Your Definitive Guide to SEO Copywriting

Jill Conway


March 23, 2020 (Updated: October 19, 2023)

In this article… 

SEO copywriting is a powerful technique for almost every aspect of advertising and marketing. Businesses and brands use SEO copywriting to persuade their target markets to purchase products or services, and SEO copywriting helps businesses reach target markets with improved SERP rankings. SEO copywriting can be an important strategy for businesses because it helps websites and content rank higher in search results. Higher rankings mean more website traffic, resulting in a higher chance of businesses converting customers.

Oftentimes, businesses develop compelling copy (the persuasive content) to market online but fall short of reaching their best customers. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. SEO copywriting not only persuades and generates market interest, but it also gets compelling web copy in front of audiences through the integration of SEO tactics that boost search engine rankings.

SEO copywriting can be an effective approach to reaching customers online because it requires optimizing your content with keywords and phrases that your target market actively searches for. There are several essential factors to consider for integrating SEO practices with copywriting, and this guide covers what SEO copywriting is, how it works, and how you might approach an SEO copywriting strategy for your brand.

What Is SEO Copywriting?

SEO copywriting is persuasive advertising or marketing content that integrates SEO tactics to rank high in search engines. SEO copy relies on specific keywords and phrases that your target audience types into a search engine to rank higher in search results. Boosting your website rankings can help your content show up closer to the top of the search engine results page (SERP).

This means your copy is likely to show up in the top spots, making it easier for your target market to find you through an organic search—this is when users type in keywords that are most relevant to the topics of your web copy via the internet. Essentially, if your business relies on online content to drive traffic, convert leads, and generate revenue, SEO copywriting can be a proactive approach to achieving these goals.

How Is SEO Copywriting Different From Traditional Copywriting?

SEO copywriting differs from traditional copywriting because it approaches achieving content goals through the use of search engine optimization best practices.

Traditional copywriting focuses on getting quality content in front of target audiences and persuading target audiences to purchase something. SEO takes this a step further to get that quality content noticed in major search engines and achieve high content authority.

To begin with, incorporating SEO into a copywriting strategy means developing a plan for directing content development around specific SEO integration. SEO copywriting encompasses data-driven practices through the use of analytics tools that measure the content’s effectiveness at achieving high rankings in search engines.

Understanding How SEO Works

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process that search engines perform when ranking keyword relevance and providing search results to a user. A user enters a search query within a search engine (the keyword) and the search engine scours the internet for the most relevant, relatable content and displays these results on a search engine results page (SERP).

SEO copywriting evaluates and develops content with this process in mind. But, to understand SEO copywriting, it’s important to understand how the process of SEO works. There are three main phases to SEO that search engines go through to rank the relevance of websites and content:


During the first phase of the SEO process, search engines “crawl,” or search the internet, looking for content that’s relevant to the user’s search term. Search engines follow links to find and evaluate content for a query. Search engines can take a long time to crawl millions of websites looking for relevant content, so to streamline the process, search engines crawl for the most established and trusted websites and compare newer content to that.


Search engines use the data from crawling to sort websites and web pages to add to an index. Some of the information search engines use to index web content includes:

  • Data on the content’s nature
  • Data on keyword relevance
  • Navigation of pages that SERP links to
  • The anchor text of links
  • Ad and link location on the page

Before search engines display any results to the user, they rank each website or page using an algorithm.


During the final SEO phase, search engines rank indexed content in the order of its relevance to the user’s search query and display these results on the SERP.

The SEO process involves developing and applying effective strategies for getting your content to rank higher in major search engines. It’s also an important foundation for initiating a copywriting campaign.

