Tag Archives: Copywriting

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10 PPC Copywriting Best Practices for Extra Effective Text Ads by @AdamHeitzman

Get more clicks on your paid search ads by applying these 10 PPC copywriting best practices.

The post 10 PPC Copywriting Best Practices for Extra Effective Text Ads by @AdamHeitzman appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

How to master copywriting for SEO

In 2018, you need to understand copywriting and SEO – and a whole lot more – to write content that will rank well and return a great ROI.

If you have a head for marketing, UX and research, too, you’ll be in a commanding position. As our discipline evolves in response to a changing search engine landscape, demarcation lines become blurred, and it’s been difficult not to venture into featured snippets, schema and other on-page aspects of SEO.

Instead, with proper focus, you’ll need to know about your audience and how they’ll read your content, what they will be looking for, the continuing role of high quality, in-depth content, where offline historic copywriting skills still live on today, why you should still be using key phrases, and why structure is important.

How will your audience read your content in 2018?

Google’s recent announcement of the first set of sites being migrated to mobile-first indexing reflects the fact that the majority of searches worldwide are carried out on mobile devices. My direct experience is that the move to mobile is very much in the B2C space; less so in B2B, where people are still at their desks with their laptops or desktops.

And then, we see the start of an explosion in voice search and devices – our smartphones and home devices from Google, Amazon and Apple – reading content to us.

Of course, we’re still seeing how voice pans out, and its implications for SEO copywriting, but I’d say if you stick to simple language and shorter sentences within a well-structured piece (think about making the main points right up front in case the listener’s attention wanders).

High-quality, in-depth content

However your audience interacts with your work, it needs to be excellent. Make your content unique, high quality and written to professional standards. Google will reward you. Buying 300-500 spun monstrosities, while never being a great thing, had better not even pass through your mind today. They’ll kill your SEO and content marketing ambitions stone dead.

While we’re thinking about copy lengths, one popular strategy recently has been to write a longer piece than those above you in the rankings. Theirs is 2,000 words? Then leapfrog them by writing 2,500!

Of course, it’s not as simple as that. Take a look at the webpages above you in the SERPs. How good are they? Are they well-written? Do they answer the questions customers are asking? Do they understand searcher intent and how to respond to it?

If the 2,000-worder in your sights fails on any or all of these factors, you may be able to kick the ball out of the park with a shorter, tighter, laser-targeted 1,500-worder.

Writing shorter pieces for mobile’s smaller screens may be tempting. Don’t, though. You’ll lose out to those more extensive pieces, written without such an artificial restriction. Instead, leave it to your UX people, designers and developers to get the presentation right.

Write for people

Now that Google can understand the words on a page, you have to raise your writing game. Get your grammar and stylistic chops up with the best and Google should reward you for it. But don’t forget your audience. Deliver them precisely what they’re looking for.

Before you start writing, ask yourself:

  • Who is your audience?
  • Where is their pain?

Put yourself in their mind; imagine how they will react to your content.

You may want to go the whole hog and spend time developing Personas. Personally, I’m happy to use them if there’s the budget and someone else to do most of the donkey work. Otherwise, I find I can usually visualize the target group more easily than the series of sometimes-unconvincing individuals that can come out of the Persona-building exercise.

Bridging the offline past with the online present

Let’s see how the long-established rules of copywriting work in today’s SEO copywriting environment.

  • Do your research: Advertising industry king, David Ogilvy, stressed the fundamental importance of research in producing great copy some 50 years ago – decades before the age of keyword research or the internet. Don’t you forget the keyword research, though – more on that later .
  • Write an attention-grabbing headline based on related key phrases from your research.
  • Involve the reader further with subheads – don’t skimp on them, either.
  • Make it easy for the reader: In addition to inserting subheads, write in short paragraphs and short sentences. And ensure you put spaces between paragraphs.
  • Calls to action: No matter how good your copy, you’ll need a CTA to see the full return on your investment, through sign-ups, purchases or other goal fulfilments.
  • Treat editing as separate from writing: Get some time between the two processes and see your work with new eyes. If you’re writing more than a couple of screens of copy, consider printing out your work. You’ll see it entirely differently.
  • Get someone else to read your work: They’ll notice your mistakes and pick out where you’re unclear.

