Writing SEO-friendly content is just one piece of the puzzle for SEO pros and marketers trying to get solid results for their clients.
Sure, attracting organic traffic is an important component of the content writing process, but that is rarely the end goal. Unless the client depends on display ad revenue or the like, it’s likely that they have higher ticket products or services they are trying to sell.
That means that what REALLY matters is figuring out how to write copy that makes them money!
What we are talking about here is conversion-optimized content that serves the purpose of both driving traffic AND getting users to subscribe, sign up, and buy. Because, ultimately, you want your clients to get the best return on their investment. They’re happy, you’re happy!
Here’s how to focus on what matters most in optimizing your web copy for conversions.
6 Steps to Conversion-Happy Web Copy
Though writing conversion-friendly content isn’t limited to just “6 steps”, I find that it is important to start with the basics. There are a lot of misconceptions about what “good” SEO copy is and what it is not, and dismantling these starts at getting back to SEO Content Writing 101.
The important thing in all of these steps is to not lose site of what matters most: the purpose of your content.
Chances are, your primary purpose it to make money and/or help your clients make money.
How do you do that? Let’s take a look!
1) Know Your Audience
One of the first questions I ask potential clients before I get to writing their content is, “Who is your target audience?”
More often than not, the response is rather generic, like “entrepreneurs”, “women aged 50-65”, or “small businesses”.
Though having at least an *idea* of who your target audience is is helpful, these categories don’t give us much information about what they like, what they are looking for, or how to sell to them.
Finding Your ICA
There are many exercises to be found to identify your ICA.
Ultimately, it comes down to a combination of intuition and data-driven market research. That is, you will first rely on your own perceptions of what your ideal client is like, and then actively look for data that supports or refutes this.
Content marketing and funnels expert Tori Reid says to identify your ICA, you should ask yourself these questions:
- Who can easily afford to buy what you’re selling?
- Is there a specific gender or age-group you relate best to (and therefore will appeal the most with)?
- What does the perfect client relationship look like to you? Visualize it, and write it down.
- What kinds of clients do you want to avoid at all costs? List their characteristics.
Identifying your ICA (or the ICA of your clients) early on will help you determine the approach you take in your content. By understanding your audience and what they need, you can better appeal to what they WANT and be able to write words to sell. If they feel that you *get them*, they are more likely to buy, and keep coming back for more.
Need more help finding your ICA? Here is a free worksheet to address these questions and more. (I am in no way affiliated with this business/content, but it is one of the best resources I have found on the topic!)
2) Stay “On Brand”
When I ask SEO pros and digital marketers what they struggle with most when it comes to their content, the answer I get most often is “Consistency”.
One of the downsides of turning to several different writers for your content can be inconsistent voice and branding throughout your site.
At first, this issue can be hard to recognize, but as you get more established in a space, your audience will be more sensitive to inconsistency in your content.
Though it is okay to try something “quirky” from time to time, like a unique marketing piece – in general, you want your brand message to be consistent across all of your content and platforms.
Not only does this increase brand awareness, but it also ensures that there are no misunderstanding about what you offer and who you serve.
Consistency shows that you know what you are doing. It also shows that your audience can expect the same message and results, every time.
It helps your audience trust that you are the right person for the job.
If they trust you, they are more likely to buy… and even come back for more time and time again.
3) Having a Clear Content Purpose
Before you get to writing a piece of content, it’s important to determine what the overall purpose is. Though the go-to tends to be “traffic”, this isn’t always the case – and again, what you do with that traffic is what really makes the difference.
Your content purpose may be to generate organic traffic, to drive social media shares, be a landing page for a paid ad, attract backlinks, be used for PR, or a wide range of other purposes. All of these involve different kinds of research, copy, formatting, calls-to-action, and more.
For example, if your content purpose is to generate organic traffic, incorporating SEO into your content will be highly important.
If, however, your content purpose is to be a landing page for a Facebook ad, SEO may not be the be-all end-all. Then, you may be focusing more on persuasive copywriting and CRO.
Be sure you know the purpose of your content from the get-go so that you can write copy that sets your content up for success.
To start, I suggest following best practices for the kind of content you want to write, and then test your strategy as you go along. CRO is not a hard science, but there’s a lot to be said for following the data and seeing where it takes you.
4) Write for the User, not for Google
Obviously in order to drive sales, you must have *some* traffic coming to your site. For that reason, I see a lot of writers and digital marketers focus heavily on SEO. However, this is not always the move.
Incorporating SEO into Your Content
There is a finesse to incorporating SEO into your content, and it should not come at the expense of user experience. Again, the goal here should be to convert your traffic once it gets to your site. That won’t happen if your content sounds robotic, keyword-stuffed, or generic.
If driving organic traffic is an important part of your content strategy, then of course you should take the time to do proper keyword research and incorporate those keywords into your content.
However, do not be subservient to the “Google gods”. You should be writing for your target audience FIRST, and incorporating SEO as you go along.
If you are able to write in a way that is persuasive and organic, without stuffing your content full of keywords, then you will have content that is both enticing to your readers AND set up for SEO-success. This perfect convo will result in higher conversions and (if done correctly), more traffic overall.
5) Write Catchy Headlines
They really do.
No matter the purpose of your content, your headline can often make or break your conversion rate (before anyone even clicks on your article!). A catchy headline can make all the difference when it comes to driving traffic from Google, social media, and beyond.
Writing Better Headlines
What constitutes as “catchy” can depend on the industry. This is where knowing your audience comes into play.
Are they more engaging with intriguing posts? Informative posts? Listicles? Whether you know this info intuitively or decide to do research to figure it out, this will play a huge roll when you are writing conversion-happy headlines.
In general, you will want to 1) Tell readers what the post/page is about, 2) Entice them to click (ie make it interesting/unique), and 3) Include the topic/keyword you are covering.
For example, you may have it in your mind to write “Best Productivity Apps for Businesses”…
But, how about “10 Best Productivity Apps for Savvy Business Owners”? The latter gives a better idea of what is being covered, who it is for, and uses a more exciting adjective like “savvy”.
Feel free to A/B test headlines to see what works best for your audience. When in doubt, test it out!
6) Clear, Concise Calls-to-Action
The finally step in optimizing your content for conversions is actually prompting users to convert.
This is not the time to get lazy with it! There are many ways to make your calls-to-action (CTA) more obvious and enticing.
For one, your CTAs should be obvious, easy to see, and easy to engage with.
For instance, don’t hide a tiny “Click here” at the bottom of the page. If it is a landing page, you will want to give them multiple opportunities to engage. This may mean a call to “Call for a free consultation!” at the top, a “Give us a call!” in the middle, and a button to “Contact Us” at the end. That way, it’s clear what you want users to do, how they should do it, and you make it super easy for them to do so.
Second, it can be worth investing in a custom graphic or web design element to make your CTAs more obvious and enticing. A simple “contact us” link may get overlooked, while a bold button is more likely to catch the eye.
Finally, you don’t want to overwhelm users with options. Don’t ask them to give you a call, join your newsletter, download a freebie, visit your contact page, and more – all in one post.
Your goal here is to write content that leads users to perform an action on your site. Once they are convinced, clear and concise CTAs make it easy for them to take that next step. Do it right, and you will be getting tons of subscribers, sales, and calls in no time!