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Is it feasible to be a copywriter who doesn't do SEO?

Discussion in 'Copywriting' started by dabears82, May 2, 2013.

  1. #1
    Hey, all. I've read a couple books on SEO and have taken notes, but I still don't feel comfortable with it. I know how to write web content that includes a couple important keywords per page, but apparently you need to know some programming to be really good at SEO.

    So, my question is: will anybody hire a copywriter who strictly provides web content, and doesn't do any kind of SEO programming? I feel like it's very easy for me to write compelling content, but I don't feel comfortable adding metatags and meta descriptions and all that. Will clients be willing to hire a separate SEO expert or will they all expect this from the copywriter?

    Thanks very much for your help.
    dabears82, May 2, 2013 IP
  2. Revelations-Decoder

    Revelations-Decoder Well-Known Member

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    #2
    There are good SEO's who don't know much about programing above and beyond what they need dabears.

    There are good SEO's who know lot's about programing to. The things you mention like meta tags and meta descriptions if you use or sell to those using Wordpress can be taken care of.

    Nothing beats hands on though but if you sell articles these people who want to add them to their site and do that themselves anyway.

    The internet is a great big place so lot's of scope so therefore there is scope for what you do to somewhere.
    Revelations-Decoder, May 2, 2013 IP
  3. YMC

    YMC Well-Known Member

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    #3
    If you intend to hang your shingle out as a web-based writer, not having at least a basic understanding of SEO and how a web page is put together will make you less competitive. You don't need to know how to build a website but you should, at a minimum, understand how a meta description impacts the way a site is listed on Google, the difference between an H1 tag and an H6 tag and if bold and italics do anything other than change the way the text looks.

    Some customers will expect you to create headings and subheadings. Understanding how they work SEO-wise is important. Knowing how to implement it can be a great upsell but isn't necessarily a required skill.

    You've read a couple of books. Most web writers read books, blogs, forums and test, test and test some more. It's a process that never ends. It's not like learning about history or how to solve a quadratic equation. It's also a moving target as Google is constantly changing how it evaluates sites.

    If after reading two SEO books, you don't understand meta descriptions, I would suggest you take both books and dump them in the trash. In a nutshell, a meta description is simply a 150 character or less summary of the article/page that the search engines use to help learn what the page is about. They often use the meta description within the search engine results - those descriptions that appear under the link to the sites. As a copywriter, you should be able to take those 150 characters and convince the search engines AND humans that the page is worth visiting/reading.

    Do you need to know how to add a meta description to a page? Not really. But, you sure better understand how they impact the search results and know how to write a good one.

    Some customers are going to request you write the meta descriptions. WordPress doesn't write them for you. Sure it can grab the first 150 characters of the piece and stick it in the meta description tag but that's not really the most effective approach. It's also not one a customer is bound to appreciate.

    The best way to learn SEO is by doing. Make a blog or several. Try different things and see what happens. Read forums. Read other blogs. Most online writers I know spend more time honing their SEO skills than they do their writing skills.

    As to actually adding the 'code', most folks either do that themselves or hire someone to do it for them. I try not to get into that role when I've been hired to write for someone. If something goes wrong with the site, I don't want to risk a finger pointing contest - particularly since so many "programmers" really don't know what they are doing code-wise or SEO-wise.
    YMC, May 2, 2013 IP
  4. boyuancy

    boyuancy Greenhorn

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    #4
    I just think that you are over thinking things Dabear82. The "programming" that you are talking about is just basic HTML where all you have to do is put a start tag (which will look something like this <this is a tag> before certain text and an end tag after it (looks like this </this is an end tag>).

    The usual tags that are required in SEO are, like you said, meta tags and header tags. It is super-easy to learn and one of the best sources to learn from is W3Schools.

    Here is a basic tutorial about Meta Tags:

    http://www.w3schools.com/tags/tag_meta.asp

    It won't take too long for you to learn. Just a bit of practice.

    I have done quite a bit of SEO writing and all I was asked to do was insert keywords into the text body, which any writer with good writing skills can do. So again, don't worry, you are as good as an SEO writer (if not better).

    Good luck.
    boyuancy, May 2, 2013 IP
  5. axxil

    axxil Member

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    #5
    If you can write compelling content you're most of the way there. Your customers care relatively little
    about your SEO capabilities. That means that Google doesn't care all that much about
    your SEO abilities. Any customer for your writing who's obsessing about what you produce being SEO-friendly
    is living in the past. Things really have moved on from the days when you needed to have the keyword mentioned a certain number of times for instance.
    axxil, May 12, 2013 IP
  6. Kraven2

    Kraven2 Active Member

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    #6
    No matter what you do, you will always be working with SEO. The only difference is that I do it consciously and can manipulate the outcome, while you don't and will have to guess about the results.

    There is no escape lol :p
    Kraven2, May 13, 2013 IP