Copywriting For Search Engines

Traditional Copywriting Versus Writing Copy For SEO – What’s The Difference?

This is a question which comes up pretty frequently when collaborating with print designers and brand managers on new multi-media projects and ad campaigns.

Firstly, from a quality of work perspective, there’s absolutely no doubt that a good copywriter will get the job done. Working to a brief to communicate a product or service in the best possible light, connecting with the target audience by conveying trust, while focusing their efforts in the right place at the right time is the name of the game. Tick these boxes – perhaps even add in a dash of humour and style for good measure – and the copywriter will have the marketing department singing their praises, and maybe even popping the bubbly. Rightly so.

So why do search and content professionals insist that it is they who should be entrusted with the task of writing content for web sites? The answer can be broken down into three points.

SEO Copywriters:

  • Know how to write
  • Know what to write
  • Know where to write

SEO Copywriters Know How To Write

To start at the beginning, SEO copywriters must be able to fulfil at least the basic requirements of content writing; that is they must be able to write compelling, engaging and effective copy capable of attracting and holding the reader’s attention. This is in essence the same job as the ‘normal’ copywriter as outlined above.

SEO Copywriters Know Exactly What To Write

Importantly, a search content writer will know how to ‘build in’ the appropriate targeted keywords and phrases to a piece of copy in order that it becomes appealing to search engines. This process involves an understanding of the uses of text formatting, keyword frequency and link anchor text to name a few points for consideration. Of further importance is that search copywriters know how to write copy in such a way so as to not be penalised by search engines, for example by duplicating content, ‘keyword stuffing’ or misleading users with SPAM content and links.

SEO Copywriters Know Where To Write It

It’s all very well knowing how to write an article, advertisement or piece of editorial copy and knowing what ‘search rich’ content to include within it, but much of it would be ineffective without the knowledge of how to announce its existence to search engines. A good SEO copywriter should not only be able to create engaging, keyword-rich content but should have a working understanding of how that content is perceived by web crawlers (or ‘bots’) in order that it be picked up (‘crawled’) and submitted to the search engine’s index of results.

To do this they should understand how to interact with search engines such as Google through their user interfaces, for example Google Webmaster Tools and Analytics – as well as have at least an understanding of how elements of programming code can affect SEO work. So, if you’re looking to employ a copywriter to produce web-based content it’s certainly worth considering these points also.

Why Not Use Both?

There is an argument which suggests that ‘traditional’ copywriters and SEO copywriters can be used alongside one another in order to get the best of both worlds – for example, perhaps where a pre-existing relationship occurs between a client and copywriter, but neither have any understanding of writing for the web. This is certainly something that we have found on occasion and it has worked without problem, though the costs incurred can sometimes be a little higher due to the need for two staff, rather than one.