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"How To Write SEO Web Copy That Sells"

Updated on December 4, 2013

SEO Copywriting Success Is All About Style

When I first joined HubPages, I was honored to be nominated for a HubNugget award. I did not figuratively place the award on my mantle, but the winning writer holds the golden key that unlocks the 1 secret of writing winning SEO content.

In fact, he is the inspiration behind this hub and I will give you his name and the link to his hub at the end.

This writer uses a special technique that sounds easier than the reality:

He writes like he talks, and that is THE KEY to writing successful web SEO copy and content.

Copywriters could use this one thought and write better SEO copy than 90% of the website content I now see all over the World Wide Web!

This article is designed for learning how to write SEO copy that online viewers will actually read. It is NOT a primer for SEO copywriting. For instruction in SEO technique, check out:

"Quality Content and Page Rank - Facts and Myths"

"Professional SEO Copywriters Secure Website Optimization"

"Target Your Copy For More Online Hits"

You and Oscar at Paul's Pub (post-golf discussion.)


Replace Formality With Conversation

Let's assume you have been assigned to write online SEO content for a major golf company that manufactures spectacular drivers.

Before you begin to write the SEO copy, picture yourself with your best friend (we'll call him Oscar) knocking back a few brewskys at Paul's Pub.

You and Oscar are solving the world's problems, talking about and talking with women (who else?), and, as the cereal in a can keeps coming, you tell Oscar about this new golf DVD that lowered your handicap 12 strokes.

How do you think that conversation will run its course? Let's begin with 'you' opening the conversation...


You: "I'm receiving professional results from a new DVD that gives my golf game maximum efficiency and productivity.

It's highly effective in decreasing the number of strokes I usually acquire. It has everything one needs for professional elegance and it shall bring my golf game to a maximum level."


NO WAY! No possible way would you and Oscar talk about a new and great instructional golf DVD in that tone. Rather, I think the conversation would follow more along these lines:

SCENARIO 1 (Take 2)

Oscar: "Man, seems like I've been slicing every damn shot I hit. I'm playin' from the long stuff more than I'm hitting from the short grass!"

You: "Look dude, you probably won't believe this, but I've been watching a DVD for about a week and I'll be damned if I haven't cut 12 shots off my handicap.

I don't slice anymore (Oscar's eyes now agape, he leans forward to hear more). And I'm bustin' it 30 yards longer with that new driver I bought last month.

I tell you what, I'll loan it to you for a week or two and let's see if it helps."

Oscar: Cool, dude... Thanks.

You: No problem.

What do you think? First scenario or second?

When you have the opportunity to compare the two styles of writing back-to-back, it's obvious that you are going to read the CONVERSATIONAL writing style EVERY time over the "professional, elegant, stuffed-shirt writing form".

Put Emotion In Your SEO Content Copywriting

Obviously, a top gun copywriter would not write out the above conversation.

He or she will use the pictures that you and Oscar created during that conversation and then convert the mental images to conversion copy.

So, how do I take the "you and Oscar conversation" and make it iwinning SEO content?

Here's one approach: Since most beginning golfers suffer with a consistent banana slice shot trajectory, I might address that in the headline.

Breakthrough DVD Eliminates Slices and Adds 20-30 Yards To Your Tee Shots

If I loved the game of golf but could not get rid of a slice, AND on top of that, I could add 30 yards to my tee shots, this headline would definitely draw my attention.

Granted, it's not the best headline in the world and if I were writing for a new golf DVD campaign, I would spend MUCH more time honing the headline. As I've said in previous hubs that pertain to SEO content copywriting, the HEADLINE IS KING!

We've got our headline, so now where do we go?

We go back to the imaginary conversation where 'you' said you've lost 12 strokes to your handicap.

Wow - That's huge!

So, I may add a testimonial or two from actual product users (preferably in video form) right off. You will find that testimonials (done well) are extremely effective.

I would then return to the body of the website and begin to list benefits.

This seems to be a big stumbling block for new copywriters.

Many times I see long blocks of copy with the benefits hidden in that huge, intimidating blob of black ink. Whenever you list benefits, ALWAYS bullet point them!

  • Guaranteed to rid you of that slice within minutes
  • Outdrive your playing partners by 30 yards
  • Lower your handicap by as many as 12 strokes
  • Easy-to-follow, proven techniques

Note the emotional draws in the bullet points. These benefits appeal to many emotions... for example,

Guaranteed to rid you of that slice within minutes , appeals to: PRIDE, LUST, SUPERIORITY.

Outdrive your playing partners by 30 yards, appeals to: The Need To BE THE BEST, EGO SATISFACTION, Elimination of FEAR.

I'll leave the last two to your perceptions.

A consumer buys, NOT because he needs something; a prospective buyer makes a purchase decision based on an emotional want or payoff.

BE: Grammatically sound and correct.

DON'T BE: Stuffy and impressive.

Choose the simplest form of the word's idea you are trying to convey.

Instead of: RECEIVE , Write: GET.


Write like you talk and watch your SEO content occupy more #1 page ranks.

And the HubNugget Winner Is...

His pen name is resspenser and he won the HubNugget with his article titled, "The Meanest Woman In Lancaster..."



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    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      5 years ago from Port Neches

      Appreciate your comment.

    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      6 years ago from Port Neches

      Judging from the number of Google adword advertisements, I agree with you.

    • moonrisedesign profile image


      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Copywriters are getting more and more power on the internet. I think in the future, copywriters will be in huge demand.

      Great information!

    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      7 years ago from Port Neches

      Glad you enjoyed it... thanks for the kind comment.

    • DIY Backlinks profile image

      DIY Backlinks 

      7 years ago

      Nice advise. Good hub.

