Copywriting isn’t just about writing ads these days. When we are writing copy for websites and blogs, it goes beyond selling stuff, although, I must admit that selling stuff is one of the most important functions of copywriting.
As a copywriter writing for websites and blogs, you need to pay close attention to the SEO aspect of writing. Of late I have been repeatedly stressing that you shouldn’t allow your SEO to dominate your writing, but it doesn’t mean you completely ignore it. There is a complete branch called SEO copywriting.
Is there even a separate field called SEO copywriting? It depends. There are many writers on the web who call themselves SEO copywriters but mostly it’s about striking a balance between writing compelling copy and writing in a manner that improves the website’s search engine rankings.
On day-to-day basis, there are very few clients who understand the difference between a content writer and copywriter. When you are writing for a business website, for example for a homepage or for services page, you’re not writing content, you are writing copy, copy that is intended to “sell”. Clients want that from you. Whenever you are writing to sell and not just to inform and educate, you’re being a copywriter and not a content writer.
At the same time they also give you a list of keywords you need to optimize the content for. Therefore, you’re not merely selling through your writing, you are also incorporating keywords to improve search engine rankings. Whether it actually improves your rankings or not is another issue, but this is what you call SEO copywriting.
Why do I say there is an inalienable relationship between copywriting & SEO?
Because the line is blurred. The content writer is also a copywriter when writing for the main website and since as a content writer one of your primary jobs is to improve search engine rankings, even as a copywriter you are trying to achieve the same.
Of course, this is difficult to explain to the clients and personally I feel even if they can make a difference, they won’t accept it because a copywriter charges more than a content writer. A different topic for a different day.
The importance of SEO copywriting in search engine marketing.
Search engine marketing or SEM involves improving your organic search engine rankings and search engine advertising through PPC campaigns or other engagements.
The importance of SEO copywriting rests in the fact that it improves the quality of your SEM strategy from multiple angles.
Many businesses use a combination of organic SEO and paid search engine placements.
I have observed that if you initially pay Google for placements, even your organic search engine rankings begin to appear faster in the search results.
Hence, it is better that if you have just started publishing quality content and Google hasn’t yet started crawling and indexing your content on regular basis, you can gain quick visibility through running up few PPC campaigns.
How does SEO copywriting help you in SEM? Why is it important?
As mentioned above, how you define search engine marketing depends on your strategy.
You may want to completely depend on improving your organic search engine rankings.
You may not want to spend a lot of money and effort on high quality content, but you quickly want to increase your search engine visibility and you’re ready to pay for every click that you get.
Normally this happens when people are not aware of the benefits of improving their organic search engine rankings through strategic SEO copywriting and instead, they want to go for a quick fix.
Paid advertising is costly. You are paying for every click.
The search engine users know that since you cannot improve your rankings naturally, you are paying to increase your visibility.
Hence, trust factor is lower compared to organic SEO.
I’m not saying that you should refrain from paid search engine marketing altogether.
In fact, you can make strategic use of it.
But you shouldn’t make it into a major search engine marketing strategy.
The ultimate goal is to improve your SEO organically, and this is where SEO copywriting can help you.
Below I am listing a few reasons why SEO copywriting is important for your search engine marketing strategy whether you want to pay for your visibility you want to improve your SEO organically.
SEO copywriting reduces your PPC costs
When you pay Google for your search engine placements, you have a PPC arrangement.
There are also other modes of advertising, but this is the most prevalent one.
You pay for every click.
Your listing appears in the “sponsored” section.
Google declares it openly that you are paying for the placement and your content is not appearing in the search results because of its inherent quality and relevance.
This happens with every search engine. I’m using the name of Google because it is one of the most used search engines in the world with more than 97% market share.
So how does effective SEO copywriting reduce your PPC costs?
In two ways:
Through actual reduction in the amount of money you pay per click.
Through improving your ROI – you generate more business per click.
It is in Google’s interest that more people click your sponsored link because you are paying for every click.