Elements of an SEO Strategy

Integrating SEO strategies can impact the way search engines index and rank your pages. Effective SEO strategies also mean faster search engine crawl to locate your site’s content. When it comes to copywriting, SEO can be a powerful tool to drive traffic, convert leads, and increase business revenue. Take a look at several key elements of effective SEO strategies:

  • Keyword research and market analysis: Look for the top search terms your audiences type into search engines, and question your market’s needs, desires, or problems. This analysis is necessary for building a detailed marketing persona and developing creative solutions that can solve your audiences’ problems or fulfill their specific needs.
  • Strategy objectives: Identify what you want your SEO strategy to accomplish. This can be to increase traffic, convert leads, or create an email list of interested prospects. You’ll use your objectives to determine crucial metrics for measuring the strategy’s effectiveness.
  • Metrics and KPIs: Outline your metrics and identify the key performance indicators you’ll use to measure the progress of the SEO strategy.
  • Analytics and documentation tools: Determine the analytics tools you’ll use to measure your metrics and track KPIs. Web analytics, keyword research tools, and documentation are all effective tools for initiating tracking and analytics.
  • Documented strategic plan: The elements of your SEO strategy should be included in a documented plan that outlines each stage of strategy development and implementation.

Developing an SEO strategy and documenting each phase of planning and implementation can serve as a foundation for creating content plans that meet objectives and get your target audience to take action. Combine the two elements together—copywriting and SEO—and you have the formula for launching an SEO copywriting campaign.

How to Integrate SEO Copywriting

SEO copywriting combines SEO practices with copywriting strategies to persuade an audience to take some kind of action, whether it’s buying something or signing up for a weekly email newsletter. So your SEO copywriting strategies need to focus on what your audience wants to see and how to get that copy in front of your audience. These steps outline how to integrate SEO copywriting so you can increase traffic to your site and appeal to your readers:

1. Establish a Mission Statement

First, establish your mission statement. This is the foundation for creating valuable content that meets the needs of your audience. To identify the key aspects of your mission statement, think about the business image you want to convey to your customers. Make a list of the most important values your business focuses on and relate these to how you want to help your audience. Once you have your mission statement, you can identify the essential content objectives.

2. Identify the Essential Content Objectives

The first step to initiating an SEO copywriting campaign is to identify the overall objectives you want the content to accomplish. This could be building an email list for engaging customers through product reviews or using white papers to engage businesses’ interest in your company’s products. Whatever the objective, it needs to be specific and measurable.

3. Make a List of Keywords and Phrases

Next, make a list of keywords and phrases you plan to use in the content you write. Then, you can determine an SEO strategy to integrate into the content once you’ve identified the objectives. Do this by performing keyword research to collect relevant search queries you can work into the content you’re developing.

As an example, think about an e-commerce site that sells fitness equipment. The content, in this case, includes all the graphics, product descriptions, and blog articles that make up the website. Integrating SEO strategies for the e-commerce site would mean building content around the keywords and phrases that the site’s target audience searches for the most.

4. Evaluate Audience Search Intent

Then, evaluate your audience’s search intent. A variety of web analytics tools are available that are effective for performing this type of keyword research in addition to tracking metrics. Use your analytics tools to research relevant keywords and evaluate the related user queries to identify the keywords and phrases your audiences are searching for the most. This can give you an idea of the questions your readers are asking, which can serve as a foundation for creating quality content that appeals to your market.

5. Plan Content Around Relevant Keywords

Using the information about your audience’s search intent, create a content plan around relevant keywords and phrases. Design a spreadsheet with your keywords and phrases and organize them according to relevancy, priority, or another method that fits your content plan. Create content ideas using your keywords and topics that use the keyword or phrase and organize each topic idea you brainstorm with its corresponding keyword. As you create content, add in the keywords from your list.

6. Determine Your Essential KPIs

Determine the essential KPIs you need to track to ensure your strategies are meeting objectives. Several approaches you can take to determine the most effective KPIs to track include:

  • Set specific goals: Determine what you want your content to achieve. Be specific and provide numbers that will tell you whether the content is meeting objectives.
  • Set the budget: Determine how much you’re willing to invest in your SEO strategy. Knowing this number gives you a basis for allocating the appropriate resources.
  • Choose your analytics tools: The analytics tools you use to track and measure your metrics and KPIs is also part of the budget for your campaign. Consider what tools you’ll need to measure the progress of your campaign. For instance, a customer relationship management (CRM) system might be better suited to tracking sales KPIs than just web analytics alone.

