Towards the end of last week, I was asked what’s involved in writing SEO copy. From my side of the fence, I know what’s involved, but I guess a lot of people still wonder what I do.

Which led me to question if you, as readers of Writing For SEO, have a clear view of the stages required to produce SEO copy.

I’ve covered most of what’s needed in a range of posts, but to save you working out how the process fits together, here’s what needs to be covered from beginning to end – although when working for a client parts of the process may be covered by other people or other parts of a larger project.

Stage 1: What do you want to achieve with your site?

Be clear about your business goals. Or just your goals. Perhaps your site is a personal blog or hobby site.

Write them down, so that they don’t slip from your attention as you move through the stages.

  • Increase traffic by 50% with two months
  • Double sales within a year
  • Launch a new section of the website to sell a new range of products by May 25
  • To provide support for your local Parent Teacher Association

Ask yourself the awkward questions about the purpose of your site.

Stage 2: What keywords do you want to target?

Ask yourself what key phrases you think people might use to reach your site.

Again, make a list – preferably in a text editor, so you can easily cut and paste into research tools, reports and proposals.

Stage 3: Research what people are actually searching on

I covered this previously on Writing For SEO. Briefly, you need to find some alternatives and check how many searches are being made on the key phrases.

Stage 4: Assess the competition for the key phrases

This is a tough one because there’s not really the ideal tool out there for this. So much so, that my colleague Paul Silver built one for us to use.

You can get an idea, though, from Web SEO Analytics and from SEOmoz (Edit: Now Moz).

Stage 5: Select the key phrases you want to use

Group key phrases together into themes so that you can apply two or three of them to a post/page.

Stage 6: Write your content

  • Write headlines and subheads using your chosen key phrases
  • Use the key phrase naturally in your copy
  • Write your title, keyword and description tag – it’s worth the effort to complete them, even though they’re not as important as they were ten or more years ago – while keeping within the recommended maximum number of characters
  • Keep an eye on key phrase densities – maybe not going as far as to actually measuring them, but don’t go stuffing your copy to level of extreme discomfort with key phrases

Stage 7: Read/edit/polish

This is at least as important as writing the content. It’s where everything comes together and your content becomes ready for the world (or your client).

Take a look at this post on creating professional content.

Stage 8: Publish!

Publishing isn’t the end, though. Have a good look at your content live on the site, just in case there are formatting problems.

You may also find the odd typo that has found its way through.

That’s a brief overview of SEO copywriting. What do you think? Do you want to add anything? Or think I’m labouring the point?

Thanks to David Turnbull for making his image available.