But then, after a while, it will be counter-productive because paying for every click will prove to be so expensive that you may have to deactivate your campaign for a while.
Google doesn’t want to kill the goose that lays golden eggs.
Hence, it rewards you by reducing your PPC rate if your placement generates more clicks.
The amount of money that you pay is inversely proportional to the number of clicks you can generate.
Through efficient copywriting, you can make more people click your paid placements and as a result, end up paying less to Google.
Suppose, initially you pay $ 0.5 per click for your current placement.
The copy of your ad is really good and it encourages more people to click your advertisement.
After a while, Google begins to charge you $ 0.45 per click for the same position.
This way, Google will go on decreasing your PPC if more people click your ad.
This is one way copywriting brings down your search engine marketing costs if you are paying for your placements.
The other way is by increasing your ROI.
In a PPC campaign, you use aMr landing page.
If you get 100 clicks from Google, you expect to make at least 5 sales.
If your SEO copywriting is not convincing, you may make 2-3 sales per 100 clicks, or even less.
If your copywriting is convincing, you may make even 10 sales per 100 clicks.
Hence, the success of your PPC campaigns depends on how convincing and well written the copy on your landing page is.
SEO copywriting organically improves your rankings for your main keywords
You need to resort to paid advertising on Google because you don’t have good organic search engine rankings for your main keywords.
If your links naturally appear in the SERPs, then there is no need for you to pay for the placements.
Just imagine – if you go for paid placements, you are paying for every click.
Referring to the above example, if you are paying $ 0.5 per click, for 100 clicks, you will be paying $ 50. For 1000 clicks, you will be paying $ 500. And so on.
But what happens if you organically improve your search engine rankings?
People can find your links among the top results and when they click your links, you don’t pay for those clicks.
Hence, whether you get 100 clicks or 10,000 clicks, your cost doesn’t increase.
In fact, it is free traffic.
Can you easily increase your rankings for your primary keywords?
Not if you have great competition.
For example, if I want to improve my search engine rankings for “SEO copywriting services”, it may be very difficult because top content writing and copywriting services are already ranking quite high compared to my website.
So, what do I do?
This brings us to the next topic…
SEO copywriting organically improves your rankings for longtail and related keywords
While you continue with your effort of improving your rankings for primary keywords, you should first focus on improving your rankings for longtail and related keywords.
Hence, instead of aiming for “SEO copywriting services”, I may aim for “The top 10 benefits of SEO copywriting”.
If you’re running a real estate business in Mumbai, instead of trying to just improve your rankings for “real estate business in Mumbai” you can write content around “Why it makes sense to work with a local real estate business in Mumbai”.
Longtail keywords may not directly bring your business, but they increase your visibility and then this visibility brings you business.
If you publish informative content covering your longtail keywords, other websites and blogs have a reason to link to your website or share your link on their social media timelines.
This brings you the much needed visibility.
When people link back to you, it also improve your search engine rankings for your primary keywords.
Effective SEO copywriting brings down your bounce rate
Your bounce rate has a direct impact on your search engine rankings.
Your bounce rate tells Google whether you have valuable content on your website or not.
If people immediately leave your website after finding your content in search results, it tells Google that people are unable to find what they’re looking for, for the keyword they are using and finding your content.
Here is a small video that explains the relationship between your bounce rate and search engine rankings:
Hence, your content begins to lose its current rankings for the keyword.
Again, I will give my own example.
If someone searches for “best SEO copywriting services in my area” and comes to my website and within a few seconds goes back to Google to carry on the same search, Google downgrades my current rankings for the search term “best SEO copywriting services in my area” because it assumes that my website doesn’t have relevant information for the topic.
On the other hand, for the same search term when someone finds my link and goes to my website and spends some time going through my web page and even explores other webpages for a few minutes, it tells Google that my website has relevant information and consequently, it upgrades my rankings for the same search term.
This is how your bounce rate affects your current search engine rankings.
Relevant SEO copywriting gets you more backlinks
Getting authoritative backlinks is an inalienable part of your SEM.
