The great and wonderful internet is both a blessing and a curse! Adverts for SEO Copywriting Training is all over the web. Each site is vying for your hard-earned bucks. Which one should I choose?
There is a simple answer, and it is one that I stumbled upon purely by chance. That was two years ago. Today I am a lot wiser, and I get better with SEO time I write my next article. Listed below are the SEO steps that I take. It is what I have learnt, beginning with Getting Your Site Ready for Search Engines! This list is as much for me, as it is for you!
- 1 It’s All in The Headline
- 2 Search Engines Need an Introduction
- 3 Write For an 8th Grader
- 4 Grammar and Spelling
- 5 Speak to Your Reader Not Your Audience
- 6 Speed is Everything – Allow For Skim Readers
- 7 Images and Alt text
- 8 Linking to Build Authority
- 9 Everyone Loves a Video
- 10 Conclusion
It’s All in The Headline
Headline writing is an art in itself! Every professional copywriting book on the shelves, all say pretty much the same when it comes to the headline – “It’s all in the headline!”
They are right of course. The headline is the hook. It is merely there to catch your eye. There are hundreds of competing headlines. The art is to stand out in the crowd.
Have you ever been caught by a headline, only to find the story doesn’t match the headline, or the story contradicts the headline? Gotcha!
Regarding newspapers; The front page headlines are the most important. They not only lead you into the story, but they also exist on the front page to compete with other newspapers to get you to pick up this newspaper, over a competitor’s paper. Once you’ve bought it, you’ll read it anyway.
Search Engines Need an Introduction
Now that you have your attention-grabbing headline, you now need to introduce your content with an introductory paragraph or two. These paragraphs should lead the reader from your headline to the content or body of the article that you are writing.
Insert your keyword(s) naturally into either the first or second paragraph. My preference is the first paragraph. Search engines will sometimes use the first paragraph, as the meta description.
Title and Meta Description
The Title and Meta Description is what search engines use, to list your website along with the URL to your web-page.
The Title is taken from your heading, or your SEO Plugin if you have one installed and set.
GoogleBot gets the Meta Description from the meta tag named “description”. In my example above, the page description comes from my SEO plugin meta description, which has since been updated to match the first paragraph.
For the moment, my search term “Affiliate Marketing for Baby Boomers” appears in the second paragraph. I am observing this, and I may experiment with putting this in the first paragraph.
Sign-up to my newsletter, I’ll keep you updated with how this progresses.
When the search engine cannot find the search term in your meta description, then the search engine will look elsewhere in your search term. If the search term exists in your first paragraph, then the likelihood is that the search engine will use that section of text.
Write For an 8th Grader
KIS – Keep it Simple – write so that an 8th grader can understand it. What does that mean? Outside the USA that means teenagers between 13 and 14! This age group equates to a Flesch Readability Score between 60 and 70. This article has a Flesch score of 77; making is “Fairly easy to read.”
If you have confused or lost a young teenager, then you’ll probably lose GoogleBot! As SEO Content writers, that is the one thing you do not want to do.
Keep sentences short. Keep your paragraphs short. Two or three sentences are good. Four sentences are ok, but not too often.
However many sentences there are, keep the length of your paragraphs to around 50 words or less!
Your aim here is to maintain readability, especially on mobile devices.
Grammar and Spelling
Grammar is a tough nut to crack. No-one is perfect, but that said you must try your best to ensure that spelling is corrected and grammar is the best it can be. Nobody knows outside of Google what effect poor grammar and spelling has on your Page Authority (PA) but, several respected SEO specialists have run tests, and this has convinced them that spelling and grammar do matter.
So in the overall scheme of things, it may not be much, if you make enough SEO mistakes (even if they are small ones) cumulatively, it could be the difference to being on page one and being on page two of the search results. Take care!
Get yourself a proper grammar and spell checker.
I use Grammarly, which I have been using the “Premium” version since early 2018. It is something I use every day!
