Writing SEO text is both time-consuming and research-intensive, and it requires a flair for communication if it is to be readable by both Google's robots and your target audience.
You can't write completely off the cuff - there are rules to follow if your text is to climb the organic rankings of search engines.
If you've never written a SEO text before, start right here. I've gathered all the guidelines and tools I use in this SEO checklist.
The starting point for the checklist is for the text work itself only. If you want more tips for good digital copywriting, I recommend you supplement with these two blog posts (once you're done with this one):
→ 15 concrete tips for writing a (good) landing page
→ 5 pitfalls to avoid as a copywriter
Buckle up, because here comes the checklist! I recommend you read it all, but if you're looking for answers to something specific, there are shortcuts to the various points here.
Each landing page should have a keyword to help Google find out what the content is about. It's up to you what the keyword is, but you need to be consistent once it's chosen.
The keyword should be strategically included in the text structure of each landing page:
→ In the URL
→ I H1
→ I H2 (at least one)
→ In the first paragraph (and preferably the first line)
→ In the body text (you can use both too much and too little)
Your keyword is the angle of your content, and depending on your keyword and content strategy (in terms of volume and competition, for example), it can be broadly or narrowly worded.
But how do you use the keyword in practice when it needs to be used strategically on a landing page? Let's use the example of gluten-free rye bread:
→ H1: Recipe for delicious, gluten-free rye bread
→ H2: Why gluten-free rye bread is good
→ In the first paragraph: use the keyword as early as possible in the text, preferably in the first line.
→ In the body text: the optimal frequency of the keyword depends on the length of the text. Use the keyword two to three times per H2 or get help from programs like Yoast.
* Remember not to use æ-ø-å in the URL - it's frowned upon.
Headings and subheadings on your page need to be properly tagged in the form of H1 and H2 - it's not enough to just style* them. I can't stress this enough.
Each landing page has only one H1 - the headline. In news media, this is called a headline, and Google gets confused about the page's message if there is more than one H1. For logical reasons, your H1 should also be at the top of the landing page.
H2s can be equated to a subheading (or subheading, if you're familiar with the media lingo). A landing page can have several H2s.
On each landing page, H1 and H2 should not be the same - and in fact, you should preferably not use the same headers and sub-headers across the whole site, if possible to avoid. Most importantly, though, is not to duplicate H1s.
* Styling of text can be to make it bold, italic, underlined, large, small. When making a headline, it is not enough to choose font size 38 and make the text bold (visually, that is - not figuratively). A headline SHOULD be tagged as an H1, otherwise Google won't know it's a headline.
ALSO READ: Our complete SEO guide
We search Google for answers - but do you know what search combinations people are making on your chosen keyword?
It is not unimportant for you to know. You have a better chance of writing a comprehensive and relevant text if you include the answers to the most obvious questions.
A good (and free) tool I use very often is Answer the Public. Here you can enter your search term (remember to select country and language before searching) and get a series of visualised ramifications of people's longtail searches. It might look like this:
Here you can see that people often search for with/without grains, yeast or sourdough, and so it is obvious to use it in your text. It can be in the form of recipes, recommendations or experiences with one, the other or the third.
It is also obvious to use this insight to ask a question in an H2, which you answer in the text.
H2: Is yeast or sourdough best for gluten-free rye bread? → The bread text in the section should answer the question from H2.
When Google crawls your text, one of the things it looks at is length: Whether it's long enough to offer qualified knowledge on a topic.
A rule of thumb in SEO circles is 300 words minimum, and it will be considered by many to be on the very short side if a landing page text has that length.
I'd like to challenge that dogma, though, because it's not just very long and exhaustive landing pages that end up number one in search engines.
If your text is longer than 600-700 words (or more), that's fine, as long as you stick to one angle.
If you're covering too many topics, it's better to create several different landing pages that are more sharply angled - then there's also a better chance that the right people will end up on your page.
The layout of the text on a landing page is anything but indifferent. Readability is what ensures a natural flow and that the text is read to the end.
But how do you make a digital text readable?
In short: With air and eye-catching.
Air is vital, because no one can keep track of what is known as a wall of text: a wall of massive, unwieldy information that never ends. You want to avoid that at all costs, because it makes the reader give up.
