SEO Copywriting – 10 Tips for Writing Content that Ranks in 2013 (Infographic)

Copy is one of the most important aspects of onsite Search Engine Optimization. But with all the algorithm updates Google has pushed in recent years, a lot of the old tricks and best practices don’t work anymore. Moreover, it’s really hard to keep track of what does work.

In order to help you out, I teamed up with SEO Extraordinaire, Henrik Bondtofte and put together this infographic with 10 tips for writing content that ranks in 2013.

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SEO Copywriting – 10 tips for writing content that ranks in 2013

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Comments

  1. Nice infographic. A nifty shortcut to the sign ~:
    Hold down the ALT key and enter 126.

    I’d remember that in my sleep, as I’ve needed it an endless number of times :-)

    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Hi Gita – Thanks for the great shortcut tip!

      On Mac hold down “alt” and press ¨

      - Michael

      • Hi Michael,

        Your trick works on PC as well. I just can never seem to find it. I learned the trick when the other shortcut wasn’t available on my keyboards. Unlearning can sometimes get more difficult than learning.

        Last week, I attended an SEO webinar with former Google employee Vanessa Fox. She was really clear on the keyword density part too: no effect.

        I noticed you use a StudioPress theme, and the plugin Genesis Simple Edits is excellent for easily editing your footer area.

  2. Hi Michael, good job! Tomas

  3. Nice infographic, did you design it yourself?
    Also, on (6) HitTail is a pretty nifty tool for finding quality long tail keywords.

    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Thanks Franics!

      I had my buddy design it for me. I’ll check out hittail!

      - Michael

      • I’ll second the vote for HitTail.
        It’s such a solid product. It makes ranking easy for the non-SEO’s of the world. It simply recommends keywords to you based on your sites authority that you could rank for without links.

  4. Thanks for the guide! I’m currently building a new website for my self, so i’ll try to keep this in mind :-)

  5. Fantastic image, and thanks for the code to make it easy to share. I’ll put it on my blog next week.

  6. Great looking chart with great ideas! Thanks for making the sharing easy.

  7. Off the charts useful. Wow. How’d you do the design? Or… did you do the design?

  8. Fantastic post Michael – thanks for producing this. I’ve shared it on my blog (http://pennysoup.co.uk) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TailoredMarketingSolutions?ref=hl) as it was too good to keep to myself! Hope that’s alright with you. Keep up the good work!
    ~ Liselle

  9. Thank you for information and sharing.

  10. Very clear, simple and brilliant tips. thank Michael Aagaard for your great infographic.

  11. Excellent info and I like that the infographic wasn’t too crowded. Infographics are getting so stuffed with text and fancy graphics that they’re becoming too time consuming to work through. And isn’t that the opposite of the problem they were supposed to solve? Very well done all around. Thanks

    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Thank you very much Michael!

      I’m glad to hear you liked the infograph – I was going for uncrowded, easy to scan. But a couple of guys have commented on G+ that it ins’t an infographic, because it has no numbers ;-)

      - Michael

      • A timely one given that the new Penguin update has been rolled out. This finds a place in my tiny website when I finally find the courage to launch it.
        For those unhappy with the lack of numbers, I’d simply say – this is an INFOgraph not just your plain old graphs – anything and everything goes as long as it is useful or interesting.

  12. Very informative, as beginner make me feel good to put my hand in this kind of information. Thanks Michael.

  13. Excellent tips, Michael. I think you summed up the most important factors to keep in mind in order to make content SEO-friendly. And really, doing those ten things won’t take much time or effort, but it can all help tremendously. Thanks for the tip about Google Tilde, too. –David @ Touch Point

  14. I came to the site through Ami Porterfield’s share on Facebook.

    While going through the infographic, I found it AWESOME, I mean awesome, man! I just love the tips to improve SERP’s using seo copywriting.

    You made SEO so easy to follow, though it’s not! I’ll definitely agree that in-depth articles rank pretty well in the search results.

    One question though – what kinda tools do you prefer to ranking well in search engines?

    I’m gonna share the post :)

    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Thank you very much Rahul!

      I’m not quite sure I understand your question though. Do you mean tools for checking your ranks in the search engines?

      - Michael

  15. mICHAEL d wALKER says:

    Thanks for posting this infographic on SEO! Timing is perfect for me because I’ve been struggling to find that blend between writing for humans and making the Google gods happy.

