Many website owners are still confused about SEO copywriting.
In this article, I’m going to answer some of the frequently asked questions about SEO to help you understand what it is, how it works and why you need it.
Starting with the basics…
An introduction to SEO copywriting
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. This is the practice of preparing your website for the search engines. The better prepared your website is, the better its chances of appearing higher on Google’s results pages.
SEO copywriting only accounts for around 15% of an effective SEO strategy.
The other essential elements of your strategy should include:
- Responsiveness for mobile devices
- Fast load speed (2–3 seconds)
- Site security (https encryption)
- User experience
- Updatable site content/Blog.
How does SEO copywriting work?
Search-Engine-Optimised copy is written to help your audience find your website online.
Imagine the internet is a huge database. And search engines, like Google, help you to retrieve specific files (websites) or information based on the search terms you type in.
SEO copywriting takes the search terms people are typing into Google and places them in your website copy. The idea is that when people look up those terms, Google should find and list your website in the search results.
Where your website appears on the list will depend on a range of factors, including the quality of your website and the other websites competing for those search terms.
Why do I need SEO copywriting?
The aim of SEO copywriting is to get your website ranking organically, so you’re not trapped in a never-ending cycle of paying for advertising.
The main alternative to SEO copywriting is Google Ads, but they can be expensive. Even if the price seems okay to start with, it can fluctuate. So being fully reliant on ads isn’t always the best idea.
Some companies only use advertising until they can switch to organic ranking, while some use a combination of advertising and organic.
What are the chances of SEO success?
Your chances of achieving a high organic ranking will depend on a number of factors, including the:
- Skill and strategy of your SEO copywriter
- Competition for keywords in your industry
- Skills of your SEO expert (if you have one)
- Other SEO elements on your website.
It’s important to note that an organic ranking can never be guaranteed. Not by anyone.
This is because nobody is affiliated with Google. The way to succeed is to follow Google’s guidelines, use best-practice techniques and avoid anything that might not be legitimate.
If anyone promises to get your website to the top spot, proceed with caution. They may be using dirty tactics that could actually harm your ability to rank in the long term.
Before you commission a project
If you’re thinking of commissioning an SEO copywriter, you may have a few questions. Here are some of the common ones, with honest answers from 10+ years’ experience.
Is my website ready for SEO copywriting?
There are a number of reasons why you might not be ready for SEO copywriting and I’ve covered them in this article.
But your website needs to be ready, too. So start by answering the following two questions:
How long has your website been live?
SEO copywriting works quickest on domains that are established. This means the domain has been online for 6+ months and the website can be found on Google by typing something into the search box.
If your site hasn’t been online for at least 6 months, it could take that long to start appearing.
But most businesses need results quicker than this.
If you can’t wait 6 months to start seeing returns, it might be advisable to invest the money in promoting the site elsewhere until Google picks it up.
Are you currently collecting data?
When re-writing an existing website, it’s always good to know how it’s performing in its current state.
Ideally you should have both of these tools installed on your website and they should have been collecting data for at least a a couple of months. Both are free to install and use — and if you’ve had your website designed professionally, you may already have them.
A good SEO copywriter will want to see this data before they start work as it will help to inform and shape your strategy.
Web design or copy — which comes first?
Your SEO copy has an important job to do. It could be less effective if your copywriter has to compromise it by squeezing it into a ready-made design template.
If your SEO copy is going into a new website design, it’s best to involve your SEO copywriter from the beginning. Either get the copy written first, or get your copywriter and web designer to work together.
How long does SEO copywriting take?
If you want your SEO copy to be effective, it shouldn’t be done in a hurry.
The research phase alone is intensive and time-consuming, but it’s worth doing properly to get you the best possible result. The length of time it takes will depend largely on your industry and existing competition.
The goal is to find relevant words and phrases that will draw the right levels of traffic and have low competition from other websites. This can be challenging — especially now there’s so much competition online.
The best advice on lead times is to involve your SEO copywriter from the beginning of your project, so they have as much time as possible.
How much does SEO copywriting cost?
Try not to think of SEO copywriting as an expense, but as an investment. Its purpose is to help to propel your site up the rankings and either cancel out or reduce your existing advertising spend.
My SEO copywriting service starts from £350 per page and is designed to give you the very best chance of high organic ranking.
If that seems expensive, it’s because it’s time-consuming and requires a high level of skill.
I’ve spent years learning SEO, keeping my skills up to date and developing a strategy that’s proven to work time and time again. My rates reflect this.
