10 Common Questions about SEO Copywriting — and the Answers
Have you thought about dipping your toes in the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) copywriting waters, but figured it was “too technical” to learn?
Or, have you shunned SEO writing because you’ve heard it was spammy, maddening, and not worth your time?
Let me calm your fears …
SEO writing has been around for a long time — over 20 years now.
A lot has changed over those 20+ years.
No longer does Google reward key phrase-stuffed, spammy writing (woo-hoo!).
In fact, quality, authoritative writing is what scores a sky-high ranking. You know, the kind of writing you already love to create.
Wondering if you should add SEO copywriting to your services mix? Here are 10 common questions I hear — and my (sometimes blunt) responses. Enjoy!
1. I have zero copywriting experience. Can I still write SEO copy?
Yes … but …
There will be a learning curve.
You don’t have to be a technical wizard who enjoys coding sites in your spare time. But you do need to understand the SEO copywriting basics.
Otherwise, you are doing your clients a huge disservice. Not understanding SEO best practices means you’ll miss important opportunities (or make mistakes) that can cost your client money.
(Fortunately, SEO copywriting skills can be picked up fairly quickly.)
You’ll also need to learn the basic copywriting ropes.
If you want to help your clients succeed (and that means helping them make sales), it’s crucial that you understand how to create conversion-oriented copy. It will help you write better web pages, improve your email campaigns — and even help you drive more traffic to your site.
2. I’m an established copywriter. Should I learn SEO writing, too?
Yes. SEO writing is a service you can offer established clients, increasing your profit margins.
Plus, why wouldn’t you want to help your client drive more traffic to their site? After all, if you don’t provide this service, your client may be forced to find another vendor who can.
3. So, how can I learn the ropes of SEO copywriting?
You have a few options.
Unlike some careers, don’t figure that you’ll “learn SEO copywriting” in a few months — and that’s all you’ll need to do. I’m still learning. I’m still researching. It’s a never-ending process.
If you enjoy learning in a conference environment, events like Pubcon and Search Marketing Expo run SEO copywriting panels. AWAI runs web-writing workshops like the Web Copy Intensive and special sessions at their Copywriting Bootcamp.
Occasionally, there are local workshops too — you can always check with an SEO copywriter you like and see if he/she is running anything in your area.
If you prefer to learn from the comfort of your comfy couch, there are focused, online training classes, too (such as AWAI’s SEO program). Going through a training course can even help land you your first gig.
What should you avoid? Learning the ropes from message boards (where the information could be wrong) and books (where the information may be outdated). Stick to constantly-updated resources.
4. I’d rather learn “on the job.” Will anyone hire a newbie SEO copywriter?
Yes! Although most companies prefer to hire folks with some experience, you can work as an assistant at first — and gradually work on writing projects as your skills improve.
A recent annual study found that the average web writer salary is $77,500 — so the income projections are excellent.
I was just checking out the Marketing Profs Marketing Salary Guide, and the salaries for brand and agency content positions blew me away …
The forecasted salary range for a content strategist is $60,000-$115,000.
A web copywriter? $47,000-$104,000.
In fact, there was nothing under $40K a year.
Pretty cool, eh? SEO content writers finally have a seat at the table — and making the money we deserve!
Now is a great time to break into SEO writing. All types of clients — from B2B to B2C — are looking for SEO copywriters and freelancers just like you. Plus, learning the SEO writing ropes isn't as geeky as you may think.
5. Won’t what I learn go out of date in just a few months?
Yes … and no. It’s true that Google keeps changing the rules. Having said that, many of the basics (like write for your reader) are the same.
It’s crucial to stay educated in this fast-moving field. If you love to learn, SEO (and SEO copywriting) is a great career choice.
6. How can I find SEO copywriting work?
That depends — do you want to work in-house or freelance? If you want to freelance, think about business owners you know (for instance, your hairdresser, a restaurant owner, or a plumber). Is there some way you can help them?
You can also work with advertising agencies, SEO firms, copywriting agencies, and even web design companies. In short, freelance SEO copywriters have lots of options.
7. How much should I charge for SEO copywriting services?
That depends on a lot of things, including your experience level, your local area (assuming you are focusing locally to start), and the types of clients you want.
If your heart is with small business owners, it makes sense to charge small business prices. If you love working with corporations — and you have some experience under your virtual belt — you can charge much more.
I know some SEO copywriters making $20K a year — and others making over $200K. It all depends on your income goals.
8. Can I be a part-time SEO copywriter?
Yes. Many people when they are first starting out have a “real job” during the day — and work on SEO copywriting assignments at night. Working part-time can be a great way to build up a client base while having the security of a regular paycheck.
9. How can I get paid more money?
That’s up to you. Top-notch SEO copywriters understand how the search engines work, and keep up on the latest and greatest algorithmic changes.
Plus, they’re researching topics like NLP, neuromarketing, consumer psychology — anything that will help them write better copy faster.
The more you know, the more you can get paid.
If you love learning, and uncovering the latest search engine burp is fun for you, you can look at expanding your skills into content marketing, social media, and even consulting and training.
Some SEO copywriters even take on full-scale SEO projects, handling everything from technical to analytics and everything in-between.
If this is the route you plan to take, know that you’ll need to spend a lot of time educating yourself. As I mentioned earlier, your lack of knowledge can hurt a client, so be very honest about what you can do — and what you can’t provide.
10. The most important question of all: Is SEO copywriting a fun career choice?
Yes, SEO copywriting is a darn fun career choice.
Some folks choose to turn SEO copywriting into a lifestyle business, where they fit in copywriting gigs around family, fun, and other responsibilities.
Other people dream of having a full-fledged SEO copywriting and content marketing agency, complete with employees, downtown office, and signage.
Still others would rather work for an agency and be part of a fantastic team.
If SEO copywriting is your desired career choice, you have the freedom to create the work environment you’ve always wanted. And having that kind of freedom, combined with doing the work you want to do, is a great gig. :-)
Do you have any questions about getting started as an SEO copywriter? Share with us in the comments below.
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