27th January 2023
How To Optimise Your Website for SEO Without Stifling Creativity
Some people may be creative writers first and SEOs second, learning in a digital marketing environment how to optimise copy for Google. Meanwhile, others may be SEOs first but perhaps not natural writers, so they may approach a piece of writing with their Google hats on first. Whichever camp you fall into, you could be forgiven for thinking that you need to either optimise your writing for search, or you have the creative freedom to do whatever you like to get your point across – but you can’t do both. How true is this, though? Can creative copy work hand in hand with SEO, and if so how?
Take blog post titles as an example. You might have a very clever or funny idea for an article title, but it might not actually explain in full enough detail to both your readers and search engines what the page is actually about. This is your opportunity to flex your creative muscles, but should you bin your witty title in favour of a title that better explains what the reader will learn? My first thought would be to see if you can do both, with the help of our friend the colon.
Instead of choosing between “Mapping Your Journey To Success” and “How To Perform Keyword URL Mapping”, combine the two to make “Mapping Your Journey To Success: Your Guide To Keyword URL Mapping”. So you’ve got your slightly more interesting title idea as a hook, but also your keyword “keyword URL mapping” to keep Google happy and explain to readers what they can expect. This is useful because a descriptive title is important for the reader's experience, not just for SEO.
Keywords Versus Key Topics
As we’ve touched upon, there seem to be two goals in play – the SEO goal of ensuring all keywords are present and correct, and the writing goal of keeping the reader hooked and entertained by choosing your words creatively. But SEO isn’t just about ensuring keywords appear in your copy. Yes, it’s important that you take all relevant opportunities to use your keywords – not just in your copy, but in the image alt text, page titles headings, and so on. And you don’t want to overstuff your copy with keywords, either. But keywords are no longer the be-all and end-all.
In fact, much of the advice now revolves around keyword topics rather than keywords themselves. This means that Google should be able to tell that your page is relevant not because you use a particular keyword several times, but because all of the text on the page is geared towards the wider topic you are covering. It’s more about context now. What is the goal of the page as a whole, and what can Google take from it? Even if you don’t cover all the keywords you may have in the past, Google may pick up many other words, sentences, links and references that help it to understand what your page is about.
This is good news in the struggle between SEO and creativity because it means you can worry a little less about using the exact keywords and focus more on saying what you want to say in the perfect way. This also feeds into the idea that you should always write for readers first, rather than writing for search engines. I always say that if you start by drafting copy that your readers will understand and enjoy, you can then go back and edit it from an SEO point of view – but by that time you will already have done most of the work, because if you are writing for readers, Google will naturally love your copy, too.
Tone, Examples, Personal Experiences and Context
So far we’ve considered words on an individual level, but there are other ways you can get creative without your quest for SEO stifling your voice. I’ve gathered lots of examples from the archives of the SilverDisc blog where we have done the following:
- Used personal experiences to introduce a topic or explain a concept
- Made up example companies to explain a topic
- Related TV shows or music to digital marketing
- Used personal voice and tone to create more individual articles
All of the above are great ways to make your writing more interesting and creative, and you can still get those SEO keywords where you need to. They are methods of making a topic clearer and easier to understand, but they also allow you to tell a story in an individual way that makes your writing and ideas unique to you and your business.
Here are some examples of where we have used the above methods to get creative with our writing, without compromising on SEO. Click through each one for some writing ideas, as well as digital marketing advice.
Using personal experiences to introduce a topic or explain a concept:
- Is Your Website Ready for the Voice Search Boom? Joel tells a personal story about his mother trying to use a smart speaker.
- 7 Reasons Why Poor Online Communication Can Lead to Loss of Sales I use a personal online shopping story throughout this to explain why communication is essential.
- How To Go the Extra Mile and Encourage Positive Reviews I use a personal example of good customer service to introduce the topic.
- Make Your Website A One-Stop Shop For All Your Customers Needs I tell personal online shopping stories to make a point.
- Building Brand Identity Online: Lessons From Comic Con
- How To Increase Your Average Basket Value and Encourage Impulse Purchases “The story of how I ‘accidentally’ spent £11.96 at Graze.com”
- Are You Speaking Your Customers’ Language? I use my upcoming holiday to introduce this topic.
Making up example companies to explain a topic:
- What Is Keyword URL Mapping In SEO? I use a silly made-up company “Alpaca My Bags” to explain keyword URL mapping in SEO.
- Why Are Backlinks So Important For SEO? I revisit “Alpaca My Bags” for this article.
Relating TV shows or music to digital marketing:
- How Email Marketing Automation Can Transform Your Customers' eCommerce Journey: Part One Perry uses Lord of the Rings to explain the benefits of automation in this three-part series.
- Breaking Bad Online: A Marketing Lesson From Walter White
- Better Call Saul: A Marketing Lesson From Saul Goodman
- Is Your Website The Walking Dead?
- The Apprentice: Lessons In Conducting Market Research
- Five Marketing Lessons From Game of Thrones (Season One Spoilers!)
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens – How To Build Anticipation
- 4 Lessons From Cadbury on How to Leverage the Power of Your Brand Online
- Evolving and Building Relationships: More Lessons From Music
Examples of using personal voice/tone:
- KFC Gets Facebook Fans Talking With Clean Eating Campaign
- 4 Ways To Help Your Customers Get Used To Your New Website
- 4 Spooky Social Media Stories
- Is There Value in “Mistake Marketing”?
If you would like any help with your SEO or content marketing, get in touch with SilverDisc.