Be it website articles, e-newsletters, blogs or social media posts in the magical land of SEO, content which is geared towards improving your brand's digital visibility reigns almighty. However, getting carried away with a purely SEO-centred approach isn't always a sure-fire way to generate sales. Plus, if you don't get the right balance, you could lose the creative flair which distinguishes your brand's voice from a sea of competitors. So, when it comes to effective writing online, do we really have to choose between SEO-optimised content and good old-fashioned copywriting, or is it possible to successfully juggle both?
What is SEO content writing anyway?
To begin, let's go back to basics SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is the process of getting traffic from free, organic, editorial, or natural search results in search engines. This might not seem very glamorous, but ultimately, the goal is to improve your website's ranking on search engine results pages. Research shows that up to 95% of web users only check the first page of Google search results, so having good SEO-optimised content will help to get your brand on that magical first page and increase your website traffic.
How is SEO content writing different to regular copywriting?
Both copywriting and SEO content writing are similar in that they aim to attract, engage and convert leads, but their approaches differ slightly. Knowing what you want to achieve and outlining the types of content you'll need is key to determining the right approach for your brand. As stated above, good SEO writing seeks to increase website ranking and traffic. To do this successfully means researching and integrating keywords into copy in order to produce results. You also need to have a deep knowledge of the digital landscape and consider keywords with high search volume, Google E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness), readability, alt tags on images, optimising meta data, imagery, internal linking and more. On the other hand, for copywriting, the end goal is 'conversions' that is, converting website traffic into leads or sales, which means revenue for your business! To achieve this, professional copywriters strategically craft messages that seek to persuade, make emotional connections and forge strong relationships with their audience. The main takeaway from this is that, put simply, SEO content writers attract visitors to your website, and copywriters convert visits into action (e.g. making a purchase, subscribing to a newsletter, asking for more information or submitting a contact form).Still confused? Let's unpack more of the differences below...
How they are consumed
The biggest difference between copywriting and SEO writing is the way in which they are consumed. Both approaches to writing are optimised for a specific reader or consumer. For SEO, it's on a webpage; for copywriting, it could also be a TV commercial, printed ad or a product label. While both types can be consumed online, SEO content is often written in a more purposeful, comprehensive and long-form format, such as a detailed landing page or blog post, which seeks to inform potential customers and is written with SEO keywords in mind to improve ranking. While copywriting uses a more brand specific and persuasive tone of voice to talk about a product and its benefits.
Who is the intended audience?
SEO writing is mainly crafted for people who are at the top of the marketing funnel, meaning those who are still investigating a certain problem. Although, that's not the only way it's used, it can also be found at every other level of the funnel as a way to draw people to your product or service. Alternatively, copywriting is mostly aimed at leads that are already warm and are leaning towards buying or are ready to buy. Good examples of such marketing collateral are landing pages and sales pages.
So which style should I choose?
When it comes down to choosing between SEO content writing or copywriting and determining which of these two disciplines is best the simplest answer is both. That is, use both where they are needed. They might be two different disciplines, but both are crucial for a marketing campaign to succeed and having a proper understanding of both styles will help you know how to plan and execute an effective strategy. If you want to take your SEO writing to the next level, then think like a copywriter. Write posts that grab search results, but make sure that your content always funnels someone towards a goal. Most importantly, enjoy your writing and connect with your audience. Be authentic, genuine and persuasive, without being cocky or 'salesy'. Google might not know the difference, but human readers will and, as a result, this can translate into clicking a website link or buying a product or service. To find out more about effective SEO content writing and copywriting, or if you're looking for some help with a project, get in touch with the Zakazukha team. We'd love to answer any questions you may have.