Can I promise you one thing?
This is not the umpteenth boring list about writing SEO texts.
I’m going to talk about Fight Club, Jinek, Telfort advertising …
Examples showing how to interest a public, tell a good story , and that has become increasingly important for the score of your texts in the search results thanks to Google’s RankBrain .
A development that makes me happy as an experienced copywriter.
Interesting story: ranking up.
Boring story: ranking down.
Interesting story : ranking up. Boring story: ranking down.
But before we deal with the best part of search engine optimization (SEO), you still have to think carefully about the subject, purpose and structure of your piece. I will go into that first. Combine it with the addictive elements of a story (hi, Netflix) and you can write SEO texts as the best.
Successful SEO writing in a nutshell
- Define the subject and goal (# 1 to # 3).
- An SEO-proof structure (# 4 to # 6).
- Keep your reader interested (# 7 to # 13).
This story starts with a short history. For the necessary context. Who wants to go straight to Fight Club, is free to scroll through;)
Why SEO texts used to be such misfires …
Long ago, in the time that our Prime Minister still looked like Harry Potter and we enthusiastically scrambled on Hyves, there were already writers who wanted to get their texts higher in Google.
Beautiful men’s shoes. From Zwolle. Source: Unsplash
Many SEO articles were certainly not literary masterpieces:
‘At Klaassen men’s shoes in Zwolle you will find the best men’s shoes in Zwolle and surroundings. Are you looking for men’s shoes (in Zwolle)?
It did not have to, either, because Google did not really know what the difference was between a relevant blog and a spammy landing page.
You just put the keyword very often in a text.
You just put the keyword very often in a text.
But with the search giant they were not crazy either, and soon you got a ‘penalty’ for placing your search term too often on your page.
Marketers adhered well to the new guidelines. They only placed search terms in strategic locations .
Later they did that for synonyms or related searches.
Writing for SEO started to look like a formula: use X words in your article and X subheadings with X keywords in X variations …
And partly that is still true. But thanks to artificial intelligence, you can also score higher in Google in a different way.
Reading tip: The Evolution of On-Page SEO
… and how Google RankBrain makes SEO more enjoyable
Imagine that the terribly boring text writer at Klaassen in Zwolle now uses a Yoast-SEO plugin for WordPress.
He works well off green check marks for traditional SEO ranking factors (number of images, keywords, subheadings, etc. etc.)
The competitor from Hattem does that too, but her story is much more fun to read! There is humor, useful information and personal anecdotes.
A self-learning algorithm such as RankBrain will find that shoe seekers click on the piece of Hattem earlier. Linger longer. Do not search further. React more often. Share the piece more. Her fascinating content is rewarded with a higher ranking.
(This is a fairly short turn around the corner.) In my earlier blog Artificial Intelligence and SEO, I will go deeper into how RankBrain works.)
Good news for creative writers! But then you have to know first WHERE you are going to write about …
Outsource creative SEO texts? Try CopyRobin for free.
Now place a test assignment
Determine the subject and goal
# 1 Do keyword research to the ‘winners’
Writing an SEO text still starts with thorough keyword research. You want to know with which terms you have a real chance to end with the first 10 results. Otherwise you write that fascinating story for nothing. How exactly do you do that? Read this article .
Reading tip: Keyword research. That’s how you find the ‘winners’.
# 2 Good story. Nice and short too.
Long content is not always better. Source: T-shirttoko
Let me also get rid of a misunderstanding: good content does not necessarily have to be very long.
Why then do I write a blog of 2500+ words?
# 3 A goal that meets the needs of your customers
Only with a clear goal, you can score convincingly. Source: Pexels
Because my goal is: to inform you as well as possible about what SEO texts are and how you write them successfully yourself.
In a longer piece I can better satisfy the search intention that goes with it (‘I want to write texts that I use higher in Google’). (In addition, Google answers more and more simple questions directly in the search results, and with longer answers to more complex questions, you can bypass that problem.)
Only with a goal do you know how to score as well as possible.
Your article always needs such a clear purpose. Only with a goal do you know how to score as well as possible.
Of course, that goal can be: ‘selling plush teddy bears’
Teddy knows very well what you want. Source: Pexels
The only question is whether with the keywords ‘buying a teddy bear’ you end up higher than big players like bol.com or beslist.nl.
That is why you sometimes have to play a bit with that goal. What is a need your customers have before they buy your product or service?
In the case of teddy bears, perhaps:
“How do I clean a hug without washing?” (And if that does not work with the old teddy, you might want a new teddy.)
An SEO-proof structure
You now know what you want to write about and what your goal is.
Time to put structure in your article.
One person likes to first tap a large piece of text and then structures, the other prefers to work from a premeditation. Experiment what works best for yourself.
