Every second counts.
Time is precious and your clients are busy. They want to know the facts, features and benefits of your product fast.
Good copy delivers that message on a silver platter. Pronto.
But there’s a lot more to website copywriting than tossing around cliché phrases like supercharge your revenue.
Good copywriting is all about writing words that nudge the reader closer to the next step. Closer to that checkout, contact us or subscribe button.
I spent a few days condensing everything you need to know about writing website copy that ranks well.
Every section is packed with fluff-free, practical tips to help you tackle your website copywriting with gusto.
I’ll update this handbook regularly.
If you’re writing website copy, you should know about SEO.
For those who don’t know, buckle up. I’ll quickly explain it in 30 seconds:
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. The clue is in the name – it’s all about making changes on your website to help it rank better on search engines like Google.
Picture this: Google alone gets 99,000 searches every second, racking up over 8 billion per day.
Chances are, a bunch of those searches are related to your products or services.
A clever SEO strategy can help you convert these relevant searches into landing page traffic.
SEO is one of the most sustainable ways to draw website visitors in the long run. Because the SEO content you create today can pull in visitors for you months, even years, down the line.
And that’s the beauty of it. SEO delivers a return-on-investment long after your campaign ends.
Very impressive. But the question is how do you incorporate SEO into your website copy?
Well, that’s where SEO copywriting comes into play: the art of writing content that’s both SEO-friendly and engaging to readers.
Two birds, one stone.
Let’s go through the process of SEO copywriting. We’ll discuss these topics:
- How to find target keywords for your copy
- Writing SEO-friendly above and below the-fold copy
- The keyword optimisation process
- When to choose high-intent over high volume keywords
1/ Find keywords to target for your website copy
Jump into your customer’s shoes.
Think about the keywords they could be searching to find your products or services.
Let’s say we wanted to write landing page copy for a London-based accountancy firm (not very sexy, I know).
Someone interested in hiring accountants in London would probably Google a simple phrase like accountants in london.
So that’s a keyword that we could potentially target.
And we can check that the keyword is suitable by reviewing three metrics:
- Relevancy – how relevant is the keyword to the products or services you provide?
- Search volume – how many searches does the keyword receive per month?
- SEO difficulty – how difficult would it be to rank for the keyword?
You’ll need a keyword research tool to find the answers to all these questions.
But don’t worry about forking out any money. There are a few keyword research tools that you can use for free:
For finding low-difficulty keyword
Ahrefs’ free Keyword Generator is pretty helpful for finding keyword ideas. It provides unlimited searches.
Type any word into the search bar.
Hit the search button, sit back and relax.
For reviewing keyword quality
You can use Semrush’s Keyword Overview Report to dig deeper and find out more info about your keyword (for example, the search intent of the keyword).
It’s also free, but you only get 10 daily searches on the free version.
I used both of these free tools to review my target keyword accountants in london.
Safe to say, this would be a tough keyword to rank for:
We want to work smarter, not harder.
If your keyword is too competitive, find easier variations of it.
And the best way to find easier variations of a keyword is to make it more specific.
Longer, more specific keywords are often easier to rank for (although this isn’t always the case).
Let’s go back to our earlier scenario.
Let’s say that our accountancy firm was based in Canary Wharf, London.
Rather than targeting the keyword accountants in london, we could zoom in and get a little more specific by targeting accountants in east london.
And guess what? That longer keyword is a lot easier to rank for:
Try it out yourself. Take your time, experiment a little.
Drop your keyword ideas into AhRefs and Semrush until you find one that hits the sweet spot of relevancy, good search volume and low difficulty.
Once you have your keyword, we can move on to the next stage:
2/ Write SEO-friendly above the fold copy
We’ve arrived to the main act. Time to start writing the landing page copy.
We’ll work our way from the top to the bottom of the page.
Let’s start above the fold.
Your above the fold section is the part of your page users see before scrolling down. It’s the first screen that immediately appears when they open up your landing page.
When writing your above the fold copy, include your keyword in:
- The main heading
- At least one of your subheadings
- The first 100 words of the landing page copy
- The SEO title and meta description
We can tackle these obstacles one at a time, starting with the heading.
Your main heading should briefly explain your product or service’s value in 70 characters or less.
The heading above ticks three boxes:
- Includes target keyword – accountants in East London
- Features a hook – £200 per month (competitive price)
- Mentions a benefit/outcome – Hire chartered accountants
Keep your main heading simple and focused. Save the smooth talk for later down the page where you’ll have more room.
Your heading should draw the reader in with a benefit or outcome.
The subheading is where you describe how your product or service creates the value you promised in the heading.
3/ Write below the fold copy
Let’s do a recap:
So. We introduced our product/service in the above-the-fold section.
In the below-the-fold section, our job is to persuade the reader to choose us over the competitor.
We’ll blitz through the next stage in three steps:
- Step one – go on Google and find the top ranking pages for your target keyword.
- Step two – spot areas of improvement and ways to make these pages more valuable. For lack of a better term, raise the game.
- Step three – use all of the info gathered to write more helpful content for your below the fold section.
Easier said than done, right?
Let’s follow these steps using my accountancy firm as an example.
Find top ranking pages for your keyword
If I search accountants in east london on Google, these are the top three pages ranking for that keyword:
Spot areas of improvement
I investigated these pages and found three areas of improvement:
- Unclear benefits – None of the landing pages clearly highlight the benefits of their accounting services.
