SEO Copywriting: The Marriage of Content and Data
The balance of SEO copy with quality content is difficult to find and often misunderstood. How much copy should be in your content? How much content in your copy? How much should keywords play into what you post? The broad answers to these questions blend together into “it depends on the project and your team(s).” Luckily, we don’t have to leave it there. Here’s how good SEO copywriting can improve organic traffic and conversions.
Navigating Vs. Steering
Imagine a car with a driver and a passenger. The passenger has a map or, more likely, directions on their phone. For them to get where they need to go, the driver needs to trust the passenger’s navigation, and the passenger needs to trust the driver’s steering. SEO should function as navigation and content should be the driver.
If your company has separate SEO and content departments it is important to get them on the same page. They are working for the same goal, and they’ll go further together. It is key to remember that both departments have specific jobs that they excel at, and forcing those in SEO to try and design content or those in content to analyze SEO will only result in failure and confusion. The car will crash if the passenger tries to steer or if the driver tries to read.
The Role of SEO
As previously stated, SEO should function as a GPS. Let the data show where to go, and don’t stop at your company’s data. Research your competitors, see what’s working for them and either beat them at their own game or focus on areas where they’re weaker. If your competitor is producing a lot of high-traffic content in the form of video blogs but is lacking in written articles: it’s time to get your content department to start writing.
The Role of Content
Content writing is focused more on producing well-written, enjoyable, and/or useful pieces, as opposed to copywriting, which is aimed at increasing traffic and conversions. The two exist on a spectrum, in that copy needs to be well written in order to have conversions, and content needs traffic in order to be read. A good content department/writer can strike a balance between the two and should be familiar with the basics of SEO. This doesn’t mean they won’t benefit from guidance from the SEO professionals.
Where They Blend
Keywords and formatting. Before content writers cringe, this doesn’t mean content should be dictated by how many keywords can be stuffed into an article. This leads to clunky writing and ultimately lowers organic traffic. Keywords should be used as a prompt. SEO research can provide content writers with topics consumers are interested in, as well as what formats perform best for that topic. From there the writer can get to work. Ideally, other keywords will naturally fit into the content.
Good SEO copywriting exists in the gray area between data analysis and content. It cannot exist without collaboration between SEO researchers and content writers, and it cannot succeed without hard work on both sides.