Copywriting from home: tips for ensuring on-page SEO

Copywriting

HOME WORKING: Across the public relations industry, agency staff are continuing to create content through remote working. Pictured is Scott Sinclair from Deep South Media.

It’s always nice to receive good news. And if you work in public relations, there’s nothing better than a client telling you they are delighted with a campaign. This week, reflecting for a moment and grabbing some headspace away from Covid-19, I had a lovely message from a company we do copywriting and content marketing for. As part of a website revamp, they had invited us to write lots of on-page copy to help them gain profile. A few months on, they say their site traffic has increased by a massive 764%.

In these days of remote working, with lots of agency staff and freelancers drafting copy at home, I thought it might help to set out what we did to achieve such a result and perhaps offer some inspiration.

The first step, and the backbone of any SEO strategy, is to create a list of all the keywords and phrases most relevant to the company. In our case, this was literally in the form of an Excel spreadsheet with columns for primary brand, secondary brand, primary keywords, secondary keywords and longtail.

The primary brand was the client name, the second brand was their key products and service offerings. The primary keywords, just one or two for each article, were the most important ones that would match potential customers with the site, so totally based on their search terms. The secondary keywords were deliberately precise and aimed at narrowing down the target even further. While obviously not as critical as the primary keyword, well-chosen secondary words and phrases definitely increase the chances of attracting additional site visitors. Longtail is more specific still and focuses away from the more commonly searched for keywords at the primary and secondary levels. Although it’s likely to attract less traffic overall, maybe only one or a handful of queries, the idea is that longtail nails the absolute bullseye by being more on-target.

Once we were drafting copy in line with the keyword research, it was important to hold up our SEO techniques to scrutiny before gaining client approval for publication. At Deep South Media, we always invite colleagues to check and comment on what we are writing. We call it ‘FRP’ or ‘for review please’.  Luckily we all get on with each other and readily take on board suggested points for improvement!

Gaining a second opinion on the strengths of copy is, in our view, essential. Readability and usability are such integral parts of holistic SEO. Getting these right influences factors such as bounce rate, time on page, time on site and conversion rate.

Reviewers checked out the primary keyword focus and how well each post incorporated secondary and longtail keywords. We ensured copy followed Google etiquette on length, had compelling headlines and intros, and flowed really well.

Content was designed to educate, inform and be of interest, rather than serve merely as a promotional or sales piece about the client.

We included links to other relevant blogs, case studies and content within each piece and replicated the primary and secondary keywords in links to the site from social media.

As the content began to build up, we ensured it conformed to the Flesch reading ease test. To gain a good score on readability, Flesch recommends limiting difficult words and keeping sentences short. Content should be broken down into easy-to-follow sections with sub-headers sign-posting the way. Choosing a variety of sentence structures and favouring active over passive construction are also good tips.

To sum up, it’s all about trying to get into the minds of potential customers, understanding what they are likely to be looking for, and matching their search terms with your on-page content. Now, that’s good news for everyone.