Speak to Your Reader Not Your Audience
You may be writing content for the world to read. But, only one person is reading your words. Write in the second person! What does this mean?
Make the reader feel that you are speaking directly to them, one on one! Write as if you are talking to one person. Using pronouns like “I” and “Me” would be the first person, speaking to the second person using pronouns like “You” and “Yours”.
Avoid the third person – “He”, “She” and “They” unless you are referring to a third individual, for example: “You can do this! Only the other day I spoke to Jason Smith, and he said…” is fine.
Speed is Everything – Allow For Skim Readers
It doesn’t matter if you’ve written 3,000 words. Most people will skim through your content, perhaps only pausing at what catches their eye.
So not only do I use my sub-headings to lead my readers through my content I will also highlight keywords in bold (But not too much. Use sparingly, to help the sub-headings). I do this to help my skim-readers, to read through my article in the quickest time possible and take in as much information as possible of what I am passing on to you.
The trick here is to highlight enough of the key points to support the sub-headings and still make sense, and not making the text too overpowering!
Images and Alt text
Don’t just leave your tome as one block of text. Your readers will not thank you. Let your visitors rest their eyes. You can break up your writing by inserting appropriate images.
My personal preference is to insert one image for every 500 words. But, this does vary.
Keep your image size to less than 200KB, half that if possible. Use JPG format for photos and PNG format for graphics.
Keep in mind, people with impaired vision. Add an Alt Text to all your images. I aim for 30% of the pictures to contain my focus word(s).
If you hover your mouse cursor over an image, the Alt Text should appear if it doesn’t then fix it!
Check your post on mobile devices. Keep your images (and videos) “below the fold” – this is a phrase bandied about often, but what does it mean? Well, ‘above the fold‘ means the first visible area displayed on your mobile device without the need for scrolling. Everything else is ‘below the fold’. If you achieve this your Google ranking for that post will improve! Google loves mobile devices and hates websites that do not! Think mobile first!
Linking to Build Authority
Add internal links (links that connect to another post or page in your website). GoogleBot sees these as evidence of the authority of your site, where posts within your website relate and support one another.
Add external links to authority websites – Wikipedia, Huffington Post, or an established academic site. The higher Domain Authority (DA), the better.
You will find a few authority links on the page, for example.
Everyone Loves a Video
If you can create your video, which can be in any form, Explainer Videos, Public Service Announcement, or Entertainment being the three you are most likely see in marketing content.
Of the three video types, Explainer Videos are the most popular.
Without a doubt, Explainer Videos is where the money is.
This type of video can in various forms. The most popular are (in no particular order):
- Animation videos
- Whiteboard videos
- Screencast videos
- Presenter/Webinar videos.
You can make your preference here. Some larger SEO agencies utilise all four types in one video! If you have the time and budget, you can too.
As I am aiming at the beginner or startup, I suggest you keep it simple! Do what makes you comfortable.
Here’s a link to a great video by Jay Neil “SEO Checklist Cheatsheet“
The alternative is to link or embed a video that is not yours into your post.
Linking to a video should not cause you any problems on the legal front, but if you are going to embed a video, especially, a YouTube video, then so long as that video displays a share button on YouTube, and an “embed code”, then it is a given that the owner of that video wants their video shared! After all, the YouTuber still gets the views, when you watch the video on a website that has embedded the video on their site, using the YouTube embed code.
If in doubt, send a brief email asking for their permission to embed their video on your website. It is unlikely to be refused.
There are No SEO shortcuts or Hacks! It isn’t one thing over another. What the search engines, especially Google are looking for is well written, well-structured, relevant content that best describes the search term. So, yes; it’s the headline, the introduction, the grammar and linking but above all else, it’s Relevant Content!
I learnt all this by going back to school. Everything you need to learn for proficiency in SEO is to sign up for the free account (no credit card required) at: