For all the companies that are looking for “SEO copywriters,” you’d think it’s a super-specialized field. But the truth is, any copywriter worth their fees is an SEO copywriter—and most people looking for SEO copywriters have no idea what they’re actually asking for.
Despite all of the show about differentiating it from “regular copywriting,” what separates SEO copywriting is…very little. So little, in fact, that it may be a tell that companies who are asking for “SEO copywriters” don’t really know what they’re asking for.
What is SEO?
Let’s back up a little bit. Search engine optimization (SEO) is improving a website so that it’s more visible when people search on sites like Google or Bing.
When you run a search, the search engine goes out into the internet, looks for pages that are relevant to the keywords you used in your search and serves up the best ones for you on the search results page.
Right now, the criteria, the algorithms, that the search engines use to determine how good these results are very sophisticated. So sophisticated, in fact, that no one outside of the search engine companies themselves, really understands how they work. But back when search engines were first being used, their criteria wasn’t quite as sophisticated.
One of the major criteria (again, quite a while ago) was how many times a keyword and/or words similar to it were used on a page. As you can imagine, what that meant was that people tried to game the system by cramming in keywords into sentences as many times as they could. Think: “When it comes to optimizing for keywords and words that are important to searches, people would put as many keywords and important words in sentences so that keywords would be prevalent throughout a page and search engines looking for these keywords would find the keywords many times.”
But now, search engines are much savvier than that. (In fact, packing in keywords like that can even cause a search engine to penalize a site.) The trick to SEO nowadays? There is no trick—you can’t game the system. Search engines are looking for pages that are relevant to searches and useful to the searcher.
What is SEO Copywriting?
Aside from a few webmaster tasks like adding meta tags (which aren’t your responsibility, but it doesn’t hurt to do a little search so you understand them), the best thing you can do as a copywriter is to make your copy beneficial to the reader. Which is…yeah, what copywriting is all about anyway.
So the truth about SEO copywriting…is that there’s no such thing as SEO copywriting.
Now, this is not to say that you shouldn’t pay attention to keywords; you should use them in a natural way throughout your copy. If you’re writing a web page about how a company delivers digital backup services for data, you should naturally be using words like “digital backup”, “backup services” and “data backup” in your copy. You can also pop over to Google’s keyword tool (just Google “Google keyword tool”) and you can also get suggestions for other keywords that are similar and might be worth including in your copy.
But the key to being an “SEO copywriter” today? Be a good copywriter. Write about the benefits to consumer and use words that the consumer would use. It certainly won’t hurt you to do a search and watch a few videos about how webmasters can use HTML to help search engines find a page, but the truth about being an “SEO copywriter” is simple. Be a good copywriter, use your skills, and you’re automatically an SEO copywriter.
What to Ask Prospective Clients About SEO Copywriter Positions
Now, just because you know that there is little difference between an SEO copywriter and a copywriter, doesn’t mean your clients know the difference.
So, you’re likely to see job postings for SEO copywriters. Most of these will not be clear about what the client is looking for (truth be told, the client may not be clear what they’re looking for). You may see bullets like “works keywords into key areas of content.” Great! Any copywriter will know how to take keywords and naturally work them into the writing.
First, if you have training as a copywriter, you can (and should!) absolutely apply to any job postings for SEO copywriters that you find intriguing. (Of course, do not use the easy apply button! Make your application stand out by showing you already know about the company and have ideas with how you can benefit their organization from day 1.)
But second, you need to ask your prospective client key questions that will help you determine if it’s a job you want to do. For example, you can ask:
- Is there a strategy team who is conducting keyword research or is that an expectation of this role?
- Is there a development team working on the more tech-based elements of SEO, such as site speed and mobile usability, or is that part of this role?
- What are your expectations for this role when it comes to the SEO component?
You want to make sure that you know what the role entails. If you have training and know how to conduct keyword research, maybe you decide it’s still a role you want to move forward with.
However, if you have no interest in doing keyword research or diving in to the more tech-y elements of SEO, that’s absolutely OK! We got into copywriting to write. There are plenty of companies who need and want an expert copywriter. Many companies are simply posting their wish-list job description to see what they’ll get.
Watch More: Factors That Impact SEO
Search engine optimization is an entire career on its own. There are so many factors that go into search engines ranking a page higher that have nothing to do with copywriting! These include, but aren’t limited to:
- Site speed
- Mobile usability
- Meta tags
- Domain age
- Schema markup
Watch for more!
Your turn! Have you done any “SEO copywriting” in your career? What have your clients expected? Let us know in the comments below!
Last Updated on October 17, 2022
I think you are absolutely right here! My last article argued even the concept of an “seo copywriter!” You’ve been honest and this will not be quite the “dirty little secret” it was! Thanks and great work! Visit me anytime 🙂
I agree—there aren’t “SEO copywriters,” just good copywriters! Thanks for posting!
Nicki & the Filthy Rich Writer team
I agree! If a writer is thinking about the benefits to the consumer while writing, SEO will follow naturally. Why? Because you can’t delve deeply into what the benefits to the consumer without understanding who they are and what makes them tick, and part of that includes thinking about the way they search online. It’s a holistic process.
The Filthy Rich Writer Team says
Absolutely! You are spot on.