How much information will you need from me?
Your knowledge can be vital to the success of your project.
The more insight and information you can provide, the better your SEO copy will be.
A good SEO copywriter will ask you about your:
- Ideal customers
- Competitor websites
- Keyword ideas
- Industry terminology.
This information won’t replace our own research, but it will give us the start we need.
How long until I see results?
New websites are currently taking at least 6 months to be picked up by the search engines. So if your site is new, you’ll need to find alternative methods of promoting it and directing traffic to it for the first 6 months at least.
You can do this by creating content and promoting it to your social media followers and email list. And by including links to your website in your social media posts and profiles.
You can also use paid advertising, like Google Ads.
If your website is already established, it could still take a few weeks for the changes to take effect, so you should be prepared for that.
My SEO copywriting process
Every SEO copywriter has learned their craft in a slightly different way and may use a slightly different process. To answer these questions, I’ve referred to my own process, which I’ve been using and adapting for the last 10+ years.
What if my website is already ranking?
If you already have a website that’s ranking on Google for some relevant search terms, you’ll probably want to maintain those. And this is totally possible.
When you approach me for SEO copywriting, I’ll ask you to add me as a user on your Google Analytics and Search Console accounts. This is purely to observe and not to change anything, so there’s nothing to worry about.
Your Search Console data will tell me exactly what keywords each page of your existing website is ranking for. I can then take those keywords and put them into the new copy, so we don’t disturb anything that’s already working for you.
What’s involved in SEO copywriting?
Lots of research
To write effective SEO copy, I do a lot of research, including:
- Subject research — to learn more about your industry and the terminology you use
- Customer research — to see what kind of language your customers are using and what aspects of your service are particularly important to them
- Keyword research — to see what relevant search terms your audience is typing into Google
- Competitor research — to see who the top ranking competitors are and what they’re being found for.
Choosing and placing the keywords
This research takes time, but it’s key to determining the right keyword strategy for your copy. Ideally, you need keywords that are relevant, with a high number of searches and low competition from other sites.
But choosing those and knowing how to use them correctly is a careful balancing act that requires skill, experience and understanding.
Most copywriters who specialise in SEO will have developed a successful strategy that’s been proven to work. And this is what you’re paying for.
Writing the copy
Getting traffic to your site is only part of the process. When you’ve pulled people in, you need to persuade them to buy — and for this you need sales copy.
Sales copy focuses on:
- The benefits of what you’re selling
- Why your audience should choose to buy from you
- The features of your product/service, if relevant
- Countering common objections with reasons to buy.
This is the last part of the process and where it all comes together.
Getting your SEO website copy
What will my SEO copy look like?
Your copy will be formatted and laid out to make it as easy as possible for your web designer to use.
Each page will start with the name of the page, e.g. Home Page, About Page. This is just for reference. Underneath that, you’ll find a little table containing the page’s unique SEO page title and meta description. And below that, you’ll find the copy you’ll see on the page.
The copy is usually laid out exactly as it should be imported onto the site. You’ll notice a little tag next to each heading, like these: <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <h4>. These show what size each heading needs to be and they’re just for your web designer’s reference.
What if the copy isn’t what I was expecting?
SEO copywriting can be unpredictable. Customers use their own language when they’re searching, which means they may not use the correct industry terms.
And sometimes they’ll bypass the word you want to use in favour of one that’s quicker and easier to type.
For example, you might prefer to say ‘contemporary doors’, but your audience might be looking for ‘modern doors’.
If you want results from your SEO copy, you’ll need to expect this and take it on the chin. Because unless you use your customers’ language, it will be difficult for them to find you.
Keywords can change over time
New terminology, new trends and new buzzwords mean your SEO keywords could change.
Case in point, a client I worked with many years ago was a pioneer in bi-folding doors. But nobody was searching for bi-folding doors back then because the term was virtually unheard of. So we started with a larger mix of keywords, including ‘patio doors’ and ‘sliding doors’, that would bring in traffic until bi-folding doors became more commonplace.
If your industry has had a major shake-up and there are new terms being introduced, it could be a good idea to audit your keywords and make sure they’re still relevant and effective.
Do you need an SEO copywriter?
I’m an SEO copywriter with more than 10 years’ experience of writing websites and blogs for clients in a variety of industries.
My work has consistently improved my clients’ website rankings, drawing more traffic and generating more sales and enquiries.