It pains me to write this.
Mainly because I’ve had great success with SEO copywriting. It’s powered my business for 10+ years and I haven’t had to spend a single penny on advertising.
But I no longer believe it’s the best route to online success for some businesses and, in this article, I’m going to explain why.
How SEO website copywriting has changed
When I launched my first website more than 10 years ago, SEO was easy. My site reached the heady heights of Google’s top spot in a mere matter of weeks.
Today, that just doesn’t happen.
Plus, SEO website copywriting has become a more involved process and has become more expensive as a result.
So, what exactly has changed?
Websites are taking longer to rank
If you were to launch a brand new website today, it would typically take Google at least 6 months to pick it up and start showing it on the search results pages. To achieve a high ranking page would take even longer.
You can speed this process along by publishing regular SEO content on your blog, but even then it can still take time.
There’s more competition
With more websites online, businesses in most sectors are facing more competition. Therefore, achieving a competitive advantage with SEO has become much more difficult. I’m now spending more than twice as long on keyword research for this reason.
There are other factors affecting your ranking
Getting a high ranking is not just about the quality of your SEO copy. There are other things Google measures to determine the quality and authority of your website.
For example, your website should also:
- Be responsive, so it provides a good experience on mobile devices
- Load as quickly as possible — ideally in 1–2 seconds
- Have the right security certificate
- Use alt tags and other means to make it accessible.
Why you’re not ready
There are a number of reasons why a business might not be ready for SEO website copywriting. These reasons aren’t exclusive to startups, but startups typically have a number of problems that make it unviable.
Your website hasn’t ‘ripened’ yet
By this, I mean your website hasn’t been picked up by Google and isn’t appearing anywhere on the search results page.
Until your website is ‘ripe’ and showing up on Google’s radar, SEO website copywriting isn’t going to work for you.
We can still go ahead with the SEO website copywriting, but while you’re waiting for your website to ripen, you’ll need to promote it via other means. And for that you’ll need an advertising budget.
You don’t have an advertising budget
There are three main ways to drive traffic to an ‘unripe’ website:
- Paid ads
Paid ads is the most popular method, because it works the quickest and it’s directly selling. The ads can appear on Google, on social media or on other websites via third party cookies. You can do it yourself, but the results will be better if you hire a professional.
- Content marketing
Regularly posting SEO content on your website can speed up the organic ranking process. As an example, some businesses I know of have gone from nothing to a top three ranking in 3 months with regular blogging. You’ll need a copywriter who understands SEO to create the content for you, so your site has the best chance of ranking.
- Social media marketing
Social media allows you to build up an audience of engaged and interested followers. Some businesses already have an audience when they get their first website, but if you don’t, you’ll need to factor in some time to build one. It’s free to post on social media, but it’s time consuming and hiring someone may be a better option.
These methods, with the possible exception of the last one, will cost money and you need to make sure you have a budget set out for them.
Your business is liable to change
Nobody starts a business with the expectation that they’ll have to fundamentally change it. But it happens.
Around 20% of startups fail in the first year and 60% fail within three years.
According to a survey by CB Insights, of the startups that fail:
- 42% fail because they find there’s no market/demand for what they’re offering
- 10% fail when they try to diversify their offering
- 7% fail because they don’t try to diversify at all.
If your business needs to make fundamental changes, this is most likely to happen during the first 12–18 months. But those changes will be more difficult to make if you already have a website that’s been professionally designed and written for SEO.
The problem is, getting a website SEO optimised when you first start out can pigeonhole your business and put it in a box with very little wiggle room.
Unless you know for certain that your business will succeed in its current form, it’s best to wait.
If your business definitely needs a website, a DIY option could be a better option in the interim.
You have a limited budget…
If your budget for SEO copy is limited, you might be tempted to use a cheap SEO copywriter — and there are lots of them around. The problem is that the research required to do this properly is taking a long time. And if they’re not charging enough, they’re probably not going far enough.
So, if you buy cheap, you’ll probably end up buying twice — by paying someone else to fix it.
…and need results quickly
Not many businesses can afford to wait 6-12 months for their website to start drawing traffic and selling. But that’s the current reality if you rely solely on SEO website copywriting.
If you have a limited budget and you need results quickly, don’t waste your time with SEO copywriting. Go for advertising, which delivers much quicker returns. And get your SEO website copywriting done properly later when you can afford it.
The rest of your website is not in order
For your SEO copy to work properly, the rest of your site needs to be in good order.
That means it needs to be:
- Responsive for mobile devices
- Well-designed and easy to navigate
- Structurally sound with no broken links/processes, orphan pages etc
- Free from pop-ups, autoplay videos etc that stop the site from working or spoil the user experience.
If you add SEO copy while you have problems like these, your results could be compromised.
Do you need SEO copywriting for your website?
If none of the above reasons apply, there’s a good chance your business is ready for SEO website copywriting.
If you’d like some expert help, from someone with more than 10 years’ experience and a proven strategy, please get in touch to discuss your needs.