The eye-catcher should arouse the reader's curiosity and give the eye a break from the text, which can quickly become boring to the eye. As a reader, you should be tempted with delicious breadcrumbs in the best Hansel and Gretel style until you reach the bottom of the text.
"Could you maybe give me some examples of what you mean, Mie?" you might think. And yes - of course!
Tips for more air and eye-catching in no particular order:
→ Double line breaks, so your text becomes small, edible pieces of information. You can always have another bite (both figuratively and when enjoying a delicious meal). Haps, haps, haps.
→ Keep it short and to the point. The longer a sentence is, the harder it is to read. So beware of interpolated sentences and convoluted explanations. A rule of thumb is that a sentence should preferably be less than 20 words.
→ Never go down on H2s! Use your subheadings to ask questions or make a point that will be expanded upon in the paragraph. When skimming a text, use the highlighted text and headings to find the relevant information.
→ Keep the sections on a short leash. A paragraph is the text that belongs to an H2. Keep it to the point and give the reader answers or knowledge. A paragraph should not be more than 150 words.
→ Fire up video, images and graphics, it creates engagement and breaks up the text visually. It's also an opportunity for an extra layer of information that can be convoluted or boring to explain in writing. Plus, images and video are also a factor Google takes into account in its rankings, so it's low-hanging fruit either way.
→ Lister (!!!) is a genius grip. It's a clearer way to present information, and it's eye-catching. And search engines like lists too. Win-win-win.
→ Highlight points with styling. As I mentioned above, never use styling to make headlines (because Google's robots can't read that, they look for H1 and H2 instead). But you should just fire it off in your body text, because styling is eye-catching and emphasizes important information.
→ Remember to check the mobile view before publishing. Text is much easier to read on a computer screen than on a mobile. So don't commit deadly sin #1 by forgetting to check how your text looks on mobile. Do a preview and check that your landing page is also easily digestible on small screens.
Of course, don't do a manual count of words in sentences and paragraphs. Work smarter, not harder, and get help with the text with utilities.
I use for example Yoast. It checks the text and makes recommendations for improvements (or gives the green light when it all plays out).
Once you almost couldn't use your keyword enough, but luckily Google understands more now. Today, remember to use synonyms and related words in your text. This is also called semantic SEO.
The latest BERT update makes the search engine better understand the language behind a search, and therefore the strange staccato headlines are fortunately on their way out.
If you have a driving school in Copenhagen, in the "old days" you would give it a headline identical to the keyword phrase - for example "driving school Copenhagen".
But that's a strange headline! You wouldn't shout it out of the window to passers-by to draw attention to your business.
A better headline for your landing page could be: "Copenhagen's best driving school". It's a real phrase, and although people will be confused by you shouting it out the window, they won't be in any doubt about the message.
In a nutshell: Write real phrases and avoid keyword predation. Your text is for humans, and the robots understand it just fine.
The devil is in the detail, as we all know, and forgetting to fill in meta text, meta title and internal link building can affect your organic ranking.
Your meta title and meta text is what shows up in Google when your landing page comes up in a search.
It's also called a SERP snippet (it stands for Search Engine Result Page), and if you don't fill it in yourself, Google does by fetching text from the landing page.
The autogenerated text does not always provide the best overview (or get the reader hooked).
If you fill it in yourself, you can angle the meta title and description sharply by using active verbs, prepositions and CTA. I use Storybase to help me make sure I'm writing catchy and clickable.
The tool gives points according to how good the text is. I used it myself for this blog post (and of course I didn't stop until I had a catchy SERP snippet and a score of 100).
Internal link building is most often done as anchor text or as references outside the body text.
Anchor text is a link embedded "invisibly" in a word or phrase. So you don't see the long, boring URL. Usually the text is given a different colour or styling to the rest, so the reader is aware that there is a link.
Internal link building helps the user stay on your website, and it also shows Google how much relevant and related content you have on the site. It's both good service and good SEO.
As you can read, there are really (pronounced "ræddi" in Funen, where I'm from) many things to take into account when writing a SEO- and reader-friendly text.
If you're dizzy and thinking that it's completely unmanageable to start SEO now, bear this in mind:
I hope you can use this checklist to write better and more SEO-friendly landing pages. 🙂
Whether you're a generalist or a marketing specialist, our SEO specialists have put together some great advice for you on our blog.
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