I’m trying an experiment over the next few weeks and it’s this: can I boost my search results for the phrase ‘UK copywriter’ using content alone?
I have an admission to make – even though I am a highly experienced UK copywriter I’ve developed some suppositions about SEO and copywriting that I’ve never put to the test objectively. The main one is that:
Good copywriting is about writing for people not search engines
I’ve always considered it most important to write for customers rather than search engines so my UK copywriting work has always focused on the quality of the words I use rather than their technical set up. We frequently work in conjunction with SEO agencies who deal with the technical set up, link building and measurement so there are lots of aspects of the SEO campaign that we’re not involved with – I don’t think that diminishes what we offer. We’re copywriters and we concentrate on getting the words right. There are lots of UK SEO copywriters out there who make big claims about their technical abilities but I’m not one of them.
If I occupy niche within UK copywriting it’s in our ability to translate business objectives into good business communication. In practice that means that I’m good at understanding businesses, consulting with them on what they want to achieve and finding ways of aligning their objectives with the content they produce. It also means I tend to work with clients with the vision and budget to realise that content is important. Great content sells – and poor content doesn’t.
So what are my own objectives for my UK copywriter experiment?
Lots of online businesses have become preoccupied with search results at the expense of creating good web content for their customers, by which I mean copywriting that sells and/or provides the customer with useful information. Those businesses are missing the point – the success of your business is measured in profits, not in search results.
On the flipside, search results are really important in getting traffic to your site and without traffic no one has a chance to see what you have to offer. However, search results are a means to an end – driving people to your site – once they get there you need effective web copywriting to convert them to customers.
UK copywriters vs factory farmed content
In the copywriting niche it feels like there’s a battle going on between professional UK copywriters (by which I mean those who believe in and practice writing in a way that is considered, appropriate to the business, well-researched and effective) and those who mass-produce SEO copywriting that is there just for keywords.
I describe it as a battle because I regularly receive enquiries from clients who want their content written for as little as $1 a page. Considering this blog post has taken me an hour to write and over fifteen years experience in journalism, marketing and PR, I feel that I’m worth a little more than $1 – $2 an hour.
Companies that do this are paying less than minimum wage for the person that effectively represents their business to ALL their customers.
As a copywriter, UK companies of all shapes and sizes employ me to be their mouthpiece to understand and represent their products and services favourably, to get inside the minds of their customers and understand the kind of things that are going to motivate them to buy – and then turn that into copy that will sell. You just can’t do that on $1 an hour.
The big “but”
But… for those people that do employ the $1 a page copywriters, does it work? Maybe I’ve got it wrong and there are hundreds of businesses making millions off the back of bad writing. In which case, maybe I should look for another job.
I want to find out.
More importantly I want to show that my way – and the way of other UK copywriters – works. That quality wins every time.
How exactly I will do that – and what other suppositions will be put to the test – is for another post.
Where I’m at: November 19th 2010
Current position for UK copywriter on Google.co.uk – 11 – no change
Current position on UK copywriter on Google.com – 15 – no change
2 x “UK Copywriter” blog posts published on consecutive days