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A Copywriter's Guide To SEO

February 20, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 147

As a copywriter, you will see this term bandied about a lot - it means Search Engine Optimisation and in writing terms it means developing content that is picked up by Google and the rest of the search engines, which in turn drives that site up the rankings, ultimately to the Holy Grail of the 'First page on Google' - a term used with suitable reverence by marketing managers the world over.

I have worked in conjunction with many SEO experts over the years, they tell me what keywords to use, how often I should use them and where I should place them in the text. They have all claimed to know the ins and outs of SEO but every single one of them has told me something different. This is partly because search engines change criteria with alarming regularity but it is also because SEO experts all have a different interpretation of how it works.

So what do you do when someone comes to you as a copywriter asking for SEO copy?

You tell them this - copy is king and that good copy must be written with people in mind first and search engines second. Get this the wrong way around and you are in trouble.

Consider this example - a few years ago, I was approached by a client who was getting hundreds of hits a day on her website but converting very few of these to actual sales. She wanted to know if the web copy was the problem and if I could help. The client in question provided 'lifestyle management services' - this basically means running around after people to make their life easier by walking dogs, arranging appointments etc. A self-proclaimed 'SEO copywriter' had promised to get her site on the first page of Google for lifestyle management services, which he had achieved, but the copy he had provided her with was nothing short of awful. Here is an example.

We provide lifestyle management services for anybody looking for lifestyle management - come to us for lifestyle management because lifestyle management is what we do and we are very good at lifestyle management.

Obviously, the whole site was stuffed with the 'lifestyle management' keyword but the copy was terrible from a human perspective and anybody looking at it would immediately reach the conclusion that this company was unprofessional and untrustworthy and immediately went elsewhere.

In fact, the company had a very good reputation but the web copy really let it down. I rewrote the web copy to cater for the human reader, not the search engine - extolling the company's virtues through clear, concise and sales-oriented text. Within a few weeks, the client's website hits were down but her sales figures had shot up dramatically.

Of course keywords need to be used, but they need to be used in a relevant and structured way. Don't be sneaky either - for example by hiding keywords within the text so that people can't see it, but Google can. Google and the rest of the search engines caught on to this a long time ago and you are likely to suffer in search results if Google finds the text is trying to cheat the system. The example I use above wouldn't even work these days as search engines can now spot this sort of 'keyword stuffing' and will penalize the site's ranking accordingly

If customers ask me for SEO content I explain that I can create quality content for them based on relevant keywords, but I am a copywriter and not an SEO expert so make no guarantees on search engine placement.

I would advise any copywriter to do the same!

Find out more about copywriting at

Source: EzineArticles
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