What is the difference between website content writing and copywriting?
There is always some confusion about what is website content writing and what is copywriting.
This confusion is not there in the non-Internet world.
You know that a person who writes for newspapers and magazines is a journalist or a writer.
A person who writes ad copies is a copywriter.
A person who writes books is a novelist or an author.
The distinctions are clear.
But when it comes to writing for websites, there is a confusion about website content writing and copywriting.
This confusion is normally among the clients who are either unaware of the difference or don’t want to pay for copywriting but want to use the services of a copywriter.
Website content writers and copywriters come with different skills.
As a website content writer, you are mostly writing information.
A website content writer writes blog posts, SEO articles, social media updates and web page content.
A copywriter writes marketing copy or sales copy.
These are different writing styles.
I have different rates for website content writing and copywriting: I charge more for copywriting.
Copywriting, or rather online copywriting, is marketing and sales related, whereas, content writing helps you build your brand.
Can one work without the other?
I can’t deny. People have built entire businesses upon the fundamental base of good content, without resorting to copywriting.
In simple terms, website content writing gives you brand presence and online copywriting does the selling for you.
The job of a website content writer is to bring people to your website. The job of an online copywriter is to make those people buy from you.
Of course, a single writer can achieve both the tasks, just like I do.
When I’m writing for a blog or a press release or a social networking update, I am writing as a content writer.
When I’m writing copy for a landing page or homepage or even one of the main pages of a business website, or an email campaign, I’m writing as a copywriter.
Why I charge more for my copywriting services
I should begin explaining this by saying that I charge less for my content writing services.
The reality of the world is, you don’t mind paying less, but you certainly mind paying more.
It’s easier to be a content writer (compared to being a copywriter).
When someone hires you for your content writing services, he or she does not expect you to increase his or her sales.
At the most, he or she wants you to improve SEO and provide writing that is free of spelling and grammar mistakes.
If the writing is interesting, contains a personality and a stylish, well, it is icing on the cake, but, as long as the writing is good and covers all the topics (the keywords), the icing isn’t as important.
Copywriting comes with the cake, with the icing, and with everything else that must make the cake completely delicious.
No scope for compromise.
The stakes are higher when you are writing copy and the stakes are higher when you are hiring someone as your copywriter.
Your business depends on this type of writing.
If the copy is not effective, if it is not convincing, if it is not informative, if it is not compelling, people are not going to buy from you.
No matter how much traffic you are getting from search engines, if the traffic does not convert, it is of no use.
Hence, copywriting can make or break your business.
Content writing on the other hand, definitely makes your business, but the chance of it breaking your business is less and even if it causes some sort of harm, you can easily and quickly recover.
But writing is writing, you may say.
Yes, I agree.
I maintain a certain level of quality whether I’m writing content or writing copy.
I don’t cut corners just because I expect to be paid more for one type of writing and less for another.
The quality and the style is more or less the same.
I charge for copywriting more because people are ready to pay more for copywriting because it is crucial for the business.
Everybody with an ability to write straight sentences can be a content writer.
But, only a highly skilled and expert writer can be a copywriter.
Copywriting is sales oriented. It is often used in advertising and wherever your writing needs to sell.
For example, on a landing page you require the services of a copywriter.
When you broadcast an email marketing campaign, you get it written by a copywriter.
Even the main webpages of your website including the homepage, the services page, the company profile page, all these pages are written by a copywriter, ideally, but most of the people get them written by a content writer.
It is written to feed the search engines quality content so that the search engines rank your content well and consequently, send organic traffic your way.
Copywriting converts the traffic generated by content writing into leads and sales.
The language is different. In content writing the language is more laid-back. It informs, engages and entertains.
Copywriting convinces you to buy. It lays bare the greatest benefits of the product or the service the piece of copywriting is promoting in a highly convincing manner.
It generates a sense of urgency – as if you’re going to lose big time if you don’t purchase there and then.
Content writing on the other hand doesn’t generate a sense of urgency. It simply informs you.
