Why is it important to have a good SEO copywriter
To understand, let’s take it back a stage or two. If you’re looking to purchase something, what is the first thing you do? You ‘google’. And yes, the Oxford English Dictionary does now list ‘google’ as a verb.
So if you’re selling anything at all online, you need to address the fact that you’re competing against other vendors when those potential purchasers do a google search for you. Some potential buyers like to scroll through all of the options that the search results throw up, but hardly anyone goes beyond the first page.
The key to online selling therefore, is very much to do with what you do to your site to make it ‘search engine friendly’. You must give it every possible chance of not only being found – getting an ‘impression’ – but showing up on page 1 for what you’d like to be found for.
This, in a nutshell, is what optimisation is all about. And, by implication, what the copywriting is all about too.
Why would you need an SEO copywriter?
Let’s go back to our last point. When people create accounts on Google AdWords, they’re engaging in an activity called ‘paid search’. When they get their site google or search engine-ready, it is called ‘organic search’, because the desired results – or lack of them – are determined by the algorithms within the search engines.
These algorithms are prone to constant change, often to counter people’s attempts to try and ‘game’ the system. Those who manage google and other search engines are only too keenly aware that for organic search to do just that, i.e. work organically, sites must contain content that is highly relevant to what they are selling.
And at the heart of all of that is, as we’ve said before, search terms – or ‘keywords’. If the web copy you have on your site is relevant while still incorporating desired keywords, it will stand a better chance of attaining a high ranking on Google.
The SEO copywriting balance
So, an SEO specialist writer produces original written content to help to bring websites high in the search rankings. In the early days of the internet, there was a fairly common perception that peppering the copy with keywords would bring results.
This was referred to as ‘keyword stuffing’ and is now frowned upon, with perpetrators of this activity liable to have their sites penalised with a drop down the rankings. The writer’s job is to generate content which is in line with the work of an optimisation specialist – who is regularly changing or adjusting the SEO strategy to suit regularly occurring online changes or developments.
The copywriter must be highly skilled in producing balanced copy that appeals to two important audiences – the search engines, and the site visitors, those who will read the copy.
What does an SEO copywriter do?
The SEO copywriter produces a wide variety of written content. Persuasive sales copy, blog posts, social media updates. And SEO-specific items such as meta titles (web page headings that are displayed in search results and include target keywords and company name), meta descriptions (including keywords while summarising the entire content on a page in a catchy and attractive way) and alt text (explaining images for search bots).
For their work to be most effective, copywriters must take a ‘whole site’ view of their work, crafting text specific to particular pages, as determined by the overall SEO strategy.
All of this written content must be relevant to the aims of the page – i.e. in line with the keywords for which the SEO specialist is looking to obtain high rankings. Keywords must be in header tags, page descriptions and sprinkled appropriately throughout the page copy.
In terms of the balance between audiences, the copy must also adopt a tone appropriate to what is being promoted and it must read easily and avoid becoming overly turgid or dense. In this respect, age-old copywriting wisdom still applies.
Vary sentence length, write in the active rather than the passive voice, grab attention, create desire and structure the writing towards a compelling call to action.
Striking a delicate balance
When you think about it, this makes eminent sense, for one simple reason. Your words have to appeal to human readers because you’re still selling. They used to say, in days of yore, that a copywriter was a salesman behind a typewriter.
The technology has changed massively, but the truth behind that description hasn’t changed at all. If a writer produces writing that’s difficult to read, it simply won’t be read. The real key to it is developing a thorough understanding of the human audience and what is going to push those buying ‘hot buttons’.
And as for Google? Try to imagine it as an organism, or creature that needs feeding. What is its favourite food? Authoritative content geared to solving particular problems or pain points consistent with what the page and website are actually about.
Copywriting art, or copywriting science?
Is SEO and the work of the SEO copywriter art or science? It’s a fair question because there can be no clear distinction between the two. How so? According to Google’s online dictionary, ‘science’ can be defined as: “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment”.
When you think about it, this reflects search optimisation activity very accurately.
When scientists develop a hypothesis, they do not look to prove it. They look to disprove it. Any kind of finding along these lines only becomes relevant when the scientific world cannot disprove it. In similar vein, the work of SEO specialists is a systematic and structured study of how search engines operate in ranking web pages.
Although they work within established systems and procedures, efficacious specialists recognise that the ground is always shifting and that nothing can be certain or proved.
The work is ongoing – and this has direct implications for the copywriter, who must continue to work that fine balance to remain secure upon that shifting ground. But is SEO copywriting also an art?
The same Google dictionary gives us this definition: “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, producing works appreciated for their emotional power.”
In this regard, search optimisation copywriting is like any other marketing copy, in that people are persuaded not through intellectual activity, but through emotional responses.
Thus, the work must, by definition be a blend of SEO science and creative art. This impression is emphasised further when we consider the primary challenge of the writer, which is to incorporate all of the technical keyword-based requirements of the content and still produce copy that sounds and reads naturally.
How to choose your writer
The SEO copywriter is a highly skilled specialist. They must supply copy that is optimised to help pages and sites climb higher in the search rankings, while still engaging, informing and persuading site visitors to take particular actions. This work, in turn, serves to not only attract web traffic to the site, but also to drive conversions.
So choose your writer carefully and well – because they have a key part to play in your overall success in getting your website to page 1- and then to number 1 on page 1 on Google and other searches.
When selecting your copywriter, you need to ask yourself: can they demonstrate a sound grasp of the principles and practices of SEO? Are they flexible and adaptable to any changes that may be required?
And perhaps most importantly – do they have the general copywriting skills to write well and persuasively for my target audience.
Get all that covered, and you’ll very likely have an expert copywriting partner to bring you and your business ongoing online success.