SEO Copywriting is Dead

Before we get further into our “Copywriting 101” series of posts, I thought I’d tell you what NOT to expect.

If you’re here looking for tips on SEO copywriting for your blog, you’ll want to look elsewhere. But you’re probably wasting your time.

Writing for Search Engines

Search engine optimization (“SEO”) copywriting means writing web page copy that is optimized to rank well in the search engines. This includes inserting targeted key words in certain places (like titles), and in frequencies and densities designed to satisfy a particular search engine algorithm.

Why isn’t this important anymore? Nick Wilson over at Performancing says it well, and with authority (Nick is no slouch when it comes to SEO). I’d advise you to read his posts Why Bloggers Don’t Need SEO and Do Blogs Need Search Engine Rankings?

Essentially, SEO experts think traditional SEO for blogs is a big waste of time.

Humans Matter More

The gist of the argument is that when it comes to search rankings, what’s written on a web page is less important than what other people say about that web page, and how many times.

It all comes down to links.

First of all, referral traffic (links from other bloggers) is of higher quality for the things that matter most – subscriptions and sales.

It’s like the difference between a prospect who is sent your way from a happy former client, measured against someone who finds you in the Yellow Pages.

But this also impacts your search engine rankings. The algorithms favor sites and pages with incoming, non-reciprocal links from body text – in other words, express recommendations from other people. And much more weight is placed on the words used in those links (anchor text) than the words on the page linked to.

Just ask George W. Bush. You won’t find the words “miserable failure” anywhere on the biography page of the current U.S. President.

And the trend towards favoring what others say is intensifying. Just like offline, word of mouth matters most.

As mentioned above, search engines like Google already incorporate user feedback (links + anchor text) in their algorithms. When people link to and tag the posts of other bloggers due to merit, and tagging is more fully integrated into the current version of search, rankings will rely on recommendations even more.

The end result will be better search, and the end of traditional SEO techniques.

Content Matters Most

Maybe now you get why I started this blog. I would argue that great copywriting is the new SEO, if it gets you positive links from others. And since blogging is a new form of public relations, and PR depends on great copywriting…

Well, you get my point.

So quit worrying about SEO and start producing incredible content and networking in your niche. Copywriting techniques will help you excel in both.

Don’t be Search Engine Ugly

Now, for that grain of salt. There’s no reason to completely ignore things like keywords in your writing. For one thing, it can influence the anchor text that is used to link to you, which is a good thing.

For example, take this post. It’s got the keyword phrase “seo copywriting” in the post title, and yet the headline still manages to be provocative. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t strive for human titillation and keyword relevancy.

But… if you have to choose between the two, go for the human factor first and foremost.

So, optimize your post URLs and include your keywords, but beyond that, let it go.

Search engine algorithms come and go, but human nature remains the same.

In Summary:

Stuffing your body text with keywords makes for bad copy, and it doesn’t help with search engines. Traditional copywriting is the new SEO copywriting.

Check out SEO Copywriting 2.0.

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