SEO Copy should appeal to humans
A seasoned SEO Copy Writer should first and foremost appeal to a users’ eyes – think readability. Next comes the SERPs, especially if an SEO Copywriter hopes to rank prominently in Google. But the real key to success may be an SEO Copywriter’s ability to appease one’s ears.
Putting SEO Copywriting and keywords aside for a moment, let’s think about what constitutes good website copy. It should be current, original, informative, authoritative, trustworthy (especially true for YMYL websites), and actionable.
Take The Aural Test
Ignoring one major area of the process can undermine your SEO Copywriting efforts, even if it has the above-mentioned traits except one: readability.
One of my biggest pet peeves in writing for the web is the use of industry and or technical jargon, or overly academic language. This can be detrimental to your efforts if your piece is intended for laypersons.
Online copywriters often get caught in this trap. While you absolutely want everything spelled and phrased correctly, it doesn’t mean you should follow every rule that you followed when writing a university essay on War and Peace.
Write for your audience
Overly dry, academic or technical content may be written appropriately. It may also contain industry jargon and brilliant information, but it will fail you if it isn’t easily readable and understood by your target audience.
If it’s too technical, too dense and improperly formatted, it could even turn off your readers. They’ll feel alienated by the language and seek a competitor who offers similar products, services or content but speaks to them in their own language.
Simply put, unreadable content will spike your bounce rate, lower dwell time and hurt your conversion rate. Not good.
This is where the “aural test” comes in handy. By reading your own copy out loud, either to yourself or to a friend, you get a stronger sense of how it sounds, and more to the point, how it may affect your web users. If it seems robotic and distant, that’s because it is. The best way to attract readers online is to speak in a way that really connects with them.
For whom are your words meant?
Before you start writing, know who your audience is. It’s always a good idea to develop a persona, or multiple personas if writing for more than one person.
Creating a persona gives you a good sense of who you’re writing for, why you’re writing for them, how best to convey the message and, when it matters, where they live. This is of special importance if optimizing your copy to be found locally, I.e., a neighbourhood, city, township, etc. This information will ensure that your piece is findable via ‘local’ or ‘near me’ search queries.
Now that you have your persona
Now that you know who you’re writing for, what will be the style and tone of your copy? Consider what action, if any, you want your reader to take.
Are you providing information on a product or service? Do you want your reader to complete a form, download a guide, make a purchase?
Answers to these questions will help determine how and what you write. For example, which of the following is it?
If your site is asking the reader to interact or transact with your website, as is the case with eCommerce, your copy may be more promotional in nature. If so, don’t keep them guessing. Let your readers know what you want them to do. For interactional and transactional sites, consider using a Call To Action (CTA), a critical component of any transactional site’s success.
In closing, keep your web copy relevant, natural, readable and scannable. In doing so, you’ll keep your readers on your site longer.
If you don’t trust my word, maybe Albert Einstein will do: “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.”
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