While the reaction to your content off-page has become the critical determining factor when it comes to search engine rankings, your targeted keyword phrase should still appear on the page itself. And while there’s little consensus in this area, having your keyword combinations appear throughout the page copy generally helps search engines further identify the relevancy of the page for those keywords.
The good news is, copywriting best practices can create compelling, engaging content that also contains repeated keywords and phrases. You never want to sacrifice readability in the pursuit of rankings, but given that links are more important than on-page keyword repetition, you should never have to.
Here are a few tips for keyword integration in your copy:
The most important place your keywords should appear is in the title tag of the page. The nice thing about blogging software is that your post or page title will be automatically transformed into both title tags and either an H1 or H2 heading tag as well. Remember, your headline should wrap your keywords in a pithy promise that perfectly communicates what the content has to offer.
I’ve always found it useful to repeat the targeted keywords in the opening sentence, as long as it can be done in a way that is appealing to a reader and reinforces relevancy. Since many search engines use this initial copy as the description of the content, you want to make sure you are accurately selling the searcher on clicking through as well.
Another important place that keywords can appear is in subheads that aid the reader in navigating down the page. A resource that matches up well with the targeted keyword phrase will find natural opportunities to restate keywords in subheads, as an introduction to the next topical section of the page. Subheads are typically created using the H3 tag.
4. Related Words and Synonyms
Good copy should naturally result in words that are related to, as well as synonyms for, the keyword phrases you are after. Rather than mindlessly repeating the same words ad nauseam, assume that search algorithms are advanced enough to look for proper contextually-related words that support your targeted keywords.
One of the hallmarks of great copy is specific, descriptive words in lieu of bland general terminology. Specificity aids the reader by clearly demonstrating relevancy, allows for more dynamic copy, and provides opportunities to increase the general on-page keyword frequency. Make sure to employ your specific keywords when feasible within the context of the copy, rather than rely on generic wording.
6. Call to Action
Let us not forget that we want the reader to take some form of action that benefits us. Otherwise, what’s the point? Once again, your copy should conclude with a call to action that prompts the reader to travel down the path you desire. Is it to purchase, contact, subscribe or simply continue reading? Your primary keywords should naturally fit in with the next step you want the reader to take.
The key to good on-page SEO copywriting is crafting content that seamlessly integrates keywords in a way that doesn’t offend the reader. In fact, good keyword-rich copy should never even consciously alert the reader that keyword repetition is being employed for any reason other than his or her own benefit.
Want the whole story on SEO Copywriting Check out the free 28-page report called How to Create Content that Ranks Well in Search Engines. Head over to the SEO Copywriting Made Simple page to instantly download the full updated PDF.
Reader Comments (60)
Michael A. Stelzner says
Do you know if there is a way to easily set subheads in WordPress?
Nope. You have to actually go into the code (assuming you use the WYSIWYG editor, which I do not) and add h3 tags to the subhead.
Kind of a pain, but worth the effort.
Oh, and it also depends on the markup of your theme. Best to test the h3 tags on a WordPress page to see how they present.
Andrew Cavanagh says
I would also add that if you have images on your pages you should also:
1. Name each image after a keyword appropriate to the image and your page.
For example if you had an image on this page you might name it:
2. Give each image an “alt” tag that is a keyword appropriate to the image and your page content.
In this example the alt tag might be “SEO Copywriting Techniques image”
Andrew, yep. I debated whether to add image tags to this post, since they are not technically “on page,” but they are crucial nonetheless.
The SEO Copywriting 2.0 image above uses “Image for SEO Copywriting Series” as the description, “SEO Copywriting 2.0” as the alt display, and the image title is “seo_copywriting.gif”.
I think it’s pretty clear what keyword phrase I’m targeting. 😉
Nathania Johnson says
If you write a description for the META tags, that’s the description that will appear in the search results.
SEO writers should utilize the opportunity to write both the META Tag description and a great opening sentence for the actual page that includes the targeted keyphrase.
The engines read from left to right, so the closer your keyphrase is to the beginning of your content, the better. But it must be done in a compelling way as to keep the attention of the reader.