The key phrase is alive and well and living in the best copy

Don’t listen to people who say ‘Key phrases are dead’. They are very much alive. And they will remain so all the time we use the paradigm of typing or speaking language into a search engine. But their use in digital marketing today has changed.

While you’re doing your research, think audience and marketing. How big is the online audience (market)? Where are they? What can we find out about their demographics? What should my content be about?

If you’ve got it right, and have used the right tools (at the core of my toolset are SEMrush and Keywordtool.io), you should have the most important answers you need to write the copy.

With my main key phrases selected, I look for questions and semantically related key phrases to flavour and shape what I’m writing. I find Answer the Public invaluable here.

  • Talk to your client and/or customers: Find out about problems, solutions, products and services
  • Build a list of seed key phrases
  • Do your research
  • Select your key phrases: Be sure why they’re relevant to your audience
  • Assemble your questions and semantically connected key phrases
  • Write for your audience

You can’t sidestep key phrase research. It’s still at the core of copywriting for SEO and the framework for everything you write.

Don’t let key phrase density hang on

Back in the day, before Google understood semantics and had AI, copywriting for SEO was many times more difficult than it is today. The trick was to use the key phrases precisely as they appear in the research (give or take a stop word or two), the requisite number of times or density to help the search engine understand your content. And it all somehow had to read as if a human had written it for another human!

But why am I talking about key phrase density in 2018? It’s nothing to do with my greying beard and pathological need to relate stories about the past (honest). It’s about WordPress.

The WordPress CMS powers more than 28% of the sites on the Internet. And its most popular SEO plugin, Yoast SEO is getting millions of content producers, both site owners and professional writers to adjust their key phrase densities via Yoast’s traffic light system.

If you’re making this mistake, for everyone’s sake turn off the traffic lights and write according to the rules and advice here. You should start seeing better results.

Structure and <h> tags

Another area that people say has passed into history. I say otherwise. We’re recognizing the growing importance of UX (user experience). As a writer, UX isn’t something you can ignore, thinking it’s the domain of designers and developers. An enjoyable, involving read will be a better experience than a dry academic paper in a learned journal.

If natural, professional writing is a prerequisite for success, so is having a page that’s easy to read and understand. Think about the reader again. A big headline is the most important (use h1 tags), and a hierarchy from next biggest down to smallest (h2 to h6). So use them to make content’s structure clear and easy to navigate.

I’ve got through this entire piece without saying ‘Content is King’. To be honest, I’m not sure it is.

SEO is a much more wide-ranging game in 2018 than it was even a year or two ago. Just writing copy is unlikely to bring all the results you’re looking for. So you must consider SEO copywriting as a part of your digital marketing armory. A fundamental part, of course, but remember the lines are increasingly blurred.

The psychology of language for paid search

The success of your PPC campaigns may depend on the language that you’re using. Here’s how to improve it.

Sophie Turton, Head of Content and PR at Bozboz, delivered an interesting presentation in Brighton SEO, offering useful tips on how to improve your language when creating PPC copy.

According to Sophie Turton,  people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it – that’s what makes a powerful message more effective. Here are her tips on how to use psychology to improve your PPC copy.

The serial position effect

People are more likely to recall the first and last pieces of information they see, otherwise known as the serial position effect. This makes it even more important to craft your PPC copy carefully.

Keywords can help you highlight the focus of your copy, so it’s a good idea to experiment until you find the best ones to use. However, there’s no need to focus too much on their use, as they still can’t guarantee that the language’s effectiveness.

The best way to speak your audience’s language is to try to solve a problem. It has been observed that successful PPC copy tries to find a solution to a problem.

The success lies in the fact that there is an understanding of the target audience, which is proved by providing information that they want to know.

Emotional triggers

Emotions can influence and even determine our decisions. That’s why they can be used to improve PPC copy and make it resonate with consumers.

Once again, it’s vital to understand the target audience to deliver a powerful message. By focusing on the customers’ end game with the right emotional trigger, you’re increasing the chances of conversion.

What’s most important is to remember that your copy should not be about “you”, but rather about “them”. As you’re writing about your target audience, your copy needs to reflect this.

Direct and relevant copy can benefit from the right emotional appeal, and there seems to be a connection between this appeal and your customers.

According to Perry Marshall’s ‘Swiss army knife’ method, there is a relationship between your customers and the elements in their lives.

