Do’s and don’ts in SEO copywriting

SEO copywriting can be a daunting process. What are the things you most definitely should do in order to write readable and SEO-friendly content? And, what are the things you should definitely avoid? In this article, I’ll present the most important do’s and don’ts in SEO copywriting.

SEO copywriting do’s

Do: Use Yoast SEO content and SEO analysis

We’ve made a tool that’ll make SEO copywriting that much easier. We check both readability as well as the SEO-friendliness of your text in our Yoast SEO plugin. Make sure to use our tool if you want to write great content that ranks.

Do: Use synonyms

Don’t use your focus keyword over and over. Your text will become unreadable and you will be risking a Panda penalty if you are stuffing your text with keywords. Make sure to use synonyms of the keywords and keyphrases you want to be found for!

Do: Adapt to the language of your audience

Make sure your text is adapted to the audience you’re writing for. If you write about LEGO and focus on kids, your text should be easy to read. But, if your audience consists of scientists with a Ph.D., it would be ok if your text is much more difficult. Also, think about your use of words, whether or not you’ll address your audience directly. Adapt the tone of voice of your article in such a way that it fits your audience.

Do: Balance your focus keyword

Balance the use of your keywords throughout your text. You should definitely mention your focus keyword a couple of times (don’t overdo it though). Usually, a keyword density of 1 to 2 % is fine. On top of that, you should make sure your use of keywords are balanced throughout the text. So, don’t put all your keywords in the first paragraph, but mention it a few times throughout the article.

Do: Use internal linking

Make sure to think about linking to similar articles. Maybe you have a cornerstone content article on a similar topic. Link from your new blog post to that cornerstone article. Perhaps your new article is the best one you have written in a long time. In that case, make sure to add some links to this new piece in your previous articles.

Do: Make a clear call to action

Make sure your call to action is clear and that people will be able to click from your article to other places on your website. What do you want people to do after they’ve read your article? Do you want them to buy something? Do you want them to read another article?

Read more: SEO copywriting checklist »

SEO copywriting don’ts

Don’t: adapt your topic to a keyword

Of course, your keyword research should be leading in deciding what to write about. However, don’t try to write an article about a certain topic and try to rank for it by optimizing it for a totally different keyword. Topic and keyword should be pretty much the same. It shouldn’t be too hard to optimize for a certain keyword. If you’re feeling awkward about using a keyword too often, perhaps the topic of the post and your focus keyword aren’t aligned.

Don’t: write boring

Make sure you have a writing style that’s appealing to your audience. Don’t start every sentence with the same word. Mix it up a little! Try to vary between long and short sentences and long and short paragraphs. Use synonyms. Adding examples and jokes could also help to write a text that is fun to read.

Don’t: too many characters in one line

You should really limit the length of your text lines. In Readability: the Optimal Line Length, Christian Holt mentions a number of suggested text lines, stating these should be 50 to 65 or 75 characters. That’s about 10 tot 15 words, which from our experience,  is indeed a good read.

Keep reading: The importance of typography »

Don’t: do any keyword stuffing

Keyword stuffing is a definite don’t. If sentences start to read really awkward because of the use of your focus keyword: stop! You are using it too often. If it doesn’t feel natural to use the word you would like to be found on in a text, then you are over-optimizing. Never do that! Your text should always be nice to read.

Don’t: create duplicate content

Never use the same content on your website twice. That is, not without using a canonical URL. Otherwise, search engines will get confused and will not know which location to show. It could really hurt your rankings. A canonical URL allows you to tell the search engines that certain similar URLs are actually one and the same. If you do it this way, your ranking will not be harmed by duplicate content

Read on: Duplicate content: causes and solutions »

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10 Responses to Do’s and don’ts in SEO copywriting

  1. Ehsan
    Ehsan  • 3 years ago

    I a’m an SEO expret and Yoast really help me to improve my clients site ranking. But just please pay more attention to Persian language translation its realy sucks!

  2. Alessia Martalò
    Alessia Martalò  • 3 years ago

    Using internal linking, in my own opinion, is really important as well as submitting a valid sitemap, in order to communicate a good and strong site structure.

  3. Andrew Smallwood
    Andrew Smallwood  • 3 years ago

    I like how you’ve positioned the copywriting checklist link and the fontography link. It was difficult for me to pass those up. Do you think internal links work better when they’re outside the paragraph text.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      I like these links too. We do get a lot of clicks on them. However, you should definitely place links in the text as well. I think you should do both.

  4. 250
    250  • 3 years ago

    thanks a lot for that
    I like this very much,very good post.

  5. roshan sathe
    roshan sathe  • 3 years ago

    Can a website rank by using good content but not focussing on keywords?

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      Quality content will help. But keyword research is important too. Think about what your audience is searching for. Use these words, but do not overdo it!

  6. Lupe Hernandez
    Lupe Hernandez  • 3 years ago

    I purchased this webite from Hearst media. I love the organization of materials and layout. The designer was able to incorporate some of my content to the new one. I choose Hearst because they were my competitors designers and my competitors was ALWAYS top ranked. I later learned he was paying SEO and other things that I cannot afford. I have been studying and incorporating my own SEO. please take a look. Search phrase ideal (brick repair in Houston) my website is

  7. Scoop
    Scoop  • 3 years ago

    Yoast, i really appreciate your plugin at it has helped me lot.And your new update is awesome as it’s about content. So from the bottom of my heart i want to say thank you.. However i have seen your 1 video tutorial which seems good but its very old, you should consider releasing a new video tutorial .

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      thank you! have you checked out our youtube chanel. Our video tutorials there should be up to date. We made video tutorials for all plugin settings, including the new readability analysis