SEO copywriting: Your questions answered

Everything you need to know about SEO copywriting

Interested in SEO copywriting? Want to know what an SEO copywriter does and how it can help your business? Considering working with an SEO copywriter but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered.

In this, quite frankly, massive guide to SEO copywriting, we answer some of the key SEO copywriting questions.

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1.   What is SEO copywriting?

SEO copywriting combines the art of writing compelling content with the science of search engine optimisation (SEO). The goal is to create content that ranks well in search engine results pages (SERPs) while also creating human connections with readers.

SEO copywriting involves creating a wide range of different content types, including:

  • Website copywriting
  • Product copywriting
  • Landing pages
  • Newsletters
  • Social media copy

SEO copywriters, like all professional copywriters, can use their skills to write copy and content for pretty much anything. If course, not all SEO copywriters are equal. Some are (most definitely) better than others.

2.   How does SEO copywriting differ from traditional copywriting?

Copywriters use words to create connections. SEO copywriters do the same thing, but they combine the commercial skills with technical knowledge of how to use keywords and key phrases to achieve results.

Obviously, SEO copywriters focus on creating online content, rather than developing copy for all offline marketing channels and marketing materials.

3.   What are the key elements of effective SEO copywriting?

SEO copywriting is all about creating connections with people, using keywords and audience information to build human relationships. SEO copywriters use the information provided by clients on the audience, keywords and desired outcomes to help shape content that creates those connections.

SEO copywriters are experts at:

  • incorporating keywords
  • optimising content so it reads well and ranks
  • understanding the audience and building rewarding experiences through content
  • being creative within the constraints of SEO
  • investing in their skillset to stay on top of changes in SEO best practice
  • building content strategies
  • working effectively with a broad range of clients
  • delivering high-quality content on time and on word count

It’s a long list, we agree, but it’s what the best SEO copywriters do…

4.   How can SEO copywriting improve website traffic?

SEO is also all about improving your website’s ranking in search engine results pages (known as SERPs). SEO copywriters can optimise existing website content (or generate completely new content), create articles, blogs and whitepapers, and more to target specific keywords.

When considering keywords, focus on several core keywords and slight variations. The more precise you can be the greater the likelihood of success. At 42group, we have specific experience in creating content for leaders in healthcare, science, engineering and technology as well as those in the charitable sector. Focusing on a specific niche is key to our success – and yours too. The more focused you can be on your audience (customers, clients, users, etc.) the greater the impact of your SEO content.

5.   What are the benefits of hiring an SEO copywriting agency?

Search online and you’ll see hundreds (potentially even thousands) of freelance SEO copywriters. You’ll also see large numbers of SEO copywriting agencies – like 42group. Why work with an SEO copywriting agency? Freelance copywriters often lack the skills and certainly lack the scale to be able to deal with large SEO copywriting and content projects.

SEO copywriting and content agencies like 42group have teams of writers available – often with specialist knowledge and extensive experience – to support projects of all sizes. As well as the human aspect, we have established processes and workflows that enable us to deliver high-quality copywriting and content solutions for our clients that deliver results. SEO copywriting agencies deliver a great impact and ROI on your project.

Our recommendation is to always work with an SEO copywriting agency, not an individual – however good they are.

6.   How do SEO copywriting agencies optimise content for search engines?

Optimising content is a tricky process. It’s all about identifying the keyword (or keywords) that you want to rank for and find ways of intelligently and naturally incorporating them into the content.

This is one part of the challenge, but SEO copywriters do more. SEO writers will also provide titles, meta tags, image descriptions and image alt tag suggestions to improve the visibility of content.

As well as adding keywords, SEO copywriters will ensure the structure of your content – ensuring all essential elements (H1, H2s, etc.) are present. They’ll also use their skills to create content that’s clear to read and has what Google describes as EEAT: experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

Finally, SEO copywriters play a part in the strategic use of content. At 42group we offer clients advice on when to post content, something we call cadence.

7.   What techniques do SEO copywriters use to research keywords?

In many cases, SEO copywriters will have been given a list of keywords as the basis of creating content. However, if we’re asked to identify keywords, we use our skills (as a Google Partner) to find them. We use tools like Keyword planner as well as some all-in-one SEO tools to help us.

In some cases – when operating in a highly competitive niche, for example – we’ll use a tool like SEMrush to help us with the

8.   How important is keyword density in SEO copywriting?

Keyword density is a challenging issue. Too few keywords and your content won’t rank. Too many keywords will look like content stuffing and could limit the potential of your content ranking. (A bit like us writing: SEO Copywriting 438 times in a row and assuming it’ll have a positive impact on our ranking, which it wouldn’t.)

So, what do copywriters do? You’ll find SEO writing assistants like SEMRUSH provide recommendations about how many times you should use a keyword (and other supplementary keywords and key phrases), but that’s based on a rudimentary analysis of those articles that currently rank highly.

Of course, Google doesn’t publish or promote how its algorithm works, but it’s likely to be much more sophisticated than scanning content for keywords. It will apply a semantic analysis, grading pieces of content based on perceived quality and authority.

Our advice isn’t to worry about how many keywords we use. Instead, we use the keywords wherever and whenever we need to part of this article and any other we work on.

Where keyword stuffing is most apparent is on web pages. Here, we’ll take a much more cautious and sophisticated approach.

9.   What are the best practices for writing SEO-friendly headlines?

Your headline should capture the content and context of the article as closely as possible. It should reflect the search intent as closely as possible. Finally, it should include your main keyword or key phrase (if possible).

We advise headline writers to keep things as simple as possible. Humour is cultural and can be challenging to convey, so we recommend keeping things simple and avoid trying to be funny.

10. How can SEO copywriting help with local search optimisation?

SEO copywriters can play an essential role in local search optimisation.  Local search is all about increasing visibility in a pre-defined area like your local city, or region.

There are technical elements to local search, including creating location-specific pages and managing a well-created and curated Google My Business feed.

In addition to this, SEO copywriters can apply their skills to creating local and even hyper-local (think the street or borough) that you operate in.

To help you, we’ve created a guide to local SEO for doctors, but the principles can be used for all types of businesses (we just happen to have worked with healthcare providers and doctors a lot).

11. What role does meta description play in SEO copywriting?

Meta descriptions are the short (160 character) pieces of text that tell search engines what your content is all about. They should be written by an expert who understands how to convey what your page is about (and the SEO search terms you want to rank for). The trick isn’t to try and be smart and game the algorithm, but to write with clarity and simplicity for your core audience. The algorithm will appreciate you for it.

12. How do SEO copywriting agencies measure the success of their content?

SEO agencies don’t typically measure content, their clients do. At 42group, every content and copywriting project begins with objective setting which we codify into a set of KPIs.

Again, we’ve written about what KPIs for content are, how you can measure them and build monitoring into your ongoing managerial processes. To learn more, check out our guide to healthcare content marketing KPIs as a starter.

13. What are the common mistakes in SEO copywriting?

Every day we’re confronted with poor quality content that’s been created by low-quality writers. The impact on websites and performance can be serious – so try to avoid these common SEO copywriting mistakes.

Common SEO copywriting mistakes include:

  • Poor quality content
  • Spelling mistakes in content
  • Missing H1s and H2s
  • Content that’s not well structured
  • Content that doesn’t answer audience questions
  • Too much or too little linking (including internal links)
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Attempting to target too many keywords
  • A lack of CTAs
  • Content that’s too conversational
  • Content that’s too formal
  • Swear words in content (yes, we’ve seen this – typically created by people for whom English isn’t their first language and they don’t understand the implications for this)
  • Using AI
  • Not including a picture of a cat in your content (this is a joke, but here is a cat)
Cool cat copywriitng image
Cool cat copywriitng image

14. How does AI impact SEO copywriting?

This is a good question and one we can’t answer definitively. AI has huge potential as a support to writers. We can ask ChatGPT to identify some core keywords for us and it will do so faster than we can. WE could also ask it to write us an article, but the results would be awful.