Once you determine your KPIs, you can integrate the web analytics tools you’ll use to track each KPI.

7. Use Web Analytics to Track Metrics

Use web analytics to track essential metrics and the key performance indicators (KPIs) that indicate how well your content is ranking and appealing to audiences. It’s important to consistently track the relevancy of each piece of content in addition to your website’s health. As you publish, you’ll need to track KPIs such as the number and origin of page views, bounce rate, interaction rates, and other KPIs, depending on the type of content.

Several key performance indicators you can track that provide insight into the health of your content include:

  • Search visibility: Search visibility tells you how frequently your domain or website appears in the search results for the keywords your content is ranking for.
  • Branded traffic: Branded traffic refers to the traffic that comes from readers who searched for keywords containing your business name.
  • Organic click-through rate (CTR): The organic CTR is the ratio of clicks on your website or page link to the number of users viewing the search results. The higher the CTR, the higher the traffic to your website.
  • Return on investment (ROI): The ROI is another essential KPI to track because it tells you whether the results of your SEO copywriting strategies are worth the costs.

8. Adapt Content to Your Audience’s Needs

As you go through the process of integrating SEO copywriting, you’ll find that you’ll need to constantly adapt your content to your audience’s needs.  Find out what your audience wants to read by incorporating several approaches:

  • Create audience surveys that ask your readers about the kind of content they want to see and then develop a plan that focuses on these insights
  • Apply web analytics to more than just tracking and analyzing by using it to perform regular keyword searches so you can develop a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule for delivering content and getting in front of your target audience
  • Reevaluate earlier market and competitor research to gain insight into trends, evergreen content, and new developments in your industry
  • Stay up to date on topics in your industry, including market shifts, economic trends, and changing online environments (like transitions between popular and declining platforms) so you always have a fresh approach to creating content that gets results

Computer Screen with Google Analytics Graph on it Image via Pixabay by Lalmch

Components of SEO Copywriting

SEO copywriting encompasses several essential components to work effectively:


All copywriting content incorporates a headline. Effective headlines don’t just grab readers’ attention, they use relevant keywords to rank in search engines. Since compelling headlines are the first bits of content that pop up in search results, optimizing headlines to include keywords that are relevant to users is important for effective SEO copywriting .


The content also contains well-researched keywords and phrases determined in the keyword planning phases of a content development strategy. The trick to creating quality content that still ranks for keywords in search engines is to write it naturally. Copywriters work relevant keywords into the content to create an organic and relatable reading experience for target audiences while still adhering to SEO best practices.

Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are short descriptions that summarize in a brief sentence what ranking content is about. Meta descriptions include keywords just like headlines and content do, but copywriters usually include the keyword or phrase once throughout the entire description.

Page Links

Page links include both internal and external links optimized to lead users to additional content. Internal linking takes readers to another webpage on your website while external links lead readers to outside sources of information. Using links in your content can increase your content authority and build trust with your audience.

Keyword Frequency

Keyword frequency is an essential concept of integrating effective SEO practices. Keyword frequency is the number of times a specific keyword or phrase shows up in your content. This is important because if there’s too much keyword density, the quality of the content declines. Balancing a mix of exact keyword phrasing and variations of it throughout the content increases content relevancy and quality and can result in higher search rankings.

Elements of an SEO Copywriting Campaign

Outlining your content plan and what objectives you want your copywriting to achieve starts the process of launching an SEO copywriting campaign. These elements are crucial to the overall process:

SEO Strategic Plan

SEO strategies follow a strategic plan that includes objectives, processes, budget, and key metrics. When marketing teams integrate a strategic plan, they determine what keywords are the most relevant for high rankings, what objectives the strategy needs to meet, how to measure the strategy’s performance, and which analytics tools they’ll use to track metrics and KPIs.

