How to find a great SEO copywriter
Now I could give you a local directory of SEO copywriters, or even tell you to Google it, and tell you that whoever ranks at the top is the very best.
But the best way to find a great SEO copywriter is to understand exactly what it is you want them to do.
That way, you’ll be equipped with the questions you need to ask to sort the outstanding SEO copywriters from those that are still early in their learning journey.
And let’s just say, given the impact a good SEO copywriter can have on your business, it’s worth putting in the time to choose the right specialist for your business.
If you want your business to do well in the search engines, both you and your SEO copywriter need to understand how the search engines work and what they are looking for.
What does Google want?
At a fundamental level, Google wants 3 things from your site:
1. It wants great written content on your site that answers your customers’ search intent
2. It needs your site to work properly
3. It needs to know it can trust your site
There’s obviously a lot that goes into each of those things, but if you understand where an SEO copywriter fits into your bigger SEO picture, you can ensure you maximise their impact
So let’s take a look at the types of things a high level SEO copywriter can help you with.
An overarching content plan can be a game changer.
A good SEO copywriter can research and create a content plan, and be able to explain their rationale behind this content plan, so that you can instantly understand which pieces are worth paying a specialist copywriter for.
A good SEO copywriter will also look at things like:
Your website strategy
What is the goal of your website? For ecommerce sites, this is more obvious – you want people to buy your product. But for service-based industries, in might be more logical for people to call you, or sign up for your newsletter.
Once you are clear on the overall goal of your website, and who it is for, you can start to think specifically about what types of content you will need.
What types of things will your customers need and want to know?
This will depend on where your customers are in their buying journey from a marketing perspective, otherwise known as the marketing sales funnel.
The marketing sales funnel
1. At the top and broadest point of the marketing sales funnel (shown in blue) are people who aren’t aware they have a problem.
These people are blissfully unaware – they either do not acknowledge they have a problem, or miss a golden opportunity.
2. The next level down (green) consists of people who are aware they have a problem, but aren’t aware of a solution.
3. The third level (yellow) are people who understand both their problem, and the solution, but aren’t yet aware of your product.
4. The fourth level (orange) consists of people aware of their problem, the solution, and your product but are yet to be convinced of its worth.
5. The fifth and final level (red) consists of people who are not only aware of their problem, the solution, and your product, they actively want to buy your product, but are teetering on the edge because of various hesitations that need to be addressed.
So you can see, the type of information or content required at each level is going to be quite different depending on where the customer is in their buying journey.
Now not all keywords are created equal – not all keywords convert.
Ideally you want keywords that will build traffic with people ready to buy your service or product.
If you build traffic with people higher up the sales funnel, while still valuable, these will more likely be people in their information-gathering phase.
It doesn’t mean they will never become a customer, but it probably does mean you will need to nurture them for a lot longer.
Long-tail and short-tail keywords
Now when people start searching on Google, their searches are often more general and broad.
As a rule of thumb, you can say the shorter the keyword phrase, the higher up the sales funnel your customers are.
These people are still in the information-gathering phase of the buying cycle.
As customers learn more, these searches often get longer and more specific.
For example, you might have started off your queries on Google looking up SEO or copywriter, SEO copywriter might become SEO copywriter Melbourne, then How much does SEO copywriter in Melbourne cost?
As customers get closer to knowing exactly what they want, they also want to know where they can find it, and how much it will cost.
Their searches become longer and more specific.
Correspondingly, these are known as long tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords, while usually lower in traffic, are often also lower in competition, and are often further down the sales funnel, and therefore closer to these people becoming actual customers.
Long tail keywords are often the ones we want to target.
But once you get to this point, there’s two more things to consider: traffic vs competition.
Sometimes long tail keywords can be so specific that almost no one is searching for them.
On the flip side, people might be searching for them, but your competitors have already cottoned on to it, and the strength of your competitors’ sites may push you out of the running to rank for these keywords.
A good keyword or phrase will ideally be further down the sales funnel, and therefore closer to the point of conversion, have a decent search volume, and be competitive against your competitors’ sites.
Good SEO copywriters understand and tailor their content accordingly.
Answering customers queries
As you might have started to guess, SEO copywriting is so much more than using strategically-placed keywords in your copy.
It’s also not peppering your content with an exact dose of your chosen keyword.
The type of content Google can understand is much more natural sounding, much more like a normal everyday conversation between people.
You should feel free to use variations and synonyms of your keywords – it will be much more natural sounding, and will continue to confirm to google what your page is about
Google now pays a lot of attention to searcher intent.
