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The Evolution of SEO Copywriting

written by: •edited by: Carly Stockwell•updated: 8/18/2014

SEO is all about keywords, right? Wrong! If you're still focused on keywords in your copy, you are behind the times. Learn what matters now in the world of SEO copywriting.

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    The Evolution of SEO Copywriting Once upon a time SEO Copywriting was all about numbers – namely, the density of your keywords. Writers would work to rigid percentages, squeezing in as many keywords as they could in an attempt to grab Google’s attention. They firmly believed that the number of keyword occurrences directly correlated to the ranking performance of a website and to be fair, back then, it was.

    But things have changed.

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    Modern SEO Copywriting

    Now Google is firmly on the side of the searcher and has evolved to provide the best and most relevant search experience possible. So what does that mean for the SEO Copywriter?

    Thankfully, it means they are now free to write without constraint. Gone are the prescriptive percentages and the focus is now on high quality, natural writing.

    In essence, that’s what great copy has always been about; it’s just that search engine optimisation ‘experts’ opted for the quick ‘stuffing’ fix to get their clients the results they wanted.

    Granted, there was a time when that was rewarded by good rankings, but usually to the detriment of the conversion rate.

    Yes, your website would probably have appeared on the first page of the search results, but it was so badly written it was unlikely to convert many visitors into customers.

    What’s the point in ranking highly if no one buys?

    The problem is that many people hear SEO copywriting and immediately start counting the number of keywords their web page contains. Perhaps we should drop the SEO bit and just call it good old-fashioned copywriting to change their mind-set.

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    Google’s Human Side

    In a way, it’s almost as if Google itself has become more human.

    The search engine has evolved to a point where it needs high quality, natural content that’s relevant to its audience.

    Its intelligence is such that it now penalizes anyone who attempts to manipulate the ranking system with keyword stuffed content and dodgy links.

    Finally, it is seeing websites the way we do. It demands quality and relevant, interesting copy that adds value to the reader.

    Although most people are now catching on to this new paradigm, there are still some shady characters out there that think they can beat the system who are convincing people it’s the right way to write.

    In fact, I was working on a web copy project recently for a client who, unbeknown to me, was working with some ‘marketing experts’ to get his business on track. He’d asked me to produce his web copy, which I duly did, focusing on the benefits and reader. After reviewing it and agreeing it, he then sent it to these ‘experts’ who came back saying ‘this is not SEO copywriting, there is no optimisation…’

    After explaining once more about SEO copy and offering to send his ‘experts’ some information from Matt Cutts that backed up my work, they went quiet. It’s a shame, but that just goes to show how indoctrinated people are about SEO copywriting.

    My advice is to always write your copy for your reader and not the search engines. Google isn’t going to knock on your door, credit card in hand, looking to buy from you.

    Your content must be relevant, educate and engage, and then customers will walk through your door because it shows that you ‘get it’.

    About the Author: Sally Ormond is an independent copywriter and owner of Briar Copywriting Ltd. For tips on copywriting, marketing and social media, you can also read her words of wisdom on Briar Copywriting's Blog.