— Chapter 3 — What’s the Job Description of an SEO Copywriter?
“Won’t SEO stifle my creativity as a writer?”
As we’ve discussed in previous chapters, the primary job of an SEO copywriter is to use certain SEO tools to show search engines exactly what a page is about, and do it in a way the doesn’t sacrifice the quality of the writing.
But, the exact job description of an SEO copywriter can vary greatly depending on their specialty, type of employment, and individual skill set.
In this chapter, we’ll delve into the various job descriptions and working situations available to SEO copywriters, and which one may be the best choice for you.
What Exactly Do SEO Copywriters Do?
SEO copywriters work on any content that can be optimized for SEO, which includes essentially all pages on a website.
Your main projects will usually fall into one of two categories:
- Writing new webpages from scratch.
- Updating webpages that already exist on a site.
Both of these tasks will use all the skills for on-page SEO optimization that you’ve learned so far in this guide.
What Are the Core Pages on a Website?
As an SEO copywriter, you’ll need an in-depth knowledge of the core webpages found on most websites.
We’ve given an overview of the main types of core pages below, and how you can optimize them as an SEO copywriter.
Keep in mind that you can specialize in one specific type of page if you want to. There are plenty of job opportunities available to specialists.
You can also learn how to write all the different types of pages for your clients.
- Home Page: This is the most general page on a website. The goal of a home page is to include links to direct visitors to what they’re looking for on a site.
- About Page: An about page runs the risk of becoming one, long page that’s difficult to read. Break it up by making separate about pages for the company and its major brands, including people, products, and events.
- Blog Post and Article Pages: We discussed blog post and article pages in depth in Chapter 2. Some important SEO elements for these pages are ensuring freshness, encouraging engagement with the page, and including links to other relevant pages on the site.
- Video/Podcast Pages: These often have very little written content to optimize, so try to include “show notes” that describe the video or podcast, or include a written transcript of the audio on the page.
- Lead-Generation Pages: An opt-in page also tends to have limited text, so try to include additional headings and bullet points to add more depth to the page.
- Comparison Pages: These are pages that openly compare your client’s products to their competitors’. Try using Google’s autocomplete function to see what’s being compared to your client’s brand, then make a comparison page for every result you find.
- Sales Pages: The primary focus of a sales page is obviously to generate more sales, so you may not be able to optimize it as well as some pages. But you can still at least optimize it for a keyword — generally a keyword that includes your client’s brand name.
- Product Pages: These can create a duplicate content problem for many sites because most product manufacturers send all their sellers the same product description. Use a tool like Copyscape.com to check if you client has a duplicate content issue. If they do, rewrite their product descriptions whenever possible.
- Pricing Pages: Searchers often look specifically for pricing pages when they exist on a website. Make sure these include as many on-page SEO elements as possible so search engines can easily find them.
- Support and FAQ Pages: Create one page per support question or FAQ. Depth of coverage is not as important on these pages as the goal is to simply answer the specific question.
If you’re interested in learning about writing web copy in more detail, check out Nick Usborne’s course Web Copywriting 2.0: Your Complete Guide to Writing Web Copy that Converts.
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What Types of Projects Would an SEO Copywriter NOT Work On?
SEO copywriters would never work on a project that does not pertain to optimizing webpages for SEO, such as:
- Email campaigns
- Online ads
- Any print marketing materials
You can still write these as a full-service copywriter, but you won’t need to use your additional SEO skills for projects like these.
Another area that is not applicable to SEO are any webpages that live behind a log-in screen. Facebook is a prime example of this, where users need to enter their username and password before getting access to the materials on the site.
When a webpage is not visible to the public, it’s also not visible to search engines. And if search engines can’t read and index a webpage, there’s no need for it to include SEO.
How is SEO Copywriting Different from Technical SEO?
Technical SEO deals with all SEO factors other than the content.