- FAQs missing – There’s no FAQ section on any of these pages to address common customer queries clients might have about their accounting services.
- Lack of social proof – Two pages lack evidence of positive customer experiences. Adding reviews or testimonials would build trust in these accounting firms.
Boom. In one minute, we found three ways to brush up the content for the top ranking pages.
Now it’s your turn.
Hang in there. This chapter’s nearly done.
There’s just one more topic to cover: keyword optimisation.
Keyword optimisation is when you edit your copy to make it more relevant for a target keyword.
And you can do this by simply adding your keyword throughout your copy.
But beware: there’s a right and wrong way to do keyword optimisation.
Pack your copy with too many keywords and it starts to sound like a broken record. No flow, no rhythm.
You want your copy to be reader and SEO-friendly. Find the sweet spot.
Don’t be this copywriter:
Hey East Londoners! Searching for
Look no further! Ourare the go-to experts for all your accounting needs in East London.
Choose us for top-notchon’t settle for mediocre .
Guess what the target keyword is? No prizes for right answers.
Stuffing your copy with too many keywords makes your copy less readable and hurts your rankings.
Quick tip: Once you’ve written your copy, run it through this Keyword Density Checker to make sure you’re not keyword stuffing.
Phew! That was a lot of info to cover.
SEO can be overwhelming. Plus it takes time.
If you have a busy schedule, I’d recommend hiring a freelance SEO writer if you have the budget for it.
Feel free to read my two guides on hiring freelance writers:
In this section, we’ll talk about how to structure your copy.
But first let me share a story (If you’re not in the mood for a story, scroll straight down to the practical tips.)
Let’s turn back time to the late 50s:
Barbie Doll has just launched, Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba and a tiny, unassuming car is about to make a big splash in the USA.
That car is the Volkswagen Beetle.
The Beetle was small and compact in an era where powerful cars ruled the road. It was outmatched.
Well, at least no one would have blamed you for thinking so.
If you’re no stranger to copywriting legends, you’ll recognise the face in the image below:
This man’s name is Bill Bernbach, Volkswagen’s former Creative Director.
His mission was to set the Beetle apart in the American automobile market.
But he faced a dilemma:
How do you sell a car that’s unlike anything Americans have ever seen before?
Most creative directors would’ve played it safe, flaunting the car’s features the old-fashioned way.
Of course, Bill wasn’t your typical creative director.
He tossed the marketing playbook out the window. His ads were refreshingly honest, simple and proud of the Beetle’s small size.
With authentic and razor-sharp copy, Bernbach turned the Beetle’s weakness into strengths.
He turned weakness into strength again in his 1962 Rent-a-Car Avis campaign.
Notice how he writes in a conversational tone.
So casual and relaxed, like he’s catching up with an old friend at the bar.
He uses simple words. No complicated vocabulary that looks like it’s been yanked out of a Thesaurus.
The sentences vary in length. Short, then long. And every line of copy rolls off the tongue. Flows into the next. Reads like poetry.
A masterclass in copywriting.
And we can learn a few lessons from it.
Let’s dig into some practical tips for structuring your website copy:
Add more periods, less commas
Periods keep your sentences short and sweet.
They’re quick and to the point.
They give your copy room to breathe.
But when you throw in commas, things get messy. Long, drawn-out sentences start creeping in.
Shout out to Harry from Marketing Examples for this tip.
Play around with sentence length
Short and sweet sentences are easier to read.
But long sentences still work like a charm.
Add variety in your copy.
The man himself Gary Provost said it best:
Nothing to add.
This section will be short and sweet.
Let’s talk about writing call to actions and addressing objections.
Hook readers with numbers
Impressive, specific numbers stand out.
Look at the copy below:
Get cheap investments
Not bad, right?
It nudges the reader to take action and promises “cheap” investments. We’re off to a good start.
But this CTA could be better with one little tweak. Nothing too grand. All we’re going to do is drop a number in there and reword it.
This is what we get:
Invest from just £1
Numbers don’t lie.
Anyone can promise cheap investments. Promise your reader they can invest for the price of a cup of coffee and you’ve got one hell of a message.
Practice makes perfect. Let’s look at some more ways we can squeeze numbers into our CTAs:
Handle objections with microcopy
Copywriting is the art of persuasion through words. Your copy is supposed to persuade your dream clients to buy from you.
So isn’t it counterproductive to use your copy to point out the reasons clients might not want to buy from you?
No, it’s not counterproductive at all.
In fact, being proactive and getting ahead of prospects’ objections is the best way to handle them.
And your CTA is one of the best ways to do that. Use microcopy to address any last-minute objections your reader might have.
Your objections microcopy can go inside or around your CTA.
Microcopy is the finishing touch to your CTA.
You’re giving the reader their final reasons to click on the CTA, while reassuring them about their concerns.
List down all of the objections your readers might have to your CTA.
Pick one or two and tackle them in your microcopy.
Let’s dig into some examples:
CTA – Subscribe to my newsletter
Objection – “I don’t want my inbox cluttered.”
Microcopy – Receive 1 weekly email packed with useful insights. No spam.
CTA – Book your appointment
Objection – “What if I need to cancel?”
Microcopy – Rescheduling or cancelling appointments is easy and free.
Chapter coming soon