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The Complete 15-Point Copywriting Checklist (2022)

Ultimate copywriting checklist
Image showing checklist

This is the most complete copywriting checklist in 2022

Everything you find on this list can be done right now with great results.

Let’s get right to it…

Table of contents

1. Quick refresher on SEO Basics

Magnifying glass over the word SEO
Magnifying glass over the word SEO

Knowing your target market’s pain points will only get you so far. Setting up SEO basics should be at the top of your copywriting checklist to truly create a winning campaign.

Why?

Google Search Console provides you with a robust set of tools for free. These will help you:

1-Identify winning keywords and the best ones for your traffic

2-Identify and rectify mistakes on your website

3-Submit your sitemap correctly

4-Check a range of statistics like page experience scores

Install Bing Webmaster Tools

bing.com landing page
bing.com landing page

Your next step is to set up Bing Webmaster tools. This search engine receives around a billion visitors monthly and plays a substantial role in SEO. It also has some innovative features that Google misses.

Setup Google Analytics

User dashboard for google analytics
User dashboard for google analytics

Google Analytics is indispensable for finding new traffic and diving deep into what makes your site tick.

It allows you to identify high-value keywords, making monitoring their performance for your site accessible.

Link Google Analytics up with Google Search Console, and you’ll unleash one of the most powerful online marketing tools.

2. Look for Low Competition Keywords

Computer screen showing arrow
The computer screen showing shows an arrow.

Finding low competition keywords is the key to your success.

It makes sense to use terms for which people commonly look.

However, the top-performing keywords are also the most difficult to target because thousands of other web admins have the same idea.

Identifying low competition keywords is a far more productive use of your time.

These are popular enough to drive traffic, but not so much that everyone uses them.

Several tools you may use to aid in this task, including Google, KWFinder, and Reddit.

Google

Start typing your primary keyword into the Google search bar, but don’t hit “Enter.” 

Google search bar
Google search bar

Google will auto-fill the phrase using commonly searched terms associated with your keyword. This information is helpful:

1-As a starting point

2-For content topic ideas

3-As examples of long-tail keywords

KWFinder

This freemium tool is ideal for the budget-conscious:

kw finder screenshot
kw finder screenshot

You’ll receive more than enough data on every keyword you research, including:

1-Search volume

2-CPC

3-Estimated visits

4-Keyword difficulty

Reddit

Reddit homepage
Reddit homepage

You’re unlikely to think of combining Reddit and keyword research in your copywriting checklist.

However, give it a chance, and you’ll be glad you did. Find the SubReddit that relates to your topic as much as possible.

Type it into the search bar and see what comes up if you’re unsure.

The SubReddits and threads will guide you to practical terms to target.

3. Visit AnswerthePublic.com

Answerthepublic.com homepage
Answerthepublic.com homepage

Do you battle to settle on a blog topic? Question keywords are evergreen topics that pay off in spades, and “Answer the Public” is one of the best sources.

Input your subject, and it will generate a free list of questions people ask related to that subject area.

4. Incorporate Your Keyword at Every Level of Your Website

Google search bar showing keywords

Now that you have your key phrases, it’s time to embed them on your site.

The next part of your copywriting checklist centers on on-page SEO.

Begin by incorporating your primary keyword in your URL, website name, and different titles on your website.

The one caveat? Keep it short and sexy.

Shorter URLs are more manageable for visitors to remember and feature better in search results.

Here is an example of a long URL:

“Nike Air Max One Nike sustainability policy vintage Nike shoes”

Compare the above to a shorter URL:

“Nike shoe policies”

5. Boost Your Efforts Using the Title Tag

Title tag example screenshot
Title tag example screenshot

Placing your keyword in the title makes good commonsense, so everyone does it.

But would you like to skyrocket your results?

Place the keyword as your first word in the title to show search engines how important it is.

Do you think this is all there is to the title tag? Think again.

Now you need to embed tag modifiers; it looks similar to this:

tag modifiers sceenshot
Tag modifiers screenshot

These are long-tail keywords that allow you to rank for several related topics.

So, instead of naming your page “Copywriting Secrets,” you could call it “Copywriting Tips and Tricks that Skyrocket Traffic and Bring in Consistent Sales.”

6. Show Your Keyword Some Love

Heart graphic
Heart graphic

When it evaluates its position, Google looks at the title, URL, and first 150 words on your website.

Place your primary keyword in the first 100 words on the page to succeed. If possible, use it to start the opening sentence.

Give your keyword more love by scattering it through the H1, H2, and H3 tags.

Search engines check the words used in the headings along with the opening paragraph to identify key concepts.

It also makes things more user-friendly.

