SEO Copywriting 101 – how to write for the search engines

Last Updated on November 19, 2020

You should always consider search engine optimisation (SEO) issues when drafting your website copy. My recommendation is that you write in a ‘natural style’ for your target audience, while keeping an eye on the keywords and phrases you use.

It can be a delicate balance. Though the two goals are not mutually exclusive, if one is given too much precedence over the other, it can have a negative impact on your writing. For example, if you write ‘naturally’ you may end up with copy that neglects to mention what you actually do. This might sound silly, but I have seen many websites that have actually achieved this. However, if you focus too much on keywords, your writing will be stilted.

The best web copy writing method is to combine the two techniques below. This should provide you with some great copy that will work for the search engines and the people who visit your website.

  1. Analyse the keyword density and frequency of your keywords (having first worked out what your keywords are) and;
  2. Write genuinely for your target audience, using personalisation, emphasizing your competitive advantages, and answering the question on every buyer’s mind – ‘what’s in it for me?’

Keyword Frequency, Density and Proximity

There are three keyword considerations you can focus on when writing your copy, they are:

  • Keyword Density
  • Keyword Prominence
  • Keyword Proximity

Keyword Density
Is the ratio of keyword phrases or terms used in your writing compared to non-keyword terms. Or:

“The number of times a keyword is used on a web page divided by the total number of words on the page. Expressed as a percentage.”

Most experts recommend a keyword density of around 6 to 7%. So for every 100 words of text include your keywords 6 times. Some search engines will penalize your website if they find excessive repetition of a keyword, so don’t be tempted to do this. It won’t read well anyway.

Keyword Prominence

“How close to the beginning or top of a web page that a keyword is found.”

Search engines will consider your website to be more relevant if the keywords are placed at the top of your copy.

Keyword Proximity

“How close together the individual words that make up a keyword phrase are to one another, and in what order.” Source:

Personally, I do not get too concerned about density, as I prefer to write naturally about a subject matter but I do keep an eye on the keywords, but never become obsessed by them.

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