13/08/2021 6 min read by  

Copywriting vs SEO Copywriting: Yes! There’s a Difference

In a marketing world where “content is King”, the copywriter plays a critical role in every marketing strategy. Brands need to be seen as thought leaders online. Their website copy needs to help them rank highly on search engine results pages (SERPs). Ad copy needs to compel consumers to take action and click on the ads. 

It’s a skill to write all these forms of copy or content. But one skilled writer is not always up to all of these assignments. 

Copywriting and SEO writing are two different tasks. Some writers may have the skills to do both, but others might struggle. Not realising the difference, many brands can fall into confusing communication, misunderstood briefs and disappointing outcomes for both the marketer and the copywriter. 

Marketers need to understand the difference between copywriting and SEO copywriting to ensure the best copy results. 

Copywriting vs SEO copywriting

All copywriting today falls under the banner of content, which is undoubtedly the more popular term of our times. Content marketing is its own department in many organisations, and it encompasses all the written communication that a brand uses to attract, engage and convert customers. 

Traditional content writing 

Many people still think of content marketing as a kind of soft marketing. But long-form content like blog posts, thought leadership articles, and emailers — that focus more on friendly chat more than hard sales — have the ability to develop impressively strong relationships with readers. This soft-touch lets marketers build trust, brands build authority, and the end result is loyalty and sales. 

The longer-form content is the one most likely to require a copywriter in the more traditional sense. Someone who can tell stories, get inside the mind of the reader, touch on their pain points and develop content that speaks to them, thus building trust and reputation for the brand. 

SEO content writing 

Web pages and social media posts are instead written to optimise content for SEO. Unlike the copy above, these formats are more obviously purposeful. They need to be written with SEO keywords in mind so that websites are ranking highly and social media posts are found in searches. 

The easiest way to tell if you require an SEO writer or a copywriter is to consider whether the content is critical in your SEO keyword strategy. Website copy and social media copy will always require an SEO copywriter. 

Hybrid copywriting needs

Blog posts are the content format that tend to most confuse marketers regarding their end goal and who they need to write the copy. Some blog posts are written specifically with SEO keywords in mind to help the website rank better. While other blog posts are written specifically to build relationships, the copy is the primary focus, and the keywords are secondary. 

The challenge is that both matter. If you have a deeply engaging, human voice written article that lots of people read — because it’s topical and beautifully written –, that will help with SEO. This kind of content is also more likely to get backlinks because it’s genuinely helpful. But it wasn’t written to rank. It was written to engage. Therefore, the person to write that may be different than the person who writes the blog post purely for keyword purposes. 

Also worth considering is the different audiences you’re trying to reach. SEO copywriting is written to answer certain questions that readers may have. How does your business work? What are you offering? Why should they engage you? etc. Whereas copywriting is often used as a tool to build relationships and loyalty. It’s like building a fanbase where the engagement is already there, and now you’re cementing your position in their world. 

How to write great SEO content

Great SEO copy should always be human-first—E.g. written in a way that relates to the audience and is engaging and relevant. While the keywords are critical in the copy, the reader should not be able to tell that it’s been written with them as the primary focus. This is also why copywriters with hybrid skills are so valuable. Great SEO copy needs to reach keyword targets, as well as appease the algorithms of the time. 

It should be both search engine and user experience friendly. Without this balance, SEO copywriting can be punished algorithmically.  

If in doubt, outsource

Copywriting and SEO copywriting alike are specialist skills that should always be done by specialists. You would not trust your digital marketing to someone who is not a digital marketer. The same should be true for your copy. 

Specialist copywriters and SEO strategy experts can help you to ensure your content strategy and SEO are reaching the right goals. AdVisible works with clients across Australia to transform their SEO strategy and get them seen online. 

Contact us today to learn how we can help you thrive online with quality SEO copy. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

In traditional copywriting, the focus is on creating persuasive content to engage and convince human readers. SEO copywriting, on the other hand, involves optimising content to rank higher in search engine results by strategically incorporating keywords and following SEO guidelines, while still being valuable to users.

While traditional copywriting targets human audiences, SEO copywriting balances the needs of both humans and search engines to improve online visibility and attract more organic traffic.

Yes, some writers may possess skills in both areas, but others might specialise in one or the other. It depends on the writer’s expertise and understanding of both copywriting techniques and SEO principles.

SEO content writers optimise their writing by strategically incorporating relevant keywords and phrases throughout the content to improve its visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs) while still maintaining readability and engaging the audience.

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