SEO Copywriting is corporate gold dust whose off-page incarnation relies for its efficacy on various shades of link building – planned or opportunistic. Either way, it’s been given greater impetus and recognition by the rise of Content Marketing.
SEO Copywriting of the off-page variety can be seen as part of the Content Marketing phenomenon. Of course, Content Marketing is about much more than SEO. It is, in fact, an end in itself that goes way beyond the narrow (albeit valuable) confines of aspiring to be top dog on Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Some would say that Content Marketing has given SEO a certain respectability it had lacked hitherto. By association, SEO Copywriting has benefited from the broad strategic scope of Content Marketing with its emphasis on the twin pillars of quality and authority.
Exploring the Interface
In exploring the interface between Content Marketing and SEO, the obvious questions are about how far they’re complementary, or whether they operate largely independently of each other?
Without ‘content’, off-page SEO would not exist. Likewise, any editorial planning must always have an element of SEO at the heart of its strategic plan (notwithstanding other significant non-SEO benefits).
‘Content’ at its best should be part of a coherent SEO strategy. Call it old-fashioned integrated marketing if you will, but even Google acknowledges the validity of having a consistent theme running through all pieces of content.
Without substance, ‘content’ can never amount to anything. And without a theme to the substance, the search engine has nothing to evaluate on behalf of its content-hungry searchers.
Where ‘content’ has its own standalone validity is when it reaches out directly to a target audience, online or offline. This is where we can see a return to the techniques and values of traditional creative copywriting found in direct marketing, advertising, editorial and broadcast media.
Strictly speaking, SEO Copywriting is an unholy alliance of incompatible opposites, an implausible construct that’s been invented to meet the hyper-competitiveness of online marketing. SEO Copywriting brings out the best and the worst in a copywriter.
Yes, there’s the applied discipline of spinning too many artificial plates, the better to ‘score’ with search engine robots. Then there’s the ‘literary’ challenge that comes with writing a piece that incorporates key phrases in copy that’s appealing enough to humans to persuade them to ‘buy’ your proposition!
Blog posts or articles written for Content Marketing purposes can be ‘long-form’ enough to eschew the tightly-written disciplines more commonly associated with SEO Copywriting. When the emphasis is on the quality of the content – and not on the fiddly tricks of the SEO trade – the outcomes in terms of usability are usually far superior.
If this is what Google has been trying to achieve with its succession of algorithm changes that have forced online marketers into a new world of meaningful content marketing, the results have to be preferable for everyone concerned. Alchemy has arrived.