Web copywriting = 13 golden rules for successful content

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Like Google's algorithms, SEO is constantly evolving. However, the consensus remains the same: top rankings depend on quality content. Web content enables search engines to understand the sector in which a website operates. It also serves as a basis for assessing a brand's expertise. As a result, the algorithms only propose web content in the SERP that they deem relevant to the requests of web users. It is also through textual content that a web copywriter targets specific keywords or expressions for a site's ranking.

But what is quality web content? It's content with coherent titles, that incorporates relevant keywords and engage web users. In this way, they provide real added value for visitors. They answer questions, solve problems and provide valuable information.  

And to ensure an effective online presence, quality content must be SEO optimized. This implies a good keyword strategy, the choice of titles... The ideal web content is therefore that which meets the requirements of search engines and the expectations of Internet users. As you can see, web copywriting can't be improvised. Discover the essential techniques for successful content.

1- Understand your target

In marketing, the persona is the company's target audience. In concrete terms, it refers to people who are likely to buy the brand's products or services. Every action taken by the company must therefore enable it to get closer to this target, win it over and build loyalty. To do this, the company must take into account the characteristics of its persona.

What role does the persona play in web copywriting? As you probably already know, you don't address your boss in the same way as your best friend. Likewise, you don't use the same language when talking to children as you do when talking to the elderly. Web copywriting requires the same attention to detail. To make a lasting impression on your audience, you need to use the same expressions as her. In other words, your language, turn of phrase and cultural references should vary according to your future readers.

In addition, the understanding your target gives you ideas for relevant content. Indeed, successful web copywriting content is that which focuses on the needs of the audience. The content you write must therefore add value for your readers. This understanding also helps you to attract and maintain the attention of web users. Note that the average human attention span is 8 seconds. That's how long you have to convince a visitor to read your web content. That's why you need to get to the heart of the matter right away, and tackle subjects that will appeal to them. What's more, by writing for a specific target audience, you can easily put yourself in their shoes. In this way, you can create a bond with your readers, since you understand their needs, desires and ways of functioning.

2- Define your goal

Without a clear objective, you run the risk of wasting time creating web content that will ultimately be ineffective. And yet, content writing is a key element in a company's communication strategy. That's why you need SMART goal to guide you. SMART stands for: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.

Specificity gives you a defined, focused objective. For example, you can aim for an increase in organic traffic of 20 % in 3 months through content writing. This specificity will then help you address topics and use relevant keywords in your articles.

Measurability implies a quantifiable objective. In order to monitor your progress, you need to have a result that you can evaluate. The achievability of your objective ensures that it's within your reach. What's more, you need to be realistic. For example, it's impossible to triple your traffic in a week. That's neither achievable nor realistic. Finally, you need to set a deadline. Your objective can be one-off, seasonal or long-term.

Note that a SMART objective must be malleable. In fact, there's no such thing as the perfect formula for writing web content. Admittedly, the SMART method helps you to aim for a precise and clear objective. But it's not absolute. So you need to adjust your web copywriting techniques over time. Also, remember that the requirements of search engine algorithms are complex. They can be unpredictable, so you can't control everything.

3- Find relevant keywords

When it comes to web copywriting, keywords are of paramount importance. These are the words your target will enter into search engines to find what they need. Keywords are therefore the basis of SEO in web copywriting.

Keyword research involves identify your target audience's search intentions. Don't worry! This task is not as arduous as it sounds. But it does require anticipation, vigilance and follow-up. The latter is particularly important, as your target's behavior may change over time.

It's important to note that there are different types of keywords in web copywriting:

  • Visit long-tail keywords. They are complex and combine several words. They target a specific audience.
  • Visit semantic keywords. They increase the added value of your content by helping you to treat your subjects as a whole. Semantic keywords come from the lexical field of the main keyword.
  • Visit generic keywords. They have a maximum of three words and are general in nature. They lack precision, but are still indispensable.

To find relevant keywords for your readers, you can rely on Google's suggestions. These are the words that the engine suggests at the end of each results page. You can also use tools like Google Ad, Keyword Tool and Answer The Public. What's more, these are free tools to help you with web copywriting, even for a white paper. This is ideal for companies that don't have a large budget to devote to content creation.  

