How to write content for Google

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of affecting a website’s visibility to search engines, like Google, so that it ranks well in search results. The higher a website ranks, the more likely it will generate traffic.

For a website to be well optimised, several factors come into play (clean code, inbound links, etc.), but as an SEO copywriter, I work with the words. 

In this article I outline how I write Google-friendly website content. I welcome your thoughts, so please leave your comments at the end.

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Key words

Key words are words or phrases that prospects type when looking for  your products or services in search engines. For every page I write, I usually identify  2-3 key words that are relevant and unique. I never use the same key words on every page because this will only dilute the effect. The idea is to direct prospects to a specific page with specific words that are relevant to their needs and then speak to them directly in the copy.

When choosing key words, make sure they are buying terms. By this I mean words or phrases that a prospect would use when they actually want to buy your products or services, not just inquire about them. For example, I’m an SEO copywriter, so it would be better to use SEO copywriter as a key word rather than SEO copywriting. Do you see the difference?

How to know which key words to use

A simple way to identify key words is by using Google Adwords key word tool. It’s is free and allows you to see which words people are using in the regions that you operate. It also shows how many searches are made per month compared to how much competition there is for that word or phrase. Rule of thumb: I usually choose the words that have high use but don’t have too much competition — go where the traffic isn’t!

For key word ideas you can check out your competition. Go to their website,  right-click  on a page and then click “view page source.” You’ll be able to see what key words they use.

Writing website content

Once I have chosen the key words, it’s time to include them in the content. Not so long ago, SEOs would pick a key word and use it relentlessly throughout a website. At the time this strategy would increase inbound traffic.  The result, though,  was poor content that, quite frankly, wasn’t worth reading.

Thankfully, Google got wise to this, as well as other black-hat strategies, and took action with a number of updates to their algorithm, which included the Panda and Penguin updates. 

Don’t over use your key words; Google will punish you! Use key words sparingly on each page   (perhaps 3-4 times ). The best places to put them are in the headings, particularly the H1 heading and near the beginning of the text. Whatever you do, it’s important that your content reads naturally and isn’t contrived. The reader is more important than the search engine..

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Title tags and meta descriptions

One of the most important places to put your key words is in the title tags. Title tags are the headings that show up in Google searches. Every title tag should be unique to each page and should be no more than  65 characters including spaces.

A meta description appears under the title tag and explains what the page is all about. For this reason it should be written in a persuasive way. If you don’t write a meta description, Google will just take the first part of the text on your page, which isn’t always ideal.  Though you don’t need to include key words in meta descriptions for SEO, I usually do. This is because, if a prospect has searched for a specific key word, then that word will display in bolt type in the search result. Meta descriptions should be no more than 150 characters without spaces.

An example of a title tag and a meta description for a hypothetical plumbing-supplies company:

Title tag: Sink fittings and tapware, Wellington, New Zealand

Meta description: We’re a plumbing-supplies company based in Wellington, New Zealand. Visit our site to learn about our great deals and service. 

SEO copywriting is a balancing act between producing content for people as well as search engines. It’s a challenge, but a lot of fun.

 

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