Copywriter tips from Devon: What are keywords?

We writers all know the power of creative words but, although more prosaic, keywords are equally powerful. Your creative words are there to please a human audience, but you also need keywords to make sure an audience finds your words in the first place. We answer the question, “What are keywords” and give you a few tips on how to work with keywords as a copywriter.

What are keywords?

Imagine your latest article written on a piece of paper. Insert this paper into a large book, take it to a six-storey library and ask the librarian to hide the book. Now forget which library you visited and try looking for your article. This is what it is like posting an article on the internet. Your article could reveal the secret of eternal life but, without certain information, nobody will be able to find it or even know that it is there to find.

This is where keywords come in. By spreading keywords strategically throughout your article, you will let Google (other search engines are available) know whether or not your article will answer a search query. For example the search query, ‘Best copywriter in Devon’ will only lead Google to pick your article as helpful if certain keywords appear in it, i.e. ‘copywriter’ and ‘Devon’. Better still Google will be looking for longer keyword phrases such as ‘copywriter in Devon’. These are known as long tail keywords.

How do I choose keywords?

As a copywriter you will find that some of your clients already have a set of keywords they want you to use. Some may even tell you how many times they want these to appear (keyword density). Even when this doesn’t happen it is good practice to decide on a few keywords and place these strategically into your writing. Choosing keywords is a high-tech, complicated business but there are a couple of easy tips for quick and effective keyword selection:

  1. Ask your client what exactly they want your copywriting to promote and to whom (search intent). Form your keyword selection around this
  2. Find out popular search terms by typing a relevant word into the Google search bar and noting which suggestions come up
  3. Use a keyword explorer tool to find suggestions for keywords that have a high volume of searches

How many keywords per page?

Deciding how many keywords per page to use is a balancing act. The more keywords you select and the more times you try to squeeze them in, the more stilted your  writing becomes. Again, your client may have a specification for this but for high quality copywriting, I stick to two or three related long tail keywords.

Is keyword density important?

Keyword density is the number of times you insert keywords into a piece of copywriting. You express keyword density as a percentage. For example, if you insert your keyword 10 times into a 100-word article, you will have 10% keyword density. Although keyword density is no longer as important to search engine optimisation (SEO) as it once was, it is important to get keyword balance right. Too many repetitions of the same words risk penalties for keyword stuffing, too few risk the page failing to perform.

Copywriting is more than just words

So there we have it, as a copywriter, your writing needs to target two audiences:

  • People – It needs to be attractive and helpful enough to keep your clients’ audiences interested
  • Search engines – It needs to be optimised well enough to appear high in search engine rankings

The use of keywords is only one element of the search engine optimisation picture but, as a copywriter, it is an element for which you are likely to be responsible. Achieving the balance between these two audiences isn’t easy and takes practice, which is one of the reasons people hire copywriters in the first place.

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