For example, if I’m writing a review of a gadget, I’m not necessarily selling you that gadget. I’m just telling you about the features that it has and the features that it doesn’t have. Then I leave it up to you whether you want to buy that gadget or not.
In the process, I’m generating traffic for the website. People who are interested in that gadget may land on my website and in case they need to buy it, they may buy it from my website.
Copywriting tells me to buy it. Just like content writing, it also informs me about the best features, but it conveniently either ignores the bad features or portrays them as something of an advantage.
Is there a thing called “SEO copywriting”?
As I said above, whether you want to call a particular piece of writing “SEO copywriting” or “SEO content writing” depends on who is writing and how you want to view your writing.
From the perspective of an average client, it’s a bit difficult to differentiate between SEO copywriting and SEO content writing. An average client wants your writing to generate more business whether you are a copywriter or a content writer.
Some clients are aware of the difference. Recently I wanted to know how my content writing services are helping one of my clients for whom I have been writing blog posts for a few months now.
He wrote that right now he isn’t concerned about immediate gains. He understands, he said, the competition is very tough in his field and it will take a lot of time before his website experiences some major change in search engine traffic.
He doesn’t expect my writing to get him more customers. He wants my writing to improve his exposure for the related keywords on Google.
Coming back to the highlighted question: is there a thing called SEO copywriting?
There are many people who call themselves “SEO copywriters”. Many believe whenever you are writing for a website or a blog, the sole purpose of your writing is promoting a cause.
Hence, when you are promoting a cause, you are copywriting.
In that sense, even when you’re writing content, you are copywriting.
Even when you are writing for a blog, ultimately, you are canvassing for a business or an idea.
Referring to the above gadget reviews example. I’m actually writing gadget reviews for a client who sells on his website as an Amazon affiliate.
When people come to his website to read reviews, he expects them to click the links and then buy from Amazon, earning him commission in the process.
When I’m writing his reviews, I’m conscious of that. I know that people are supposed to purchase after reading the reviews.
Even when I’m writing seemingly impartial reviews, the reviews are written in such a manner that if people want to buy that gadget, the review is not going to deter them or discourage them in any manner.
When you’re writing for your business blog, aside from the fact that you are informing and educating your prospective customers and clients, you are also constantly representing your business – you are writing on behalf of your business.
For example, when I’m writing for my own Credible Content Blog, I’m also promoting my content writing and copywriting services.
This happens subtly, but it definitely happens.
Consequently, many writers, even writers of repute on the Internet, insist that every good content writer is fundamentally a copywriter.
Which brings us to the conclusion that there IS a concept called SEO copywriting.
Do people search for “SEO copywriting” and “SEO copywriter”?
Here is the Google trends graph. The blue information is SEO copywriting and the red information is SEO content writing. This data is for United States. You can see that more people search for “SEO copywriting”.
Google trends comparing SEO copywriting and SEO content writing
The case is slightly different for the terms “SEO copywriter” and “SEO content writer”. Slightly more people in the US search for SEO content writer compared to SEO copywriter.
Google trends comparing SEO copywriter and SEO content writer
As I have explained above, when it comes to writing for the web, these terms are interchanged, and this is where there is confusion.
In the traditional sense, there is no confusion as people know who a copywriter is and who is a content writer, but when it comes to writing web content, these terms are often mixed up.
What exactly are people searching for when they’re searching for “SEO copywriter”?
If people get mixed up between SEO copywriting and SEO content writing and don’t know the difference, how do you find the searcher’s intent, especially as a writer?
For example, if I want to target someone looking for an SEO copywriter, how do I know if the person is actually looking for a copywriter to write marketing material or content writer simply to improve his or her search engine rankings? Because, I know the traditional definition of copywriting.
Is the intent of the person to find
Someone who can write blog posts?
Someone who can write web page copy?
Someone who can write a sales pitch for a landing page?
Someone who can write information articles?
Since there might be thousands of people looking for an SEO copywriter, as a content writer who is constantly coming across clients who have a blurred notion of what is the difference between the two, I need to optimize my website for both the terms: “SEO copywriter” and “SEO content writer”, even if personally, I know there isn’t much difference.
