Does a copywriter need to know about SEO?

The short answer to this is yes. Being able to write SEO copy is essential for a copywriter, but short answers don’t explain the all-important ‘why’.  So here goes …

If you’re a copywriter or thinking of a career in copywriting, you can’t afford to ignore the power and potential of SEO (search engine optimisation) and how your writing affects it.  To do so would be to turn your back on a vast potential market.

As we discussed in an earlier blog about the copywriter’s bread and butter, today’s writers are more likely to find themselves working on online copy than on advertising campaigns.  To give you an idea of the scale of this sector, Pingdom’s survey revealed there were some 634 million websites world-wide in December 2012.  This included 51 million new sites which launched during that year.

Not all those 634 million website owners will engage the services of a copywriter, but the savvy ones will.  That’s because they have one thing in common – they are all vying for the coveted number one position on the front page of Google.

With Google’s focus on quality content, the copywriter is the hero (or heroine) of SEO.  But reaching the front page of Google has no value if it doesn’t result in increased enquiries and sales.  Until the search engines equip their robots with credit cards and program them to make purchases, the human visitor will remain the principal audience.  So it’s not enough to pepper a website with some keywords and call it SEO copywriting.

To be effective, copy must be compelling and persuade the visitor to act.  And that’s the copywriter’s job.  But when it comes to websites, that’s not enough.  Any copywriter worth his or her salt, should understand the balance of keywords and persuasive writing that’s essential for SEO.

With more than 50 million new sites being built each year, this is a huge and ever-increasing market.  As well as new opportunities, the 634 million existing websites will also need updating with fresh content if they are to maintain their performance. That’s before you start thinking about blogs, social media campaigns and online advertising.

The effectiveness of SEO is measurable.  Good SEO copywriters are in demand and quickly build a reputation for themselves. So practice what you preach.  If your own website isn’t well optimised with effective SEO copy, you will be missing a very big trick.

No copywriter can afford to ignore the importance of SEO copywriting skills.  That’s why the Copywriting Apprentice course devotes an entire block of five chapters to online writing.

We recently had a conversation with a new kid on the copywriting block.  He said he had no desire to ‘specialise’ in this field.  SEO copywriting might have been a specialism a few years ago, but writing for the web is mainstream stuff today.  Today’s websites must work and deliver a return on investment.  SEO writing is no longer optional for the copywriter  – it’s essential.

Blog post by Joy McCarthy


Picture credit: 123RF

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