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Copywriting as a Peripheral to SEO

Stephen Logan

by Stephen Logan on 19th June 2009

Copywriting is a vital part of the overall SEO process, there can be little doubting that. However, it isn’t necessarily a part of SEO itself per se.

Take, for example, a football journalist. It’s their job to read the game, understand what is happening on and off the pitch and formulate a report as an end product; but that doesn’t make them a footballer. Copywriting, particularly when done online, is exactly the same.

Whilst many Copywriters, often including myself, add the preposition ‘SEO’, it is more often the case that we are simply reporting upon search engine optimisation, rather than actively engaging in it. Within my role as a Copywriter with Koozai, the bulk of my knowledge comes from what I’ve learnt previously, reading the latest industry news and interacting with the professionals I work alongside; not through practical experience. My core skill is writing, not SEO.

For me, to actually perform SEO is to update Meta, improve links and define negative keywords amongst other things. Having top quality copy is essential for any website, it’ll boost SEO and engage with visitors; but optimisation should always remain a bi-product, something that happens organically not as a prerequisite.

The primary goal for any writer, regardless of what media they work in, is the end result. Traditional journalism styles don’t always translate to the world of website copy, just as a copywriter’s won’t necessarily work in print. Whilst the core skill, writing, remains the same, the method changes.

Creating copy for the Internet requires a certain immediacy. If you fail to capture the attention of a newspaper reader, they’re unlikely to go off and buy another paper to see if it has a better report on the same story. However, online, where there are search engines, navigation buttons and billions of pages worth of free information, the need to instantaneously capture a visitor’s attention is far greater.

As highlighted in my recent post ‘Is SEO Copywriting Relevant Anymore?’, it’s questionable whether anybody, unless otherwise engaged in more hands-on search engine marketing, can truly claim to be an SEO copywriter today. Black hat techniques of spamming web pages with keywords so dense that the copy becomes almost unreadable have long since died a death, thank goodness too. The best quality copy on the Internet today is orientated far more towards readability and informing than it is overt optimisation.

So does that make copywriting redundant? Well I certainly hope not! Whilst it doesn’t perhaps have the same integration with SEO as it may have done in the past, copywriting is, and will remain, an essential part of producing a quality website. It is for this reason that so many SEO companies, including Koozai, continue to offer copywriting services to clients as part of a wider Search Marketing strategy as well as maintaining highest standards in content.

Stephen Logan

Stephen Logan

Stephen Logan is our Senior Content Marketer at Koozai. With four years experience writing exclusively for the search engine marketing industry, he has amassed a wealth of industry related knowledge. He will be breaking news stories and contributing compelling SEO related stories.

1 Comment

  • James Gurd 24th June 2009

    Hi Stephen
    I really like this article, it challenges my thinking about SEO and copy. I think I agree with your point that copy writing should serve a different purpose to SEO, though it can complement and where possible should support SEO.
    If copy is optimised for search and not for the user, you might get good indexing from the search engines but you are likely to get a high bounce rate on that page as users find the information dull. The longer this happens, the lower the relevance the search engines will associate with your page anyway. For a website owner, engagement is as important as search engine visibility.
    I guess there has to be a compromise; use a talented copywriter to produce the most relevant and inspiring copy, then get an SEO expert to tweak to optimise for the most relevant keywords. Great copy has high value but if nobody can find it, well it is irrelevant.
    Thanks for the thoughts on this.
    james

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