# 4 Get inspiration from Udemy, YouTube, Wikipedia or …
Sometimes it helps to open a book. Source: Pexels
A good story has a head and a tail. You start with a catchy intro – about which later – and conclude with a summary.
But how do you organize exactly all the information in between?
There is not one ready-made solution for that. For this article I have chosen a chronological approach (first keyword research> then structure> then good writing), but you can also opt for:
- A didactic approach (from easy to difficult).
- A thematic approach (easily scanable per subject).
- A rollable approach (most important news at the top).
- A narrative approach (less clear and more exciting).
If you do not have that much experience with writing yet, I do not recommend the narrative approach. First try to write a clear article, then we will make it more exciting later.
What is well-organized?
Look for inspiration:
- how Wikipedia classifies a longer article ;
- how a comprehensive course on Udemy is built ;
- which order How-to keep videos on Youtube ;
- what does the best Google search result in English;
- or .. and this is a world-shattering tip in 2018, borrow a (paper) book on the subject at your local library.
# 5 Write at a level that suits your target audience
Upright wide slab floor?
Huh? What does that man talk about? (Considers the average consumer).
It’s good to stop at jargon for a bit longer.
But on a blog for the concrete industry you do not want to tire the reader with a constantly over-complete explanation.
Which text level fits best with your target group?
Government. We can not make it any easier … Source: Accessibility Foundation
If it concerns ‘the average Dutchman’, it is best to write at B1 level. That means, in short:
- Common words (here a searchable list ).
- Short paragraphs of 3-5 lines.
- Not too many stylistic tools such as irony or sarcasm.
Anyway general writing tips such as:
- Few passive constructions (will, can, be).
- Exchange short and long sentences.
- Choose consistently for ‘you’, ‘you’ or ‘you’.
But now we are already diving a bit in the tone of voice.
Very important, I will go into this in more detail, but remember: before you start writing, you must first write comprehensibly.
# 6 Use a tool for your SEO requirements
SEO tips while you write. Source: webtexttool
I have not talked at all about how many characters your title should be or how many links and search terms you have to put in the text.
This is where most of the blogs about SEO writing are about.
“Follow these rules and then everything will be fine.”
- State the search term / synonym in your URL.
- Mention the search term at the front of the title.
- Enter the search term in the meta description.
- Enter the search term in the first 100 words.
- Mention the search term in a subhead.
- Use synonyms at least two or three times in the text.
- Write at least 400 words.
- Place a relevant internal link.
- Place a relevant external link.
- Use a minimum of three
- Use at least two pictures (with alt tag description).
Yes, these rules are still important to be findable in Google. But I suggest that you take a good look at it once, and then use a simple tool for it .
For example, you have the previously mentioned Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress, the copywriters at my company CopyRobin have been using the more extensive Webtexttool for a while (gives tips on writing, including legibility and difficulty).
Then you yourself have more time for the fun part of writing .
Keep your reader interested
This is the future of SEO.
Enticing the searcher ( click-through rate ) to go to your content.
Captivating the viewfinder (eg dwell time ) so that he stays on your page
Google is increasingly rewarding these types of indicators.
# 7 A catchy title that changes your life (uhum ..)
Wondering what Sam looks like? Click, click, click. Source: Buzzfeed
Seducing starts with a title of course.
Often it refers to the king of the clickbait ‘BuzzFeed’ (and yes I am now also curious how Sam looks the cat).
I think you have to be careful to transfer the American model 1-to-1 to the Netherlands, but of course there are a few tricks you can learn from it:
- Make a promise in your title (and make sure you keep it!)
- Make curious
But there are other things that work:
Fear, frustration and anger are bigger motivators than we sometimes want to admit. For example, I could have also mentioned this article like this:
‘Why your carefully built-up SEO knowledge will soon be worthless’
Name hard numbers
This tip seems a bit in contradiction with ‘make curious’, but can work just as well. For example, when you can share a success:
‘With these 3 changes in my web shop I got 30% more turnover’
Or with so-called ‘brackets’ in which you clarify the form:
‘Simply set up your first WordPress site [step-by-step plan]
‘What deductions do I have as a self-employed person in 2019? [Checklist]
‘My experiences as a foot soldier in Syria [podcast]
Test what works!
You will not change from one day to another in a brilliant title-thinker ( although …), but by continuing to practice and play you will become better at it. Do not – once again – make promises that you can not live up to and check with A / B tests which titles are the best!
# 8 Meta description where you want to go, no MUST click
Even more important than your title is your meta-description.
In other words that small piece of text that is in the search results under your title. Although this is not officially a ranking factor according to Google, the meta tag plays a big SEO role because it helps determine the click-through rate of your visitors to your website.
Again this is a lot of playing and trying.
