The Six Top Opportunities for SEO Copywriters

If there is one area of web writing that everyone should learn, it’s SEO copywriting (Search Engine Optimization).

If you’re not already familiar, SEO copywriting involves re-working the copy on a web page in a way that makes the page appear near the top of the search results when a person uses a search engine (like Google) to find what they’re looking for. The ideal end result is to drive more visitors to your client’s website, without paying a dime in advertising campaigns to get them there.

I recently sat down with the pioneer of SEO copywriting, Heather Lloyd-Martin, to get the low-down on how the opportunities are laid out.

What I found out is that a brand-new copywriter can jump in right away and start making solid money from day one. And as they learn and continue to build their skills, each opportunity builds on the last one and warrants a much higher fee. It very well may be the easiest and fastest way for a web writer to get started working with paying clients.

Let’s take a look at the opportunities in order, starting with the easiest …

Opportunity #1: Keyphrase Research

This first opportunity is an easy one, once you learn how it’s done. Here, a potential client doesn’t know what keyphrases would be good for their website. And they don’t know how to use the available research tools to get that information.

Since you understand what keyphrases are intended to do, you’re able to look at their website in a very unique way, and see whether or not a keyphrase is going to work within the copy. For example, you might find some keyphrases that people are using to search for information on the Internet, but they aren’t grammatically correct. Or you might find that people are searching using a different set of words than what the client is using to describe his product or service. At this point, even a very new SEO copywriter is able to easily do the research and say, “Here’s a list of really good keyphrases, all of which will work within your copy.” And that’s it!

Opportunity #2: Keyphrase Strategy

The next step you can take as an SEO copywriter, whether your client is a small business or a Fortune 500 company, is to take that keyphrase list you created and say, “Here are all the pages on your website, and here are the keyphrases that would fit every single page of your site.” At this point, by showing the client where to use the keyphrases, you’re actually helping your client guide his or her SEO strategy. You’ll go as far as saying, “On this particular page, if you were to rewrite it, the words that you would want to focus on, would be X, Y and Z.”

Opportunity #3: Keyphrase Editing

Many of your potential clients will have really good content on their websites, but that content isn’t good for search engines. The copy is very well-written, but it’s not really relevant to how people are actually searching. Your job here would be to actually edit the copy to make it more relevant, and ensure the keyphrases you identified in the last phase are used within the copy. To do this, you would insert the keyphrases within the copy where they fit to make that copy more specific. This could involve rewriting a headline or subhead, or even adding headlines and subheads. Or it could simply mean taking copy that’s not as specific, such as the phrase “our product,” and replacing it with a keyphrase “our copywriting course.” Easy, right?

Opportunity #4: SEO Copywriting

At this phase, you’re performing the services of a real SEO copywriter. You’ll begin rewriting entire web pages, and clients will come to you and say, “We don’t have an FAQ page, and we need you to write one” … and you’ll end up writing new pages from scratch. At this point your fees will increase exponentially. Because whether you’re revising existing copy or starting from scratch and creating brand-new copy, you’ll be using your direct-response copywriting skills – plus your keyphrase research skills, plus your SEO editing skills – to provide your client with a well-written, high-converting page. Whether that page’s job is to get the visitor to download a newsletter, buy a product, or go to another page, you’ll be able to get visitors to it via the search engines and take the appropriate action.

Opportunity #5: The Total SEO Package

If you can provide all four of these services (and why wouldn’t you!), you’re able to provide the total SEO copywriting package that gives your clients everything they need. But wait, there’s more …

Smart marketers know they need to add fresh content to their website on a regular basis, to keep both the search engines and their customers and prospects coming back again and again. So once you get started offering the total SEO package, you’ll soon find that many of your clients will want you to write content for them on an ongoing basis. Sometimes it may be only a couple of pages if it’s a smaller business client. Or, for larger clients, you could be doing 100 pages a month just for that one website, because they have enough products and customers to support that.

Bonus Opportunity: Training

Once you get good at any one of the opportunities listed above, you’ll become eligible for this bonus opportunity.

For many of your clients, regardless of size, SEO copywriting will be new to them. However, they might want to do the writing themselves, and simply need someone to teach them how to do it as it relates to their website. They’ll rely on you to go in and say, “Here’s your existing website, here are the improvements I recommend, and now I’ll teach you how to do it yourself so you’ll feel confident moving forward on your own.”

Once you’ve worked with a lot of websites, you can move yourself more into this consulting side of the business. Even though a company might not want to outsource and have a recurring expense indefinitely, they will be happy to make a big investment up front. They know they need to do something with their search campaigns, but they don’t know what. You’re seen as a lifesaver when you come in and tell them exactly what to do, and can demand a high fee accordingly.

Now you understand some of the main opportunities for SEO copywriters. In future issues of Wealthy Web Writer, we’ll cover other opportunities in detail … like blogging, pay-per-click ads, directory listings, getting involved with social media, and so much more.

Truth be told, the landscape for being an SEO copywriter is really endless. And potential clients are out there and are hungry for all of it.

So, if learning SEO copywriting isn’t on your goal list, add it now. No matter what web writing field you’re specializing in, understanding SEO will improve your copy. And if you don’t know how to do it, you’ll be leaving money on the table for someone else to take your clients.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

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Published: January 7, 2009

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