Content Outline

The content outline serves as a collection of content types and selected keywords planned out according to a schedule. Client deadlines, publishing schedules, and the analytics to evaluate content performance are all elements included in a content outline. Marketing teams determine which types of content target audiences are searching for—like long-form articles, social media posts, videos, and graphics—and use this information to drive keyword research.

Content Objectives

Content objectives describe what the content is supposed to achieve. Since marketing teams use content to accomplish many different objectives, one of the essential factors in setting content objectives is matching them with larger, company goals. Increasing revenue, building a list of qualifying leads, or signing up for a service are all good examples of content objectives. Once set, marketing teams can take actions that lead to meeting the objectives.

Content Promotion

Content promotion is the process of marketing the copy you develop for your audience. Content promotion with regard to SEO copywriting means publicizing and marketing web copy in the online channels (like social media and blogging platforms) that will result in the highest market reach. Effective content promotion can help increase traffic to your business website and can boost the visibility of sales copy.

Metrics and KPIs

This element of an SEO copywriting campaign requires identifying and tracking key metrics that allow marketers to measure their strategy’s effectiveness. Each metric is made up of key performance indicators (KPIs) that tell marketers how well the strategy is working to lead the campaign toward meeting the campaign objectives.

At this point, it’s important to specify each metric and KPI. A good example of a KPI to track would be the overall traffic produced from keywords implemented in the initial planning stages of the campaign. Once marketers identify the metrics they’ll use to measure the campaign’s success, they can choose the analytics tools for tracking and analyzing the data of each KPI.

Tools and Analytics

Web analytics tell marketers about the health of the campaign. Effective analytics track and measure the essential metrics and KPIs of the campaign, including keyword relevance, website traffic, interaction, and conversions. Web analytics tools can display this information in charts and graphs so marketers can measure the campaign’s progress quickly and accurately.

Market Analysis

Target markets are the focus of SEO copywriting campaigns. Without a target market or audience, businesses won’t have consumers to sell to. Defining your target market begins with creating a “buyer persona” and using specific criteria like age and geographic location to determine the best markets for selling your products or services. Performing a market analysis provides powerful insight into who is likely to view and benefit from your content and drives the content planning stage.

Competitor Analysis

Performing a competitor analysis is just like researching a target market, but instead of identifying your customers, you’re identifying similar businesses that offer similar products or services. Identifying your competitors and finding out what makes them successful is the purpose of this analysis, and the information you find can be an advantage for your strategy development.

During a competitor analysis, look for insights such as trends, which marketing approaches your competitors use, and how successful their approaches are for attracting and retaining customers.

Who Uses SEO Copywriting?

SEO copywriting is an effective approach to attracting high-quality leads and persuading them to take action on your website. Even though SEO copywriting can seem like only marketing professionals would apply it, there are many types of businesses and individuals who use SEO copywriting as their main tactics for driving traffic and acquiring customers.

Several types of industries and professionals who are likely to rely on SEO copywriting include content, network, and affiliate marketers, copywriters, online businesses, and individual e-commerce site owners, to name a few.

Why Is SEO Copywriting Important for Online Businesses?

Online businesses depend on search engine rankings to promote their products and services and to drive quality traffic to their websites. Integrating SEO is crucial for attracting the right audience. SEO copywriting is important for businesses operating partly or entirely online for these reasons:

Generates Quality Website Traffic

SEO copywriting is important for generating quality traffic to your website because traffic results in audience engagement and increases the chances that readers take action. Not all traffic is the same, though. The goal is to attract a market that’s looking for products or services you offer rather than simply using SEO tactics to rank high in search engines. To understand what constitutes quality traffic, evaluate these criteria:

