10 Copywriting Dos and Don’ts


SEO copywriting should be fresher and more reader-focused than ever. If we get rid of keyword oversaturation and sentences that don’t make sense, we can deliver high-value content to our readers—and still outperform our competitors in the SEO rankings.

So if we don’t want keyword stuffing and weak content, what are we doing?

We’re working with Google’s algorithms to create content that speaks to our audience, creates trust, and increases engagement. In turn, Google realizes ‘aha! This page makes humans smile,’ and boosts your authority via organic rankings in search results. If you’re still using outdated hacks to improve your rankings, it’s time to stop.
We’ve got a better strategy for you. It’s time to learn the 10 SEO copywriting dos and don’ts SEO Toronto specialists use to boost ranking. And we’ll start with a don’t that every small business and young blog will appreciate:

1. Don’t be overwhelmed.

Copy of White Red Minimal Canada Day Greeting Card 5 300x188 1 1Search engine optimization may seem intimidating, but the core of it is simple:

    • Use quality keywords that real people are searching for
    • Write high-value content that meets your audience’s needs
    • Make it look good on mobile devices
    • Write a meta description
    • Don’t write words for the sake of hitting an arbitrary word count

2. Do match your title to your header and your content.

We could also call this Don’t Clickbait. There’s nothing more frustrating, or more likely to cost you readers, than writing a title that inspires them to click—when your article is about something else entirely. Your audience doesn’t want to be manipulated into reading an article they’re not looking for. By writing a clear title, a catchy header, and making sure it accurately represents your content, you improve your page’s imprints (the amount of time people spend on your page) and the number of times they return to it. All of these positively contribute to your SEO rank.

Pro Tip: Include keywords in your titles.

3. Don’t use fillers.

This is a sticking point for a lot of copywriters. It’s been pretty common knowledge for a long time that Google loves long form articles. And that’s true.
What it doesn’t mean is that you should add more words to hit a word count. Bloated, bogged-down content is difficult for Google to crawl, and it doesn’t do your readers any favors.
Instead, pack your content with value-adding propositions, great detail, and inspiring writing that keeps readers hooked.

Pro Tip: Drop the rambling.  Clear, succinct, and you just reduced 100% of your filler without losing any of the message.

4. Do write killer page titles.

Meta titles—the ones that appear in search engine results—are the first piece of copy people see when they search a keyword. If yours isn’t catchy and accurate, you’re losing potential readers.
Pro Tip: Use keywords and phrases to outline the clear benefits your reader will get from reading this specific article.

5. Don’t spam backlinks.

Copy of White Red Minimal Canada Day Greeting Card 1 3 300x188 1 1There was a time where companies could swap backlinks to improve their SEO rankings. They would post a link to your content in their articles, and you would find a way to include a link to theirs—regardless of what you were writing. Worse yet, there was a time where you could pay unscrupulous companies for backlinks that had absolutely nothing to do with your message. Fortunately, we’re moving away from that. The best strategy is to write value-adding content that your audience will naturally want to link to. Likewise, you can include relevant outbound links that support your message and benefit your readers.

Pro Tip: When it comes to backlinking and outbound links, ask: how does this benefit my key demographic. If you’re not sure about backlinking, you can learn more from our SEO Toronto specialists here.

6. Do your research.

Don’t believe the rumors—keywords are still important. Google still uses keywords to get a basic idea of your content’s relevance to a search. Keyword density—the number of times a keyword is used within a piece of content—may not have the influence it used to, but it still helps to scatter them organically throughout your writing.
Pro Tip: You don’t need to pay for keyword research tools if you don’t want to. There are some free solutions out there. You can also check social media to get a handle on the language people are using, and the buzz words being thrown around. If this is what people are talking about, this is what they are typing into search engines.

7. Don’t spam.

Humans—and Google—love new stuff. This is true for content, too. Producing quality, fresh content (combined with good website design) on a regular basis keeps readers returning to your website, increases engagement, and helps you rank better. But if you don’t have the subject matter, don’t write. The problem with this is that if you are consistently churning out low-value content, your readers will become desensitized. They’ll eventually stop clicking through to your new posts. Eventually, your updates will remind them that they need to unsubscribe. If you can’t offer insight, value, education, or entertainment, look for ways that you can.

Pro Tip: Less frequent, high quality content is better for ticking the boxes than churning out average-to-poor articles that parrot old information.

8. Do include a meta description.

Copy of White Red Minimal Canada Day Greeting Card 2 3 300x188 1 1Meta descriptions—those handy little blurbs underneath your meta title in search results—give searchers an idea of what they can expect from your article. If you don’t include one, Google will assign a snippet—and it’s not necessarily going to be an inspiration to your potential audience. Meta descriptions need to be under 300 characters, generally speaking. For SEO specialists, a meta description on a desktop computer is 1,750 px, but aiming for less than 300 characters will keep you comfortably within these limits.

Pro Tip: Write a brief, engaging description of your article that draws readers in and includes a few high-value keywords. Then edit it until it sits within the 300 character parameters.

9. Don’t put Google ahead of humans.

Keyword density, meta titles, and meta descriptions all help, but copy should ultimately inspire your readers to keep reading and buy into your brand. If your content is so stuffed full of keywords it doesn’t even make sense—or if you’ve turned a simple sentence into an exercise in codebreaking—you’ve gone too far.
Pro Tip: Try writing the article you really want, and then finding a way to add keywords so they look natural.

10. Do optimize for mobile devices.

The fact is, most of us do our surfing on our phones and tablets. If you want your page to inspire engagement, it needs to look good—and function—on those devices.
Pro Tip:

  • Keep sentences short.
  • Use bullet points and numbered lists.
  • Use a call to action.
  • Use headers and subheaders.

One Last Thing

To know how effectively your SEO efforts are working, you need to measure your performance. Keep track of your analytics and fine tune as needed, and you’ll create the ultimate SEO strategy that works for your business—and most importantly, your readers.

Got questions about your SEO? Get in touch with us to see how we can help you craft a strategy for SEO success.