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May 20, 2008

When Content Meets Search Engine Optimization

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A List Apart has a great article about The Cure For Content-Delay Syndrome that tries to solve the age-old search engine optimization problem of getting a site up and ready to launch only to wait a year for the content to be produced. According to A List Part, the golden egg in the whole process is hiring an editor to help you with the writing, not a lowly copywriter.

Oh, whatever. That’s nothing more than a bunch of semantics. Writing and editing may be two completely different disciples, but God knows they’re not treated as such in most companies. Oftentimes, a copywriter is what you are until there are enough people below you to promote you to “Editor”. And at that point, you’re just a copywriter with a glorified pay raise. Save yourself the extra bucks an “editor” charges for their title, and go find yourself a copywriter with some skillz. [I feel like you’re speaking of someone in particular here… -Susan] Right. This is my world, revolving around you.

Semantics aside, I am inclined to agree with the article that if you want SEO’d content to be produced on a timely basis, it’s a good idea to go with a search engine optimization company that keeps a couple of writers on staff. It’s important to have a team there who can help guide you in the right direction and craft your written mess into something your users and the search engines will equally love.
There’s always a lot of debate about who should be writing the content for a search engine optimization project. Officially, we advise clients that they should be writing their own content as they’re the ones who are experts on the subject, not us. You have the passion for the topic, you know what products/features customers want to know about, you know where the content holes are, etc. Then, once you provide the meat, we’ll work with you to tweak it, adjust keyword densities, and take out all the spots that would make your high school English teacher question her self-worth.

That’s our official Bruce Clay, Inc. stance on copywriting and SEO.

Unofficially, the Bruce Clay Writers love when we get to write content from scratch for clients! Perhaps it’s because all three of us are slightly deranged, but if we could sit and write content for clients all day, we’d probably do it. So when a client comes to us and asks us to write content, they get three very excited writers who literally fight for the project and jump at it with a boatload of passion. In these cases, we do the research on your site, topic and industry, and deliver you pages of awesome to review on a pre-set schedule.

This may come out as sounding incredibly biased, but I really think that most companies would benefit from working with a copywriter who is well-versed in search engine optimization. Not only will the new content you’re working on together perform better, but a copywriter can also help you go through your site and find ways to include better call-to-actions on pages that tend to get very little attention. I’m talking about your Contact Us page, various forms on your Web site, Thank You pages and things of that nature. They’ll also help ensure that the language and tone remains consistent throughout your site. You may not think all of that matters much, but you’d be surprised how it can affect your site’s readability to readers.

I’m not sure why A List Apart seems to think that writers need an editor to produce work on time and get projects moving, but that’s certainly never been the case around here. Don’t waste your money paying for fancy titles, but do invest in a copywriter who can help you to take your site and your search engine optimization efforts to the next level. As Tyra would say, that’s fierce.

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One response to “When Content Meets Search Engine Optimization”

  1. Heather Angus-Lee writes:

    Did you just quote model Tyra Banks?!! ;) No, I get your point and as a professional writer well versed in SEO, I agree, actually with both your ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’ stances here. From a purely selfish point of view, I prefer to write from scratch. Trained as a journalist, I adore researching, interviews, crafting an article. But that’s going to cost my client substantially more money than editing, and I also don’t believe in “reinventing the wheel.” If my client knows the best sources of information for their products/services, and even has current stuff tucked into their filing cabinet, then I might be reinventing the research wheel.
    Editing is a critical craft in and of itself. I’ve edited national magazines and daily big-city newspapers, and I know what my reporters submitted isn’t what readers saw!
    Thanks for the dialogue!
    wwww.writingseo.com



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