Working with an SEO copywriter

Create copy and content that ranks

At 42group, we’re one of the UK’s leading SEO content and copywriting agencies – which means we know a thing (or 10) about successful projects and collaborations. (We also know about some of the main reasons why SEO copywriting projects fail – and we’ll share that with you, too.)

In this fun, fact-filled article we’re going to outline how you can work effectively with an SEO copywriter (or SEO copywriting agency like 42group). These fundamentals are simple to understand and put into practice. If you do, you’ll find that you work more efficiently and effectively with your SEO copywriter – resulting in higher-quality content that delivers the best ranking results.

What does an SEO copywriter do?

SEO copywriters are responsible for creating content that aims to improve your search engine ranking. How? By generating relevant, well-written and thoroughly researched content, they can improve your website’s authority.

That’s the theory, anyway.

The problem with too many SEO copywriters is that they focus too much on satisfying the algorithm and forget the audience. You can easily identify this content as you read through it. Keywords (and variations) are over-used. The content feels like it’s written to a template (likely because it was). The writer has a superficial understanding of the subject matter.

The reason? Too many so-called SEO writers use writing ‘assistants’ as part of their process. (Assistants are meant to help you, not inhibit you – but they do.)

Genuinely skilled and successful SEO copywriters don’t analyse the top 10 search engine results and copy their structure. Instead, they start from scratch, creating genuinely original and authentic content that’s written with authority.

How? Let’s talk you through the best way to work with an SEO copywriter.

Start with your audience

So, you want your site to be at the top of the rankings. We all do. That’s a given.

The best brands don’t use this as a start point but as the end result of creating content that delivers value for their audiences.

When working with an SEO copywriter, begin by exploring who your audience is, what they want and the value you can add to their lives through high quality content.

This is genuinely how the biggest and most successful brands consider their content – and how you should.

If you tell an SEO copywriter that the only purpose of their content is to feed the algorithm, they’ll not invest time or effort in creating anything with value.

Bring their audience to life and explain how you add value and they’ll be writing for real people.

Prioritise me first, not me too content

Trying to improve your ranking isn’t a good enough reason to write content. The world only needs so many “ultimate guides to…” and “how to…” pieces on, well, everything.

If you create this, you’re adding nothing original to the world. We call this “me too” content – and it’s pointless.

Why? If you’re copying the headline, structure and core content messaging of an existing piece of high-ranking content, you’ll never usurp it. Your audience will see you as a follower, not a leader. And that’s not who you are, is it?

The best brands use content to carve out a position for themselves, creating genuinely original and engaging content. We call this ‘me first’ content – and it can be highly successful.

Instead of looking back at what’s been successful in the past, look forward. Explore the future demands of your audience, answer their questions and provide insights that add to their knowledge.

SEO copywriters don’t like to copy. Every writer (from the $5 freelancer to the £500 a day agency) wants the challenge and opportunity to create 100% original content.

Build an SEO copywriting brief together

The best content is created according to a solid brief. In most cases, SEO copywriters will ask their client to provide this, but we think the best results are delivered when you create a brief together.

At 42group, we’ve developed a comprehensive brief template we use with all our clients. (You can see how we use this here in our guide to writing a content marketing brief.) The purpose of this is to provide all the information our SEO copywriting team needs to get creative.

Writing this brief is a two-way process. We accept the client brief, reflect on it and revise it. This ensures we have clarity over what we’re writing about, why we’re creating content, details on your audience and what’s driving them to search.

If your SEO copywriter isn’t asking questions, then you need to consider how seriously they’re taking your project.

Create content that’s bold, original and authentic

This comes back to the me first content point above. Too many SEO copywriters are afraid of their clients and generate content that’s boring, derivate and very, very dry.

Some of the common issues we see with content are:

  • ·  Headings that stuff keywords but don’t match search intent
  • ·  Confusing, convoluted or unclear intros
  • ·  Articles structured for SEO, not readers
  • ·  Pointless paragraphs to pad out articles
  • ·  Passive writing
  • ·  Endless, pointless keyword variations

These are six that I’ve thought of with a coffee. Given an hour, this list could be as long as this whole article.

No copywriter wants to create junk content. Nobody wants to read it. No brand wants to be known to produce it. But it’s everywhere. (This is a situation that hasn’t been helped by AI – something we deal with below.)

The most successful SEO copywriters are known for creating bold, original and authentic content that can carve out a position for your brand in any niche.

We want to read content that challenges us, inspires us, scares us and rewards us. Content that taps into emotions (or, as we call it, ‘builds human connections’), is going to rank better and read better.

Collaborate don’t dominate

Whatever you do – whether it’s building roads, selling radiators or operating a running shop – you’re the expert at what you do. We accept and respect that. If you’re collaborating with an SEO copywriter (and SEO copywriter) respect their experience, knowledge and skills.

If your SEO copywriter comes up with a creative idea, concept or piece of copy, then at least consider it.

Invest in a relationship

What is it like to work with you?

We’ve been in business for over a decade, and we’ve worked with a huge range of clients. Some good, some bad and some truly ghastly.

The best clients are those who are willing to invest in a relationship. We love long projects where we can develop together with our clients. (We also love the highly paid short ones, too, of course.)

But, when we’re talking about investing in a relationship, we don’t mean money, but the engagement the client has with us – and the trust they give us to create content for them.

The best SEO copywriting and content results come from a strong partnership and take time and investment. 

Trust humans, not technology

Did AI write this post? You’re asking that and we’re asking it, too. But of course, AI hasn’t achieved sentience yet, so it can’t ask questions. QED, this has to be written by a human.

But what is it to be a human?

There’s no way AI could have written that. It would be too busy leveraging your content to synergistically boost your SEO or some other shit.

Writing assistants, generative AI and all the other tech that’s currently being developed could have a transformative impact on SEO copywriting (and present an existential threat). We get that. But not yet.

The last piece of advice is to work with a human SEO copywriter and trust them to deliver.

If you want to boost yur search engine ranking, writing assistants like SEM Rush are attractive. They’ve got the ‘cheat codes’ to ranking, right?


These assistants provide basic advice on structure, headings and keywords that are derived (crudely) from existing high ranking content. It’s no more sophisticated than that.

If you simply for the SEO writing assistant, you’ll generate more ‘me too’ content – and that won’t get you anywhere.

The worst example of this are AI writing assistants. They take all the best bits of high ranking content and combined it to create a post that’s 100% junk.

AI detectors? Also junk.

When it comes to SEO copywriting, AI sucks – and will do for the foreseeable future.

Here endeth the lesson. (As if by magic, Grammarly is trying to get me to remove this phrase. DAMN YOU MACHINES!)

SEO Copywriters: You get what you pay for

You may have read this article and feel upset that we’ve put the blame on clients, not copywriters. That’s not entirely true. The best SEO copywriters (like those at 42group, naturally) can work with the barest of briefs and mere fragments of information about your audience, crafting content that ranks for any audience.

But we’re not cheap.

Perhaps nowhere more acutely is the aphorism “you get what you pay for” demonstrated than with SEO content and copywriting.

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