SEO writing; what’s it about?

Morten Frølich December 18, 2020 seo

1. What is SEO writing?

SEO stands for search engine optimization and characterizes the process of making a website and its content easy to understand, use and find using a search engine like Google or Bing. SEO writing is this art of making websites more visible and comprehendible for search engines. Combined with all the other SEO efforts, great SEO writing makes a webpage about a specific topic appear on top of search engine results, when a user searches for that topic.

A SEO writer is a digital copywriter that can look at a set of keywords, figure out what a user or a customer that searches for those phrases wants to know, and write a thorough and precise text about those preferences using the right amount of keywords or synonyms, thus avoiding both the lack of keywords and keyword stuffing.

But let’s start another place, let’s take a look at how at all began.

 

2. The evolution of copywriting

The origins of copywriting may very well date back to when the Mesopotamians invented writing more than 5500 years ago. But it is well-established that the first piece of copywriting is from 300 BC, when an Egyptian seller wrote these sentences to accompany a perfume he was selling:

Perfume of the gods. Will make men worship you. One bottle for 3 jars of beer.

This text has all the basic copywriting criteria: It explains what product we are talking about and the benefits of using it, and it has a price. The first real advert though, is believed to have been written in 1477, and the first full-time copywriter is said to have been employed in the late 19th century.

When copywriting started to turn digital in the 90s, it pretty much revolutionized the profession. Many has tried to describe the last 25-30 years of evolution in copywriting, and it’s still a hot topic for everyone working with digital content and marketing, because the frames and competencies for today’s copywriters is ever-changing.

When the world wide web emerged, it was no longer just a matter of good writing, if you earned a living writing copy. You should also know how to setup your text, because the human eye can’t digest as much compressed text online as on paper. This means that when it comes to “Deep reading”, which refers to reading long, linear, continuous texts over multiple pages, almost everyone prefers to do it in a printed medium. In essence: the longer a text you write, there more difficult it is to read online.

Moreover, copywriters also had to learn the key figures for a text:

– How many keywords are there?

– How did the readers engage? Did they finish the text, or did they only read half?

– Did the text lead to any conversions?

– How many read the text – how many clicks did it get?

As the years passed, copywriting turned technical, it began to be more of a numbers game, but the general purpose of copywriting also started changing. Originally, the goal of copywriting has always been to sell. But today “selling” is very diverse. Copywriters are no longer selling only products but also ideaslifestylesvalues, etc. Today, copywriting is used to create awareness in a brand as much as it is used for hard selling.

There are many reasons for this transition, and it may especially be due to information overload. Advertisement overload has desensitized our senses and people have become more immune to ads. We have learned to gain control, to be capable of deciding what is of value or not within seconds.

The average human attention span has dropped considerably over the years, especially toward copy and adverts. The general customer has become a lot more critical than he or she used to be, we all have an ad-wall inside our brains. This means that your copywriting must be very customized and targeted to get through the wall, and this brings us to the next subject.

 

3. Areas of copywriting & copywriting tools

Industries are always evolving and growing, and so are the preferences of the average consumer in terms of both products and advertising. This means that copywriters are getting more and more specialized. Today, copywriting niches can vary based on:

– Mediums i.e., tv, radio, print, website, social media, search engine, newsletter, etc.

– Subjects such as; medicine, engineering, architecture, IT, etc.

– Copywriting specialties; creative copywriting, marketing copywriting, SEO copywriting, technical copywriting, etc.

This segmentation means that the number of tools that can help you write copy have exploded. Examples of tools include plagiarism checkers, spell or grammar checkers, A/B or split testing tools, translation applications, Stock Photo websites, Spam analyzer, SEO keywords research tools, headline analyzers, content creating apps, photo editing apps, etc.

These can be of great help to the writer because they help save time and energy when creating, editing and testing messages.

There is more to it than just writing

In essence: copywriting is now a technical profession that’s not only about selling, but also about sending messages. And it’s about more than just writing.

Today, a good article doesn’t just contain great grammar and a lot of words, it involves adding presentations, infographics, photos, videos, etc. Graphic and photo editing skills are therefore a good foundation for a career as a copy/SEO writer, but you also need top notch SEO know-how.

With added skills copywriters can double as content creators, which correlates with the fact that writing copy now more than ever, is about devices. Whatever content you create, it must work on print as well as on all digital devices; smartphone, Ipad, desktop, etc.

That is why copywriters and SEO writers will have to keep learning new skills to remain valuable in the online world.

All that said, there are of course some basic competencies that all copy- and SEO writers should know how to do.

 

4. The basic competencies

As google algorithms keep changing and multiply, the art of SEO writing becomes a complicated math problem for some. Backlinko.com has even made SEO writing into a formula:

Amazing content + solid on-page SEO = SEO writing

This formula is very broad and could easily be divided into 20 smaller ones: 10 concerning the art of making amazing content, and 10 explaining solid on-page SEO, so let’s concentrate about the SEO writing skills, because there are some basic competencies any SEO writer should master, and they are the same ones that apply to a copywriter.

A SEO writer should master:

– Customer understanding: You should have a good understanding of the needs of the specific the target group.

 – Grammar: You should be able to write content that’s grammatically correct.

– Punctuation: You should know how to make precise punctuation.

– Reading flow: Your sentences should be well-constructed and have rhythm.

– Research & references:  If you’re not familiar with the topic in question, you must research and find trustworthy information, use them accordingly, and be able to make the right references.

– Terminology: You must have a consistent use of the right terms incl. SEO keywords, and be able to use them in a natural-sounding way.

– Time management: You have to manage your time well to meet deadlines.

– Tone of voice: You must find the tone of voice that fits the target group.

 

5. SEO writing isn’t a numbers game if you know your craft

The everchanging factors that effects today’s copywriting labor market include, among other things, the advance in the number of search engine factors every year, the increase in Google algorithm updates, the increases in the number of businesses that use SEO and the number of SEO agencies.

The market is messy and overloaded and the competition very high. And yet, it’s still vital for you to stand up in the crowd. That can be a tough job though, so what we advise that you to use your energy on, are the basic tasks: how to implement the right keywords in the best possible way.

If you have experience with digital copywriting and you know your subject and your target group well, and you write a thorough text like a blogpost containing 500-1500 words, then you should aim for a keyword density of approximately 1-2 %. This is the recommended percentage according to many SEO experts.

There isn’t a magic formular, it’s all about trial, error and rehearsing, until you get a natural flow when writing about and around the subject of choice. That’s the way to learn how to do great SEO writing and master the art of knowing when to use the keyword and when to leave it out, or maybe use a well-known synonym.

 

FAQ

Is SEO writing effective?

Yes, it’s very effective, and together with all the other SEO rankings efforts, great SEO writing can make a website appear on top of search engine results, when a user searches for a keyword used in the SEO writing.

What is SEO writing?

SEO writing is a form of copywriting and characterizes the process of making a website and its content easy to understand, use and find using a search engine like Google or Bing. This is done by incorporating keywords in the texts on the website.

Where is SEO writing used?

SEO writing is used in pretty much any online text; content writing, meta-titles and -descriptions, category texts, marketing collateral, blogs, Google ads, posts on social media, etc.

Who uses SEO writing?

SEO writing is used by everyone with digital platforms: a website, a webshop, social media sites, etc.
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