4- Structure your text

A crucial step in content optimization, the development of a plan helps you to best respond to the search intentions of Internet users. In other words, you need to find the right angle for your content. As a reminder, the main aim of web copywriting is to provide your target audience with useful and comprehensive information.

Your plan should also be consistent with the keywords you're targeting. Finally, the structure of your web article must optimize the hierarchy of your content. Otherwise, Google's algorithms will have trouble understanding your sequence of ideas.

To create the structure of your plan, you need to follow a few essential steps. Starting with your main keyword, carry out a study of the competition around the theme you wish to address. Then evaluate your competitors' web content, article topics and word counts. Then, analyze the SERP to identify the elements that make it up: AAP, video... This evaluation will help you understand how Google interprets web user queries.

Regardless of the type of content you write, your article must contain at least these elements:

  • Main title: this is your H1.
  • An introduction: about 15 % of the length of your text.
  • An image: make sure the keyword is in its Alt attribute
  • A heading for each paragraph: these are called H2s.
  • Subtitles: only if necessary. A single H3 in an H2 is superfluous.

The conclusion is optional, but can be an interesting call to action.

5- Don't neglect your introduction

As the spearhead of your web content, the introductory section must be punchy. Readers' attention is a scarce resource these days. The introduction must therefore convince your reader to read all the way to the end. On the other hand, if it fails to engage readers' interest, it risks increasing your bounce rate.

How to write a powerful introduction? Ideally, you should start by drawing up a list of the essential terms to be included in your article before writing your introduction. This will help you avoid going off-topic.

To write your introduction, start by a sentence that appeals to the reader. It must be simple, short and affirmative. You can use facts, figures or quotes. These are just a few examples - it's up to you to be creative. Needless to say, the sentence must be relevant to your theme.

Once again, we remind you that the introduction must hook the reader. As such, it should announce the outline of your article. But keep it brief. Don't reveal all the important information in the introduction and outline.

In addition, the introduction must present a problemThis is the main idea of your headline. This is the main idea of your title. It should also tell the reader what you're going to write about.

Note that although your introduction must be complete and effective, it must also be short. It should not take up more than 1/5 of your article. Like the rest of your content, it needs to be meticulous. Also, avoid heavy syntax, as it could drive your readers away.

6- Meet your audience's expectations

Quality content meets the expectations of the target audience. Therefore, you need to write in such a way as to bring qualitative information to your audience. Keep in mind that quality must always take precedence over keywords. Even if you manage to include an astronomical number of keywords in your article, your efforts will be in vain if your article isn't interesting. The best web content is that which answers the questions of Internet users.

Some web copywriters make the mistake of emphasizing advertising messages in their content. This can irritate the reader. It's better to focus on quality, so as to win the audience's trust. In addition, you need to ensure that your messages are crafted in such a way that web users can easily find the information they need at the most opportune moment.   

Copywriting for the web uses the inverted pyramid technique. In fact, the rate at which readers drop out is degressive. As a result, you need to put the most important information at the beginning of your article. The inverted pyramid consists in establishing a structure of ideas in descending order of importance.

To better structure your web content, you also need to understand how web users behave. In general, when they arrive on a web page, they first scan the left-hand side of the page. They then move on to the title, introduction and first heading or paragraph. The parts of the page that garner the most views are those that form a capital F. These are the hot zones of the page. These are the hot zones. So you need to focus on these areas.

7- Optimize your web content for search engines

The key query is your starting point for optimizing your text for search engines. The principle is as follows: a page must correspond to a query. Once you've identified this query, you can begin your SEO optimization work.

The title is of central importance in SEO. You need to insert the key query, and if possible, at the beginning of the sentence. The number of words in the title that appears in the SERP is limited. As a result, the most important terms must be included in the part that appears. However, you need to make sure it's engaging to optimize the click-through rate.

The meta description is a short description of the page content. In the SERP, it appears under the SEO title. It must contain important keywords and key information. The meta description should make visitors want to read the entire web article.

