Are you asking your writer to optimize web copy for SEO? Here’s what you need to provide

Apr 28, 2020

Have you ever asked a writer to optimize your nonprofit’s website copy for SEO? Do you know what you’re asking them to do?

I’m not an SEO copywriter, but because I write website content for clients, I’ve been asked to optimize copy for search many times – which I can do! But more often than not, my clients get tripped up when I ask for what I need from them: the keywords they would like me to target.

Asking a writer to optimize your nonprofit’s website copy for SEO? Here's what you need to give them, and why. #NPMC Click To Tweet

As I’ve said when I’ve written about keyword optimization before, optimizing your web copy for search is about helping search engines to find relevant content that users want. This means that our priority should be writing useful, high-quality content that will be readable for humans. But there are a few additional things we can do to help search engines find and index our content.

What I need from you: one keyword or key phrase per page

Because I’m not an SEO specialist, I keep keyword optimization very simple. And frankly, most of my clients need and want to start with the basics. So I target one keyword or key phrase (also known as long-tail keywords) for each page of web copy that I’m writing.

I need to know: what keyword or phrase would you like me to target for each page of copy that I write? This tells me which pieces of content you’d like to attract, with what terms.

Think of it this way: your website copy should answer your potential visitors’ questions. This means that the words that they type in, or their “query”, should match words that appear in your content. This match will happen naturally when you create useful content with visitors’ needs in mind. But we can also deliberately incorporate those words – keywords – in a few specific places.

What I will do with the keywords: incorporate them into your web copy

Are you following so far? Then you understand that:

  • Your target keywords are probably already in your copy, BUT;
  • I’m also going to incorporate your keywords in a few important places, AND;
  • This will help your website content to show up in the right search results.

When I’m writing your website content, I help to optimize the on-page ranking factors by incorporating your target keyword into:

  • The page heading (H1)
  • The first paragraph
  • Subheadings
  • Throughout the body copy, when it fits
  • In a meta description I can create for each page or post

Your keyword should also go into your page URL, but that’s usually up to the client, not me.

I won’t overstuff your copy with keywords – I’ll just use enough to help search engines find your content. Bonus: by incorporating your keywords in your headings and first paragraph (or meta description) these words will be displayed and highlighted in search results – making it clear to the user that it’s the content they are looking for.

Once again, I admit that this is a very basic form of keyword optimization. You can go deeper into secondary keywords, but I suggest that if we’re truly creating content with your audience in mind, we’ll naturally include additional relevant words and phrases.

You need to identify which keywords you are targetting and where you want your writer to put them. #NPMC #SEO Click To Tweet

Have you done your keyword research?

Do you now see why I need that keyword list from you? There’s nothing I can do until you’ve identified which keywords or phrases you are targeting, and where you want me to put them. If you haven’t done the research, I have nothing to work with.

But if this is the case, don’t feel bad: the vast majority of nonprofits I work with are not ready to provide me with their keyword list per page. If you need keyword research help, I highly recommend that you read this post that Rosie Powers wrote for the Nonprofit MarCommunity blog: How to research keywords for your nonprofit. It’s a very simple seven-step breakdown.

I hope you now feel equipped to optimize your web copy for SEO – and to give your writer what she needs!


Do you need help with a few pages of your website content? Check out my Core content web copy package.

OR – Are you planning a new website or significant redesign? Then you should start with a content strategy. Here’s my Website content strategy package.

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