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SEO Copywriting Tips: 7 ranking factors to consider in your writing

SEO Copywriting Tips: 7 ranking factors to consider in your writing

Inside this article:

For any content creator, incorporating SEO copywriting to their services can be a good reason to charge more for services.

An article that's not read by anyone is worthless.

An article that generates steady flow of organic traffic can be a constant cash generator for a business.

You may have seen this meme at SEO Signals Lab Group.

copywriting for seo prices
Credits: Steven Kang, SEO Signals Lab Group

That can be you!

What is SEO copywriting anyway?

SEO copywriting is an art of creating compelling content that will keep people on your page. SEO copywriters have to take care of readability, quality, and search engine optimization at the same time, making their skills highly desired among website owners.

You probably have heard about hundreds of ranking factors that Google takes into account while calculating results.

Worry not. You don't have to know all of them. (Well... nobody does!)

Instead, check out 7 SEO copywriting tips that will help you elevate every content piece you write.

1. Write for user intent

Behavior on the page is an indirect but essential SEO ranking factor.

You have to make sure that the content you produce meets the search intent for your target keyword.

  • If there are only “how-to” articles in a given SERP (search engine results pages), your product page won’t rank.
  • If listicle articles are ranking for a query, think about creating a listicle article yourself.
  • If there are only directories ranking in Google, your homepage won’t break to the top.

To figure out user intent, check what's already ranking for your target keyword.

This is what I got for the "content marketing" key phrase:

Content Marketing SERP resul

Based on that, I know that I won't be able to rank a service page and writing a long-form article is my best shot!

Why should you follow your competitors on this? The answer is pretty simple. Google has many users who generate behavioral signals. If a top optimized page does not meet user intent - it drops in search engine rankings.  

The conclusion is that people read the top-ranking pages because they are mostly meeting search intention since they remain on the first page of Google.

Analyze your organic competitors to figure out search intent for your target phrase.

2. Improve readability with the right header structure

The second user-related factor is readability. If you don't share information in an easy to read and understand form, you will lose in the SEO game as well.

To make sure your content is easy to scan, you have to take care of your headers structure.

H1 is reserved for the title and there should be just one for a page.

H2 is a sub-header. You can use it for different sections of your blog posts

H3 has a lower priority than H2. It's a sub-section.

You can use H4, H5, H6 sections if you want, but too many headers can just make it way to complicated. Stick to H1, H2, H3 in your writing and you'll be fine.

This is the structure of one of articles published on our blog:

You can check content structure like this with Surfer's SERP Analyzer. Just create a query and click "Explore text of important elements" next to your page:

Plan your headers structure so it's easy to navigate throughout the article.

3. Add your keyword and important phrases to headers

Speaking of headers...

Great SEO copywriters know that using relevant phrases where they belong is essential for SEO success.

If you write with Surfer's Content Editor, it's very easy to figure it out.

For the "content marketing" keyword, there are some words and phrases that should appear more often than others, like content (90 times), marketing (57 times), audience (22 times), and others.

Consider adding them to your headers.

Surfer checks important phrases based on top ranking pages, so using them is your great shot to win SEO rankings.

4. Avoid wall of texts

Be sure that you won't welcome the reader with a wall of text.

Avoid too long sentences, and use paragraphs to separate sections and make sure that headlines give helpful insight into the content below. Just as we discussed in the second point.

Only a combination of the right user intent and readable form will make your users stay on the page, sending highly positive behavioral signals.

To provide great reading experience:

  • Break your content into 1-3 sentences per paragraph
  • Use bullet lists
  • Add images relevant to your point
SEO copywriter should think beyont the content. Structure is just as important as your words!.

5. Calculate content length

Once you know your keyword, you must know: how long should your blog post be?

You may have encountered “perfect blog post length” somewhere on the web. Different sources say it’s somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 words.

Very often, the number of words  correlates with the position in SERP. Sometimes your article is just not comprehensive enough to get a chance for organic traffic.

In general, there is no such thing as "otpimal word count".

Longer forms tend to rank higher, but it is just statistics that don't apply to every single keyword.

User intent determines the length, and it varies between niches and even similar keywords. It sounds scary, but in fact, there is a simple solution for determining the right length. Just analyze your competitors, here is an example:

Short forms only on top 10 ranking pages?

Make your content outstanding and provide something special, but don't try to write an essay. Lengthy articles will do the job when the long-form is deserved by the users.

So here come behavioral signals again - if 7 out of top 10 ranking pages are long forms - go for it since users prefer this approach to answer for the searched query.

With Keyword Surfer, you can see the content length of top-ranking sites:

As you see, top four pages in Google for "pillar pages examples" are quite long.

Three of them are 3,000+ words, one is slightly under 2,000.

Based on that I can assume that an article around 4,000 is my best shot to rank for this keyword.

Figure out the best content lenght before you start writing!

6. Cover all topics relevant for your keyword

Content gap represents which terms your article is missing.

This is one of the most fundamental SEO ranking factors related to semantic analysis.

You may ask: how I can tell what is missing?

You have two choices:

  • Study the topic and guess which segments of the article should be expanded
  • Analyze top-ranking pages content to find out missing words and phrases!

I personally prefer the second option. Google algorithm figured out whats the best answer for a given question already. There is no point in reinventing the wheel while your goal is writing SEO copy that matches the search engine requirements.

How to determine the content gap and fix it?

Scan top-ranking pages for your keyword and look for common topics. List them and try to cover with your article. The more common words and phrases you use, the smaller the content gap will be.  This is how quality content is created!

If you'd like an automated way of this, use Content Editor.

7. Take care of keyword density

It is beneficial for any SEO specialist if a writer understands what keyword density is and how to use it.

Keyword density determines how frequently a term is used. You can start by analyzing essential frequencies: target keyword and query words.

This is just the entry-level, which can be not enough for more competitive keywords.

Let's dig a bit deeper into this topic.

Exact keyword density is just not enough to optimize content and raise organic traffic.

Google is much smarter than it was a few years ago. Correct semantics means that you covered important topical segments and used relevant terms within the article.

There are plenty of ways to determine those like natural language processing (NLP), latent semantic index (LSI), or TF-IDF algorithm. All of the above are trying to recreate the algorithm. Instead of using those mentioned above,

I'd like to introduce Prominent words and phrases.

It is Surfer's unique algorithm of reverse-engineering the search results.

Correct semantic optimization means not only the use of the keywords but their frequency as well. You can obtain and calculate that on your own with spreadsheets.

Does it sound like the massive amount of manual work that you can't afford doing research for the regular SEO copywriting? It does.

This approach to optimization is extremally effective but time-consuming. What if I tell you that there is a way to automate it with Surfer?

Take ACTION now and find out how to use Surfer's Content Editor for SEO copywriting without additional research and calculations. Overtaking other SEO copywriters was never that easy. Content Editor works with WordPress and Google Docs as well.

Tips for a blogger on word usage

Get data-driven insights on length, structure, density, and terms to use. Smoothen your process and write compelling blog posts that search engines and readers will love and share in social media.