Is SEO Copywriting Dead?

January 21st 2014       Sally Ormond       seo copywriting, Website copywriting, writing for the web

A recent copywriting project of mine prompted me to write this post.

I was approached to produce the website copywriting for a client. Unbeknown to me, they were also working with a ‘marketing expert’ to try and get the business on track. After a long meeting and a lot of research, I created the web copy, focusing on  the benefits of his products and the needs of his customers. After reviewing it and signing it off, he apparently showed it to his ‘expert’ whose response was:

“This isn’t SEO copywriting, there is no optimisation…”

Fuming? I was ready to scream.

After explaining what SEO copywriting was and how it should be done (backed up with links to Matt Cutts words of wisdom on this subject), the client went very quiet, as did their ‘expert’. I later discovered that he showed my explanation to a web designer friend who agreed with everything I had written – copywriter 1 ‘marketing expert’ 0.

What SEO copywriting isn’t

If I were to ask you for a definition of SEO copywriting, I’m willing to bet the term ‘keywords’ would crop up.

In the bad old days, internet marketers would have you believe that to get your website ranked you had to identify your keywords (the terms people use when searching for your product or service) and then use them over and over in your web copy.


If you do that, you’re left with incomprehensible drivel that no one wants to read. Plus, you’ll end up with a hefty Google penalty for over optimisation.

The traits of good SEO copywriting

To be honest with you, I’d rather talk about the traits of good website copywriting rather than using the term SEO.

You see, good web copy (in fact any good copywriting) should be:

  • Naturally written
  • Simple to read and understand
  • Focused on the benefits you offer
  • Focused on the needs of your customers
  • Interesting, relevant and it should also add value

If you can’t tick all of those boxes you need to start again.

By focusing on quality content that’s focused on your reader and written in a conversational style will mean, when people land on your website, they’re more likely to hang around.

Think about it for a moment – if you write with your focus on the search engines, what will you achieve? Nothing, because the search engines won’t be buying anything from you.

Your content must inform, entertain, educate and engage.

Can you forget about keywords?

Not entirely, because you’ll still need to keep them in mind when creating your website and devising your content marketing strategy. Plus, they will still crop up in your copy because they are the words that describe what you’re selling – there’s just no need to cram them into every sentence. Writing about your topic naturally will automatically use the keywords.

Writing for the web isn’t difficult, but does take practice.

Forget about your business and concentrate on your customers: tell them how you can help them and focus on the benefits they’ll get when using your product or service. That’s right, your writing is all about them because they’re not interested in you.

Tags: seo copywriting, Website copywriting, writing for the web
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