7. Optimize Your Images

Image performance stats when compressed
Image performance stats when compressed

You already know that you need to use an optimally-sized image to prevent it from bloating your page. Take things to the next level by giving search engines every indication of what is in the picture:

1-Start with a descriptive file name that explains what is in the image when you save your file

2-Now carry over the information into your alt tag when you upload it to your page

For example, the picture above is named “Image performance stats when compressed. ed”

The most important thing to remember is not to leave the original file name the image comes with, for example, “IMG_722019.”

8. Vary Your Words and Use Long-Tailed Keywords

Semrush.com graph for long tail keywords
Semrush.com graph for long tail keywords

Thirty or forty years ago, it was easy to fool search engines.

If you were the site with the highest number of repetitions of the keyphrase, you won.

Today’s search engines are more sophisticated.

Thanks to artificial intelligence and a vast number of ranking factors, Google and its colleagues can determine the context of a website.

In turn, they can decide if a page seems to be for SEO purposes alone.

Today, your page must be helpful and engaging for your human audience.

Seeing the same word 1,000 times will soon become tedious for your readers and may cause you to lose visitors.

Instead, look for synonyms for your keyword and incorporate them.

Also, look for terms that say the same thing but are entirely different.

You can further improve the page’s traction by using long-tail keywords.

9. Use External Links

graph showing external link definition
graph showing external link definition

Linking to authority sites related to your topic makes your site more credible for search engines and visitors.

Having at least five to eight links to authority sites provides ample evidence that you did your research, giving visitors access to corroborative information.

Google wants to ensure all information on your site is reliable, so it is imperative to use sites with high domain authority and excellent reputations, like government and educational websites.

You can check out one of our other posts for more information on Domain authority. 

10. Don’t Neglect Internal Links

Graph showing internal linking best practices
Graph showing internal linking best practices

It is easy to focus on building an external link profile to the detriment of your internal pages.

However, you’re denying yourself a rich source of traffic.

Two to five links to other pages on your site with keyword-rich anchor text make your page valuable and tell search engines that there is more to your site.

11. Audit Your Site Regularly

website checklist with percentage results
website checklist with percentage results

Protocols change, web pages you link to go down, and your site’s schema errors mean that web pages cannot crawl.

That’s why another copywriting checklist entry should be running regular checks on how well search engines can crawl your website.

Sometimes robot.txt blocks the crawlers that search engines send out.

Here is an excellent how-to manual on doing this for your website. 

If you don’t fix it, the page is virtually invisible.

How Does Google See Your Site?

Magnifying glass on a computer screen
Magnifying glass on a computer screen

Forget Big Brother—Google makes the government look like amateurs.

This search engine focuses on the user experience above the number of clicks your site receives.

If Google doesn’t like something, it won’t feature your page.

There is, however, a simple, free fix.

The Google Search Console tool Inspect URL will provide you with a list of issues from the search engine’s perspective.

It’s the ultimate cheat sheet.

Is Your Site Mobile-Friendly?

Laptop and Mobile images
Laptop and Mobile images

Google’s Mobile-First Index makes it imperative to have a mobile-friendly site if you hope to attain a top rank.

How does your site measure up? Use Google’s free Mobile-Friendly Test to find out.

Another great and quick way to see how your website measures on mobile:

1-Go to Google search and input the following words:

Mobile friendly test
Mobile-friendly test

2-Enter your website URL and wait for results:

Mobile test results
Mobile test results

Check for Broken Links

Broken link check from WordPress
Broken link check from WordPress

One of the fastest ways to damage your SEO ratings is to have broken links on your website.

It is frustrating for visitors who encounter them, but they’re a warning sign to search engines that you poorly maintain your site.

Several tools will help you check your links automatically, so there is no excuse for a broken link.

Is Your Site Secure?

image showing secure vs not secure website
image showing secure vs. a not secure website

Do you want Google to warn potential visitors that your site may not be secure? Would you like to guarantee that your web pages drop in the rankings?

You do that by not providing your site with a valid security certificate. It’s time to migrate to HTTPS.

What Is Your Load Time?

Load time image
Load time image

Think about fractions of seconds rather than seconds, especially for mobile visitors.

Part of Google’s user experience drive includes page load speeds, so if your site doesn’t measure up, you won’t get any love from the search engine.

Again, there’s a simple, free fix. Check Google Page Speed Insights to see how your website measures up.

Just keep in mind that this is not a one-time deal. Things change over time, so you should recheck your load speed regularly.

12. Content Is King

Content statistics screenshot
Content statistics screenshot

This phrase is something Google said years ago and is as accurate now as it was then.

To impress the search engine, you need to up your content game.

If it’s not valuable for your target audience and is of high quality, it will not rank.

Would you like to know how to create content that reaches for the stars?

Say hello to the 1,2,3 Punch Technique:

1-Identify content that is popular and relevant to your field

2-Improve upon it and create the most in-depth resource possible

3-Promote your work

The basic rule is to find another topic if you cannot improve on what is there already.

The best part?

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

All you need to do is provide as much valuable, actionable information as possible, and there is a good chance you will rank. 

