“If you build it, they will come” is excellent advice on the silver screen, but unfortunately doesn’t apply as well to digital marketing—your landing pages and blog posts won’t see visitors just because you publish them; your content needs to really resonate with your target audience, align with what they’re searching for, and understand how they’re searching for it.
We call the process of understanding, qualifying, and implementing audience search data to increase unpaid website traffic “SEO copywriting” or “search engine optimization copywriting.” In this article, we’ll show you step-by-step how to create content tailored to your audience that will help you appear higher in your target audience’s search engine results pages (SERPs).
Step 1: Keyword Brainstorming and Research
Before we can start writing our landing pages or blog posts, we must understand which “keywords”—the words or phrases typed into a search engine—our target audience is using.
We’ll start our list by thinking about the main goods, services, or information our organization offers and creating a brief list of no more than two dozen short words or phrases. For example, in the case of client alumni Rescue Desk, a virtual assistant firm in Madison, WI, we started with a list of about 20 terms including “virtual assistant” and “project management support.”
While these words well describe how Rescue Desk helps its clients, it is important to note that rather broad terms like these could be frequently searched and connected to businesses and organizations of all sizes across the globe. We call “big picture” keywords like these “Fat Head” keywords. This small group of about one hundred top keywords for any given industry or topics is responsible for millions of searches each month making it difficult for anyone other than large national or international companies to appear among the first SERPs.
Although they are competitive, Fat Head keywords make up only a fifth of all search queries. The majority of all searches made online are spread across thousands of “Chunky Middle” or “Long Tail” keywords. These are longer variations of our Fat Head keywords that may be more specific or take the form of a question. For example, Chunky Middle or Long Tail keywords for “virtual assistant” might include “virtual assistant responsibilities” or “what does a virtual assistant do?”.
To broaden our original list of Fat Head keywords, we’ll do a second round of brainstorming: For every Fat Head keyword, we’ll come up with a few dozen Chunky Middle or Long Tail variations. There are helpful tools online that can assist in this list-making process:
If you need help navigating these tools or kickstarting your research process, we offer keyword research coaching sessions!
Step 2: Keyword Qualification
We now have a few hundred possible keywords that well-represent our organization—but which ones are most likely to help us appear in our target audience’s searches?
To narrow our keyword list before SEO copywriting, we have to understand how search engines like Google rank websites and their content—a vetting process that checks three key traits:
After weighing a website through each of these lenses, Google assigns it one score from 0-100. This score is called a “domain authority” and helps us determine how competitive we can be in our keyword selection. In other words, is there a chance we may appear for some of the Fat Head keywords we identified at the beginning or our brainstorming? We can check the domain authority score for our website using a free, online tool like Moz.com.
With our domain authority in hand, we can begin checking how well each of our potential keywords matches the following criteria:
Once we’ve checked all of our potential keywords against these criteria, we’re ready to take those that have matched our standards to the next step: keyword implementation and SEO copywriting.
Step 3: Keyword Implementation
We have two important questions we need to make before using our keywords for SEO copywriting:
Once we’ve identified the pages we need to edit and those we need to create, we can start the editing and writing process. For each page new or old on which we implement keywords, we should ensure that the selected keyword is incorporated into the following aspects of the page’s HTML coding for proper indexing by Google:
Step 4: Publish and Evaluate Results
Congratulations! You’ve published your first content using the SEO copywriting process. Now, we want to ensure that all of our hard work pays off by keeping track of the pages we’ve implemented keywords on, where they’re appearing in SERPs, and how our optimized content may be impacting our website’s domain authority. This can be a slow process (we recommend checking in on each of these indicators quarterly using a spreadsheet), but one that can have big payoff for your digital marketing efforts as it did for SBS client alumni 3L Living, Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley, and Rescue Desk.
If you need additional support to help you at any step of the SEO research, copywriting, or tracking process—we are happy to help! We offer SEO strategy and local search assistance to help your organization reach your target audience.