Headings and subheadings help you structure your web article around the main keyword and search intent. Subheadings also allow you to integrate secondary keywords into your plan.

When it comes to web content, Google believes that the longer an article is, the more relevant information it can contain. The length of web content therefore influences SEO. For good SEO, your article must not be less than 300 words. At 700 words, it begins to interest search engine algorithms. For these robots to consider a text as a reliable source of information, the article must be over 1,200 words long. Note also that you should place the main keyword at the beginning of the paragraph when writing. As for density, this varies according to the length of the text. For a 1,000-word article, the ideal is repeat the keyword 15 times. Beyond that, you're on the verge of over-optimization.

8- Don't forget internal linking

In the field of SEO copywriting, internal linking consists of adding links from other pages on the same site to a piece of content. This makes it easier for visitors to navigate the site. It also enables Google to understand the structure of the website in question. In fact, by adding links to other pages, you're telling the algorithms which pages are the most important on the platform.

Links must be of real interest to your readers. Therefore, avoid redirecting them to "contact" or "customer" pages. The aim is to convert visitors into customers without detracting from their browsing experience. You can add 2 to 4 links in each piece of content, while making sure they're all relevant. Quality trumps quantity when it comes to writing web content.

In addition, you must choose the right link anchor to avoid misleading the reader. The anchor is the word (or phrase) on which you embed the link. It is displayed in a different color (usually blue) so that both you and the reader can easily identify it. To preserve the user's navigation, the anchor word must be related to the content of the page to which the link points.

Don't forget external links or backlinks. These are links that redirect your readers to another site. In this way, you enable your audience to gather further information from platforms that deal closely or remotely with the same subjects as you. You can, for example, redirect them to government sites or other sources you've exploited in your content. Search engines reward your generosity. However, make sure the external link opens in a new window. It would be a shame to lose your visitors before they can perform the action you're aiming for through your web content.

9- Don't overlook the importance of the media

Text alone is not enough to convey messages in web copywriting. Media act as visual catalysts that enrich your web content. In fact, images, videos and any other infographics you integrate into your article are more than just illustrations. They have the effect of reinforce your messages and make an impression.

When you're dealing with abstract topics with complex data, it's best to add an image that allows your readers to visualize the information you're providing. For example, if your article is about marketing trends, you can add an image to summarize the statistics. Internet users also appreciate videos. In fact, this format is ideal for demonstrating a more or less complex process.

In addition, note that editorial content with media is capable of generating maximum traffic. Videos and images also reinforce theengaging your audience. In fact, they can convey more emotion than words. So they help you create a link between the brand you represent and the public. What's more, we memorize visual content more easily than textual content. Media are therefore an excellent way of attracting the attention of your target audience. It also ensures that your message stays with them for as long as possible.

On the other hand, you need to make sure you use media that are relevant to the subject you're tackling. They should illustrate your text without distracting your readers' attention. Visual quality is also essential. Blurred images could damage the credibility of your web content.

10-Review yourself

In the digital world, competition is fierce. Internet users are demanding. By offering them web content with errors, you jeopardize the trust they have in your expertise. They'll look elsewhere for more reliable information. What's more, erroneous information can harm your SEO ranking. Search engines attach particular importance to the quality and relevance of web content.

After you've finished writing your article, take the time to take a break. This allows you to take a fresh look at what you've written when you proofread it. This way, you'll be able to spot your mistakes more easily. Pay attention to every detail and go through each sentence slowly.

You must also ensure that your web content is coherent and fluid. Internet users need to be able to read your article naturally. In addition, transitions between paragraphs should be clear and unambiguous. When proofreading, it's best to proceed in stages. For example, you can start with spelling before tackling grammar and punctuation. Spelling and grammar correction tools such as Antidote can help.

Once you've corrected any errors in these three areas, you can concentrate on consistency. If necessary, read aloud to better detect awkward turns of phrase. Finally, don't forget to check accuracy of factual information.

11-Invite your readers to take action

Each piece of content you create must have a precise objective. And to lead readers to that goal, you need to use Call-To-Action or CTA. A CTA can be a sentence, a word or an expression. Its purpose is to invite your audience to

  • buy a product/service,
  • download a document such as a white paper,
  • visit a page,
  • etc.

