As a Cape Town copywriter and SEO specialist myself, I often forget that people don’t have the same core understanding of these marketing techniques that I do. Half of the things I write on here are inspired by questions people ask of me, so when someone asked me the other day what the difference was between copywriting and SEO content, it got me to thinking about this article. Of course my initial reactions was one of feigned incredulity; but as I am often want to do, I revaluated my position and realised that while the answer might seem obvious to me, it might not be as obvious to someone who is unfamiliar with what SEO has to offer.
What is Copywriting?
So the first question of course is “What is copywriting?” Once we understand this, the rest will make sense.
While most people working in the digital space would immediately jump and answer that “copy” is the content found on a website, technically they are not entirely correct. The people working in print would say it was the content written for their advertisements, while the people working on public relations would argue it is the content written for their PR campaigns. Copywriting is much older than the internet and is defined by Wikipedia as “writing copy for the purpose of advertising or marketing”, which of course can be dated back as far as the first adverts. Copywriting by definition ranges across many different advertising fields, from print to web copy, flyers, pamphlets, banners, TV and of course – SEO. For instance, it has always grinds my gears when a company advertises a role on Gumtree for “Copywriter Cape Town” because it is incredibly generic and could be one of a hundred different forms of copywriting.
What makes SEO optimised content different from copywriting?
SEO optimised content however, is a very different kettle of fish. For starters it is restricted to website copy only due to it being written specifically for search engines or at least with SEO in mind. This also means that it is an incredibly specialised field of copywriting as anyone who writes SEO optimised content has to be both a skilled copywriter and an SEO specialist in order to marry the two skills into one smooth, cohesive and functional article. I have found it is difficult to find really good copywriters in Cape Town that are skilled in these two particular fields, most are either skilled in one or the other, but few in both.
SEO optimised content is that art of skilfully integrating key terms derived from keyword research into articles they write for the website with the purpose of bolstering the overall rankings of that website. Writing SEO optimised content can be tricky, as it needs to both engage the customer and drive the rankings of the site up, so keywords cannot just be stuffed into the article. It has to integrate the keywords smoothly enough that the reader doesn’t even notice it’s there.
You have probably seen hundreds of examples of really bad SEO “optimised” copywriting for Cape Town businesses that read something like this “Come down to plumber cape town to get cape town plumber to fix your plumbing cape town now”. This is an example of a horrid attempt to stuff as many keywords in an article as possible to get that page to rank for those terms. What really happens here is that the site ranks well for a week or two and then gets penalised by the search engines and they lose their rankings faster than they got them.
An example of good SEO optimised content writing is (hopefully) – this very article. If I have done my job right, you will not have noticed the three very specific key terms that I am pushing in this article while still finding value in this article. Maybe you have learned something new about SEO or come away with a better understanding of what copywriting is all about; but either way the article serves a purpose to you, it’s not just fluff. I have brought relevance to my clientele without annoying them, and at the same time I am pushing my own rankings higher for terms that are key to my own SEO campaign.
So the real question is… “What is the difference between website copy and SEO optimised website copy?” When you look at it from that point it makes more sense, the one will engage your customer, while the “SEO optimised” version will engage your customer and improve your rankings at the same time.
So next time you are looking for a copywriter in Cape Town, consider what a difference SEO optimised content can do for your site and give us a shout. Otherwise if you still find yourself asking “What is copywriting versus what is SEO optimised content?”, then send me your questions and I will be happy to help you understand.