SEO vs. Effective Copy

By Madeline Jacobson

Effective Copy vs. SEO

SEO has long been a popular strategy in the world of online marketing, so much so that an entire industry has sprung up around it. Business owners bring in SEO marketers or hire SEO freelancers with the goal of sky-rocketing their company to the top of the search engine rankings, where the largest possible audience will see it.

It makes sense that businesses want to rank highly in search engine results (no one’s going to discover your online alpaca sweater store if you’re buried on the 6th page of results for “alpaca sweaters”), but at the end of the day, SEO isn’t the most important aspect of online marketing.

Online marketers need to focus on converting those potential customers into sales, not just search engine algorithms, which is why effective copy is so important. To understand why, let’s break down the differences between SEO and copywriting.

What Is SEO?

SEO is short for search engine optimization, and it’s the tactic of driving free traffic to your website from “organic” listings on search engines, rather than paid ads. There are hundreds of factors that go into search algorithms and just as many approaches, but some common SEO practices include:

  • Creating keyword-rich pages on a website to match possible search queries
  • Link building through social media sharing, guest posting, and other outreach
  • Developing accurate and keyword-rich META data

SEO keeps evolving because Google keeps updating their search algorithm, and one of the latest changes is a greater focus on content over keywords. That doesn’t mean that you can’t keep using keywords on your website, but it does mean you should prioritize the creation of valuable and clear web copy over filling the page with popular search terms.

What Is (Good) Web Copy?

Unlike with SEO, the first concern when creating web copy shouldn’t be writing for the search engines—it should be writing to increase conversions. When you write web copy for your site, keep in mind that your target audience is made up of the people who you want to buy your products or services. Common (and good) web copy practices include:

  • Telling the audience what’s in it for them if they buy
  • Using clear language, avoiding industry jargon
  • Addressing and resolving potential problems and questions the audience might have
  • Including straightforward, easy-to-find call-to-actions

Prioritize Customers over Search Engines

If your primary goal is to fill your web pages with keywords in order to please search engines, you may actually be hurting your bottom line. If your copy isn’t easy to read, you’ll alienate potential customers, and to make matters worse, Google may penalize you in the rankings if they think you’re trying to game the system.

When you focus on writing good web copy, good search engine results will follow. One of the factors that search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo take into account is the amount of time users spend on your pages. By crafting dynamic, compelling content that’s aimed at human readers instead of robots, you’ll increase conversions and your rankings.

Contact us for a free website audit. We’ll help you achieve better conversions from your search engine traffic.

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