can capitalise to make them more clickable. According to Neil Patel your Meta Descriptions should be:
- Descriptive: Talk about what your article is about.
- Persuasive: Convince the reader they should choose your article.
- Inspire Curiosity: Make the reader inquisitive about the content on the other side.
- Match The Searchers Intent: Show that this article is what they’re looking for.
- 156 Characters Or Less:Make it Tweet-sized and you’re onto a winner.
Let me show you some examples of great Meta Descriptions.
This first one from Express VPN is a good example:
It’s short and sweet but ticks all of these boxes. If I’m looking for a guide on how to set up a VPN, I’d feel in safe hands here.
And if we go for another high volume search, take a look at this great example from a Plumbers New York search:
It only takes a few words to create a truly good Meta Description.
While you may be willing to overlook this section, part of the reason why good meta descriptions are so effective is because there are so many wasted ones.
So make the most of the opportunity.
You can make all of these changes easily using the Yoast SEO Plugin.
Meta Description Cheat Sheet
Instead of just giving you some generic descriptions you can’t use, I’ve built these to fit the three most common post types.
And, they can updated to fit any style of post you may write, too.
How To Article
Want to know how to [keyword]? Then you need this guide! Inside you’ll find [X] simple techniques to help you [subject] without [undesired situation].List Post
- Want to know how to make sushi? Then you need this guide! Inside you’ll find 15 simple techniques to help you make sushi without the mess.
- Want to know how to see Berlin in 24 hours? Then you need this guide! Inside you’ll find 10 must see tourist attractions to help you see Berlin without getting lost.
- Want to know how to lose fat? Then you need this guide! Inside you’ll find 10 simple fat loss techniques to help you burn the fat without giving up your life.
[Subject] getting you down? Then you’re in the right place. This list of [X] [things] about [keyword] will make you [positive emotion].Business Home Page
- Writing meta descriptions getting you down? Then you’re in the right place. This list of 10 perfect meta description examples will make you over the moon!
- Learning Spanish getting you down? Well, you’re in the right place. This list of 20 spanish language hacks will have you convering in no time.
- Finding books to read getting you down? Then you’re in the right place! This lisot of 8 successful business books will solve all your problems!
Looking for a [business type] [location]? Then look no further. We’re specialists in [subject] and we want to help you [get desired result].
- Looking for a Plumber in London? Then look no further. We’re specialists in Plumbing and Heating and we want to help you for the best price.
- Looking for Thai food in San Franciso? Then look no further. Here at Try Thai we make Thai Street food with a twist, to fill you up and spice up your pallet!
- Looking for Furniture Removals in Sydney? Here at Puolos Removals we try and make your move as easy as possible! Click here to find out more.
#18: Say What You Mean
When you write there are two elements to it. What you wrote and what you meant.
As the fitness blogger and New York Times bestselling author, John Romaniello, puts it:
“Everyone can read what you wrote; the only person who truly knows what you meant was you. There is often a pretty big gulf between those two things.”
But closing that gap and creating content that people understand isn’t hard at all. In fact you can do it by using bold and italic writing. And while this may sound like a nice to have and not a need to have, you’d be wrong:
By describing yourself more accurately you not only create more engaging content – thus improving on-page time and the amount of your content that is read – you also make your content more scannable.
Reading on the internet takes up to 25% longer than on paper, so people are more likely to scan through your content. Using bold and italics will catch their eye as they skim and mean that the sentences that they are picking out help your overall.
Now I don’t want to turn this into too much of a writing class, so here’s what I suggest you do…. Whenever you type something, read it back to yourself, and look for where you
Whenever you type something, read it back to yourself, and look for where you should be stressing a point.
Let me give you an example. I’ll use the sentence, “I don’t think Digital Marketing is boring”.
- “I don’t think Digital Marketing is boring” – this implies that you don’t think Digital Marketing is boring, but someone does.
- “I don’t think Digital Marketing is boring” – this implies that you don’t think Digital Marketing is boring, you know.
- “I don’t think Digital Marketing is boring” – this implies that you don’t think Digital Marketing is boring, but you think something else is.
- “I don’t think Digital Marketing is boring” – this implies that you don’t think it’s boring, it’s something else.
And, as a byproduct, the number of people you’ll reach.
#19: Use A Serif Font To Mind Control Your Readers
Your font is the body language of your content. While your words say one thing, your font says something different.
For example, if someone was to send you their resume and it was written in Comic Sans, you’d assume a small child had written it.
But if you get it in Times New Roman or Calibri, it feels a lot more professional.
Now, not only can your font set the tone for your content, it can also impact how long people read for.
When people read they follow something called a scan path. And, for most people who’s language goes from left to right across the page, we follow a path like this:
And the font that you choose can either help someone along that path, or cause someone to drop off. Without getting too in detail, let me explin…
There are two types of fonts you need to know about. Serif fonts and Sans Serif.
Serif fonts are the fonts that have a little flick at the end of each letter, like handwriting and Sans Serif fonts don’t have that.
That little flick can be the difference between someone staying on your content for longer, or dropping off early.
As Andy Maslen points out in his book Write To Sell, it shuffles people down the page and makes them read for longer.
As the Crew blog found, these fonts can also impact how people feel about your content. Like how the fonts on Medium have a calming, but authoriative, feeling to them.