    The myth about keyword density was a bit o an eye opener for me.

    Much appreciated,

    Michael

    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Thanks Michael! I’m glad you liked it.

      Yep, I do everything I can to put the keyword density myth to rest ;-)

      - Michael

  16. eSTHER says:

    Wow – timely advice, I was just about to go bulk up my key words on my relatively new website. Now I can spend that time writing more quality posts instead – so much more fun. Thanks.

  17. I’m not usually a big fan of infographics but this is a really good one. The tilde tip is intriguing. I’ll have to try it. I like how you’ve easily broken this down for all of us. I’m no SEO guru so I need the basics. It’s so easy to get lost in all of the minutiae.

  18. Sweet infographic! Great tips for anyone looking to do more with content marketing this year.

  19. Thanks so much for this awesome piece of advice! I have been lucky enough to catch up with my Internet marketing guru mentor this week who also shared similar advice. I love the point you made about writing for humans as this is who you are building a relationship with. I keep talking about the “Hansel & Gretal” mindset, just keep leaving delicious crumbs that people will follow. Thanks again!

  20. Hi Michael,
    Thank you for those precious tips !

    Chafik

  21. Good info here. I always recommend that you write for your visitors, speak to them, offer high quality, well-researched information to directly addresses their pain points, and you won’t have to worry about rankings – they will come naturally in due time (as long as you make a little effort to promote your website and build up a community/network).

    Also what many need to keep in mind is the fact that rankings (and even traffic) aren’t everything. Equally important is what those visitors do after they reach your website.

    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Hi Tarun – Thanks for the comment.

      I agree with your observations. In fact point one in the infographic (Write for humans optimize for robots) states, “There is no point in great rankings, if your content doesn’t convert” ;-)

      - Michael

  22. Nice infographic, but your point about KW density is just wrong. 2-3% KW Density is still going to out-rank something with semantic usage and the like.

    I agree that articles need to be geared towards your readers, but to say density isn’t important isn’t right. (despite what Matt Cutts may say.)

    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Hi Rob – Thank you very much for your insights.

      Sounds like you have a lot of data supporting your point that keyword density of e.g. 2-3% is optimal. Would you care to share some of all the data you’ve collected with the rest of us?

      - Michael

      • I wouldnt focus too much on keyword density in a seo perspective, which is outdated – another way where you can measure the importance of keywords is the concept of within document frequency and inverse document frequency (WDF / IDF). And the concept of trying to understand the audience what the audience would like to hear ;)

        • Sepita already answered this quite well. User data will also screw badly optimized articles (to reliant on high kw density) possibility to rank propper. You can easily rank with highly optimized KW text, but you can rank better and in longer terms by writing good compelling articles with focus on the user and assisted keywords/terms.

  23. Brilliant article Michael. Thank you for sharing it.Quick question about number 4 Tilde. Do you mean put the tilde before a search term in google keyword tool? Sorry if that’s a daft question but I’m a brand newbie.

    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Hi John – Thank you very much, I’m glad you liked the infographic.

      Just put the Tilde before the keyword when you do a normal search in Google and the related terms will be bolded throughout the SERPs.

      - Michael

  24. Hi Michael,

    This is an excellent and informative copywriting infographic!

    I would have to agree about keyword density. Typically 2 to 3% would be the correct range if we were to actually focus on the search engines. However, when quality content is written naturally, I don’t really think that keyword density matters much.

    By the way, what kind of tools are you using for your WP website in order to place this infographic?

    Thanks,
    Julia

    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Hi Julia – Thanks for the kind words.

      I can’t remember which tool I used for the embed code. But there are a bunch of different plugins you can use.

      I’d still like to see some concrete data pointing to the fact that a keyword density of 2-3% is better than say 5-6%…

      - Michael

    • Hi Julia, I think, it is time for you to test that thesis again…. all in on your second assumption though…

  25. Love the infographic! The first tip especially rings true: “write for humans – optimize for blogs.” Thanks for sharing!

  26. Excellent Information with amazing Infographic!! Thanks!!

  27. I’m ashamed to say I really never knew about the tilde trick in google search.

    Do you know if there a way to expand the number of results that show up at the bottom past 8. Thanks for the tip.

