Who’s ready for a trite football analogy!?
Just like love is always compared to war, work is often compared to sports. In honor of the recent Super Bowl, let’s talk about your company’s best defense against your competitors (SEO) and your best offense to score new leads (education).
You hopefully know by now that your website needs plenty of words on it. Videos and image galleries are great for blitzing your visitors with something snazzy, but your copywriting is what’ll most impact your Google ranking. Even B2B content marketing for niche products requires a healthy amount of copywriting and blogging effort.
Your copy should look like a team effort. You need SEO -- or search engine optimization -- to keep your rivals from taking away your high-quality leads. And you need educational content to attack your customers’ pain points and build trust in your expertise.
Basically, your SEO efforts should put the ball back in your court (wait, that’s basketball) so you can engage with more leads.
So how do you coach yourself or your marketing team to balance both sides? Check out these website copywriting tips for winning with offense and defense:
Website Copywriting Tips -- How to Rank Your Page in Google
Anyone with a keyboard and a website can publish content. But to reach the modern B2C or B2B buyer persona, you need to write a certain way.
So, how to make your website rank higher in search engines, you ask? Good SEO content writing is one of the only ways for your website or blog to rank near the top of Google (or Bing or Yahoo!).
The easiest way to reach your target audience through Google is to include relevant keywords in your writing. Research keywords with your customers in mind -- how would they describe a problem or product to a search engine?
Each website page and blog post should have a primary keyword in its
- Section headers (at least the first one)
- First 100-150 words of your page
- Elsewhere in the body copy (sparingly)
- Image alt text
- Meta description
If those last two flew over your head, read this article about back-end website SEO.
You should also include secondary keywords throughout your article. For example, if your primary keyword is “what is precision machining,” you may also want to rank for:
- High-precision CNC machining
- Precision machining shop
- Precision machining technology
- Aerospace machining
- Medical device machining
The length of your webpage plays a significant role in whether or not it ranks.
Opinions vary around the web, but we recommend most pages contain at least 300 words.
“Long-form” blog posts are also increasingly popular with B2B content marketers because of changes in Google’s ranking algorithm. Long-form content means a blog post or resource page that’s beyond 1,500 words.
In the end, the amount of copy you write should match the page’s intent. Don’t throw 750 words of useless fluff on your Contact Us page just because you think it’ll fool Google.
Providing Value 🎓
Another factor in how to write for search engines is value. This one’s a little trickier to quantify and actually directly correlates with writing for humans, too.
Are you helping readers solve a problem, therefore keeping them on your website longer? Are you including helpful links to other, related articles -- written by you and by (gasp) third-party sources?
By providing helpful info -- and leaving the sales pitch on the bench -- you’ll keep readers on the page longer and visiting other pages on your site. “Average time on page” and “bounce rate” are two of the most important ranking factors in Google.
In short, just be a good teammate ... which ties in beautifully with writing for humans:
Website Copywriting Tips -- Readability for Humans
Readability means your content is able to engage prospects and keep them on your website longer. CoSchedule says it best when comparing writing for Google vs. writing for humans.
... Even if you get ranked at the top, at the end of the day, Google doesn’t pay you, nor do they subscribe to your website.”
Simply put, if you speak conversationally with your reader, they will stay and maybe become a customer someday. If you write pushy, sales-y content or talk about your own brand, they’ll leave.
We’ll cover the basics of readability in our next content writing tips:
The need to marry Google and human needs is never more evident than it is in page titles.
In addition to your keyword, include at least one of these when writing a webpage or blog post title:
- Power words
These are how you turn boring headlines …
- “Potential Defects in Circuit Board Design”
- “The Benefits of Made-in-USA Furniture”
- “Tricks for Medical SEO on a Website”
… into attention-grabbing headlines:
- “99% of Circuit Board Design Guides Fail to Mention This Defect”
- “Is Made-in-USA Furniture Making a Comeback?”
- “Become a Medical SEO Magician With This Simple Trick”
Always assume your reader is a total beginner on the subject matter.
Use terms your audience will understand. Avoid industry jargon that makes perfect sense to you, but would confuse your buyer.
Are you writing to a healthcare persona with Ph.D.-level education? Or are you writing to tow truck fleet owners who are more on the blue-collar side? Your writing should be conversational while appealing to your buyer persona based on their background.
You must also strive for clarity from a formatting standpoint.
- Use bolded font to emphasize important points
- Use bullet points instead of writing out a long, boring list in a sentence
- Break up your copy with other stuff (subheadlines for new sections, charts, images, etc.)
Website copy length isn’t just an SEO concern. Your buyer persona directly impacts how long your content should be.
If your persona is an engineer or a super-busy exec who jumps on and off Google quickly to find answers, consider writing shorter content. If your persona enjoys sitting down and reading more in-depth materials (highly technical blog posts, whitepapers, etc.), write longer content.
As for individual paragraphs and sentences, keep ‘em short. Some nice rules of thumb:
- Sentences: < 25 words
- Paragraphs: 1-4 sentences
When your sentences and paragraphs get to the point, it's easier to keep readers on the page longer -- and visiting other pages on your site.
You want to keep readers interested long enough that they visit more pages on your site, or even click a call-to-action! A call-to-action is when you ask for the visitor’s contact info in exchange for a:
- Newsletter subscription
- E-book or whitepaper download
- Free consultation
- Anything else your person would find valuable
There’s no magic number for how many words you should write. Write enough copy to solve the reader’s problem or curiosity and gently hint at the next steps they should take on their buyer’s journey.
Writing with strong (but not foul) language can turn a boring niche topic into something worth sticking around for.
Using active voice is one way to write with power. Check out these two examples:
- “It is recommended that you request materials that are commonly used in pipe manufacturing, or lead times may be increased.”
- “When RFQ’ing a pipe manufacturer, request commonly used materials, or your lead times will suffer.”
The first example is wimpy; the second is strong. Wimpy writing conveys a lack of confidence.
You should also take cues from your headline and use as many power words as possible.
- “She had a lot of energy” < “She bounced around the office like a pinball”
- “The industry was ahead of the times” < “The industry crashed the tech boom party early”
- “Lunch smelled really quite good” < “Lunch smelled drool-worthy”
Ready to Get Real With Content Marketing Writing?
To look and sound like a professional content writer, make your copy:
- The appropriate length
- Customer-centric (not you-centric)
- Clear & strong
It’s very possible your team lacks the time and/or training to successfully publish SEO-friendly content that resonates with your ideal buyer. If so, you have two options:
- Learn more
- Seek an outside SEO writing/content marketing agency
If your goal is the former, grab the free PDF below for more insight on digital marketing best practices in 2021: