It’s the million-dollar question. And it’s not only me saying this but also all the people who have been asking me this question since I’ve been working in the digital marketing world.
There is indeed a lot of confusion between what SEO is and the work of a copywriter.
In fact, more and more copywriters have extensive knowledge about SEO and are capable of incorporating elements that facilitate the positioning of a page on search engines, and vice versa, also nowadays some SEO professionals know about copywriting, although the latter is less frequent.
In order to clarify these concepts, so that you can decide what your business needs most, I will explain as simply as I can the differences between the work of a professional on SEO and a copywriter.
Shall we start?
The famous SEO
This term has all the ballots to be named the most used word of the amateurs and professionals of digital marketing, in addition to all those who have a business with a digital presence.
If you are reading this article it is because you already have an idea of what SEO is but I will define it again just in case.
SEO refers to Search Engine Optimisation.
There are many companies and professionals who are experts on the subject, since SEO is very important if you want more people getting to know what you do, whether you have a blog, an e-commerce or a physical business with digital presence (such as a restaurant or a hotel).
Competition on the Internet is very fierce and any business that wants to subsist has to fight for its place on the network. And how do you do that? That’s where SEO comes in.
SEO is becoming a complex matter, maybe even enough to study a masters’ degree, and all because it has become a complicated task which requires lots of time and often also some investment.
That’s why there are more and more companies and professionals dedicated to it.
What a SEO professional does is to put into practice various techniques and resources so that a website or blog appears in the first positions of the most famous search engine on the planet. Mr. Google.
We all use Google when we want or need a product or service. We quickly type the question or term we want to search for in the search engine and in a matter of a thousandth of a second there we have it, all we need.
Now I ask you a question and I want you to answer sincerely.
How many times after you get the results of your search do you look at them and just in case you go to the next page or even to the 3rd or 4th?
Well, the answer will be 0 times or once in one million and four hundred thousand times. Or something like that.
Exactly. Almost nobody goes past the first page of results that Google shows you.
And what do I mean by that?
Well, any business that wants to sell wants to be on the first page of Google.
But there are many businesses selling artistic makeup and yet on the first page of Google there is only room for 10 or fewer positions. And we all want to be among the top 10.
To get to the top you need exhaustive work in the background. That is what agencies and SEO professionals do.
They are dedicated to writing content (blog posts) that have the keywords most searched for in relation to what that company wants to sell.
With specific (and expensive) digital marketing tools they study the articles from other blogs that are positioning well on Google and try to beat them by writing better articles with those keywords.
And how do they beat them? With longer articles that provide quality, specific and updated information.
Google’s famous algorithms (yes, those that change almost every month) no longer rank well just because an article mentions many times the keyword the person has searched for, but also for the quality of the content. And how does an algorithm judge if content is of high quality? Well, looking at its extension and its usefulness. The latter is measured by counting the time people spend reading the article. If it’s boring crap that doesn’t contribute anything, people leave in 5 seconds.
But if the article is good and gives answers to the search that the person has done, then they will spend more time reading. And then the algorithm that works for Google, puts a tick, ok, quality article.
That’s the secret.
This would be great if life was fair. But who told us it was?
No, this is not enough.
You can write very good articles but only appear on page 4 of Google.
There are still more things to do.
Another thing SEO experts do is to fix the big disaster that your website might be.
Google uses tiny robots (or bots) to navigate the sea of the internet choosing and valuing the contents of web pages.
These bots are lazy and don’t want to spend too much time looking for results.
So, for example, if they are looking for “passion red lipstick” don’t make them go looking for it among thousands of pages and subpages of rare classifications of makeup and lipsticks and rainbow ranges.
Your website has to have a logical structure with clear classifications so that the bots don’t get bored with searching and go somewhere else to never return.
Clear structure: make-up – lipstick – passion red
Disaster structure: catalogue – offers – autumn – lipstick – red
This is a very extensive topic so if you want to know more I recommend you read this post that explains how to optimize your website structure in a clear way and this other one which is more specific for e-commerce, where many products are offered resulting in more complexity when arranging the different categories.
Okay then we have a website with quality articles with keywords and a very simple and clear site structure.
But the truth is that this is not enough to be on the top positions of Google.
You also need backlinks.
And what’s that?
Backlinks are links to your page that appear on other websites that have a good Google ranking.
So, a page that already has a good ranking, mentions your page so people can click that link to get to your website.
I know it sounds hard.
