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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Black Friday: Fan or foe?

You have to feel sorry for Black Friday… He isn’t currently getting much encouragement. From boycott-threatening social media posts to Which’s announcement that Black Friday bargains aren’t all they claim to be, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a rebranding for 2020. Perhaps Sangria Saturday or Seafoam Sunday (I really must stop reading paint charts).

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Can outdoor writing really encourage more people to get outside?

As well as being a top Devon copywriter and one half of the outdoor duo Two Blondes Walking, I am an Ordnance Survey Get Outside Champion. I have been in this role for four years now and absolutely love it. It’s easy really when you love something and know that it does you good, to want to tell everybody else about that thing. For me ‘that thing’ is the outdoors and my favourite type of freelance writing is outdoor writing that has been specifically designed to encourage people to have a go at being outdoors themselves.

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Is your computer after your writing job? Artificial intelligence and copywriting

Would you trust writing that had been written by a computer algorithm? Perhaps not if you knew its origin but artificial intelligence and writing are already working hand in hand and the time may well be coming when human copywriters will be required to pit their skills against artificial intelligence alternatives. There is still a place for person-generated web and social content but how long is it going to be before AI takes over the copywriter’s role? And more to the point, how on earth are we supposed to keep up with the natural language generation revolution?

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October at the Oxford English Dictionary… new words please!

The Oxford English Dictionary or OED to its friends has delivered its list of new words for October 2019. Each time this happens I try to look through and select a few that I might be able to use in my freelance writing. New words and their progress towards OED acceptance are an interesting phenomenon. I imagine Army like parade grounds with intensive training and harsh comments…

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Freelance or free stress? Stress awareness for the freelance workforce.

Swapping to a freelance lifestyle is often a relief from the stresses and strains of traditional working but although the grass is often greener on the other side, it can sometimes become a tad muddy. This week is Stress Awareness Week so here at Fi Darby Freelance we have decided to share with you five of our freelance-work stress points and how we deal with these.

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A freelance conundrum… What does a girl wear to an indoor outdoor conference?

One of the wonderful things about freelance working from home is that you get to choose exactly what you want to wear to the office. No other people means no pressures, no strange looks and no turning up in the same dress as your colleagues. In my case my freelance wardrobe is usually a combination of vests, hats, woolly socks, fingerless gloves and outdoor clothing donned in layers to combat the chill that arrives around three hours after a sea swim. Not my best look ever but then a girl has to keep warm.

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Too much work or not enough? How to manage the boom or bust side of freelance life

I have been working as a freelance writer down here in Devon for almost five years now. Long enough for me to understand but not necessarily appreciate the feast or famine side of freelance work life. Being unsure of how much money I am going to earn each month makes for a lifestyle that is interesting, in every possible sense of the word. I will confess to having moments of worry when work doesn’t come in as regularly as I would like it to. I will also confess to having feelings of mild panic when I have a list of writing jobs that includes a number higher than five. Here are my five top tips for managing the boom or bust side of freelance life.

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I didn’t talk to anyone today… Mental health and working from home

Today is World Mental Health Day and an opportunity for us all to be honest, open and caring about mental health issues. There is plenty of great mental health advice out there for both employers and employees but what about those of us who work from home? Tips like ‘Get to know your colleagues outside office hours’ and ‘Look for opportunities to work in a team’ are great but can be tricky to try when your office is your home and your team is you.

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When your work makes you proud – Ordnance Survey’s new Walk London map

I freely admit that my freelance business makes me feel good about myself. Started three years ago at a time when my former career had taken a dive, Fi Darby Freelance has gone from strength to strength. From technical writing to my first love outdoor writing I enjoy the challenge, the planning and, most of all, the creativity.

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