  • Bounce Rate: Bounce rate is the rate of website visitors who leave your site without any further interaction with it. A low bounce rate indicates that the majority of your traffic gets to your pages and continues browsing your site. Getting visitors to interact with your site beyond the first page they land on generally indicates a healthy flow of quality traffic.
  • Session Length: Session length refers to the amount of time users spend navigating through your website. Lengthy sessions indicate your content’s relevance to the audience, which means you have quality traffic visiting your site. Getting your audience to spend more time on your website can lead to acquiring new customers and motivating them to visit your site again.
  • Return Visitors: The number of return visitors can tell you about the quality of your traffic, too. A high percentage of returning visitors means your content appeals to them and fulfills their needs in some way, and this results in quality traffic. Another indicator of quality traffic related to the number of returning visitors to your site is the engagement factor. Comments, link shares, and content shares are all effective methods to evaluate the number of returning visitors.

Establishes Content Authority

Online businesses use SEO copywriting to establish content authority. Content authority means providing relevant, thoughtful content that solves your target audiences’ problems, fulfills their needs, and engages them. This increases the number of return visitors to your website, which will position it as an authoritative source. The higher you get your content authority, the higher your site will rank in search engines.

Builds Trust in an Online Community

Using SEO effectively in copywriting is important for businesses to build trust among readers in an online community. Proper keyword usage, relevant content, and authority gets content ranking high in search engines. When users find a website within the top spots of their search results, they’re more likely to visit that site over others that don’t rank as high or provide quality content. Gaining readers’ trust is important for businesses because it can lead to higher customer conversions.

Increases Effective Optimization

One of the most important aspects of SEO copywriting is its effectiveness in improving a website’s overall rankings in major search engines. When used properly, SEO and copywriting blend together to create audience-focused content that is easily accessible to users searching for it. Proper optimization relies on a variety of factors:

  • Page loading speed: The faster your web pages load, the better the chance your website ranks higher in search engines. Things like graphics, embedded videos, and other heavy content can all affect a site’s loading speed.
  • Header tags: Use subheadings with keywords and variations of targeted keywords within the text. This makes content easier to scan through quickly, likely appealing to readers more than large blocks of text.
  • Broken links: Broken or missing links are also important to identify within a website, as having links that lead to nowhere affects overall search rankings. Content auditing fixes this issue by removing dead and broken links.
  • Mobile optimization: Search engines are also more likely to rank results that are optimized for mobile operating systems. Setting up a website for mobile optimization (and for different operating systems) can improve search engine rankings by making your content readily accessible to a large population.
  • Social media connections: Link social media channels to your website content to connect with target audiences and build community. You can use social media effectively by maintaining one or two business accounts on the platform your target audiences spend the most time on.

SEO copywriting is an important tool for businesses to connect with other business owners and industry professionals who are influential in their field. Increasing your network reach like this can have a positive impact on your business’s online growth.

When to Integrate SEO Copywriting

SEO copywriting is effective for establishing an online presence and positioning your business ahead of competitors. With a detailed outline, market persona, and selected tools for analytics, businesses can integrate SEO copywriting to:

Promote Business-to-Business Sales

SEO copywriting can be a highly beneficial tool for businesses that market and sell products and services to other businesses. SEO copywriting is integrated into B2B sales and marketing in several ways including lead generation, product sales, and networking.

Launch and Promote New Brands

SEO copywriting can be effective for launching and promoting a new brand or business opening. Businesses use SEO copywriting to build awareness, improve rankings, and establish an online presence that increases traffic and creates a following.

Educate Consumers About Products and Services

Businesses also use SEO copywriting in a business-to-consumer approach to educate customers about products, services, and industry-related topics. Businesses who approach their audiences this way can sometimes have higher rankings in major search engines because the content establishes higher authority. When businesses create quality content that provides value to their customers, their customers trust their expertise and are likely to return. This is why SEO copywriting can be so effective when it’s integrated into well-structured and informative content.

Attract and Convert Leads

SEO copywriting focuses mainly on attracting and converting visitors to returning customers. Whenever businesses use digital marketing strategies to reach their target audiences, there’s usually an SEO strategy outlined in the marketing plan. Customers rely on sound advice and typically don’t purchase or otherwise take action right away.

