8 Principles of Effective SEO Copywriting

seo copywriter next to laptop

Getting your content to rank is easy. There’s no secret to SEO copywriting; just 8 fool-proof principles for providing value to your audience, and getting Google to notice.

  1. Focus on one topic, not one keyword
    Keywords are still the crux of SEO content writing – but not in the way you might expect. Instead of analysing your content for its relevance to a particular keyword, Google looks at relevance to particular topics.

Natural, high-quality content won’t be optimized for a single keyword – it’ll contain dozens of keyword variants and related concepts. High keyword densities for a handful of short-tail keywords are not natural, and Google is more likely to penalize your content than boost its rank.

Instead of writing keyword-optimized content, focus on writing topical content. Choose a single topic, and try and cover it as authoritatively and comprehensively as possible. In doing so, you’ll include dozens of long-tail keyword variations within your content, and provide a clear signal of the relevance and quality of your content.

Optimized Keyword Density

  • SEO copywriting 6%
  • Natural Keyword Density
  • SEO copywriting 2%
  • SEO content writing 2%
  • search engine optimization 1%
  • content marketing for search engines 0.5%
  • how to rank content 0.5%

For more information about keyword density and content writing, check out: Keyword Density: Does It Really Matter?

  1. Your page title matters
    Your content’s title is one of the most important elements of effective SEO copywriting, for two reasons:

Your title sells your content.
Visitors will judge your entire post on the strength and relevance of your title – and a poorly chosen title will kill your clickthroughs. Make sure that your title is reflective of the topic of your content, and interesting enough to compel your visitor to find out more.

Your title plays a big part in SEO.

It provides Google search engine optimization capabilities with a short, concise summary of the entire topic of your content; and it uses that information to judge your content’s relevance to search queries. If you’re writing an article about ‘Content Marketing’, it’s good practice to include some variant of that keyword in your title. However, as before, there’s no need to over-optimise – and a Google search for ‘Content marketing advice’ will also return articles titled ‘Content marketing best practices’ and ‘Content marketing lessons’. After all, they all cover the same subject matter.

  1. Encourage social sharing within your content
    Google cares about the quality of content, and is always seeking out the most popular and authoritative articles to place at the top of its SERP. Social signals offer Google an insight into the popularity and value of your content; and as a result, your blog’s Likes, Tweets and Shares will directly impact your SEO.

Make your content easy to share. Include a social media call-to-action at the end of your content and add a social sharing bar to each of your posts. If you look to the left of this text, you’ll be able to see exactly what I mean.

Low rankings? We can chalk it up to a lack of Social Media promotion.

  1. Include both internal and external links
    Authoritative content dominates the search engine results. Google strives to provide its users with the most informative, comprehensive and complete answers to their questions – and it’s unlikely that any one page of content will cover every single aspect of a particular topic.

Including external and internal links within your content allow you to provide more information to your readers. They allow you to send readers to other relevant pages to continue their research, and enable you to compile resources from other websites. Google takes these links as a signal of the authority and legitimacy of your page, and passes PageRank between linked sites – helping your content climb the SERPs.

  1. On-page SEO doesn’t really matter
    What was once the be-all and end-all of SEO copywriting is now a quiet footnote. On-page optimisation does influence SEO – but with nowhere near the impact it used to. Anchor text, ALT tags and header tags should all be relevant to your subject matter, but they don’t need to be keyword optimized. Think of them as tools to aid your reader, and not the search engines.

ALT tags

Try to describe your images as accurately and completely as possible; and only use keywords if they’re directly relevant to your image.


Divide your content up into digestible paragraphs, and title them appropriately.

Anchor text

Use a variety of anchor text, and include links when and where they’re the most relevant.

Keyword anchor: Ebrandz Reviews Agency

Branded anchor: Ebrandz Content

Natural anchor: Learn more

Naked URL: http://ebrandz.reviews/about/

  1. Go big or go home
    There’s a direct correlation between content length and search engine rank. In a survey by serpIQ, every single Top 10 result clocked-in at over 2000 words – with longer content performing better than shorter content:

Long content is easier to rank than short content. There’s more material for Google to analyse, a greater selection of topical keywords and keyword variants, and it’s easier for you to outdo everybody else’s content. You can include more value than your competitors, and your content will be shared more as a result.

  1. Regularly update your content
    Content Freshness is a measure of how recently your content has been updated. Generally speaking, Google prefers recent content to older material; on the assumption that it’s more likely to be accurate, up-to-date and relevant.

Check out Moz’s fantastic article for a more in-depth look at content freshness!

The influence of freshness varies with topic. Some niches are subject to regular overhauls and updates (like SEO copywriting, for example), and others remain relatively static (like Tudor history). If your content is in a flexible, evolving domain, regularly updating your article will boost your search engine rank.

Crucially though, there’s no benefit to updating content for the sake of content. Only add to existing material if you have new value to add – either a new opinion, a new development or a change in best-practice.

  1. Forget everything I’ve said about SEO copywriting, and just write amazing content
    All of my research into SEO copywriting has lead to a single conclusion: amazing content will rank well, time and time again. That’s it – there’s no magic formula, no keyword density to strive for, and no quick-hack for beating your competition to a sustainable #1 ranking. Great content will cover every single one of these 10 tenets of effective SEO copywriting. Long-tail keywords, social sharing, authoritative link profiles, comprehensive advice and regularly updated-material are all by-products of well-written, targeted and valuable content.

Google’s search engine algorithms are trying to imitate genuine readers – and they look for the same hallmarks of quality content that your daily blog visitors do. For your content to rank well, it has to provide value to your target audience, and impress your readership. If you achieve that, you’ll also impress Google.