That means while keywords are certainly still important, you actually don’t need to use the exact words a customer puts into a search query for Google to understand if your content provides the best solution for your customer.
The real secret, is to genuinely understand what it is your customers need and want.
For example, someone who searches How much does an SEO copywriter cost? is possibly wanting to engage an SEO copywriter who can help improve the traffic, conversions, and profit, on their site, and are researching the initial financial investment.
Therefore, although they’re searching about cost, they’ll probably also be interested in understanding how long the copywriting process takes, how long till they see results, as well as other ways they can grow their business online and maximise their return on investment.
Try and match the content on your site to the searcher’s intent, rather than just the exact search query.
Give the searcher what they want and need, rather than what they just type into Google.
Click Through Rates
It’s all well and good to rank on the first page of Google, and even in one of the coveted top 3 spots, but actually getting people to click on your listing is another skill again.
This is where the best SEO copywriters really hit their stride.
Their content not only needs to get you onto the first page of Google, it’s now competing against all the other pieces of strategically written content.
The title they choose, and the description underneath, needs to convince your reader to click on your listing over all the others.
What’s more, once they have clicked through to your page, that content better keep them there, and ensure they don’t jump straight back out to the results page looking for a better answer.
Ideally, you want people to read multiple pages on your site.
Google notices how long a person spends on your site.
The longer they stay, the more valuable Google considers your content to be.
The more likely it is to push you up the rankings.
Just a quick word – before you spend any money on SEO Copywriting, ensure a specialist with the necessary skills has audited your site.
No matter how good the content is, and how well keywords have been chosen, technical issues on the backend of a website can cripple its ability to rank in search engines
As powerful as good SEO copywriting can be, the reality is it can be a complete waste of money if you don’t know your site is technically sound.
Things like your site’s speed, whether it’s mobile-responsive, whether Google can easily find its way around your site without dead ends, blocked pages, or broken links, and whether Google trusts your site, will all impact how your site ultimately ranks.
A good SEO copywriter won’t miss a beat when you ask them about these things, and at the very least, if they are not confident checking these things themselves, will be able to refer you to a reputable SEO specialist who can check these things for you.
If they don’t know anyone, or cannot point you in the right direction, question how they are learning about on-page SEO well enough that they are able to write your SEO content.
A good SEO copywriter should be engaged within the SEO community to keep up with the latest updates and changes.
A good SEO copywriter should be constantly learning about SEO and will have their finger on the SEO pulse.
There have been lots of tactics used in the past to try and game Google, or in simpler terms, cheat the system to make sites rank better.
As Google has become more sophisticated, it can now detect when these tactics are used, and will often these penalise sites, severely, and sometimes permanently (ie removing sites from Google’s search results).
This is obviously the worst-case scenario, and you definitely don’t want that to happen.
People can easily call themselves an SEO copywriter and start charging a lot of money for it, but the skill involved in bringing both SEO and copywriting expertise together to increase your sales is a niche skillset.
Unfortunately, less experienced and less expensive writers can agree to do SEO copywriting without genuinely understanding it, and while well-intentioned, can end up doing more damage than good using old, once-acceptable tactics without realising the risk they pose to your site.
Unfortunate but true, there are also dodgy people who really do just want to take your money and run, and by the time you realise they’ve used questionable tactics, they are nowhere to be found.
Top 3 things to watch out for:
Guaranteed #1 rankings
A bona fide SEO professional will not guarantee you #1 rankings.
The reason is because so many factors outside our control (ie our competitors’ sites, whether other people choose to link to our content) contribute to the way Google ranks our sites.
The only way to guarantee a #1 ranking is to do so by questionable means, or to rank you for a word no one is searching for, and therefore no one else is trying to rank for.
It’s usually pretty obvious when content has been written with the search engines in mind – it’s difficult to read, and sounds clunky.
Funnily enough, Google also doesn’t like it because it knows the game you’re playing, and just like us, Google doesn’t like to be duped.
Buying backlinks, or using a personal blog network (PBN) is the equivalent of paying someone to give you a reference for a job – how do you think your potential employer would react if they found out – Google has a similar policy.
Google wants to see backlinks that have been genuinely earned because you have produced amazing content for your customers.
If someone uses backlink building as part of their sales pitch, ask very specifically how they will build these backlinks to your site.
While cost outlay is an important consideration when engaging SEO professionals, don’t skimp on the part where you ensure the person has the appropriate skills.
A great SEO copywriter will understand SEO at a fundamental level, as well as copywriting, so they are to be able to create content that not only ranks on google, but increases traffic that ultimately converts into paying customers.
And surely that is the aim of the game.