It focuses on making sure the technical details of a website make it easy for search engines to look at the site and find the content.
People who work with technical SEO often have titles like SEO expert, SEO specialist, or SEO analyst.
Technical SEO works with SEO factors such as:
- Ensuring the pages of a website load quickly
- Making a website mobile friendly
- Creating clear and simple site architecture
- Getting rid of duplicate content
- Managing HTML in the backend of a site to make it as easy as possible for search engines to find information on the pages
You may want to become a technical SEO expert if you’ve worked as a web developer, or even if you have a basic understanding of HTML and programming.
But, if you don’t even understand that last sentence, technical SEO is likely not for you.
And you certainly do not need technical SEO skills to be a successful SEO copywriter.
Simply make it clear when you’re marketing yourself that you specialize in SEO copywriting only, not the technical side of SEO. This will ensure you find clients who are looking for your specific skill set.
What Types of Employment Are for SEO Copywriters?
This is one aspect of SEO copywriting that makes your job description somewhat variable.
A few different types of employment exist for SEO copywriters. It’s up to you to decide which type would suit your personal situation the best.
The main types are as follows:
1. Staff Writing Jobs
In a staff writing position, you’re hired as either a full-time or part-time employee of a company. This often comes with medical or other benefits, the same as any other professional position.
All types of businesses across a range of industries hire staff SEO copywriters. Some marketing agencies will also hire staff copywriters.
Many staff writers are required to work in-house at the company’s offices. But, depending on the company, you may be able to work 100% remotely from home, regardless of where you live.
2. Contract Positions
This includes any formal position with a company or marketing agency where you work on a contract basis. Contract positions are temporary, and they should specify the start and end dates in the contract.
The company may ask you to work the same hours as regular employees and may require you to work on-site. But you are not technically an employee of the company, and you do not receive any employee benefits as a contractor.
3. Freelance Work
Freelance SEO copywriters also work on a contract basis, but freelancers tend to pick and choose their own clients. They also tend to work with more than one client at a time.
They may only work on a single project with a company for a short time, or they may work on repeated projects over a longer period.
They can also work on retainer agreements with a client, where the copywriter receives ongoing, monthly work that continues as long as both parties are happy with it.
Which Type of Employment Is Best for You?
SEO copywriting can be a somewhat tailor-made job depending on what your personal needs are.
Take a few moments to consider what you want your work life to look like, and write this down.
Do you prefer having a stable job you can count on to pay the bills? If so, a position as a staff copywriter might be the best choice for you.
Do you want the flexibility to choose your own hours and not have to punch a clock? In that case, you may want to explore freelancing.
There are pros and cons to each type of employment. The best approach is to just get started and try what you think you would enjoy the most.
If you find out it’s not for you, there are plenty of other SEO copywriting opportunities waiting for you to explore.
To check out what job opportunities are currently available for SEO copywriters, have a look at our top sources for freelance and staff writing jobs.
What Skills Do You Need to Be an SEO Copywriter?
Let’s start by saying that you do not need any “official” qualifications to be an SEO copywriter.
You don’t need a degree or to have even graduated from high school to become a successful SEO copywriter.
That said, you will need some basic skills before you get started.
1. Writing Skills
It’s important to have a solid foundation in basic copywriting skills before you become an SEO copywriter.
You can refer to many excellent books that cover copywriting in depth, such as The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Copy that Sells, by Bob Bly.
Online copywriting courses can also be helpful, including AWAI’s flagship program, The Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting.
These resources will teach you the fundamentals of how to write clear, compelling copy that’s easy to understand.
2. SEO Knowledge
You can build on your basic copywriting skills by studying guides like this one that describe SEO-specific elements to include in your copy.
As we discussed previously, you don’t need a technical background in computer programming to be able to write SEO-optimized content.
The majority of skills you’ll need to excel as an SEO copywriter can be learned in quality resources like the ones mentioned here.