There are two ways to get backlinks:
- Paying. There are companies that create blogs that position very well and then live off what customers pay them to include links to other pages. And it works.
- Building relationships of mutual interest and collaboration and adding value. If you don’t have money to buy backlinks don’t get depressed, this doesn’t mean that you won’t get to be in the top 10 of Google. You can do it but you have to put a lot of time and effort into it. Writing very good content and networking with those important references with whom you want to collaborate in exchange for links to your page.
For example, if you are a Coach and you want more people to know you, look for other professionals in your field or related to your specialty. Doctors, psychologists, popular people. Get to know these people and offer content that is useful to them.
If you create useful content, people will mention your site without having to pay for it, because they simply find that your content is useful and they will happily share it without expecting anything in return.
I know, it’s not an easy task, but it’s not impossible either. It’s a safe but slow way to get to the same place.
And what else does a SEO professional do?
In addition to producing good content, creating a perfect structure for your website and helping you getting backlinks, they are also experts in Google analytics and can help you decide which audiences are following you and how they are doing so.
This information is very useful in order to decide which marketing campaigns you want to invest in, Facebook Ads or AdWords for example. But this is another topic that can be good for another post.
Has it become clearer to you what SEO is and what a SEO professional does?
I hope so.
Now let’s clarify what a copywriter does.
What a copywriter does
Okay you have all the traffic you wanted on your website, you have multiplied your visits by 10 and you have hundreds of followers in social networks.
But you don’t sell a thing!
So, what’s the use of all this traffic? Just to waste your day answering comments from Instagram?
What you want is to sell your products or services. Am I right?
So that’s where the copywriter comes in.
You can have a blog with super interesting articles but they are not provoking the desire of the reader to know more and buy what you offer.
Copywriting is a technique that has been improved throughout the years and, like everything else in the sales and marketing world, was first created in the United States.
Long ago, we are talking about the 50’s, people in the advertising business realised that in the buying action many factors come into play. Among them the most important is human psychology.
There are words, colours, boxes that incite a person to obtain something in exchange for his money.
Not everyone buys for the sake of buying, most of the people buy when they are convinced they need exactly that object or service to solve their problem. Or just to look better or to get more success in life.
People are very different from each other but we all have one thing in common, we all want to be better.
How to be better can differ from one person to another, but there is no doubt that we all want to progress, to be happier than we are.
Copywriting is the technique used by some writers to awaken in the potential customer the desire to buy.
Put it this way it sounds awful, like a form of manipulation.
Don’t worry because it’s not. Nobody is manipulating anybody.
Because in the end if a person is looking for a product or a service it is because he needs it or he wants to solve a problem or because he wants to be better and happier.
Then we can get into the philosophical conversation of what makes people happy and all that. But what is a universal truth, is that each individual is, or should be, responsible for his or her own happiness.
Let’s stop philosophical ravings now and let’s get to the point.
So, what a copywriter does is to research the product she wants to sell, the context (competition, market) and the customer to whom it is addressed (gender, age, tastes, educational level, economic and social situation, etc.) in order to create texts (service/product page, landing page, Facebook Ads, web page, scripts for videos, etc.) that achieve the ultimate goal. To sell.
Interaction between copywriting and SEO
We already know that both things are very important if you want to rank well and sell with your website.
Nowadays most copywriters apply SEO techniques to their texts (keywords, structure, meta-titles and meta-descriptions, etc.) but when you hire a copywriter alone, don’t expect him to do a complete SEO job unless he does both things professionally.
A copywriter is going to help you get more sales, that’s his goal while a SEO professional is going to get you more visits.
Hiring one or the other depends on your objectives and needs and logically on your budget since the ideal is to be able to count with both professionals.
Today there are also many agencies that offer the two services together and for all kinds of budgets.
Also, many copywriters, as is my case, offer, in addition to pure copywriting services, SEO copywriting.
The latter is a service consisting in writing articles for blogs that aim to attract views to your page and encourage the visits to read more information within your website to subtly incite them to trust your product or service and buy it at that moment or later, depending on which moment of the buyer journey they are in.
Here I leave you more information about this service.
I hope this article has helped you decide what your business priorities are and you can improve your sales from now on.
See you around!
Featured Image: Hannah Born
I write web copy and engaging content for businesses without borders. I live in the Netherlands, I write everywhere. I love arthouse films and books that make me think. Tolstoy and Chekhov are my life coaches.