SEO copywriting template: how to write for humans AND machines?

SEO copywriting is a method with which you can insert your content in both human and machine readable format.

Both are needed in order for your content to get ranked high in Google search results

Below is a simple template that you can use to instantly apply the SEO copywriting principle.

There are many other known template structures available, but the below is a simple enough one to start with.

You can use it in the beginning of your inbound marketing or Search Engine Optimization journey as a default structure. Once you see from your analytics what kind of content resonates among your audience, you can modify it.

But for now, let’s stick to the basics.

My SEO copywriting template

Title
The main point here                           (alternatively, a one-column-wide picture here)
Level 2 headline 1 here
The main point justifications and supporting data here
Call To Action 1 here
Level 2 headline 2 here
Conclusion here
Call To Action 2 here

SEO copywriting instructions

General

  1. In the SEO copywriting style you create the content with one keyword in mind, which you produce through your keyword research.
  2. The article must be targeted for one of your buyer personas (as opposed to just anybody).
  3. AND it must be written for a specific customer journey phase of theirs.  That is because people, who are just becoming aware of you must be addressed in a different way than the ones who are ready to buy.

The address (URL)

The best address for an article or a web page is yourdomainname.com/<keyword>.

Many content management systems (for example WordPress and Squarespace) by default output something else (for example yourdomainname.com/p=123 or yourdomainname.com/2017-05-14/headline-of-some-sorts), but these are all unnecessary clutter. Keept it simple.

Title

Insert the chosen keyword in the beginning of the Title or as close to the beginning as you can.

This is because Google prefers it so, but also because humans skim content in an F-pattern. Thus, it helps if the keyword is the first thing they see.

Make the headline length about six words or 150 characters long. Google shows this much in the search results.

Not sure what kind of headline to use? Read my article about headline writing!

The main point

Unless you have used a content management plugin of yours (e.g. Yoast SEO), which nicely outputs a great headline+URL+Description combo, Google by default displays the first 150-250 characters from the beginning of the main point. Thus it makes sense to begin the main point again with the keyword or keep it as close to the beginning as you can.

In the main point section you present your main message as it is. Keep it compact and to-the-point, and the length proportional to the overall article length.

Image

Use at least one image in the text or as a preview image.

Make sure the keyword can be found in the image ALT tag.

The image is important, because many social media tools by default present the article image as the social media post image as well. And: images are known to generate more clicks than posts without images.

Level 2 headline #1

The first level 2 headline gives rhythm to the reading experience. After the main point, which may be cognitively heavy to “digest”, the first level 2 headline provides a breathing space.

To increase chances of your content ranking high, it’s a good idea to use a variation of the keyword in level 2 headlines.

Justifications and data

As the main point is the argument, the second chapter is about supporting data. Here, provide links to original research, high quality sites (for link building purposes) and references to articles about the same topic.

Call To Action 1

Call To Action (CTA) is a link, button, image or another element with which you can encourage the reader to share your content in social media, subscribe to your newsletter, download a (more extensive) guide (about the same topic) or even buy (if you have something to sell related to the topic of the article).

Level 2 headline #2

By now you have used the reader’s time enough so time is of the essence.

The level 2 headline number 2 must prepare the reader for the coming conclusion. It can also provide one more fact or point of view.

In addition, you can use another variation of the keyword in here to increase your high ranking chances.

Conclusion

Here, draw everything together with a compact conclusion with 1-2 more justifications and finish with your chosen message.

Also, count the total number of words. 300 words is the bare minimum. The average length of the best internet articles out there is approaching 2000 words.

If you can’t write 2000 words right away, it’s ok to publish whatever you have right now and increase the length as you get more ideas.

An exception to this rule is if you want to reach out to industry influencers or leading publications. You want to provide them a thoroughly well written article before you ask them to share your content.

CTA 2

Now is your last chance to make the reader take action in relation to whatever else you can provide. Consider using these words.

Some examples include

  1. Provide a link to a related article
  2. Ask to subscribe to your newsletter
  3. Contact you through a form or by other means
  4. Download a PDF guide
  5. Leave his/her contact information
  6. Share this article in social media

There you go

So, this is a very basic SEO copywriting template that you can deploy to structure your content in the beginning of your SEO and inbound marketing journey.

You can later modify it, but only after you see from your analytics how the content resonates in your audience.

References

A step-by-step playbook for writing content that ranks on organic search by Bernard Huang

The perfect blog post by Social Triggers.

An HubSpot infographics of a perfect blog post.

Robbie Richards has an epic guide to SEO copywriting: robbierichards.com/seo/seo-copywriting.

Want to make your content even more SEO friendly? Check out my article about Search Engine Optimization!

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