At the moment, we’re all exploring the potential for AI. The threat to SEO copywriters could be existential, but we’re confident this won’t happen for several years yet, if at all. (By then, we hope we’ll have sold 42group and be relaxing on a beach. All offers are invited!)

15. What tools do SEO copywriters use for content optimisation?

There is a huge range of tools available for SEO optimisation, including things like SEMrush and Grammarly, as well as add-ons to Google Docs and more.

They can be really effective, but the best SEO copywriters shouldn’t rely on them.

Every time a machine or programme does something for you, you begin to lose the skill. It’s also important not to rely too much on the changes suggested by things like Grammarly, as they can remove the individuality and originality from your content, making everything read like it’s been written by the same person.

Tools will remove things like: 88% of SEO copywriters like coffee, but all of them use computers (except on a Sunday).

SEO copywriting assistants can be useful in helping you to understand how many keywords to incorporate into a piece, as well as complimentary other words and phrases to be included.

But these tools should be used as support for the writer and the writer should have the confidence and support to always remain in control.

16. How can SEO copywriting enhance user experience on a website?

SEO copywriting is a crucial part of the whole user expeireince. The second a user lands on your homepage (or a blog or other iece of content) they’re searching for validation they’ve made the right choice. SEO copywriters can find the words that create connections, giving readers confidence.

SEO copywriting ensures that every page has a clearly defined audience and that the content answers their questions (whatever they may be).

Copywriters can guide visitors to do the things you want them to do, like clicking a link, contacting you or sharing their information.

It’s easy – and common – for organisations to focus effort and investment on the aesthetics of a website, but content and copywriting brings your brand to life and gives it personality and presence, positioning it in your audiences’ minds.

Basically, work with an experienced SEO copywriter at every stage to maximise the impact of your website.

17. What are the trends in SEO copywriting for 2024?

The rise of AI is the defining issue and could pose an existential threat to SEO copywriters. Are we being too dramatic? Maybe. But we’re seeing SEO agencies and individual freelancers experiment with AI and are experiencing good results.

At 42group, we’ve used these tools (including writing over 50 pieces of content for AI-startup HIX.AI). We’re not too impressed with what we’ve seen, but we’re only at the start of exploring the power and potential of these systems.

In the future, we will see AI writing tools that can create content at the level of an early-mid career professional. That’s not hyperbole, but the truth.

What AI can’t do yet, and arguably won’t ever be able to do, is think at the levels of abstraction and sophistication humans can. What that means is that AI won’t be able to do the conceptual work, the strategic side of things and the future look stuff. So we think SEO copywriters will be in work for a little bit longer…

18. How does voice search impact SEO copywriting strategies?

The principles of good SEO copywriting shouldn’t change because of the growing popularity and future potential of voice search.

Understand your audience, answer their questions and improve the user-experience. That’s the same for voice search as it is for good old text search.

19. What is the cost of hiring an SEO copywriting agency?

The costs of an SEO copywriting agency depend on the size and scope of a project. At 42group, our standard day rate is £500. If we work on large projects, we can work on a whole-project basis with a fixed fee for deliverables. This is often a more cost-effective approach for large projects (25+ pieces of content).

You can pay mush lower prices for SEO content. (Fiverr can get you a blog and with a ChatGPT subscription it can be almost free!). But, with everything, you get what you pay for and for long-term impact and results, work with an experienced SEO copywriting agency like 42group.

20. How can SEO copywriting support a content marketing strategy?

SEO copywriting is a fundamental part of any content marketing strategy. Content marketing is all about building relationships and so is SEO copywriting. In some cases, the distinction between the two disciplines is almost non-existent.

21. What is the role of backlinks in SEO copywriting?

It’s easy to say there’s no relationship between SEO copywriting and backlinks, but that’s not true.

If you’re consistently creating high quality content (like we do on the 42group site, for example), you earn backlinks from other sites that want to link to yours. This is a powerful thing, with each genuine link increasing your authority and potentially boosting your search engine ranking.

You can pay for backlinks. While this may give you an immediate boost, it may not last for the long-term.