  28. An excellent read, Michael! I love the infographic! It’s amazing how many people still believe they need to have 2-3% kw density on all their pages instead of just writing quality, natural content! There are just too many “shady” SEO companies out there telling business owners they need to do this and do that and then will rank on pg. 1 in a few weeks. Those things may have worked in the past, but this isn’t 1997! It’s time to wake up and face the facts…SEO has changed and it has changed for the better.

    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Hi Mike and thanks for the comment!

      I totally agree, there’s way to many dodgy SEO companies out there still stinking up the place and making tons of money telling businesses who don’t know better that keyword density and footer links, etc. are the surefire way to page one.

      - Michael

  29. Re. point 5. Design trends this year are definitely following the less is more rule – short, succinct web copy of 100 words or less. I have agonised over changing my own website to make it more current but there’s no disputing the fact that pages with more copy rank better.

  30. After doing SEO for a number of years Id have to agree Keyword Density of 2-3% is still a working factor and working fine for me. Yes you should write content 2013 style and use related keywords but if the main goal is rankings in a competitive market then without a doubt writing it with keyword density in mind will work better. I think the trick here is to consider both in regards to competitiveness, if you dont need to go overboard with seo dont, always keep the user in mind first and dont step into the spammy threshold. Get an authoratative domain to help balance it out and build quality links. Simply put plan for your market and dont spam.

  31. Nice and informative infographic – thanks for sharing (0;

    However, when trying out the “~” in front of a keyword, it doesn’t really make a difference. You still get 8 suggestions without the “~” in front… Or am I missing something?

    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Hi Claus – With Tilde, Google highlights related phrases in the snippets of the SERP. This is an addition to the suggestions at the bottum of the page ;)

      - Michael

      • Maybe I’m totally missing out here?!? But if I run a search for “shampoo” and a search for”~shapoo”, I get the exact same results and suggestions. In both cases, Google make no highlights..

        /Claus

    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Hi Claus – I recently learned that Google dropped the Tilde feature :( This explains why you couldn’t get it to work.

      - Michael

  32. It really a nice information you have shared with us and we should use these ways to promote site and I will use your way and also thanks for share the image link which I can use on my blog to make an attractive.

  33. There is a saying that a picture tells more than a thousand words and it’s so true. Thanks for making me aware of how infographics can improve blogging and get readers attention way quicker then just a usual article.

  34. William Mecke says:

    Good information and interesting comments. Unfortunately, Google has dropped the Google Tilde feature.

    http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2277383/Google-Kills-Tilde-Search-Operator

  35. I hear a lot of people talking about creating great content, but I think it’s just as important to put some efforts in jazzing up your content with nice images, typography, layout. In other words, it’s important to make it more visually appealing for the readers to consume the content.

    That’s what we did with one of our articles. Although the information contained in the article was really good, noone wants to read it because it was long and texty.

    So we worked with a designer to add some images and graphics and now, it is a lot nicer to read. Here’s the article,

    http://www.hotspotshield.com/protect-your-privacy-online

    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Hi Peter – Good point. Design and copy go hand in hand – even in articles.
      That’s one of the reason I use so mane images and case studies in my posts.

      - Michael

  36. Can this information be used to help our items on Etsy get found in searches? We also currently use Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest. Will be adding other Social Media sites soon. Sounds like Google+ should be our next venue, any others we should concentrate on?

    • Michael Aagaard says:

      I’d say that product pages such as yours are a category of their own. It’s really a question of labeling the individual product with the keywords that potential customers are using to search for such products. But many of the principles from the infographic can be used.

      Yes, for SEO purposes, you need to get cracking on G+.

      - Michael

  37. Keyword Density of 2-3% or is it 2.5% ?
    Second I have seen some website with out tittle and meta tags where as Google just makes it own ?
    So is worth making tittle and meta tags when you dont know HTML what is easiest way to make them ?
    Thanks in advance and I do love reading your content
    Great Job
    Mark

    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Hi Mark – Personally I don’t believe that keyword density plays any particular role – except if you go overboard and stuff the copy with keywords. Of course you should have relevant keywords in your copy, but they should appear naturally throughout the content.

      So, as I wrote in the infographic, forget about keyword density.

