9 (more) questions writers ask about SEO copywriting
Wondering if you’d be happy as an SEO copywriter?
In a previous blog post, I discussed 9 common questions writers ask about SEO copywriting. But what about SEO copywriting as a career choice? If you’ve wondered how you could find a job as an SEO copywriter – or how you can start a freelance shop – this post is for you.
I originally wrote this post in 2012 and I’ve updated it to reflect other questions I answer every day. Enjoy!
I’m a print copywriter. Are you sure that I can learn this? Or can an old dog really learn new tricks?
Yes, this is a skill that you can learn and master (check out Lynda Goldman’s interview for a real-life success story.) Online writing is much different than print copywriting – so there will be a learning curve. At the same time, if you know how to write and connect with your audience, that’s half the battle. The main challenge I see with print copywriters is that they think that SEO copywriting is too “technical” to learn. Here’s how I answer that question …
I’m not a really technical person. Can I still do this?
Yes, you can. It’s true that the more you know about the “techie” side of SEO (and SEO copywriting,) the more opportunities that you’ll have. I highly recommend reading everything you can about SEO (including how to code) and upgrading your skills. Having said that, there are many SEO copywriters who partner with SEO firms. The copywriter writes the copy – and the SEO firm takes care of the “techie stuff.”
There seems to be a lot of SEO copywriters online. Is the market too saturated?
Nope. Granted, if you want business, you’ll have to learn how to market yourself – and ideally, you’ll choose a niche. But there are still many opportunities to make money.
But I’ve heard that SEO copywriting is dead. Is that true?
Nope. Certainly, the SEO writing “rules” have changed. And it’s more important than ever to keep up. But companies (and clients) are still begging for smart SEO writers who can help make them money.
What kind of companies hire in-house SEO copywriters?
All types of companies, including B2B, B2C and publishing companies. If you’re looking to work in-house, think about sites that produce a large amount of content every month – and consider those companies possible employment targets. For instance, ecommerce sites are constantly updating their product pages and blogs. A publishing company may require you to write SEO-optimized articles. Some in-house writers may also create newsletters, emails and white papers. Others focus just on SEO copy. It depends on the employer.
I’ve seen job titles like “Web content writer,” or “SEO content writer.” Is that the same thing?
Yup. There are quite a few different job titles for SEO copywriters. The main thing is choosing a job that fits your skill set. For instance, if you love blogging – but sales pages aren’t fun for you – you’ll want to choose a job that’s more social media related. If you can write high-converting sales pages, you may want to look at jobs that allow you to write landing pages, product pages and service pages.
Can I find a job that can teach me this stuff?
Yes, but don’t expect to get paid a lot. Many companies are looking to turn this over to an “internal expert” – so you’ll make more money if you have training, experience and fantastic clips. Having said that, starting out as a “copywriting assistant,” can fast-track your knowledge. Some of the best copywriters I know had someone helping them expand their skills. The pay may be lower, but the experience will be fantastic!
How can I find clients (or someone who would hire me full time?)
If you’re looking for an in-house job, you can certainly check out online job boards and see what’s out there. However, I recommend getting out there and actively networking – especially within your local community. Many writing jobs are “insider hires” that aren’t posted. The more you can connect with people, the more you’ll learn about secret opportunities and can position yourself as the perfect candidate!
Networking (whether it’s local or on social media) is also important if you want to freelance. In a perfect world, most of your clients come from referrals and you have a steady stream of business. Many freelancers love LinkedIn for copywriting leads. Pam Foster has said that LinkedIn “has been more fruitful … by far, than any other marketing method.” Why not give it a shot?
I want to be my own boss and work as a freelance SEO copywriter instead. How do I do that?
Read my “Ultimate Guide for Beginners.” it will tell you everything that you want to know.
I’ve heard that SEO writing is a low-paying gig. Tell me why I’d want to do this.
It’s true that some companies pay a paltry $5 per blog post. Having said that, some companies pay $250 or more per post – especially if the writer is truly top notch. I know many SEO writers who are happily writing content and making a fantastic living. You won’t make 100K starting out (whether you freelance or work full time.) But you can find clients (and employers) who value great writing. As your skills improve and you can demonstrate results, you can make more money over time. That’s pretty cool.
Wow, I’m sold! I want to quit my job tomorrow and freelance full time. What do you think?
Um, don’t do this. Not unless you have a pretty flush savings account, have clients already lined up, or have other income coming in. No matter how “hot” SEO copywriting is as an opportunity, it takes time to get your business off the ground. Having said that, learning everything you can about running a successful copywriting business will help you make more money, faster. For instance, check out my Copywriting Business Bootcamp classes for all of the topics that you’ll need to master.
Are there other ways I can use my SEO writing skills?
Heck yes. If you ever want to launch a side business, your SEO skills give you a competitive advantage. You’ll know how to drive more traffic and convert it into paying customers. Want to help out a friend who owns a business? Yes, you can do that, too. I’ve even heard of SEO writers bartering their skills for Pilates lessons, haircuts, landscaping … you name it. Plus, if you ever write a book, you can easily build an author platform with your SEO know-how.
Are you sure this is fun?
Oh yeah. It’s really fun. If you enjoy a fast-paced career – and you love working in an ever-changing industry – you’ll love SEO copywriting. If it wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t have been doing this for the last 16 years. :)
Want step-by-step SEO-writing training and personalized help? Check out the SEO Copywriting Certification training!
If you are a skilled writer you can be an SEO copywriter, especially since the search engines favor content that isn’t overly “SEO’d”. It’s important to understand SEO and incorporate keywords, but that should not be the purpose of the content. The purpose is to help out your target audience and create something that is worthy of being shared.
Great comment, Nick. And Heather, thanks again for the solid advice, it’s so important to learn how to market your business and find clients that appreciate your expertise and SEO knowledge.
Great post, I’ve seen a lot of ecommerce sites hire seo copywriters to fine tune their product listings. Most people know what they want to say but only really good copywriters can actually put it to words.