This is not an article like “10 SEO tips for journalists” or “7 steps to rank on Google”. It is a reflection on the skills needed for a copywriter (journalist, blogger, writer, etc.) to write better texts, especially for digital media.
- SEO vs Content Marketing vs CRO vs Copywriting ...
- Introducing: the “complete editor”
- Specialists vs. Content Generalists
- Humans vs. Machines: the content creator dilemma
- But why are both important
- Writing content that ranks, engages and converts
- Put yourself in the shoes of a reader
- Let's help each other?
If you write on the web you must have searched on Google: “How to create good digital content?"Or"How to write for the web?" or yet "How to rank well on Google?“.
What results were displayed for these questions?
You probably came across two lines of responses:
- the “write to rank” line
- the “write to engage” line
Read too: "What is SEO?“
On the one hand, you have SEO-focused content creators who are very focused on getting Google to show their content at the top of search results.
They take an approach to content creation, which focuses on strategies such as keyword research, positioning analysis, difficulty ranking a particular term, etc.
This method asks: “What do people search on Google and how does Google understand this topic?”The content is then created based on this research.
On the other hand, you have the conversion optimists and copywriters who are very focused on creating interesting content and that readers will enjoy.
They address content creation with the question: “What will make our audience engage?”
His focus is on writing, using proven writing and neuroscience formulas, getting to know his audience through forums, analysis and research. They want to create compelling content that is read, shared and converted or that helps with conversions.
So, who's right?
SEO vs Content Marketing vs CRO vs Copywriting ...
If you've done keyword research on the topics of SEO, content marketing, conversion rate optimization (CRO) or copywriting, you'll know that they are often opposed.
- “SEO vs Content Marketing”
- "What is the difference between SEO and copywriting?"
- "What generates the greatest ROI: CRO or SEO?"
To some extent it is understandable. These searches result from:
- People who are confused about the differences between each discipline;
- And / or marketers who only have the budget for one and need to make the most impactful choice.
So what's the difference? Here are the fundamental questions that I believe each discipline seeks to answer:
- IF THE: How do I find, index and classify this content for Google?
- Content Marketing: How can I create content that the target audience will find valuable?
- Conversion rate optimization: How can I get people who read this page to call, fill out an interest form, subscribe to our email list, etc.?
- Copywriting: How can I write in a way that sells?
Read too: "The definitive guide to SEO copywriting“
But what if you had the four disciplines in mind when writing your content?
Introducing: the “complete editor”
The complete copywriter is someone with the capacity to deal with the entire spectrum of digital content, able to understand how its content will be perceived by the algorithms and the public.
A complete copywriter is:
- Aware of search engines: aware of how the content he writes will be perceived by search engines, developing his message with well-researched keywords and incorporating the best SEO practices for items such as titles and subtitles.
- A good respondent: dedicated to creating content that answers real questions and solves real problems.
- Focused on conversion: aware of the fact that your content must serve a business purpose and convert or assist conversions.
- Focused on engagement: focused on creating content that the public will find interesting enough to read, comment on and share.
Read too: "SEO tips for news”
Specialists vs. Content Generalists
Some say that it is impossible to write content that is optimized for SEO and converts at the same time. Or that it is impossible for a text to have good readability and rank well in searches at the same time.
It's fair. It is difficult for a writer to give up years of practice in one area to venture into another area of writing. So, should a copywriter be a generalist or an expert?
It doesn't matter, as long as it's good!
If you want to focus only on copywriting or long content, ok! A copywriter need not be an expert in all areas of writing. What we need to improve as editors is to consider the big picture of whatever type of content we are producing.
Being a responsible copywriter means consider all possible aspects of our content, asking if the target audience will:
- Respond to this if shared on social media?
- Can you find that content on search engines?
- Easily find what you are looking for in the article?
- Be persuaded to convert or visit again in the future?
Humans vs. Machines: the content creator dilemma
The reason why phrases like “content SEO” were introduced into the vocabulary of the digital marketer is because we know that we not only need to make our readers happy, but we also need to write in a way that the machines understand and reward our efforts.
Read too: "The definitive guide to content SEO“
If we want our content to rank well on search engines, we need to follow its rules. This means writing content in a way that a machine can understand.
Here the discussion gets interesting.
Algorithms like Google's are trying to mimic what a human would choose as the best result. So, if Google is just trying to choose what a human would choose, shouldn't we just focus on humans?
Read too: "10 Important Items for On-Page SEO“
SEOs, please stop working exclusively on Google's algorithm. With each update of the algorithm I see dozens of professionals running like stupid cockroaches to know if their “strategies” have suffered from the most recent update from Google.
Which is?! You can do much better than that. Guide your customers to produce really interesting content to your target audience and they won't have to deal with it.
Read too: "Google updates and SEO professionals“
But why are both important
Google may be trying to imitate humans, but it is still a machine. Like a machine, it faces the limits of a machine. He depends on programming to act like a human.
That's why there is still so much value in popular SEO methods for creating content. It doesn't just matter what humans want. What search engines think humans want is important.
As an SEO consultant and content creator, I have one foot in “writing for SEO” and the other in “writing for engagement”. Indeed, it is sometimes confusing.
One minute I'm trying to present my articles with an interesting story and the next minute I want to bury the lead and go straight to the answer.
One moment I want to incorporate important keywords in my headings and the next I avoid revealing everything in the headings to make it more intriguing.
Why do engagement and ranking need to conflict? Why delegate each of these aspects of the content to different experts?
Writing content that ranks, engages and converts
The purpose of digital content should be to classify, engage and convert (or assist conversions). After all, what's the use of ranking well in searches if you don't win the click? What's the use of traffic if it doesn't convert?
We see brands and vehicles making content optimized for one platform and fun content that generates shares on another. What if we can combine these characteristics? Well positioned content that is also engaging. Engaging content that is strong enough to rank well in searches. It's possible!
Put yourself in the shoes of a reader
You can be a content creator or an SEO consultant, but you are also a reader.
Think about how you interact with other content in your spare time. What do you do:
- Do you engage?
- Do you find it useful?
- Do you find it attractive enough to interact?
As a reader I want the articles I read to be concise, to the point and clearly answer my questions, but I also want to enjoy reading them. I probably won't even have a chance to read them if the title isn't attractive enough to win my attention.
We can find content in different ways (search engines, social media, newsletters, etc.), but I think we can all agree that we want to read informative and interesting content.
Let's help each other?
SEO Professionals: we do companies a disservice when we do all the work to classify our clients' pages, but we don’t focus on getting people to click on our results and, once they click on, getting them to convert.
Don't waste the traffic you worked so hard to earn!
Editors: You’re spending your precious time (and in many cases your company’s or your customers ’money) creating content, so be sure to create it to get the most out of it.
Don't waste your time creating content that only catches your eye on the day it is posted and then dies. Focus on creating content that gets sustained traffic and reduces customer acquisition costs.
Start to have a more holistic view of the content produced. Start thinking about the entire journey of your content.
It won't be easy and it will never be perfect, but there is room for every content creator to adopt a “complete writer” mentality.
Keep reading: "Less content = more conversion“