Updated April 23, 2012Doc Sheldon
Why would anyone want to pay a professional SEO copywriting service to provide their webcopy?
At this point, you may or may not believe that you should engage a professional SEO copywriter to produce your copy. You probably don’t know me from Adam, and as one of the owners here, it’s fair to say I have an axe to grind. That’s fine. I would urge you, though… at least keep an open mind as you read this.
Those small businesses that have their own website often began by writing their own webcopy, because of a limited budget, or perhaps the feeling that only they could convey what their business was really about. So we decided to list a few reasons we’ve heard from people about why you should not pay for a professional copywriting service:
- SEO is a waste of time and money – people can find your site without any fancy-schmancy keywords or “optimization”;
- There’s no special skill required to write good SEO copy… just use lots of words that you might use if you were looking for your site – your site’s name, for instance;
- You don’t need “interesting” webcopy. Your site is yours. Just write what’s interesting for you;
- Those guys get paid WAY too much for what they do;
- I read somewhere that people don’t read on the internet, anyway;
- The quality of my webcopy doesn’t matter – links are the only thing that count, and I can buy as many as I want;
- I can find someone good enough on CraigsList or some offshore forum.
Hopefully, everyone reading this realizes that each of those statements is at best, misguided and at worst, patently false. Just for kicks and giggles though, let’s take a look at each of them.
#1: “SEO is a waste of time and money – people can find your site without any fancy-schmancy keywords or “optimization.”
Yeah, right! If you buy into this one, you’d better have a brick & mortar business and a great local following. You certainly won’t be seeing much traffic on your website.
There’s a lot more to optimization of a website than just keywords on the page, but don’t expect to rank for any terms that users might use to search for you, if those terms don’t appear on the page at all. Relevance to the search query is paramount to rankings and without keywords, you’re irrelevant, period.
#2: “There’s no special skill required to write good SEO copy… just use lots of words that you might use if you were looking for your site – your site’s name, for instance.”
If you read at all, you must surely have come across something at some point that was poorly written, uninteresting or full of spelling and grammatical errors. That can ruin the user experience all by itself. And as for using “words that you might use if you were looking for your site”, don’t make the mistake of thinking that the search terms you would use are the same as those that the average user would type into their search query.
The “good SEO copy” is an issue, too. Well-written SEO copy is like a good haircut… nobody should be able to spot it unless they’re really looking for it. It should be interesting, entertaining or informative, above all. The fact that it includes keywords should go completely unnoticed.
Oh, before I forget… finding your site via a search for your name or your company name… means nothing.
#3: “You don’t need ‘interesting’ webcopy. Your site is yours. Just write what’s interesting for you.”
This is accurate, provided the only person you’re interested in is yourself. Sure, it’s your site, but presumably, it’s there to attract more customers and make money. If you want people to stay on your site long enough to convert into customers, then you need to give them a reason. And if you only make it interesting for you, then it’s a safe bet they’ll try another of the more than 600 million websites out there. ‘Nuff said?
#4: “Those guys get paid WAY too much for what they do.”
First of all, if you really knew what they do and how they do it, you’d probably be doing it yourself. Chances are you’d eventually realize your efforts weren’t doing the trick, though, and you’d be looking for someone to do it right. And when it’s done right, believe me, it’s priceless!
I’ve seen a few competitors that charge a LOT more than we do, and even their rates area a bargain, when you consider what good SEO copywriting brings to your business.
#5: “I read somewhere that people don’t read on the internet, anyway.”
Well, if you read it on the Internet, it must be true, right? Actually, studies have indicated that most people don’t actually “read” on the Internet… they scan, which, when you think about it, is another good reason to have relevant keywords in your on-page content. When scanning through your copy, a visitor is more likely to quickly notice a term that’s relevant to what they’re looking for. If they scan the page and don’t see anything that they think may satisfy their need, they may leave and go elsewhere to spend their money.
#6: “The quality of my webcopy doesn’t matter – links are the only thing that count, and I can buy as many as I want.”
We’ve already talked about why the quality of your copy matters for your site visitors. But it matters to the search engines, as well. It doesn’t serve their purposes to deliver crappy content in the search results. It reflects poorly on them, which will ultimately have an effect on their ad revenue. So they go to great lengths to incorporate the ability to recognize symptoms of poor quality copy into their algorithms. That alone should be sufficient to disprove the first half of this statement.
As for the second half, if your copy stinks, buying links is probably the only way you’ll get any. Don’t forget, though, under most circumstances, buying links is frowned upon. If/when Google decides that you’re buying links, any value those links might have once had will be reduced or wiped out altogether, and your investment will have been in vain. (Note: Most people that buy any substantial quantity of links end up spending a good deal more than they would have with a professional SEO copywriter.)
#7: “I can find someone good enough on CraigsList or some offshore forum.”
Okay, I’m sorry… this one’s too much for me to keep a straight face with. First, define good “enough”. What price do you put on the success of your business? I happen to know a few good freelance copywriters that find work now and then on CraigsList. But trust me on this… they’re the exception, not the rule. As for the offshore forums – good luck with that!
The vast majority of freelance copywriters are self-taught. Granted, some of them are pretty darned good. I even know some that are good at SEO copy. But again, they’re the exception. Sadly, the majority just happen to enjoy writing, hopefully have a slightly better than average vocabulary and with a bit of luck, can claim English as their first language and will have a decent grasp of proper spelling and grammar. Many will have no concept of how to write SEO copy, and even less idea of how search engines “think”. They may or may not be skilled in research of a topic and since many freelancers are part-time, they’re not really invested in your success.
By now, maybe you’re still undecided about the need for a professional SEO copywriting service. That’s fine, at least we’ve given you some things to think about. If you still think that you can do your own copywriting, perhaps you’re right. If that’s your decision, then at least give yourself every possible opportunity to succeed; educate yourself on basic SEO, and even more so on SEO copywriting.