      As I also wrote in the infographic, title tags and snippets are still king. Your title tag is the first thing that Google looks at when indexing a page.
      All content management systems should have a function where you simply fill out the meta data for titles and descriptions. So filling those out should be extremely easy ;-)

      - Michael

  38. Nice info graphics and very useful info. I was taking google+ not so seriously and recently i started taking it taking it seriously and I in fact got results in terms visibility, especially in organic searches

  39. And i absolutely agree with your thoughts on keyword density. Write natural , rank natural

  40. A good replacement for Google Tilde would be using the new Keyword Planner. It is more focused towards adsense but this is a great way to analyse your research.

    I like your graphical representation of what is important. But your missing content freshness among them. Having on topic content greatly improves your ranking.

    I have written a great article based on your article, others and my own experience.

    I want to thank you for sharing and improving others intelligence! Sharing is power :)

    I hope you don’t mind. me sharing my latest article about SEO Content Quality
    http://www.webstumblr.com/tutorials/seo-content-quality/

    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Hi – Thanks for the comment.

      Great point about freshness! I see freshness having direct impact on how my articles are indexed.

      - Michael

  41. I like the infographic design. But what I like the most is the article, very valuable.

  42. This information is awesome and thanks for sharing it

  43. Im just starting at SEO, so this infographic is just something I can use. Thanks

  44. Excellent job with this infographic Michael. I just shared this to our infographics community and the members loved it. Just wanted to say thanks for sharing these valuable tips.

  45. Such a quality advice on a proper time and very detailed content. thanks dude for sharing with us.

  46. great post.. i checked my post on “how to write killing titles(& save you from losing 80% traffic)” & found that i was missing almost 5 features! It help me improve it & get more visibility. Thank you!

  47. Sorry but this is not an infographic. This is a graphic with useful tips, but let’s not promote this as an infographic please!

    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Hi MC – thanks for your constructive criticism. In the future, I’ll call these things “graphics with helpful tips” as not to confuse or irritate anyone.

      - Michael

      • Haha, MC, you are correct. However something tells me that a “graphic with helpful tips” will not attract as many clicks as an “infographic”, so it would go against many of the points in this very article.

  48. Thanks for sharing these useful tips! Our team loved the infographic

  49. Great article. I own livesound.dk and trying to get it higher on google. Its a tough job but hey, Im getting there. Thank for the 10 edvices.

  50. It’s difficult to find experienced people for this subject, however,
    you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  51. Thanks for the useful tips. Has worked wonders for our own agency site and for clients…

  52. Content is still the most important thing to rank content in search engine is one of the most difficult task to do. Back in 2012 is was very easy to write a high quality content on long tail keywords to achieve its appearance in search result and those things are not working anymore that is a sad part.

  53. Thanks for your infographic, it is easy to read and full of information.
    Thanks once again.

  54. Nice Infographic and great tips for rankings

  55. Mic nice infographics. Thanks for taking time to create for us. It may be useful for newbie forever.

  56. Dear Michael,

    Thanks for this useful information about SEO content. I was looking for revelant tips for SEO copywriting and this has help me a lot.
    I definately agree with your top 1 of the list, today this is the most important aspect for SEO content.
    You have to focus on humans, otherwise Google would not consider your content to be natural and today this is not good for the SEO.

  57. Sophia Williams says:

    If you can just remove the 2013 then this Infographic is still applicable for 2014. Many website owners still get the wrong idea about Search Engine Optimization; one of those is keyword density. I can’t help but roll my eyes every time a read an article that uses a keyword in every other sentence. I’ve been reading many SEO tips and articles, and your blog is one of my favorite.

  58. Very good blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything.

    Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There
    are so many options out there that I’m completely confused
    .. Any tips? Appreciate it!

  59. Excellent, what a blog it is! This weblog presents useful data
    to us, keep it up.

  60. We build high quality content to our websites by ourselves. Title is an very important factor to articles. Keyword density is no longer the standard for writing. The article should be natural, intersting, beneficial.

  61. Hi:
    I am the content and digital head of a PR agency in India http://www.imprimispr.com Stumbled upon your infographic. Have circulated it to my team and would be using that as a reference. Great work.
    Thanks a lot.
    Sanjay

  62. Thanks for the share, great ideas for us all.

  63. Great tips! Think tip 10 is really underrated, I really believe good click-through-rates are a big factor in modern SEO.

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