13. Make Content Scannable

Pyramid showing steps for scannable content
Pyramid showing steps for scannable content

When last did you relish sifting through a massive block of text?

Blocking text makes it seem more complex, no matter how simple the language or concept is.

Most readers today look for scannable articles that seem less intimidating.

See What Content Formats Are Popular

content intent types and definition
content intent types and definition

Sites with original, verifiable content tend to win the race here.

The secret is thought-leading articles that tick the following boxes:

-Expert authors

-Original and credible research such as surveys

-Case studies or real-world examples

-Authentic content that you do not rehash

-Evergreen content that will be valid for many years

-Extremely well-researched content

What makes these articles so unique? This type of content takes a lot of work.

Instead of just reviewing the top ten tools, you check the top 100 or all the tools in your niche.

Then make it a stellar piece of content.

But why?

How many people today are willing to put in that kind of effort?

Are other web admins more likely to follow your example, replicate the work, or reference your site and link back to it?

Bingo, you now have a precious piece of content that will continue to attract valuable backlinks.

14. Use Multimedia

Lady sitting looking at different multimedia devices
Lady sitting looking at different multimedia devices

You might feel concerned that loading up the images on your site will bloat it and slow load times.

It’s a valid worry but worth risking because the rewards are outstanding.

A beautiful site will have a lower bounce rate and attract more visitors.

Images break up the text and reinforce the message in the content.

They add interest to the piece, particularly to someone just scanning it to see if it’s worth a read.

You can incorporate:

-Photographs

Go here for free images you can add guilt-free to your website. 

-Infographics

Go here for statistics you can use in your content

-Charts

-Videos

-Visual Content

-Polls

-Quizzes

15. Use Schema Markup

Screenshot of schema markup tool
Screenshot of schema markup tool

Schema markup is like a cheat sheet for search engines.

It gives them insight into the context of your web pages, your site’s objectives, and where it falls in the online world.

Do you need some help with this?

Don’t feel alone—many web admins find this challenging.

Using Google’s Structured Data Testing tool can come in handy.

It is far simpler than structuring your schema markup from scratch, eliminating many errors and hours of work.

When you run your URL through GSDT(Google structured data testing), you want to see this as a result:

Test result screenshot from rich results test
Test result screenshot from rich results test

Additional Resources

I recently put together a list of the top 25 copywriting blogs.

This list is a beautiful addition to this post if further information is needed on how to get your website’s copywriting up to Google’s standards.

Click here and have a look! 

Bonus Tips and Tricks for Advanced SEO Specialists

What’s the top tip here? Always give your audience more than they expect.

We’re not stopping at 15 tips for your copywriting checklist. Read on for more progressive ideas to improve your SEO.

  • Set Up a Link Building Checklist

Ask any SEO team what their least favorite task is, and outreach will come up.

Building a backlink profile is a complex and sometimes thankless job.

It’s also essential for convincing search engines of the value of your website.

However, there is a strong caveat. You must earn your links.

Whether you do so through guest posting or any other strategy, choose sites that make sense to your industry and never buy posts.

  • Earn Guest Posts

Link for link posts is a dead strategy and typically a waste of time.

You must partner with a respected player in your industry to see the benefit of guest posting.

This person is ideally someone who has a similar target market to yourself.

You can find many sites that allow you to write for them for free in return for a link in your bio.

However, the value of these posts is questionable.

How many qualified leads will these articles generate if it’s a content mill site with an unknown subscriber base?

  • Get Sneaky With Your Competitor’s Backlinks

It would help if you had a tool like Moz Link Explorer or Semrush.

You input your competitor’s URL, and the tool lists the backlinks leading to their website.

See this list as your starting point when targeting sites from which to earn backlinks.

Sometimes this will prove difficult, especially when your competitor has a relationship with the other site.

However, it’s an exercise that usually pays dividends.

  • Use Link Roundups Intelligently

Link roundups can lead to significant traffic and backlink opportunities if you first research them carefully.

Choose web pages that genuinely add value and are credible within their niche to see the benefits.

  • Make Yourself Available as a Guest

Podcasters and YouTubers need to generate a great deal of content.

One way of doing this is to interview industry experts and thought leaders.

This technique can be helpful for you if you choose people with influence within your niche and a similar target market.

The podcaster or YouTuber will link to your website, and their audience is bound to show interest if they find what you say valuable.

  • Talk About Influencers

Influencers receive much flack for asking for free goods in exchange for exposure.

However, they can because of their audience. 

Try taking advantage of this by mentioning them in a relevant piece and then letting them know.

You might, for example, ask them their opinion on a topic or cite an example from their channel to illustrate a point.

They may then link to your page as validation for themselves.

WELL, that’s it for now!

I am trying a new format for content creation and would love any feedback you guys can provide below. 

Thanks!

Pablo Espinal

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