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by Stephen Logan on 6th April 2011
Let’s get all the cards on the table from the off. I’m a Copywriter, a Senior Copywriter in fact. I work for an SEO Agency (that offers Copywriting services). I’m a great believer in the power of content to engage audiences, add value to a site and aid optimisation. In short, I may have a little bias when it comes to this particular subject matter.
However, even when taking this distinct lack of objectivity into account, the argument for offering copywriting services alongside SEO is a compelling one.
Let’s take a look at the evidence.
Without wading into a right royal cliché, content is rather important when it comes to achieving search engine rankings. Greedy search engine spiders gobble up words in an endless pursuit for context. It’s your job to make sure that they leave your site well fed.
Failing to feed the spiders, or giving them the same old stuff time and time again (duplicate content) is a dangerous game to play. When they report back to the main algorithm, these little crawlers can be as ruthless as restaurant critics.
“Site A was difficult to access and had nothing original to offer; I won’t be coming back anytime soon – 1 star” - Translation: Page four on Google for an irrelevant term.
“Site B offered some fantastic treats, it had a clear theme, an exceptional menu and would appeal to a clear target audience – 4 stars” – Translation: Top five for your primary keyword, still room for improvement though.
A Copywriter is like your master chef. They know what the spiders want and have the skill to deliver it.
But as with any restaurant, it’s not just about getting good publicity. You have to be able to deliver for your customers too. Your content needs to be of a high standard, with everything clearly labelled and it should resonate with visitors. Essentially, you are looking to compel consumers to consume. Convert that publicity into sales.
This is where Copywriters and SEOs need to work together.
Gastronomic references aside, I don’t think it would be an exaggeration (in my opinion) to suggest that Search Engine Optimisation simply couldn’t exist (certainly in its current form) without content. So how can you offer SEO without Copywriting? Surely that’s just link building by another name.
Okay, so some would suggest that the client is responsible for producing the on page copy (they are the experts after all) or that it’s cheaper to outsource to a freelancer. But this attitude is archaic to the point of redundancy.
A client shouldn’t be expected to have the skill to create engaging content, certainly not on a large scale. If they have the in-house team to do this, that’s great, ideal in fact, but you shouldn’t be reliant on this.
Equally, if you’re just outsourcing the work to all and sundry, you’re offering no value whatsoever. This is on-page content, it deserves your time and effort. Failure to provide adequate copy won’t just reflect badly on you, it could also negatively impact your client’s site. A client who has, after all, entrusted you to optimise their site.
There’s nothing wrong with using tried and trusted freelancers by the way, their experience and skills can prove hugely beneficial in fact. But these services often don’t come cheap and it’s the customer that has to pay for this. So why not bring this in-house and manage it alongside SEO?
Many would view Copywriting as a luxury, but I would argue that it is actually essential – now more than ever in fact. If you’ve got a client with a site that is overflowing with duplicate content and they’ve suddenly experienced a drop in rankings because of the Panda update (or even before), what are you going to do? Link building might not get you out of this fix and you can’t just tweak the Meta. The pages need to be re-written.
Surely if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.
Content Marketing, PR and Other Copywriting Tasks
Copywriters have their uses elsewhere too don’t forget. For instance, here at Koozai we write blog posts (for the company as well as guest posts), press releases and manage all content marketing services. We proof read reports and hopefully make sure that everything that the company is sending out is of a decent standard.
Essentially we create content that is designed to raise brand awareness and links. We are, in effect, SEOs specialising solely on the production and distribution of copy.
So that’s my case for the defence. With content and SEO so intrinsically linked, it would be foolish to separate optimisers and Copywriters. Copy is worth very little without the links and other site optimisation techniques that SEOs employ, whilst the reverse is equally true. On page or off site, Copywriters have a lot to offer for SEO agencies and their clients.
Now I’ll leave it over to the prosecution to unpick my argument.