Now this isn’t essential for you. After all, you’ll notice that I don’t use a Serif font on this blog. But what I have found is that if you don’t use a Serif font it’s important to use a BIGGER font.
Big fonts are easier to read. More accessible. And, while they may not be too aesthetically pleasing, they convert much higher. As I also found in my test of other page layouts.
Go big or go serif; it’s your choice.
#20: Get Comfortable With Power Words
Power Words have insane potential for your SEO copywriting. They’re the most, well…powerful words you can use. But what is a power word?
It’s a word that creates and emotion in someone. When it’s read, it evokes a feeling in someone that compels them to think, feel or take an action. They’re also words that stick in your mind.
You can use them in your headlines, your text, you calls to action and everywhere between to create a response in someone.
Now there are hundreds of power words you can use, so I’m going to refer you to this guide that contains all of them, and seperates them by letter.
Or, if you want to know which words create an emotion, you can check out this SEO copywriting guide from SumoMe.
You can also pickup either of these awesome copywriting books-
These are great books to have lying around on your desk for quick reference when writing any type of copy and are jam packed with power words.
They are structured by descriptors and benefits – for example if you wanted to create the feeling of Romance, you could instantly find all the right words to do that-
There are also a bunch of extra copy writing tips, structures and more for quick reference and perfect for anyone that wants to improve their SEO copywriting skills.
#21: Use The Active Voice
The active voice is a way of writing (or speaking) that has a lot more clarity. It uses fewer words and reads a lot better.
Now I don’t want to give you a grammar lecture here. Instead, I want to show you first what it is. And then what it means for SEO.
So, what is the active voice?
According to the brain’s over at Duke University it’s a shorter, personal and more direct approach to writing. Basically, it’s writing how you’d speak.
The active voice is structured like this:
[Subject] – [Action] – [Object]
- Matt does SEO.
- James plays guitar.
- Michael eats pizza.
Okay, before your eyes glaze over, hear me out. At school you’re taught to write in the passive voice and that is bad for SEO. Mainly because it’s really hard to read, and doesn’t create a good user experience.
Passive voice is like this:
[Object] – [Action] – [Person]
- The SEO was done by Matt.
- The Guitar is plays by James.
- The pizza was eaten by Michael.
See the difference? It makes sentences longer and it’s really damn boring to read. People will switch off and your on page time will plummet.
Take a look at these two examples and tell me which one is easier to read.
The SEO is done differently by our technical team. We aim to find the best and most highly ranking keywords and use them strategically so that your site can be ranked well by Google and help you generate from new clients.
Or, this one:
We do SEO differently here. We find the highest ranking keywords and strategically place them on your site so that you can rank higher and generate new income from new clients.
The second one, right? Not only is it shorter, it’s like someone is talking to you. It has a snap, crackle and pop. Which is exactly what you’re looking for.
If you’re unsure if you’re using passive voice – most non-Grammar Geeks are – here’s a simple trick to follow from Rebecca Johnson:
I finally learned how to teach my guys to ID the passive voice. If you can insert “by zombies” after the verb, you have passive voice.
— Rebecca Johnson (@johnsonr) October 18, 2012
So if you can add ‘by Zombies’ after what you said, it was in the passive voice. For example:
- This article was written by zombies
- The design work was done by zombies
- The town was attacked by zombies
#22: Use Grammarly To Make Sure Your Content Is Up To Scratch
Grammarly has made a huge difference to my SEO copywriting over time.
It’s common, when you’re writing an article of this length, to get so used to what you’ve written, you miss your own mistakes. No matter how many times you read it over.
The Grammarly tool is a much better way to make sure you catch all of your grammatical mistakes and rectify them with just a few clicks of a button.
Honestly, I only recommend tools that I use day in and day out.
This is one of the most effective content creation tools that you can’t afford to ignore it.
Even if you just grab the free version.
#23: Link Internally (Like, All The Time)
One of the first tips I ever give to a new copywriter is to make the most of internal linking.
If you’re not sure what it is, internal linking is where you link from one page on your site to another. For example, if I mention Snapchat in an article, I can link to one of my articles about Snapchat.
Not only does this increase the time people spend on your site, it also allows you to spread the power you get from Backlinks to your site around to different areas of your site.
Increasing your overall presence in the eyes of google.
It also makes your site quite easy to crawl, because there are many ports of call where the ‘spiders’ can find their way to different parts of your site.
When you don’thave backlinks, creating a site structure like this is of real importance to you.
You can use the free SEO Auto Linker plugin to do that easily-
Although it hasn’t been updated for a while, it is definitely the best plugin for the job!
Wrapping It Up
Phew! That was a long article.
But hopefully you’ve walked away armed with lots more SEO copywriting tips that will get you the results you’re looking for.
But, let’s do a quick recap to make sure you’ve taken the most important information from this article:
- Introductions are key: If you don’t get your introduction right, you’re wasting valuable traffic. For a simple solution, open with a question. After that, start trying to add emotion.
- Article structure: Don’t save the best until last. Hit your audience with key information, first.
- Title Tags and Meta Descriptions: Make sure your presence in the SERPs is felt by using emotion and custom descriptions.
- Create in content links: So you can find out exactly what your audience is looking for and cater to it.
- Write for a middle-school reading level: So your work is as accessible as possible. Using the active voice makes this a lot easier.
- Remove all of your bad code: Because why let bad HTML stand in your way?
Let me know in the comments below!