I’m using a WP plugin for meta description, but so far Google is not using it. Unless I’ve screwed it up, which is possible. 😉
Justin Khoury says
A very well constructed, and comprehensive, worthy of being ready by pretty much anyone who wants to write online.
You definately gave it the extra umph when you mentioned call to action.
Brian, you did good on the Metatags…
I did a simple search in Google with
And all your descriptions are there, just as they should for Good SEO Practice…
Richard Hearne says
Brian you meta description looks fine. When did you start using the plugin?
If Google is not using the description then there must e something else up.
But back to the post. The META description is a fantastic place to place well crated copy. As it shows in the SERP snippet it can be a powerful call to action for those search clicks. You should always test your SERP results to see what your competition are doing – the right snippet can often pull in more clicks than a higher ranked site.
Great guidelines. Achieving the right balance is a bit of a task though – it’s an art few possess.
Many times there’s a much more poetic way to say something but you end up having to be pretty literal if you’re targeting keywords.
Markus, that’s true, and it’s also a reason that attracting links is still the top priority. We shouldn’t sacrifice the use of metaphor and analogy in our writing, because that type of stuff connects better with the reader.
But, that’s also why I like the landing page strategy. The landing page itself can be quite straightforward with its copy, while the component parts of the overall content will allow for more “poetic license.”
Jonix Konios says
That’s a very good article and great guidelines, but sometimes for me is very difficult to write the “right” text to call people to action. Maybe that will come with more experience .
web design brighton says
A very informative article i agree that finding the right balance between keyword rich content and copy that wont send a reader to sleep is difficult.
Carolina Event Planning says
Great information. I’m new at all this, so it really helped.
Matt Keegan says
Call to action is very important, even if there isn’t a specific product to sell for that particular article. I like to point visitors to a follow-up article, one that may include another sales pitch if the original article wasn’t designed for that task.
Shane: content writer says
Simple, straight, to-the-point and relevant. Thats what makes good content good content…
Larry Brewer says
This is really good information that some books costing lots of money should have told me and didn’t. Thanks for the info.
Seo Copywriting Services says
thanks for sharing such useful information
really worth reading!
Andre Thomas says
As a copywriter myself, I think this a great overview for a well-optimized sales letter. Every newbie should read this.
sam delano says
Great article thanks. We are just trying to get the word out about our info blog and this just what we needed,
I have found these techniques to work well also. As, you said keeping the keywords in the first couple of sentences. I like to get a healthy dose in the center and in the ending paragraph as well.
Davie Prudent says
I find copy writting really hard, more a numbers person, but what you have talked through has helped with my writting techniques.
Is it much easier to get someone to do the copy writting if it is something you take too much time with?
Robert Kirk says
We are involved in many websites, and we always find the hardest part of developing a website for SEO purposes is creating good textual content, that is keyword rich.
Few really good pointers I have picked up from this
Fiona Fell - websitePROFITS says
Thank you for this informative post. As a web site developer ‘by trade’ I understand the technical aspects of SEO, but the experience that is had by my site visitors is still something I am learning about.
I will add a ‘re-work’ of my content, and how I format it to see if it has an impact ofn the way Google ranks my site for my few select key words.
Davie Prudent says
Robert, which websites are you involved in?
SEO Techniques says
Take your time don’t rush and do a really good keyword research first to find out where you can rank better especially when is a new website. Then a good content rich in terms with the keywords in the title and the description will do the work. Hmm it’s easier to say it but it’s difficult to do it and I know that. Thanks for the post
Great article. I just updated my opening sentence of my last post based on #2. I better go back and fix the other ones.
I’ll be back.
Great information. I’m new at all this, so it really helped
Ali raza says
Great information especially for me to rewrite me some content to get best result.
Jason Hein says
Subheadings are great ways for you to summarize important points in the article. Thanks for sharing this post. If you get the chance, feel free to visit my site.
Filme Gratis says
The META description is a fantastic place to place well crated copy. As it shows in the SERP snippet it can be a powerful call to action for those search clicks
I also like to see additional related articles. It helps lower bounce rates and build loyalty.
Why not help make a site sticky by making additional interesting articles easy to find. They’re implemented on this particular page as “further reading” and “popular articles”.
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