SEO Copywriting: How important is it to you?

For copywriters, every advertising medium has its unique requirements.

Direct mail requires you to know postal specifications. Radio advertising requires you to write exceptionally lean. E-mail marketing requires you to deal with the eccentricities of spam and e-mail design.

Then there’s the Web. And one of the requirements these days, according to many gurus, is SEO, search engine optimization. The idea seems pretty simple: to rank well, a Web page must use the keywords people are searching for. Of course, in practice it’s a bit more difficult. In fact, it can be an arcane art that seems to change almost daily.

There are varying points of view on SEO. Many copywriters embrace it. But some think it’s overblown. I have my own ideas, but I’m curious …

What do YOU think? Is SEO important to you? Do you think a copywriter should make SEO a priority when writing for the Web? Or should it be secondary to good on-page copy? How far have you gone to teach yourself SEO?

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10 Responses to “SEO Copywriting: How important is it to you?”

  1. Ramon Eijkemans on March 11th, 2008 12:06 pm

    Q1: ‘Do you think a copywriter should make SEO a priority when writing for the Web?’

    That depens: do you want to rank well in search engines? If so, SEO is a priority. But that does not mean it’s the the ONLY prority.

    Q2: ‘Or should it be secondary to good on-page copy?’

    If the answer to q1 is ‘yes’: It’s never secondary, but always complementary. SEO should not degrade the quality (or presentation/readability etc) of the content, but strengthen it.

    It’s simply a challenge for a copywriter to include relevant keywords. And if SEO is a priority, that challenge must be met. In practice though, compromises are always possible. That is something a professional copywriter and a professional SEO should be able to figure out together. If they can’t, they’re not professionals.

    p.s.: seo is not about over-optimization and stuffing of keywords. 20+ keywords in a text of 200 words is NOT good seo.

  2. Jay Ehret on March 11th, 2008 8:47 pm

    This is a slippery slope. Content suffers if you start trying to write for search engines rather than your readers. I find it nearly impossible to try to guess what readers will search for anyway.

    I jave Lijit search analytics installed on my blog and I would never be able to guess some of the search terms that bring me new visitors.

  3. Dean Rieck on March 12th, 2008 12:39 pm

    See? There’s the debate in a nutshell.

    Ramon sees SEO as part of a copywriter’s job but Jay thinks SEO presents possible dangers to on-page copy. I’m simplifying, but that’s the issue.

    I’ll write about my own views sometime. I’d really just like to hear other viewpoints on this right now.

  4. Ted Grigg on March 12th, 2008 4:33 pm

    I think a good analogy is how to make sure the customer sees your envelope in a big stack and opens it when you create a direct mail package. Good design and relevant teaser copy that gets the recipient to see and open the envelope are important.

    In a similar way, SEO assures that prospects visit the web site and then consider the content pertinent.

    SEO and content should compliment each other. SEO assures that the writer will use words that are used by the site visitor and relate directly to his needs.

    If the SEO terms are foreign to what you write about the product benefits, then there is a disconnect somewhere.

    It does no good to get a lot of visitors if the content does not relate to your product benefits. In that case, the search terms may be too far afield and probably do not do a good job of matching up the prospect with your product.

  5. Ramon Eijkemans on March 12th, 2008 4:55 pm

    I totally agree with Ted

  6. Angela on March 12th, 2008 7:04 pm

    Yes indeed. A copy writer should make SEO a priority when writing for the web. Inorder to rank well search engine optimization is essential, atleast for now.

  7. Mark on March 15th, 2008 12:54 am


    writing for the web requires a whole range of skill sets.

    Firstly I think anyone doing business on the web should use a skilled copywriter as their default standard.

    Next the writer should know and understand how people read and interact on the web, Uncle Jakob has been writing about this for years, and really it’s quite easy to grasp.

    Next the writer should understand how users eyes move across a PC screen, and how much screen real estate they have to work with. This will determine how much of their copy is initially seen, and how it appears on the screen.

    There’s no point writing great headlines and juicy copy if they get mangled by other page elements, or dissappear below the fold.

    Yes, they should have an “understanding” of SEO and keywords, but if they write great, unique, relevant and high quality copy, it will probably rank highly anyway, because that is what search engines ultimately want.

    Lastly, there’s the whole issue of personality types and buying behaviours, but if they are good copywriters they probably know about this anyway.

    OK, one more thing: The most important thing for any website is to get a conversion (sale, lead whatever.) High rankings and traffic should not be the primary objective. There’s no point generating huge exposure and traffic if no one buys.

  8. Mark on March 15th, 2008 1:43 am

    Ted is right on… It does not matter how good the copy is if no one finds it??? With SEO you get web searches to the site to see what you have written.

  9. Tai McQueen on April 1st, 2008 2:26 pm

    I’ve found that if you write engaging, authoritative copy that’s focused on your target market, the SEO takes care of itself. Combine that with a solid call to action in a clearly designed page, and you’re on to a winner.

  10. Seo Copywriting Services on May 27th, 2008 1:04 pm

    hey there,

    seo copywriting is a modern tool for both search engines and average users. From one side the content should be easily readable, from the other – search engines could detect what it is about and evaluate it somehow

    thanks for nice post though!

    keep it up!

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