    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      7 years ago from Port Neches

      Thank you, htodd... my pleasure!

    • htodd profile image


      7 years ago from United States

      Thanks for sharing,Nice hub

    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      7 years ago from Port Neches

      "If it's work to write, it's work to read."... I enjoyed and agree with your comments (especially that one!)

      Thanks for responding and for the follow.

    • deblipp profile image


      7 years ago

      Great tips. The #1 rule is don't be boring. As a corollary, I'd say for most people: Don't sound like you're writing. People tend to make an effort in their writing, they tend to look at writing as work, and this comes through in the final product. If it's work to write, it's work to read. A relaxed tone is almost always your friend. Exceptions might be made for a doctoral thesis or if you're Shakespeare.

    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      7 years ago from Port Neches

      You are most welcome, Billig... glad it helped!

    • profile image

      Billig Fergebillett 

      7 years ago

      Thanks from me too :-)

    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      7 years ago from Port Neches

      Thanks, Nic... this Hub has been in the #1 slot, page 1 in Google for several months now indexed with the keyphrase, "seo website copy". That makes this copywriter surprisingly happy and most appreciative.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great hub, many thanks!

    • alkantenik profile image


      8 years ago from Turkey

    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      8 years ago from Port Neches

      Hi Peter,

      I agree with many things you write.

      For example, the 'call to action' is an absolute must, and conversion is the end the used means copywriters must produce or they will be cranking out 30 second radio spots for a hicked-out ad agency in Beaumont, Texas.

      I'm going to disagree with you on your belief that conversational writing doesn't work in B2B communication. Most likely, many of your keywords will be 'shop talk' for the targeted business and good SEO copywriters will liberally use these words throughout the copy... BUT, continually choosing to use words like "conversion ratio" instead of "sales" or "emote" over "give" is a turn-off for ANY reading audience.

      Lastly, benefit-research and listing is only the first step to conversion success. I attempt to paint a mental picture vividly showing my product or service provides an emotional payoff(s) for my reader.

      I can think of 3 professions where conversational writing may not work.

      1. Medical

      2. Engineering

      3. IT

      At the end of the day, we do what works for us, individually. If creating backlinks, clearly explaining benefits (without showing an emotional payoff) works for you, I say "Don't fix it if it ain't broke!"

      Thanks for your insights and good luck to you.

    • Peter Hoggan profile image

      Peter Hoggan 

      8 years ago from Scotland

      These days I prefer to think about copywriting as a tool to enhance engagement rather than a SEO tactic. I agree that bulleted lists, sub heads and other devices are great ways to cater for skim readers and that a good headline and leader are very important. But other than make a page self descriptive there is very little ranking benefit to be had from the on page stuff. I prefer to put the burden of gaining top rankings on backlinks.

      Where the benefit lies for me is in writing to make the conversion, creating USP's that clearly differentiate the offer and making sure that the benefits are clearly explained, in short tuning in to the WIIFM channel and cranking up the volume. And to finish things off nicely a great call to action is essential.

      There are also many sites where a conversational approach would not be suitable, legal sites, many B2B’s and industrial marketers readily spring to mind. But for B2C and C2C sites the conversational approach can work well.

    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      8 years ago from Port Neches

      Howdy Find, Thanks for writing and from your comments, I see you understand SEO copywriting. I wrote this Hub with the thought readers already understand good, solid SEO elements and what they do for a website. I was trying to get the style of what could be a very boring event to be readable; in other words, make it interesting. When a copywriter incorporates SEO fundamentals with an interesting story, for example, not only will optimization improve, viral magic is even possible. Good comment.

    • FindYourSearch profile image


      8 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Very nice advice. "Stuffy" writing does have its place, for example on a corporate or banking site, but is certainly not always either necessary or the most effective strategy. Friendly writing has a high chance of conversion, depending on your market. However, I missed the tie-in of this writing style with SEO specifically. Do you feel it helps sites perform better in the search engines as well as engaging readers?

    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      8 years ago from Port Neches

      Glad my Hub helped, tdarby

    • tdarby profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for the really good info. I'm off to write some great SEO copy.

    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      8 years ago from Port Neches

      Thank you, Ylva

    • Ylva profile image


      8 years ago from Sweden

      Great hub, no doubt

    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      8 years ago from Port Neches

      Thank you, Ellen

    • EllenGraeger profile image


      8 years ago from Madrid

      Outstanding, without any doubt.

    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      8 years ago from Port Neches

      Hi Neil,


      I don't know why the name 'Oscar' came to mind. If I remember correctly, I was seeking an unusual, yet oft-used name.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Hope all is going well for you.



    • Neil Ashworth profile image

      George Poe 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      Good advice, although I have to say it's a little difficult for me to follow your advice too closely , as my old yellow labrador was called Oscar (yes, he was my best friend alright, but wouldn't have had a clue about good conversation or bad!)

      Nice hub all the same with some useful tips on SEO.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Good advice, CW. I've written for a number of publishers, and many prefer this casual form of writing. A few don't. I find it much easier to write for the ones who like a more conversational tone!

    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      8 years ago from Port Neches

      Ha! LOL

      A fine line does exist between the two and it's not as easy as it sounds.

      The trick is to be grammatically perfect while keeping the tone of your writing conversational.

      BTW, that's the reason telling a story within your article

      is such a great communication tool.

      Thanks for the comment.

    • Dixie W profile image

      Dixie W 

      8 years ago from Odessa, Texas

      Damn!!! I was trying not to write like I talk. Not really Ya'll.LOL Glad you told me.

    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      8 years ago from Port Neches

      Thank you... my pleasure


    • Putz Ballard profile image

      Putz Ballard 

      8 years ago

      Great hub, I am no computer geek and a little over my head but thanks.


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