And 13 ways to write more powerful, converting SEO copy to fix this.
So, you’re running an online business.
- You have a brilliant product or service that people love
- Your branding and packaging is spot on
- You’ve got a slick, professional looking website
- And, you’re showing up on the 1st page of Googles search engine results page (SERPs).
But for some reason, the cash and business enquiries aren’t flowing in.
Or does it?
The reason why browsers aren’t parting with their cash or sign up to your mailing list could actually be pretty simple.
Bad SEO Copywriting.
Because your copy isn’t up to scratch, people aren’t compelled to click through to your site. Or if they do, they’re not finding a reason to take action.
How can you fix this?
Let’s identify 13 reasons why your SEO copy could be letting you down. And discuss what needs to be done to fix it.
And hopefully, your cash flow situation too.
1. Meta Description and Title Tag
These are the first pieces of copy your potential customers see when they find you in the SERP’s. So, it’s important to make your first impression count.
To maximise the number of people clicking through to your website, your title tag for each webpage should:
- Be up to approx. 70 characters including spaces
- Be an accurate and concise description of the page’s content
- Contain your unique and relevant primary keyword phrase near the beginning (for SEO)
While your meta description isn’t important for SEO. It is for the number of people clicking through to your page. To help maximise this, you want to:
- Give people a compelling reason to click through
- Accurately and concisely describe what to find on the page
- Keep the length to about 160 characters including spaces (so it doesn’t become truncated in the SERP’s. The Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress can help with this)
- Avoid repeating your business name if it’s in your title tag
If they like what they read, they’ll click through to your page.
Top Tip – Providing your phone number in the meta description is a great way to encourage people to call you. Especially if they’re in a hurry and don’t have time to go to your webpage.
Remember, online success isn’t just getting people to your homepage. Conversions also come from phone calls.
2. Get your headlines working harder
After clicking through to your page, the headline and subheaders are the next things your prospects will see.
On average, it takes 7 seconds to decide if the webpage is helpful or not. So, it’s important your headline captures their attention and confirms they’re in the right place.
The subheaders should break up large sections of copy and signpost the important information. Allowing the reader to quickly scan the page and get an overall impression of what you’re saying.
Once they’re determined the page might be of help, they’re going to go back and read the relevant sections in more detail.
3. Keep it Concise
If they have to read large chunks of copy…well they won’t.
To keep the reader’s attention, you’ve got to keep the copy concise.
A maximum of 4 sentences per paragraph is a good guide. But there’s nothing wrong with one or two sentence paragraphs. Or even just one or two words.
However, succinct copy on its own is not enough.
There are several key writing techniques you want to apply to make sure people keep reading…and reading…until they’re ready to convert.
4. Keep it simple
Copy that’s hard to read will drive readers away.
To help make your copy reader-friendly, you want to:
- Replace jargon with simple, straight forward explanations
- Avoid less commonly used abbreviations
- Expand acronyms!
- Remove repetition and avoid duplication on information
- Make sure it makes sense
- Remove fluff and filler words (that, just ect.)
- Break up long sentences
- Keep to the point
- Use the active voice where possible
One great way to check if your copy is easy to follow is to read it out loud. If you struggle or find yourself pausing for breath in the middle of a sentence, then it’s too complicated.
Another fantastic way to check your writing is the Hemmingway app. A free, easy to use tool that highlights areas of your text that could be made simpler and easier to read.
One point about this, if your copy is intended for an audience who knows the jargon and acronyms, then, by all means, use it. It adds credibility.
5. Check your spelling
6. Keep the copy focused on the reader
If you want people engaged, make them the focus.
Don’t say what you can do. Say what you can do for them.
Because people in this age of too many options don’t care how long you’ve been in business. They only care what’s in it for them and how they can benefit.
Instead of saying, “We’ve been making carpets clean again since 1984 ”.
Say something like, “Using the latest carpet cleaning technology, we’ll make your carpets clean again”.
Notice the difference?
