Creating content for the sake of creating content, or because it’s what the internet says you should be doing, is not going to do your business any favours. It won’t benefit or contribute to search engine optimisation efforts, nor will it benefit the visitor. The industry experts suggest that you rather tailor your SEO copywriting. Content-writing strategy should be geared towards positioning yourself as a leader within your niche, so any great pieces of content or thought leadership can complement the work your website – and other digital platforms – are already doing to draw in appropriate prospects and customers.
The current state of content marketing vs SEO copywriting
When put on the spot at a dinner party, what would you say are 2019’s most impactful and consistent online-marketing strategies? If you gave answers that include, “search engine optimisation (SEO)” and “content marketing”, you would be spot on. But do you understand what these terms really mean? how do they work in tandem? and how they complement one another?
A recent Forbes article explains that SEO efforts, through SEO copywriting, makes your website visible and brings people to your site; while content marketing makes use of the editorial you have posted to various marketing channels to spur customers into (potentially profitable) action. “The two go together like yin and yang,” enthuses Craig Johnston of Savvy Sprout, but he cautions that “a sensible and proactive thought process should be followed when it comes to keywords, key phrases, customer hooks and overall user experience”.
While you will certainly want to rank as highly as possible on traditional Google search, which a recent article on Entrepreneur.com still describes as “king of search”, more than 60 per cent of online traffic today comes from a mobile device. “So, be sure to chat to your SEO specialist about optimising your content and user experience for mobile,” advises Johnston. He adds that “we have seen some of our clients’ traffic shift to reaching almost 90% traffic on mobile. One needs to take your industry and type of business into consideration, but the impact of mobile cannot be underestimated.”
In 2017, Google officially made mobile user experience and loading a ranking signal. Last year, Google indicated that quality content would raise SEO rankings over and above how often one posted that content onto digital platforms. We covered this in an article titled “What constitutes good SEO content”. “This year, long-form content, question-based search queries and a wide variety of keyword variations could work more effectively for you,” adds Johnston, “even on platforms that were previously considered only for photos and ‘likes’ – such as Instagram.”
The role content plays in PPC rankings to increase CTR’s
All too often content is seen in isolation of the marketing channel it is intended for. There is no better example than Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising through a platform such as Google Ads. To get ads to rank on the first page of Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) there are a number of items that need attention – one of them being SEO content.
You might be thinking that PPC is not SEO, so why the need for SEO copywriting? This is not a silly thought at all. It is actually very logical. However, when it comes to quality score there are A LOT of factors that get taken into consideration – one of which is content and on-page optimisation.
Where content and SEO come together with PPC is ad relevance which looks at the content on your landing page, how well your landing page is optimised, your PPC ad titles, descriptions and keywords targeting. Be mindful that ongoing PPC maintenance activities such as adding negative keywords and creating new ads and content based on search queries need to align with content creation activities.
How appropriate SEO content can drive user-engagement
An insightful article from SocialMediaExaminer gives some valuable insight on how to improve engagement on Instagram, which a recent Instagram update facilities, and advises readers that although most users of the platform don’t take to it with the intention of reading anything lengthy, if they’re sufficiently drawn in by an image, they will read everything that you’ve written – highlighting the power of visual stimulation.
The article goes on to say: “Some clever and strategic accounts have been able to use [Instagram] as more of a micro-blog – writing long captions to tell a story, share important news or updates, or offer long-winded thoughts”. Johnston, therefore, advises that you see how your audience reacts to a longer caption, similar to a very well-known marketing tactic called A/B testing – your limit, of course, being 2 200 characters.
“If you get more likes than usual, plus secure a whole lot more followers from a long-form caption, it is worth continuing along these lines because appealing to your audience, building customer relationships, having these same customers engage with your brand and, ultimately, having them buy from you is of course first prize,” he says. “But, don’t give up too easily. Give it sufficient time and alternate with other styles of captions to find what works. You might be pleasantly surprised how variation may play into your favour.”
Use copywriters for SEO copywriting
Then, he adds, it is advisable that you find a good copywriter and start building a long-term partnership where your copywriter is able to draw up a schedule of topics to cover over a given time period – say 3 months.
Creating a structured content plan allows you to better plan and contextualise content to make sure it all fits together and compliments your key website efforts as well as ranking terms.
A good case study example is a long-standing client where one of their main ranking pages, for example, would talk in general about acne, whereas additional complimentary pages, linked out through anchored text in the body, could click through to lure in readers with frequently asked question and or specific morning and evening routines, positioning them and/or its suppliers as experts.
This content then becomes ‘marketable’ on social media through posts such as “Our top Acne FAQ’s” which in turn may increase website visits and reads, exposing readers to their online store, as well as social engagement.
“The more connected and related the content is that you can create and post, the more appropriate it will be to use on other marketing channels and to boost up your website’s content network,” he enthuses.
The content strategy could extend further to clever complimentary article titles, for example: “Do you grow out of acne?” or “Which type of acne products actually work?”, linking back and forth to relevant pages already on your website. Creating a network of related, complementary, valuable and unique content is what search engines desire and make the user journey pleasurable. Finding the middle-ground between satisfying search engine requirements and user experience is the holy grail of digital and search engine marketing.
Research before you write – don’t write for the sake of writing
Entrepreneurs tend to make the mistake of thinking they have to know or understand absolutely everything about all aspects of their businesses, reveals Johnston, which has found himself in a similar position before. More often than not, employing an expert in a tricky area, such as SEO or copywriting, would save them a great deal of time.
“However, if you are an attorney who is insisting on wanting to understand how to boost the ranking of your company website, for example, you could experiment with a keyword analysis tool to find out which words – ranging from “litigation” and “legal aid” to “law firm” or “free legal advice” – should appear most readily throughout your content. The aim is always to bring your website to the attention of its target audience,” enthuses Johnston. “However, having the skills to interpret keyword research output is another skill and applying that insight into the creation of valuable, complementary and relevant content is something most business won’t have the skills for. It is here where experienced professionals can add significant value.”
Concluding the importance of copywriting
Well-written, purpose-driven and original content scattered with appropriate and properly researched keywords is a strategy that works well, beyond needing to advertise at every turn. “Think from the point of view of the audience and always ask yourself before you post: what issue will this article or post help them to solve,” adds Johnston.
Second, to solving a specific user need, careful attention also needs to be given to the way content is written, how it is structured, how long it is if it answers specific questions or provides opinion insights. The way this type of content is created is why SEO content exists and why copywriters are worth their weight in gold. Find a good copywriter, build a good and long-term relationship and create content that creates a bigger picture to reap maximum rewards from your greater SEO efforts.
SEO copywriting services in South Africa
Savvy Sprout is a Cape-Town based digital marketing agency with a special skill and focus on SEO content. as part of their wider Search Engine Optimisation offering. With a focus on South African SMEs and growing businesses, Savvy Sprout is able to provide businesses throughout South Africa, and specifically Cape Town with high quality and unique content writing, strategy, content placement and SEO content planning.