22. How do SEO copywriters balance readability and SEO requirements?

At 42group, everything begins and ends with the reader. While SEO requirements are essential, they should never interfere with your article or inhibit understanding.

What do we mean by that?

Let’s take the issue of word count. Google wants to find the best answers. In the past, SEO experts would recommend every blog was over 2,000 words, for example. Today, length doesn’t necessarily have an impact on ranking. Instead, focus on creating more posts that deal directly with the user question.

The purpose of content should be to answer audience questions, to inform them in an engaging way. SEO is the product of that, not the sole purpose why the content has been created.

This may sound odd coming from an SEO copywriting agency, but we’ve done it long enough to understand what’s effective and what delivers impact.

23. How long does it take to see results from SEO copywriting?

How long is a piece of string? (42cm, obviously!)

There is no set time for your content to start being indexed and ranking, but think in terms of months not days. SEO copywriting – like content marketing – can take time. You’ll need Google to crawl the site and index the pages. This is the start. Over time, Google will get a better picture of your website, using things like visitor behaviour, backlinks, shares and other signals to assess your ranking position.

We tell our clients to expect to see results on SEO copywriting and SEO content in 3-6 months, but secretly hope it’ll come much, much sooner.

24. What qualifications should an SEO copywriter have?

You don’t need any special qualifications (but they can be beneficial). We employ ex-journalists and mid career professionals alongside those who have only worked for a few years in the industry.

The defining factors are a commitment to work hard, an understanding of SEO and the ability to write high-quality content that delivers a search engine boost.

We need our writers to understand both what makes great writing for an audience and effective content for the algorithm. Great creative writers may not be able to generate the content we need for SEO. That’s fine, it’s a specific skill and takes work and commitment.

There are more attributes we look for, but that wasn’t the question.

25. How do SEO copywriting agencies stay updated with algorithm changes?

42group is a Google Partner and we have regular meetings with our technical SEO experts who talk us through any changes to algorithms or the way that Google works.

As a Google Partner, we get advanced warning and insights that other writers and non-Google Partner SEO copywriting agencies won’t get for a while, enabling us to have a first-mover advantage in optimising content.

The changes made by Google (and to a lesser extent, Microsoft), take time to bed in and we need to match the theoretical impact of changes with the results, identifying any differences and the implications for that on our professional practice.

SEO copywriters never stop learning!

26. What is the importance of content length in SEO copywriting?

Fosus less on ideal content length, and more about how comprehensively you answer a question. This could mean content is a few sentences long. Also consider authority and how you’ll demonstrate that.

Failing that, write 1,500 words and you’ll be fine. (This is a joke)

27. How can SEO copywriting help with social media engagement?

SEO copywriting can help you clarify messages that connect with your audience and this can, of course, help with social engagement.

When using social media, keep keywords to hashtags and instead focus on creating posts with personality. It’s all about being social, after all.

28.  What is the difference between on-page and off-page SEO?

On page SEO copywriting is about optimising everything you have control of. Off-page SEO is all about backlinks and other ranking signals that SEO copywriters don’t normally get involved in. At 42group, we leave that to our SEO expert, a lovely man called an. You’ll love working with him.

29.  How do SEO copywriting agencies handle content for different industries?

Too many SEO copywriting agencies claim they can write with authority on any subject but the simple truth is that they can’t. Never trust an agency that can’t provide examples of work that are relevant to your niche, industry, service or sector.

Why? Because successful SEO copywriting is about creating content which demonstrates your authority of a subject (or subject matter) and that only comes through experience.

30. What are the ethical considerations in SEO copywriting?

Do you really tryst what you read online? No, neither do we. As an SEO copywriter, you have a duty to your readers (and the business that’s paying your wages) to write with confidence and clarity, sticking to the facts and always being open, honest and transparent.

Do not every lie, mislead or mispresent things to your audience. Build trust in your brand among your audience by creating SEO content with authority and honesty.

Be one of the good ones, not one of the many (many) bad ones out there.

Want to connect with an SEO copywriter?

42group is one of the UK’s leading SEO copywriting and SEO content agencies, working with a global list of incredible clients. Join them by contacting us today and let’s get to work!

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