3. Research Skills
You’ll need to be able to conduct basic research to support the copy you write.
This includes research about your intended audience and appropriate keywords.
But, depending on the website, you may also need to find relevant statistics, read scientific studies, or interview experts in the field.
Including unique and interesting facts that you can uncover about your topic will make your writing stand out and get noticed.
Our Internet Research Specialist program will also give you lots of insider’s tips and strategies for conducting exceptional internet research, both quickly and efficiently.
Whether you’re writing new webpages or updating existing pages, you’ll always need to be coming up with new ideas.
This is good news if you’re naturally full of ideas. But even if you don’t see yourself as especially creative, you can still get really good at finding ideas.
Pay attention to other things you read, such as magazines, newspapers, social media, and other websites. What are other people talking about? What types of topics would you like to read about that you aren’t seeing covered?
You’ll often find seeds for great ideas as you simply go through your day. Write these down in a notebook and keep them handy for the next time you need fresh ideas.
5. Communication Skills
SEO copywriting may sound like a fairly solitary job, but the reality is that you’ll often need to communicate with a variety of people.
You’ll have an employer or clients to deal with, potential coworkers if you work in-house at a company, as well as people you may need to interview to gather information for a project or as part of a case study.
Whether you work in-house or remotely, SEO copywriters are also often part of a larger team involved in SEO. This can include people like technical SEO experts, web designers, and marketing managers. You’ll usually need to collaborate with all these people as you work on a writing project.
Understanding How an SEO Copywriter Can Help a Business
It’s easy to get lost in the details of SEO and think that the only thing you’re doing for a company is improving their search engine rankings.
But effective SEO copywriting can do far more for a business. And as an SEO copywriter, it’s beneficial to know exactly how you can help a company’s bigger picture.
It can very useful to ask potential or existing clients about their current business goals. They may not know the full extent of your skills and how you may be able to help them do more than just rank on Google.
The following are common business challenges and what you can do as an SEO copywriter to help a company move past them.
1. Raising Brand Awareness
Challenge: A business is not well-known to their potential customers. This could be because they’re new or simply haven’t gained enough notoriety yet.
SEO Solution: Focus on optimizing the company’s home page, article or blog pages, about page, as well as any video or podcast pages they publish. These types of pages will help get the word out about who the company is and what they do or sell.
2. Establishing Trust and Authority
Challenge: A business does not stand out from its competitors, and it has not been able to establish itself as a leader in its industry.
SEO Solution: Focus on optimizing article and blog posts, videos and podcasts, and the about page. Try to choose topics that show the company’s expertise and knowledge in their specific industry, and provide useful information that their potential customers might be searching for.
3. Generating More Leads
Challenge: A business does not have enough new customers and leads coming to them.
SEO Solution: Focus on getting more traffic to the company’s lead-generation pages. This may also give you the opportunity as a copywriter to write lead-generation pieces for your client, such as e-books, whitepapers, or newsletters.
4. Generating More Sales
Challenge: A business’s sales are low.
SEO Solution: Focus on the company’s sales pages, pricing pages, and product pages. Another great type of page to create is comparison pages, where you compare the company’s product to competitors’ products.
5. Increasing Customer Retention
Challenge: When a company does make a sale, those customers don’t buy again. This can include products that people buy routinely, like cosmetics. It can also apply to information products, such as courses or coaching, where marketers will often have progressively more expensive levels of products available for repeat customers.
SEO Solution: Focus on the company’s support and FAQ pages. Make sure they thoroughly answer questions that previous customers may have about their products. A happy customer who is supported in achieving good results with their purchase is much more likely to buy again.
An SEO copywriter’s primary job is to optimize webpages so that search engines can find them, while still creating high-quality content that’s relevant to readers.
But beyond that, your job description as an SEO copywriter can be very different depending on the direction you take in your career.
You have a host of different opportunities as an SEO copywriter. The challenge may be choosing which one to start with.