It’s 2017. Is SEO Copywriting Training Still Needed?
Have you shelved SEO copywriting training for your in-house writers, figuring the money was better spent elsewhere?
That strategy may put your company at a competitive disadvantage.
Conductor recently reported that half of all content jobs require some SEO skills.
That means companies (like your competitors) are valuing SEO copywriting knowledge more than ever before.
Are you ready?
This statistic shocked me. Yes, I knew more companies were training their writers. But I didn’t know it was that many.
Why? Because I’ve heard all the reasons why training the writing team wasn’t a priority…
“Our writers write for social. We figure the organic listings will sort themselves out.”
“Our style guide includes a SEO writing checklist. The writers don’t need anything more.”
“There’s no budget.”
(Maybe you’ve said the same thing.)
But here’s what tend to happen…
The marketplace starts to shift. Companies realize their social campaigns aren’t driving organic traffic. Smaller sites are out-positioning them for major searches. Thousands of pages aren’t positioning — and they’re not sure why.
Suddenly, SEO copywriting training becomes an important priority.
Over the last three years, I’ve worked with large companies running well-known authority sites. They employed professional writers, wrote excellent content, and aggressively published.
But here’s the challenge: Their writers didn’t understand how to research keyphrases, or how to integrate them into the copy.
The existing content team couldn’t “see” the low-hanging optimization fruit opportunities — and how, just by tweaking some old content — they could dramatically increase their search volume.
They didn’t realize how their old-school SEO writing techniques was actually making their site less competitive — not more.
The writers didn’t realize that SEO copywriting was more about serving up excellent, 10X content — and not about writing stilted-sounding, keyphrase-stuffed content.
In short, the writing team didn’t know what they didn’t know — and, that knowledge was throttling their search traffic.
SEO copywriting in 2017 is more about topic and entity optimization and less (actually, not at all) about optimizing for one keyphrase per page. (Want to learn more? This recent post from Searchmetrics dives into some geeky SEO writing goodness.)
It’s giving your reader ALL the information she needs to see in the micro-moment. It’s leveraging the competitive landscape and reader feedback to craft the right content length, every time.
It’s far more complicated than it was back in 1999, 2009 — or even just a couple years ago.
To answer the question: Yes, SEO copywriting training is necessary. In fact, a lack of SEO writing skills puts companies at a competitive risk.
Plus, the knowledge you’ll gain will pay for itself in increased site traffic and higher-converting pages.
Your writers can no longer live in SEO darkness.
The key is finding the right training for your team.
Here’s how to do it:
How to train your writers in SEO writing best practices
Fortunately, there are a number of ways your team can get the training it needs. Here’s the breakdown:
Online SEO copywriting training courses
There are a number of online training courses available, ranging in price from $29 to $995 or more. Some courses focus primarily on writing skills, while others also discuss content marketing strategies.
- Convenient: Writers can log in and learn when they have time.
- Lower-cost: Online courses cost less than customized trainings and some workshops.
- Some online courses have monthly calls, so there is some instructor interaction.
- Some training courses offer no (or very limited) instructor interaction.
- Course materials go out-of-date quickly, so you’ll have to ask how often the training is updated. Don’t expect an expert, up-to-date course for $30 — unfortunately, they don’t exist.
- There is no one-on-one help. Some companies may benefit from an outside consultant checking out their copy.
Some online courses are: Yoast’s SEO copywriting training, AWAI’s SEO Copywriting Success and my SEO Copywriting Certification training.
If you’re lucky, you can track down a local SEO writing workshop. Register for them right away — writing workshops are fun, small-group experiences where questions are always welcome. Typical prices range from $99 to $1,500 for a multi-day event.
- More one-on-one attention: A small-group environment makes it easier to ask questions.
- Lower-cost: Online courses cost less than customized trainings.
- Great networking opportunities: You’ll be learning with other writers like you.
- Writing workshops don’t happen very frequently.
- They are usually held in larger cities — so if you have to travel, the costs quickly skyrocket.
- You may not learn everything you want; it all depends on the agenda.
AWAI’s Web Writing Intensive brings together fantastic speakers and a very robust, hands-on program. It’s held once a year, typically in Austin, TX. For more of a content marketing slant, the Content Marketing Institute has their Content Marketing Master Class. And yes, I run small-group SEO copywriting workshops from time to time, too.
Customized SEO copywriting training
Does you company know you need to do “something” with your content — but you don’t know what? Customized SEO content training mixes together a SEO content site audit, consulting and training.
Costs for a customized training are from 5K – 10K or more. Why so much? Instead of presenting a “stock” training, the consultant is reviewing your analytics, auditing your site and customizing a deck based on your team’s requirements.
- You get exactly what you want. You want information about sales writing? No problem. More information about keyphrase rearch? Great. You choose the agenda.
- You can train your entire team, not just a couple key people. This helps the entire organization understand their role in an SEO writing/content marketing team. Some presenters allow you to record the presentation, giving you an on-demand training resource when you’re on boarding new writers.
- You learn what you need to do and how to do it. Your writers can immediately implement changes and track results. Plus, you can learn about cool new tools you can use.
- Some consultants charge on a per-person basis, and that can add up if you want your entire company to attend the training. Make sure to clarify the charge.
- The cost is higher, due to the complexity.
- You’ll need to schedule a training day and coordinate schedules.
I love training in-house writing teams. You can also find other smart writers/consultants to help your team. Just email a writer you admire and ask about their availability!
How can you choose the right training resource for your team?
If your content team has five or more writers — and you know your content has “issues” — a customized training may provide higher ROI. Online trainings are great for smaller teams and small business owners. I’d recommend a local workshop for any-sized business. They’re that fun.
So, what’s the bottom line for your company?
SEO copywriting training is no longer a “nice to have” goal. Check out your options. Make the (very reasonable) investment. Train your team. It’s a no-brainer.
After all, your competitors are training their writing teams. Shouldn’t you train yours?
Want to learn more about training options? Let’s talk –I’ve been training writers for 19 years
Having attempted to write content for my own website and my social channels I can state, with 100% certainty, it takes training and the right person to do this. I think a lot of dentists and business professionals think they can write their own content only to find that it is very laborious and time consuming. Thank you for the great article Heather.
It’s hard for me to believe that over 46% of writers require SEO training, but that’s probably because I’m so involved within my own agency that I don’t see how others couldn’t already know this. When I hire freelancers for any articles I need completed I actually prefer for them to not know that stuff and just be amazing content creators because IMO having engaging content that people will naturally interact with (positively or negatively) always gives that natural boost compared to changing around meta tags and H1’s.
We definitely need to sharpen up our writer’s skill level … thanks for the resources you mentioned.
It’s not just writers that need SEO specific training..the amount of web designers I see that have no idea how to create a website with best SEO practices in mind in pretty staggering. I know there is a line between design and seo that has to be met but even the basics are often missed.
The statistics really surprise me. However, that’s a good surprise.
And, I agree with you. Even I have seen big sites with poor seo copywriting. I think training in this regard should be a must.
Well funny how now in 2021 things have changed. Noticed how SEO copywriting is trending more than ever? With bounce rate and ctr metrics rising it is crucial to have engaging content, thats where copywriting comes in