If your definition of SEO copywriting exists circa 2014 before Google’s Pigeon update, then you need to read on…because the game has changed. Yes, on-page SEO, keywords and backlinks still matter, but not in the same way that they once did. Essentially, SEO copywriting is simply good copywriting.
It’s the art of writing content that informs, influences and persuades people first and foremost, while exercising SEO best practices within Google’s guidelines to maximise search engine rankings.
For an example of the benefits of SEO copywriting, take a look at our recent SEO case study.
What Does Good SEO Writing Look Like?
The first tell-tale sign of a good piece of optimized content is in how you found it. Did you find it on page 1 of your search results, or did you have to click through to page 6? On the surface, good search engine copy should have a persuasive meta description to encourage you to click through, the content should be well-written and informative and contain anchor text links to internal and external web pages.
There are of course, other elements to look out for, many of which are performed in the website’s CMS, however, for a detailed list, check out our post 61 Copywriting Tips, Techniques, Strategies and Secrets.
What Does an SEO Copywriter Do?
Much like a traditional copywriter (of which there are various types), an SEO writer writes high quality content that readers connect with. They carry out necessary research, they apply copywriting formulas to maximise conversions and they speak to the reader in a specific tone of voice, using carefully chosen language.
They then optimize their copy so that it gets found in search engines. This involves implementing a number of techniques, which can include (but isn’t restricted to):
- Keyword placement
- Writing meta information
- Creating internal links
- Implementing page structure
- Optimizing images
It’s the practice of implementing these techniques that maximise the opportunity for content to rank well in Google, but it’s certainly not the be all and end all.
What to Look for in a Good SEO Copywriter?
A good SEO writer will be knowledgeable but won’t hide behind jargon and technical language. Given that it’s their job to communicate to people before search engines, they should be able to explain their processes and strategy to you clearly and in simple terms.
They should have a proven track record in producing SEO copy and be able to provide you with measurable results from working with previous clients. Even if the copywriter is relatively new to the game, they should still have some samples to show.
And if an writer makes any guarantees of getting you to position 1 in Google, avoid them altogether. No-one can 100% guarantee a top Google position and anyone who does may be intent on using outdated black-hat SEO copywriting techniques that will only get your website penalised.
What Types of Content do SEO writers Produce?
SEO copywriting can be applied to any text-based content on the web. Although there’s less demand for it in some types of content, you’ll typically find an SEO copywriter writing:
- Web pages
- Blog posts
- News Articles
- Sales pages
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads
- Press releases (to a lesser extent)
- Public Newsletters (to a lesser extent)
Is SEO Writing Effective?
Yes it is. I’ve had some fantastic results applying SEO copywriting techniques to my client’s website copy and blog posts. However, every website is different and the effect that optimized writing can have on your search rankings depends on various factors, including:
- How old or new your website is
- How regularly you currently publish new content on your website
- How well your website is designed
- Whether or not there are technical SEO issues that need resolved first
- What niche or industry your company operates in
- How much time and money you are willing to invest in SEO writing
Who Can Benefit from SEO Writing?
Basically, any person or company with a website that wants to take advantage of free organic traffic from Google will benefit from the services of an SEO copywriter. Unlike other forms of paid digital advertising, good SEO-focused copy continues to attract traffic to a website long after the content has been published. It’s therefore, a great long-term marketing strategy for businesses.
In fact, research published by EConsultancy confirms that organic search accounts for 94% of total search clicks. And considering that the number 1 position in Google gets 33% of search traffic, it pays to have well-optimized copy.
How Much Does SEO Copywriting Cost?
Like any type of online writing services, cost can vary greatly. If you’re looking for cheap SEO writing, you’ll no doubt find it in content mills but will it get you the results you want?
An experienced SEO copywriter with a proven track record will of course charge more but the chances of their copy increasing your traffic are far more likely.
Good SEO copywriters have a very valuable skill that can offer a significant return on investment. It’s therefore important to consider the value that the copywriter will bring to the business.
All this being said, search engine writing can range from $30 – $300 dollars per hour – it all depends on the experience of the copywriter and what the client hopes to achieve.
What Tools Are Required For SEO Copywriting?
There are various free and paid tools out there that can be used for SEO writing. On a basic level, most copywriters will use the following free tools:
Google Search Console (Formerly Webmaster Tools)
Keyword density checkers (a controversial subject but relevant nonetheless)
Google Keyword Planner
And one, or any combination of the following paid tools:
Screaming Frog SEO Spider
So, there you have it, a full explanation that hopefully answers the question ‘what is SEO copywriting?’ Anything else you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments section below…
You might also be interested in our post What is a Copywriter and What do They do?