SEO Copywriting = Rubbish

Dec 10th

Bob Bly, the well known copywriter, recently wrote an article about why he did not hold much stock in SEO copywriting.

To create powerful copy, you need to have a single core audience in mind and concentrate all your effort on writing to that one audience. When I write copy, that audience is the prospect, the potential buyer of the product I am selling.

However, with SEO copywriting, you pander to another “audience” — the search engines — and not the reader. And by creating copy that’s optimal for attracting search engines, you are, to some degree, weakening that copy’s power to sell. You dilute its strength because you are worrying about two audiences — the reader and the engines — instead of focusing every word on the customer. That’s not how to write copy that sells.

As a copywriter, I would expect him to say something like that. But to a large extent I think many people would be better off if page titles and content had viral marketing or conversion in mind more than the search engines.

If the page is good enough at converting the following will happen

  • affiliates will push traffic at it

  • you can afford to buy in on PPC
  • you can afford to place many link ads or hire article writers or hire a public relations firm and the links will boost your natural rank

Using common permutations of your keywords in the anchor text will help you rank better. If the page converts at getting linked at or selling something that's about all you need...at least as long as you understand a bit about how search engines work.

Published: December 10, 2005

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Comments

Todd
February 7, 2006 - 6:50pm

With an attitude like this you'll be lost and out of a job before you know it. Good marketing always considers how customers find you, and search engines are top dog whether you like it or not. You can't just ignore it – you have to learn to live with it and deal with it. Yes, good copy is paramount, but if nobody ever finds your beautiful, salivation worthy copy, its all for not. Learn to live in both worlds – its those that do that will survive.

February 18, 2006 - 8:02am

With an attitude like this you'll be lost and out of a job before you know it.

Consider me gainfully unemployed then.

Good marketing always considers how customers find you, and search engines are top dog whether you like it or not.

Not in all cases.

I think search engines should be a consideration in many of the things that you do, but I do not like the idea of writing copy primarily for them. Put another way, I started doing really well in and out of then engines when I stopped heavily considering them when writing page copy.

December 10, 2005 - 5:43am

Good idea, Aaron. I think you're right. The way to write copy is totally for the reader. After the fact you can go in and add some keyphrase variations. But while writing the copy focus totally on the reader and his/her wants/desires.

December 10, 2005 - 5:57am

LVV Search: Right. The copy should focus on the reader only, but before writing you should have checked useful keywords to keep in mind while writing. Sometimes it ist only the right expression to choose instead of one only the people who work with the stuff will know, but not the reader/customer. So there's nothing wrong in copywriting for searchengines and readers.

December 11, 2005 - 10:25pm

Good point Susanna, but honestly if you are writing for the end user/reader you are likely to be using the right phrases in the first place.

If you are writing for those in the know/experts - unless that is your buying audience - you are writing your articles wrong anyway.

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