SEO Copywriting: The Art of Optimizing For Humans and Search Engines
Effective SEO copywriting for your law firm website is a delicate balance of art and science. There are as many pitfalls to avoid as there are things to do right when you set about to optimize your copy.
One major tenet is that the most effective copy you write should be optimized for both humans and for search engines. Here are some tips on which to focus:
1. Don’t obsess with word count and keyword density. In short, there is no perfect word count for Google and repeating keywords over and over again throughout your copy will not produce better results for your site. The rule here is write natural copy that focuses on the needs of your clients and the benefits of your service, without artificially stuffing keywords in an attempt to maximize your usage.
2. Perform thorough keyword research. What good is optimizing the copy on your site for a certain keyword if it’s not one that’s likely to pay off for your firm. Make sure you investigate the keywords you include and take note of their monthly search volumes, competition levels, and relevance to searchers. There are many good keyword research tools that will help make this a little easier, including WordStream and Google’s own keyword research tool.
3. Optimize your page by including keyword(s) behind the scenes. Keywords should generally also appear in the following places, in addition to the body of the copy:
- Meta Title. This appears in search engine results and will help them assess what your page is all about early on.
- Meta Description. Think of your meta description as a brief headline or advertisement. Make sure you include your keyword and entice searchers who view it in your listing to click through.
- ALT/Image Tags. Use the keyword in image file names and alt tags. Search engines use this behind the scenes information to determine exactly what the picture is all about. It stands to reason that it should be in line with the rest of the copy on the page for maximum effectiveness.
4. Make sure you support your main keywords with tilde words. Tilde words or phrases should ideally surround the keywords you are trying to optimize for and serve to clarify to the search engines exactly what you are referring to on that page. Assume that a keyword in focus is the word “cars”. Maybe you’re trying to optimize for “new cars”, “used cars” or “rental cars”. Without the proper tilde words surrounding it in the copy, the search engines won’t know which you’re emphasizing.
5. H1 header tags. Make sure you place your keyword(s) in the H1 tag. This keyword-containing sentence effectively bolds the target words for the search engines, letting them know what the copy is focused on. Every page on your site that contains copy should ideally have an H1 tag that clearly identifies the focus keyword(s).
In short, to properly straddle the delicate balance between art and science, copywriters should be ruled by both common sense and by a set of basic tenets that help improve search engine visibility and performance. The best copy is natural, non-salesy and includes full descriptions of the products or services you intend to sell.