When is the right time to hire an SEO copywriter or someone who can provide SEO copywriting?
Frankly, any time you want to improve your SEO. Search engine optimization is the central topic here.
Ever since Google aggressively started updating its ranking algorithm, it has been focusing on featuring high-quality content that is written to inform and educate people rather than simply to improve search engine rankings.
The process of improving SEO is longwinded. How much time it takes you to improve your organic SEO depends on your competition (other things taken care of).
The right time to hire an SEO copywriter is
When you need high-quality content to improve your conversion rate and engagement levels.
When you want to publish high-quality content regularly.
When you want to publish content that is search engine friendly, optimized for your keywords, but at the same time, reader friendly.
When you are looking for a copywriter or a content writer who can write great content based on searcher’s intent.
You can use an SEO copywriter to get written
SEO friendly blog posts.
Services pages that are optimized for search engine rankings.
PPC landing pages.
Authoritative blog posts and articles to be published on websites like LinkedIn and Medium.
The basic idea is striking the perfect balance between good quality and SEO. Whether you hire an SEO copywriter or an SEO content writer, ultimately, it all rests on how much exposure and consequently, how much business the writing can generate.
For the time being, for an average client, there isn’t much difference between SEO copywriting and SEO content writing. Both are great forms of writing as long as they convince and convert.
There are many writers who cannot/do not draw a distinction between copywriting and content writing. Originally the word “copywriting” comes from advertising whereas, content writing, as far as I know, is a more recent terminology mostly used for creating online content. Although I might be wrong because even for newspapers, magazines and even course books, what you do is write content. Anyway, about copywriting.
Copywriting is basically content written to promote a product, a service or an idea. Copywriting can be done for a website, for a radio advertisement, for a print publication advertisement and for television. In copywriting you have to come up with highly engaging, entertaining and contextual content whose primary purpose is to increase sales or promote an idea. Writing blogs and information articles cannot be called copywriting, but it surely is content writing. Even on your website whatever content you publish that prompts your visitors to do business with you is copywriting, including your sales copy.
The thought came to my mind that although I’m writing content for various business websites, I never draw a distinction between a home page, the primary pages and information pages, although I charge more for the homepage and the primary pages (product descriptions, services, profile, about us etc.). A big reason perhaps is that the client is not bothered about what I call it. He or she simply wants text that helps him or her sell more. But if the client really wants to appreciate the criticality of the content he or she is publishing on his or her website, then he or she must understand the fundamental difference between content writing and copywriting.
Copywriting is about selling
As I mentioned above, the primary purpose of copywriting is to sell/promote a product, a service or an idea. It can exist in the form of a story that eventually leads its audience to the final goal – purchase of a product or a service or an endorsement of an idea. If you simply produce text then it is called sales copy and when you write it for audiovisual advertisements you call it a script. Since copywriting helps businesses sell, some copywriters can ask exorbitant amounts of money for coming up with even a couple of paragraphs. Copywriting does the job of educating the audience and selling the idea at the same time, although selling the idea is of utmost importance.
Content writing is about informing
From the perspective of websites, content writing paves way for a more effective copywriting, or vice versa. You first inform your audience with content writing, and then you sell your product or service with effective and compelling copywriting.
So which is important, copywriting or content writing?
Going by the amount of money charged by copywriters, I would say copywriting is much more important compared to content writing, but this doesn’t mitigate the role of content writing. If your audience is not informed it is all the more difficult for your copywriting to work.
Am I a copywriter or a content writer?
I can wear both the hats, I mean that’s why I’ve been writing sales copies and I always write the homepage when I take on a content writing assignment. On the homepage the primary purpose of your content is to engage the visitors, inform them as concisely as possible, and get them hooked to your website. The text must be informative as well as entertaining. It must be created keeping in mind the core audience (techy, geeky, spendthrift, miserly, etc.). It must be able to convince. I manage to achieve that.