To be efficient, a CTA must be visible and attractive. It should be written in a large, bold font. It should also be integrated into an image button that attracts visitors' attention as soon as they access your content. Note that CTAs contribute to improve the target's post-click experience. Explicit, the CTA is imperative to encourage visitors to click. It's also direct, and can create a sense of urgency. Here are some Call-To-Action ideas:

  • Order now!
  • Download the form now!
  • Contact us!

A CTA can be part of a web page or advertisement. It can also be an element of your web content. Its effectiveness also depends on its location on the web page. Most often, it's placed above the waterline. This strategic placement ensures that the CTA remains in the field of vision of web users when they visit a web page. The CTA can also be placed at the bottom of the page after the last paragraph of the article. In this way, it prevents visitors from having to return to the top of the page to take action.

It's important to note that if your web content is long enough, you can integrate two CTAs. The first at the very top of your page and the second at the end of your content.

12-Evaluate the performance of your content

You've spent hours writing content, perfecting every detail and optimizing your text for SEO. You've also taken care to choose beautiful visuals to illustrate your message. Now that your content has been published, it's time to measure your impact. Has it achieved what you set out to do? To find out, you need to analyze the performance of your pages and content. This can be done by Google Analytics and a few key indicators.

Page views and single views are the most obvious figures for measuring the success of your web content. On Google Analytic, the "page views" section shows you the number of times web users have viewed your web content. If this number is higher than the number of unique views, it means that web users have visited your page several times. They are therefore showing a real interest in your content.

Visit bounce and exit rates corresponds to the percentage of visitors who have left your page. However, the interpretation of this data depends on the objective of your content. If you've written an article designed to lead visitors to another page on your site, a high bounce and exit rate indicates failure. This is not the case, however, if your content is designed to direct visitors to another platform. Another reliable indicator of your audience's interest in your content: average time spent on your page. Thanks to this evaluation, you can identify the aspects of your content that you need to improve to better achieve your objectives.

13-Continuous training

The digital world is evolving at breakneck speed. As a result, you need to keep up to date with the latest trends. Keep in mind that web users want an up-to-date online experience. That's why you need to embrace trends to offer relevant web content. What's more, the way web users consume content changes over time. Formats and visuals that used to work are now obsolete. So you need to stay listening to user preferences to meet your target audience's current needs.

What's more, new technologies are having a considerable impact on content visibility. By adapting the way you create content to these changes, you'll be able to optimize your site's online presence.

As you can see, a good web copywriter is one who shows curiosity. Don't hesitate to try out new approaches to writing web content. This will enable you to discover many techniques for increasing engagement with your target audience.

Today, there are many blogs, studies and books devoted to web copywriting. You'll discover innovative ideas that can add value to your work. Conferences, webinars and events are also great learning opportunities. Attending these events will boost your inspiration and networking.

Bonus tip: Use copywriting tools

Writing web content is a complex task. Between meeting search engine requirements and satisfying your audience, it's easy to get lost. Fortunately, there are a number of tools that can help you in your quest for top SERP ranking.

You can, for example, use Keyword Planner to find keywords related to your subject. This way, you're guaranteed to write an article that will be of interest to your target audience. By using the keywords Keyword Planner suggests, you can assure search engines that your content is relevant.

L'semantic analysis is a method that enables you to make an accurate assessment of your target audience's intentions. It helps you to effectively reference your article. By using a semantic analysis tool, you'll have a global view of the words that web users use most in a given theme. As a result, you'll have all the information you need to enrich your content.

Spelling and grammatical errors in a piece of content can often be mistaken for a lack of professionalism on the part of a web copywriter. However, to err is human. It is therefore possible to miss certain errors, even with the greatest vigilance. To minimize mistakes, you need to use a corrector.

Google penalizes duplicate content. So you understand that you must write authentic 100 % articles. It can happen, however, that when you write your content, you unconsciously adopt parts of other articles. That's why it's a good idea to use an anti-plagiarism tool before sharing your content. These platforms highlight identical parts so you can rework them. This ensures the success of your content.

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