This relationship can be organised in five steps:

  • identify your customers
  • identify a thing your customers love
  • a thing they hate
  • their best friend
  • their worst enemy

Once you’ve managed to understand all the above, then the emotional triggers can become even more effective.

Social proof

One of the most effective psychological tricks when creating copy is to involve the power of social proof.

According to Revoo, 70% of consumers place peer recommendations over professionally written content. This means that people have more chances to be influenced by their friends, or even other consumers, rather than a brand.

A good way to use social proof is to include Google Reviews in Adwords. This increases the chances of building trust between the consumers and the product and it may even bring them closer to a purchase.

Moreover, it can be even more effective to back up the claim of social proof and this can be achieved by using review extensions.

Loss aversion

Another popular psychological tip is to focus on the scarcity effect.

According to neuroscience, scarcity can increase the demand for an object, as people seem to have an aversion to loss.

A sense of urgency can increase an ad’s effectiveness – this also plays into the FOMO (‘Fear of Missing Out’) effect.

In fact, it has been observed that ads that use a sense of urgency have up to 32% increase in CTR when a countdown timer is added.

Illusionary truth effect

According to the illusionary truth effect, there is a tendency to believe information to be correct after a repeated exposure to it.

This means that repetition can improve credibility and trust. An appealing call-to-action can make your message easily recognizable. By increasing the memorable experience, you are also increasing the chances for people to return to your message and your products.

A careful consideration of the language in PPC copy can help people remember your advertising and thus, pay more attention to it.

Dare to be different

It’s not surprising that people tend to remember the unusual over the common.

Creative use of language in your PPC copy can improve your message, helping people focus on it.

This can be achieved by:

  • thinking outside the box
  • using clever language
  • staying current with trending topics
  • telling a story
  • using humor
  • being creative with keywords

Takeaway

The language you’re using in your PPC copy can significantly increase the chances of people paying attention to it.

A closer look at psychology and the way it affects people’s perspective can help your PPC copy stand out.

If you want to start testing with the most popular psychological tricks today, start with these:

  • Ask “why”
  • Prioritize the headline
  • Experiment with keywords
  • Don’t underestimate FOMO
  • Make sure the end destination reflects the initial promise
  • Use data to support your offering (but don’t be verbose)
  • Be smart and sassy
  • Play to emotion and the love of the self
  • Always go back to the “why”.

How to use buyer intent to write better copy

Understanding your audience is the hardest thing in copywriting.

Most of us know our target demographic and still, it is very hard for us to constantly create content that converts. In the end, without a loyal audience, there is no reason for you to write in the first place.

It is even harder to write for websites that are purely profit driven. In such cases, a writer has to have good understanding of a product, its advantages and flaws and how to properly present them. In other words, you have to understand a buyer’s intent.

Gadgets concept banners

Aligning your articles with your website

Although this is not in a direct connection with copy itself, it is definitely something that can affect your conversion rate. If you already have a commercial site, you need to create content that will be aligned with the general website theme.

Even though this will not make your article better, it prevents loss of customers who visited your website expecting to see one thing only to be greeted with something completely different.

Make sure to use your website to strictly write on topics that are connected to your products and services. Have in mind; these people came to your pages because they were interested in purchasing a product. If you use website’s blog as a way to vent, you will lose customers.

This doesn’t mean you should be narrow-minded. On the contrary, you can talk about state of your industry, modern technology that will improve products, characteristics of ingredients or parts, etc. But, avoid writing about irrelevant things. People will not only avoid these pages but it will also make you look less professional.

Creating truthful reviews

Whenever you review a product, make sure you’re honest.

Every product or service has its advantages and flaws. That is only to be expected. However, if you present your product in a superior way and it doesn’t deliver you will definitely lose that customer.

Here, we are able to manipulate with buyers intent. For example, if you are selling beds for hospitals, most of your clients will prefer having a comfortable product instead of a well-designed one. This way, you are able to present comfort as the biggest advantage of your bed and at the same time, you can mention that it doesn’t have the most popular design.

thinkstockphotos-507274998

As buyers will not care about the design, they will see the review as a truthful one. With it, you can quickly improve your reputation in their eyes. And, if your product manages to deliver, you can be sure that the client will come to your website for more similar products.

This strategy can also be used if you have multiple similar products. Emphasizing advantages and disadvantages can explain why one of your products is cheaper and other is more expensive. It will also help customer make his decision.