Make at least a running text of your meta description.
‘Action. 20% discount. Hamburgers. Best fries store Amsterdam. ‘
We make all our organic hamburgers ourselves. Delivered to you in Amsterdam within half an hour. Order now with a 20% discount .
And do not forget the call-to-action . In this you tell the searcher what to do (click, order, download) and why (eg discount).
# 9 The Flashforward in your introtext (à la Fight Club)
Can I promise you one thing?
This is going to be a very cool film.
Thus the opening scene of Fight Club.
The same mechanism of an exciting ‘flashforward’ is often used in Netflix series such as Breaking Bad or Limitless. A proven method. But not enough for your SEO introductory text:
Because besides an ‘exciting preview’ you also want:
- Show empathy for your reader.
- Have a conversation with him or her.
A good method for writing an intro is APP (Agree, Promise, Preview) by master copywriter Brian Dean (keep an eye on his blog BackLinko if you want to know more about this subject):
You start with a statement that the reader agrees with. Here is also your main search term.
Then you make a promise about how you can change something from the statement for the better. A promise that you must make true.
Finally, give a small preview of what the reader can expect in the article.
Let me give a small example:
Teddy. Source: Pexels
Do you remember Teddy?
“You probably agree with me that cleaning a worn-out stuffed animal [search phrase] is terribly difficult. Stop washing in the washing machine, because who says that poor Teddy survives? ”
But what if I say that you do not have to? Follow these hygienic cleaning tips and your hug will last 5 years longer .
In this blog you read handy visual step-by-step instructions about cleaning your stuffed animal. With a bonus of my daughter and her still shining teddy bear (both 21).
# 10 A little time for relaxation (à la Jinek)
“Just like Klaas Dijkhoff about the slavery discussion” or “a Shell director about the gas drilling in Groningen, but first ..”
And then there is an airy fragment.
The TV Turns Through a typical in between sequence
Eva Jinek is not the only talk show host using airy fillers. Also at Pauw or DWDD there is a band or joke to prepare the viewer for the more serious conversations.
You can also apply that same principle in a longer blog.
Break the long piece of text with a joke or by directly speaking to your visitor. Did you already have a good cup of coffee?
3 more tips and we are here!
# 11 Intermediate cups with clear promises
A first rule for subheadings is that they must clearly describe what the piece of text below is about.
It is even better if you also make your headline curious and make a promise. Actually, just like the title of your piece.
# 12 But .. that is not all (tasty biscuits)
Do you know what a smart shopkeeper does at Easter?
He spreads a chocolate smell in his store. Guaranteed to sell more Easter eggs. Only a slight hint is enough.
In an SEO article you also have to keep hailing on what is to come.
In an SEO article you also have to keep hailing on what is to come. Writing tasty cakes.
‘But that is not all .. because this tip will provide you with ..’
Or you turn it right. Warn.
‘Beware: there is a catch.’
With these short sentences you can kill two birds with one stone:
- You break the rhythm of longer paragraphs.
- You make the reader curious about what is to come.
What is going to come now …
# 13 I am not YOU or YOUR (tone of voice)
Secretly I am quite a fan of the Telfort advertisements.
I find Tele2 slightly less.
Probably as an aging man I am not really the target group (‘do you want thicker lips than Kim K? Go to ..’).
Finally, this concerns one of the most difficult aspects of SEO copywriting: finding the right tone of voice for your audience.
A good start is in any case listening to your customers . If necessary, consult with them (after permission) and analyze which words they often use and how they describe their problems.
Contacts outside the workplace are also useful: What is your target group hot or cold? I’ve just assumed that you find examples with BuzzFeed, Jinek and teddy bears funny, but what if I had to come with Death Metal or Wilders?
A safe choice is in any case not to quickly switch to ‘you’ and ‘your’. Using ‘you’ consistently works better.
Also beware of literally translating American content – I sometimes see this happening – the chronic enthusiasm of THE GREATEST COUNTRY does not always suit the down-to-earth Dutchman.
Conclusion: this is how you write smart SEO texts
Thank you so much for reading and looking at my story about how you can really write a SEO text.
I hope I have fulfilled my promise (not a boring standard list).
You now know that writing an SEO article (thanks to Google RankBrain ) is increasingly about telling a good story .
But … you always start with the basics: that is a subject based on keyword research and a clear goal for your article.
Also the classic rules (keyword processing, subheadings, synonyms) are still alive and kicking, but with smart tools you automatically ensure that you write SEO proof .
Writing SEO texts
Reading tip: Making a blog: Do it yourself or outsource it?
I am sincerely curious if and how you will apply these tips in your own blogs and landing pages. Let me know in the comments.
Write SEO texts? Try CopyRobin for free.
Now place a test assignment