A general rule of thumb, try to use the words ‘you’ and ‘your’ twice as much as the words ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘we’ or ‘us’
You can make this even stronger by highlighting some killer customer benefits.
7. Dig into the key benefits for the reader
Simply listing a bunch of advantages and features is fine. But to really get people ready to hand over their cash, dig into the big benefits of a product or service you offer.
What do I mean by this?
Let’s go back to the carpet cleaning example and add a benefit.
“Using the latest carpet cleaning technology, we’ll make your carpets look, smell and feel as good as new”.
An advantage of the service is ‘using the latest carpet cleaning technology’. The big benefit though is that your carpets will be left looking, smelling and feeling like new.
That’s what people really want when they get their carpets clean.
Now that you’ve got your reader hooked with some big benefits, get them over the line by removing any fears preventing them from purchasing.
8. Dispel the reader’s objections
When you make the reader feel safe and comfortable they’re making the right decision, that’s when they buy.
First identifying potential objections and fears of purchasing. Then remove them from the buyer’s mind.
For example: A big risk of online buyers is losing their money if they change their mind about a purchase.
So, make it clear that all sales come with a 30 day, no questions asked money back guarantee (or similar).
This gives them a sense of security knowing they will get their money back if they decided to return a product.
9. Provide proof and credibility
With so many providers for your potential customers to choose from, you need to convince them you’re trustworthy. If not, they’ll find someone they do.
To help convince them you’re the best person for the job, your webpages can show proof and credibility markers.
Think about how what you offer helps people and ways to show this on your website. For example:
- Reviews and 5-star ratings
- Membership and course completion badges
- Photos and videos
Have you seen my ‘badges of honour at the bottom of the page?
(here they are again if you haven’t)
10. Have clear, compelling calls to action
If you don’t tell people what you want them to do, they won’t do it.
Having a clear call to action is a powerful driver for your prospect to take action. Such as purchasing your product, calling you or signing up for your mailing list.
A short message with a button is a great way to do this. The button should stand out on the page with a contrasting colour. And, it should also be big and easy to push for mobile users.
Tour ABC’s breathtaking new interior with a 360deg interior view.
[Button: Take me inside]
11. Your page should deliver what it promises
If a person clicks through to find something they weren’t expecting, they’re going to bounce back to Google pretty quickly. Clickbait articles are a prime example of this.
Fixing this can often be as simple as rewording your title tag or meta description. However, tweaking your webpage is sometimes also necessary. It depends on the information you want to deliver.
12. Each page to focus on a single topic
Imagine a conversation with your best friend who’s got back from holiday.
They’re so excited to tell you how great the hotel was. The problems they had at the airport…the tour you just have to take…how they weren’t sure about the food…but loved the open spaces…
It’s all too much to take in.
It’s the same with a webpage that’s not focused on a single topic.
Of course, your home page is a little different. It’s a more general introduction to what you do, why your better than everyone else and what they should do next.
But for the rest of your website, one page, one topic.
13. Get your on-page SEO right
Gone are the days stuffing keywords onto a page will help you succeeded online. People are too savvy and switched on for that.
You want copy written for humans first and Google second.
Using the techniques we’ve already discussed, add a few well-chosen keywords and synonyms in the right places.
The places you want to aim for are:
- Title tag
- Meta description
- Page header (H1)
- Subheaders (H2 – H6)
- First 100 words
- Image file name
- Image alt text
- Link/anchor text
Don’t worry if you can’t work a keyword into all these places.
Google’s pretty smart at figuring out what you mean.
And remember – write for people first and Google second. Because it’s people you’re ultimately trying to appeal to…Google is just helping you deliver the message.
If I do all things, am I guaranteed online success?
Sadly no. There are many factors that determine online success. Like your marketing and the market demand ect.
But, clear, easy to understand compelling SEO copy will help put you a step above your competitors.
Because no matter how much someone wants to use your business or buy your product if they can’t understand you, they’re not going to buy from you.
Over to you
Do you agree with my ideas? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.
If you liked this article, please share.
Written by Josh Rose.
SEO copywriter. Word lover. Addicted to travel.