Content is Currency

Developing Powerful Content
for Web and Mobile

by Jon Wuebben - Founder and CEO of Content Launch

SEO Copywriting: Why Do Some People Think it's So Cool to Downplay its Importance?

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of something I have been reading for a while now. It pops up in various blogs, articles and even at important trade shows like Search Engine Strategies. And I know people naturally want to promote “the new stuff” and be seen as a trailblazer or hot researcher or even as a plain and simple contrarian, but the continuing comments re. SEO not being as important as it was… or that it’s not important at all, is bad information. And it’s actually doing people a disservice.

The final straw for me is when I read this post in Copyblogger today:

The author said, “What About SEO Copywriting? Forget about it. Seriously. If you focus on writing clear, concise and compelling copy, you will naturally write keyword-dense copy. You’ll naturally write for the search engines.”

Say what?  No, that’s not right.  Forget about it?  Hardly. People don’t just naturally write for the search engines. A lot of people don’t know anything about the search engines. Many don’t know about keyword research. And then there are Meta tags. Do we just forget about them too?  Or do they just magically get written…naturally?  Not even.

And, don’t get me wrong, Copyblogger is usually spot on. Brian Clark is clearly a leader in our industry. But I just don’t agree with publishing this type of information. For one, it can mislead the newbies out there.

Writing optimized web copy is part art, part science, but all skill. And it needs to be practiced. There are many things one needs to pay attention to when writing for the search engines. Although I know you’ve heard it before, it’s not just about dropping your keyword phrases in 3 times on every page. If you want to dive into it, feel free to take a look at some of the other posts on the Content Rich blog, or pick up a copy of my book.

Note: There are also a group of “elitist” online marketers out there who love to be perceived as cool or cutting edge, when they really aren’t. Do yourself a favor: Don’t listen to them. I say forget about cool and let’s just help people with their websites.

Other online marketers are deserving of expert status and do have incredible insight and ideas. (See Seth Godin, Rand Fishkin and others like them.) These guys can show you the way!

And when it comes to SEO content, let’s make sure we aren’t misinforming people.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian Clark May 5, 2009 at 6:51 pm

I got your book… it’s damn good. :-)

To a certain degree, what Demian said is correct. It’s just not the whole story, so I agree that it perhaps could be misleading to a newbie.

But as I wrote at length in January 2007 (summed up in this pithy comment but linked to in the article you cite), the goal is to get as many links to your domain as possible to build authority. Then, when Google trusts you, you can optimize all you want.

I see too many people going the other direction. They agonize over keyword placement upfront, but never attract links and never build a brand. And trust me, Google loves brands more than an agonized set of keywords (at least initially).

Anyway, dig your stuff. Thanks for the conversation.

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jonwuebben May 6, 2009 at 11:53 am

Hey Brian, thanks for commenting! Great to have you. I am a huge fan of Copyblogger.

Yes, agreed… I see this too… people seem very gun shy, confused or misinformed about link building and it IS critically important… and can make the overall job of building site authority that much easier. As we live in the world of optimized content over here at Telegent Media, I always want to stress that copy needs to be able to be read by the search engines (as well as fodder for link bait) and that this is a learning curve for those who have never optimized. So, just wanted to keep that message alive. It’s important too and there’s a lot to know.

Lets chat when you have some time Brian… Let me know what works for you.

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Rob May 10, 2009 at 6:36 pm

If you want to rank for “red widgets” and you don’t have the phrase “red widgets” in your page then it is HIGHLY unlikely that you will ever attract enough links to rank for that term.

And if you don’t have the term “red widgets” on your page then it is highly unlikely that people will link to your page with the anchor text “red widgets” in enough numbers to get you ranked for that term.

I see what Brian is getting at in the above comment, but I would really love to know what great search term CopyBlogger ranks for that is not mentioned on the page that ranks?

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Jon Buscall May 14, 2009 at 12:43 am

Chris Heuer recently talked about a v. successful blogger who publishes with readers in mind. Then goes back a few days later and tweaks headlines for Google.

Personally, I like the flexibility of WordPress so you can, say, write custom title tags for each post to differentiate between what the reader and Google sees. So on some levels the technology helps.

With so much noise out there on the Net it’s important to stand out; you need something more than great SEO strategies. Of course, that will get you seen but it’s keeping readers. Perhaps what Demian was getting at is that a unique, well written post is as significant initially in building an audience.

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jonwuebben May 22, 2009 at 7:46 pm

thanks for weighing in Jon, appreciate the feedback!

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jonwuebben May 22, 2009 at 7:50 pm

thanks for the feedback Rob, good points you are making here.

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