In case your products are of lower quality than your competition, make sure to emphasize the price.

On the other hand, you do not have to go in details when it comes to characteristics. Instead, you can only mention some basic stuff such as the dimensions.

Giving direct answers to questions

There are two main reasons why people surf the internet: to learn something new or to buy a product.

Visitors who are searching for a product or service are not as patient as those who are looking for new knowledge. In fact, most of them wish to get quick info so they can form an opinion regarding an item. That being said, you need to be very careful when writing your articles.

People have short attention spans nowadays. Because of it, you will have to be very direct, concise and to give step-by-step instructions.

When people start reading a copy dedicated to a product, they do not wish to be entertained; they are not interested in quality of the article per sé. Instead, they need direct answers to their questions.

Presenting your company though an article is a great opportunity to add value and inform public about your operations. However, you need to be careful and give the audience just the right information they require otherwise, they will lose interest in you altogether.

With that, we come to our next point.

Proper research

Efficiency is one of the most important aspects for buyers as we’ve previously said. If a reader has an option, he will rather gather majority of the information in one place saving them valuable time.

That being said, you commercial articles shouldn’t only be direct and truthful, they also should be scientific.

Business Woman Working Planning Ideas Concept

What does that mean?

Whenever you create an article pointed towards a potential customer, you should provide them with all the facts. Now, this data shouldn’t be affected by your personal opinion. Preferably, they should be backed up by scientific research.

In order to strengthen your claims regarding a product or a service, make sure to link out to authoritative websites within your niche. Individuals always need additional opinion before making a big purchase. Make sure to provide it, emphasizing benefits while downplaying downsides (as long as you do it in moderation) similar to what we explained in the second paragraph.

This will strengthen claims in your article which will give you overall credibility.

Conclusion

Content writing is always pointed towards readers. We are constantly trying to create things that will be read and which will persuade people to revisit our blog.

Ultimately, buyers are also readers. The main difference is in priorities. Recognizing the intent will allow us to make better copy.

As a business enterprise, you have to prioritize cold, hard facts. But, your pages have to remain interesting enough to suck a person in. This cannot be done through idle talk but by persuading people why they should give advantage to your company and product.

Nikolay Stoyanov is one of Bulgaria’s top SEO experts with more than eight years of practicing SEO and a contributor to SEW.

15 Copywriting Tips That Will Take Your Content to the Next Level by @JuliaEMcCoy

Take your content marketing to the next level with better writing. Julia McCoy’s 15-point list features the best copywriting tips for online marketers.

The post 15 Copywriting Tips That Will Take Your Content to the Next Level by @JuliaEMcCoy appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

10 Tips for Effective #SEO Copywriting by @matt_secrist

Learn the top 10 ways for creating effective SEO copywriting. Outlined are the necessities to have a successful piece of content published on your site.

The post 10 Tips for Effective #SEO Copywriting by @matt_secrist appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

20 Ways to Never Write Boring Content Again by @JuliaEMcCoy

Content writing takes time, skill, and expertise if you want your readers to stay. Here are twenty creative ways to never write boring content again.

The post 20 Ways to Never Write Boring Content Again by @JuliaEMcCoy appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

Landing Page Copywriting Mistakes That Leave Your Visitors Confused and Frustrated by @jenhavice

Keep ‘em guessing. It may work on a first date but it’s not a good tactic for your landing pages. Why? Because ambiguity in your copy can be a conversion killer. Many marketers seem to have a difficult time writing copy that keys their prospects into exactly what they need to do. More often than not, that leaves them with landing page copy that keeps prospects guessing. And guessing leads to confusion… which leads to frustration… which usually leads to a bounce. Not sure if your landing page is riddled with less than straightforward copy? Worried that ambiguity is hurting […]

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The Unconventional Guide to Content Writing vs. Copywriting by @alan_smith80

The great distinction between content writing and copywriting lies in the purpose of writing it. Copywriting means writing for the sake of promotional advertising or marketing. The purpose of content writing is to entertain and entice the online audiences so they stay longer on websites and engage with the brand. Copywriting involves content writing, but in an attractive form, so that it grabs the attention of the audience immediately. But, copywriting has a greater task to perform – which is selling the real worth of a brand, its products, and services. What are the differences between content writing and copywriting? How beneficial […]

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