This is when SEO copywriting can be effective at encouraging interaction and engagement to build a relationship with the readers. As they build trust in the business through regular interaction (like weekly e-newsletters or notifications for new blog posts) they’re more likely to take action, such as making a sale, acquiring a lead, or selling a service.

Pink backdrop with SEO related symbols on it including a microphone, light bulb, iPhone, Play button

Image via Pixabay by Kreatikar

Where Can Businesses Use SEO Copywriting?

There are many different online channels where you can integrate SEO copywriting. From social media platforms and product descriptions to blog articles and interactive content, the outlets available for publishing compelling copy that’s optimized for search engines include:

Social Media Platforms

Audiences perform searches on social media much the same way as they do on a search engine. They type a query (a keyword or phrase) into the search box of the social media platform. The results appear in listings similar to a SERP, where the highest-ranked content shows up first. SEO copywriting uses best practices like keyword placement and marketing to highly-specific demographics to optimize copy to rank high in social media searches.

So audiences who search for things like “hair tutorials” or “vegan recipes” see the highest-ranking content for their query. Businesses that use SEO copywriting on social media can increase their conversions because they are delivering content to the most likely places their audiences are sure to be.

Websites and Pages

SEO copywriting is most commonly seen in website copy and on webpages like company home, about, and contact pages. The key to SEO copywriting within websites and pages is to create content that quickly gains a lead’s attention and results in an acquisition of some kind, whether it’s a sale right away, a request for more information, or other action.

SEO copywriting focuses on keywords and phrases placed strategically within each part of copy that appears on the page. When businesses use SEO copywriting on websites effectively, the copy can result in profitable lead conversions.

Landing Pages

Landing pages are the first points of contact between a reader and your website. The landing page is the web page a user lands on after clicking your link in the search engine results. SEO copywriting on landing pages refers to the frequent use of specific keywords and phrases that are relevant to what target markets are searching for. These are single web pages with the intent to attract traffic and gain audience interest so readers navigate further into the website.

A landing page can also be a single web page that doesn’t lead any further than where the user lands. On these pages, SEO copywriting uses the art of persuasion to acquire qualified leads to later market products and services. Landing pages work well with longer content, where businesses fully inform their leads about products and services before leaving a signature call to action (CTA) or a compelling reason to perform an action.

Funnel Pages

Funnel pages are similar to landing pages in that they result in target audiences arriving on that web page after clicking its link in search results. Funnel pages differ slightly though because they use SEO copywriting in long-form content that is strategically developed to weed out unqualified leads as they traverse down the “funnel.” With the combination of relevant keywords and persuasive copy, leads who are more interested continue reading and clicking further into the sales funnel.

At different points, users drop off, either completely uninterested (unqualified leads), or somewhat intrigued enough to leave their email address for more information (warm leads). SEO copywriting works with funnel pages to get copy to rank high in search results related to the products or services the business provides.

Blog Posts and Articles

Another place where SEO copywriting is extremely relevant is in blog and long-form article content. While copywriting differs from content writing because it’s designed to sell, it’s especially useful for building trust and retaining loyal customers. SEO copywriting in blog posts and articles encompasses planned keyword use, quality content focused on relevant and relatable topics, and audience engagement that elicits interest and response.

E-commerce Platforms

SEO copywriting permeates e-commerce. From in-depth product descriptions to brand mission statements, e-commerce seems to run on SEO copywriting. Connecting e-commerce with other content promotion strategies that incorporate SEO copywriting can benefit businesses by expanding market reach, targeting segmented markets, and building awareness of their products.

As SEO copywriting continues to help businesses expand their market reach in the online world, it’s no wonder many are turning to copywriters and content marketing agencies to help them curate impactful copy that gets results. Read more about our content services if you’re interested in learning how our industry knowledge can benefit your brand or business.

Author Image - Jill Conway
Jill Conway

CopyPress writer

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