I’m a firm believer that knowing how to structure a decent piece of writing can benefit anyone trying to improve their life, especially those working on making more money on the side.
The most important part of any piece of writing is the headline, and knowing how to structure one for people and for each engines at the same time is a great skill to have, especially if you’re trying to attract online business.
SEO Copywriting – The art and science of blending well chosen keywords with compelling copywriting techniques in an attempt to gather higher clickthrough rates and more traffic to a web property.
Don’t feel bad if it’s a little cloudy.
Often times when I spout off that definition a lot of people don’t have any idea what I’m talking about. Maybe it’s because these two concepts are difficult in their own regard to understand, so combining them makes things even more difficult.
An easier way to say it would be this.
SEO copywriting is basically just taking the keyword research process of SEO and combining it with headline creation concepts of copywriting. This creates an extremely powerful blend of two very powerful and very different techniques.
As difficult as SEO copywriting is to explain, it is also sometimes fairly difficult to pull off as well, but believe me from experience – A well written and well SEO optimized headline will outperform doing just keyword research, or just creative copywriting – 100% of the time, hands down, no exceptions.
Take my advice – if this is a skill you haven’t yet acquired, learn it now. It will change your life as a blogger and web property owner.
Now, if you’re reading this post, I have to assume you’re in one of three boats.
- You’re an SEO who doesn’t know much about copywriting
- You’re a copywriter who doesn’t know much about SEO
- You don’t know much about either and are lucky to stumble upon this amazing resource
- (Ok four) You’re brushing up or trying to improve upon your SEO copywriting skills
If you’re any of those, this post will help you immensely. It’ll actually probably make you a lot of money too – feel free to offer donations :).
So, grab a notepad and learn one of the most effective techniques in content marketing you’ll ever learn.
Learn the 8 Types of Headlines and Basic Keyword Research
As I often do and will forever do on this blog, I’ll reference a post of Copyblogger to help you out with the material in this post. Open the following links in a new window and keep the resulting blog posts handy at all times.
The 8 Types of Headlines
How to Write Headlines That Work – This is a blog post from Brian Clark of Copyblogger that details the 8 types of headlines introduced in Bob Bly’s “The Copywriter’s Handbook.” Brian does a great job of taking Bly’s list of headline types and turning them into a succinct actionable list of headlines that you can reference and use every day in your writing.
Your main takeaway from this post should be – Always use one of these techniques when you’re writing a headline for any type of content page on your website. Getting to #1 in the search engine results won’t mean anything if you don’t have a clickable title (this assumes you use your headline as the title element of your page).
I’ve got this list hanging on my wall in my office. Every time I write a blog post I reference it to make sure I’m using at least one of the techniques in this list for my blog headline. Print it. Read it. Keep it handy. You’ll definitely benefit from this.
Power Tip: Always write your headline before writing your article – Your headline will help to shape the content of your article. It’s much easier to write an article with a solid headline already in place than it is to write a headline with an article already in place. You’ll find that it’s much easier to stay on topic if you write your headlines first. You can always easily adjust your headline after the fact, but it’s much more difficult to adjust your article after the fact.
Next, if you don’t know how to do this already, you need to learn basic keyword research methods. Fancy titles will get you nowhere without well researched keywords.
Basic Keyword Research
How to Do Keyword Research – This is a chapter from the Beginner’s Guide to SEO on seomoz.org, one of my favorite SEO websites and a great bunch of people to learn from. This community is full of some of the top SEO minds in the entire Western Hemisphere.
In this guide you’ll learn how to do basic keyword research. You’ll learn what makes a good targetable keyword and what makes a keyword too difficult for you. You’ll learn which tools to use, how to use them, and how to interpret their results.
The main thing to keep in mind throughout reading this guide is that every site is different. If you’ve got a high powered site you may be able to optimize for more difficult keywords. If you’ve got a newer site without a lot of traffic and authority, you may have a more difficult time doing so.
Your key takeaway from the Beginner’s Guide to SEO is that basic keyword research is actually a fairly simple process when you break down all of the elements. Within just a few minutes, sometimes less, you’ll be able to find exactly the keywords you have a chance of ranking for with the content you are creating. You’ll find which have the highest traffic, the most competition, and essentially which are attainable for you.
Also note that rarely will you target just one word, like pencil, paint, books, stereos, etc. Only extremely high powered sites are going to be able to rank for those. You’re much better off targeting keyword phrases, which are comprised of two or more keywords. You’ll see an example of this below.
Keyword research is an integral part of your site ranking well. Learn and use this basic SEO skill and you’ll be far ahead of your competition who doesn’t.
Writing Your Super Compelling SEO Optimized Headlines
Before we go any further I want to say that I know this is getting pretty deep with those two resources I just gave you and all of the takeaways, but please bare with me. Learning how to tie it all together is what is going to make this technique successful for you.
So, now that you know how to do basic keyword research and you know the 8 types of headlines, it’s up to you to do some slight creative work.
Take the title of this post for example.
SEO Copywriting – How to Write a Wildly Compelling SEO Optimized Headline.
The keyword phrase I am targeting is SEO Copywriting.
You’ll notice I’ve got that phrase at the very beginning of my headline. This is pretty important. You want to try to get your targeted keyword phrase as close as possible to the beginning of the headline. You don’t always need to take an extreme approach like I did and start with your keyword phrase, but sometimes you have to in order to make things flow correctly.
Your challenge is to come up with a way to work in your keyword phrase, while also using one of the 8 (very clickable) headline elements you read above.
First I had SEO Copywriting as my keyword phrase. Then I took the “How to Headline” approach, which is very popular and very clickable, and worked in my keyword phrase.
But I didn’t stop there. You’ll also notice that I added a bit of jazz and clickability with the words Wildly Compelling, then I offered an extra bit of information about the article that says you’ll also learn how to SEO optimize your headline.
In most cases you’ll want to try to offer a benefit as well, so the reader understands what he or she will get out of reading your article. I ran out of space (usually search engines truncate headlines after 70 characters) so this particular headline doesn’t have a benefit (which I’m not thrilled about), but the assumption is that most people searching for this keyword are going to know the benefits of SEO copywriting already.
Key Takeaways and Closing Thoughts:
- Learn How to Do Keyword Research by visiting seomoz.org
- Learn How to Write Headlines That Work by visiting copyblogger.com
- Use this technique in every piece of content you write and you’ll become much better at it over time
- Focus on trying to fit your keywords in towards the beginning of the headline
- Keep your headline “clickable” and entertaining
- Try to offer a benefit of some kind in your headline.
Copywriting is extremely important not only to headlines, but to selling anything online. Your website is almost always what your customers see first before contacting you. If it’s poorly written, you’ll have an ineffective website, hands down.
Learn and implement copywriting techniques not only with your content creation, but throughout your entire website and marketing mix. You can do it yourself, or you can hire a professional copywriter (like myself) to do it for you, but either way, always focus on good solid copywriting. You’ll be amazed as the results you see.