“How much?” Those two words are chilling enough to cause frostbite. Sure, it’s a perfectly logical and, quite frankly, inevitable question for prospective customers to ask. Nevertheless, it terrifies me.

The problem with “How much?” is that there are too many ways to get the answer wrong.

One answer wins you the job, but leaves you feeling cheated or rushed. Another answer causes the customer to walk away, looking for a cheaper option. And another is so low it convinces the customer you suck at what you do.

Worse, determining what number is wrong for which reason is near-impossible, because the whole thing is subjective.

Excuses for NOT listing SEO copywriting prices online

So, is it any wonder we freelance writers tend to shy away from posting our prices publicly? The first time someone suggested I put my SEO copywriting rates on my website I blanched. What if a potential customer isn’t willing to pay that much? I’ll scare them off. Or, what if they’re willing to pay more? I’ll lose money.

How can I be flexible and negotiate if my prices are out there for all to see? Besides, each project is different so doesn’t it just make sense to create an individual price quote for each.

My opinion was only bolstered as I looked around the web and found very few SEO copywriters publishing their rates online. This is standard industry practice, I told myself. I’m doing the right thing.


The fact of the matter is that after nearly four years in this business I know what I WANT to charge.

I also know there are copywriters who charge significantly more, and scores who charge significantly less. That puts me comfortably in the middle, and I believe I’m worth my asking price. So, why am I still afraid to answer “how much?”

Because I’m afraid of being told “no.”

My epiphany about publishing SEO copywriting rates online

Over the years I’ve performed mental gymnastics trying to come up with the right answer to “how much?” I’ve spent hours putting together fancy proposals hoping they’d convince prospects to pay more. And I’ve suffered the frustration and disappointment of losing bids I thought were a sure thing.

So, I recently asked a negotiations expert how I can know the right answer to “how much?”

She said, “Ask yourself, what is the value of my services in the hands of my market? If your market can’t afford you, change your market!

Huh? You mean I’ve been wasting time and energy trying to fit my prices into my market, when I should’ve been finding a market that fits my price?


The benefits of posting your SEO copywriting rates online

So I’m taking the plunge. I’m establishing standard rates and posting them on my website.

Does this mean I’m unwilling to negotiate? No. But it does mean I’m facing my fears and taking charge of my pricing . If someone sees my rates and decides to go elsewhere, then they weren’t the right customer for me anyway.

I figure this is going to help me:

1) Generate higher quality leads from my website.
2) Save time by focusing my sales efforts on the right people.
3) Establish credibility with people who visit my website.
4) Close more sales.

What about you? Do you publish your prices online? What are your reasons for or against doing so? I’d love to hear your answers in the comments section below. (And please join the discussion in my Network of Web Professionals group on Facebook and LinkedIn).


About the AuthorAlexa Steele

Alexa Steele is The Website Wordsmith and founder of Mystique Marketing Communication. She and her nationwide team of Internet marketing specialists provide premium services including website design and development, SEO, social media marketing, and website copywriting. In short, “we communicate with the people who make you money.”

photo thanks to Tax Credits

Want to get your freelance copywriting business rolling without working so dam hard? Check into my Copywriting Business Bootcamp and my SEO Copywriting Certification training!

If you want to increase the success of your website, converting more customers is the name of the game.

In today’s SEO copywriting how-to, Heather discusses a simple, but often overlooked, technique to convince visitors they should go the distance and buy what you are selling. Check it here:

What is the Bandwagon Technique?

It’s the suggestion that other people have or do something and … you should too! It appeals to our sense of wanting to be part of the “in crowd.” The technique is based on the term “jumping on the bandwagon.”

Examples of this include: McDonald’s – Over 60 billion served … wow, that’s a lot of people. There must be something about McDonald’s … so maybe I should give it a try. Pepsi – The ad uses a model who is young, attractive and happy … I want to be young, attractive and happy … so I should drink Pepsi too.

Why uniqueness matters.

The primary reason sites fail to leverage the bandwagon technique properly is that the copy is written in an effort to appeal to EVERYONE. When that happens, the copy clunks and doesn’t have much conversion power. For the bandwagon approach to work effectively, people want to feel special and unique.

Does your copy fall into this category? Does your copy use words like “everyone” and “everybody?” If so, it’s likely your copy is missing the mark. The good news is there is an easy way to fix it!

  • Use numbers – if you know 20,000 people in your target market use your product … say it!
  • Has your company won an award or received special recognition? If so, third party acknowledgement of your company gives serious credibility to the notion that “others are doing/using this … maybe I should check it out too.”

By modifying your copy to appeal to your target market, you will make more effective use of the bandwagon technique and convert more of your visitors.

Thanks for tuning into this week’s SEO copywriting how-to! As always, if you have any questions, comments, or an idea for the next video post, please let me know! Contact me, or find me on Twitter @heatherlloyd!

Is your website not converting the way you expected? Check into my low-cost, high-value SEO Content Review service – I can troubleshoot your web content and come up with immediate SEO and conversion remedies!

photo thanks to srqpix (Clyde Robinson)

We were taught early on as children that taking something and calling it “ours” is wrong, as adults we should know better.  Somehow some seem to have forgotten what is wrong and what is right and duplicate content is just plain wrong.

At least, Matt Cutts remembers that for sure and constantly reminds site owners and SEO’s of how important unique content is.

So what is duplicate content? And why do people do it if it’s wrong?  Duplicate content is content that can appear in multiple sites all over the World Wide Web.  Even if not exactly the same as the original, it will be so similar that there’s no substantial difference.

To some site owners they use duplicate content to save money and time.  Some do it out of sheer laziness, greed and unprofessionalism.  However, duplicate content can commonly be found in ecommerce sites because of product descriptions and specifications and also distributed press releases – that is a whole different matter and discussion.

Negative effects of duplicate content

As a website owner or blogger, you may save money by duplicating someone else’s content, or hiring someone cheap who responds by stealing content and passes it off as their own.  To be fair, you may not be aware of this, but the point is, if you hire a professional to do it you won’t have to worry about duplicate content even though it will initially cost you a little more.  This cost-cutting may in the end be the cause of your business to go bust.

People should be aware that search engines are smart and are getting smarter every day.  Search engines have been programmed to look for identical content all over the net.  They will crawl across your site like ants searching though the content and once they’ve identified duplicate material, you will automatically be punished for this by:

–        Very low search ranks.

–        Little or no traffic at all.

–        Consequent revenue losses.

Perhaps the most important loss would be your reputation on the internet with your customers, followers or audience.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Like all offenders, yes you can actually be punished by the law.  The Digital Millennium Copyright Act forbids anyone to steal or use content from other websites.  And contrary to popular belief, copyright infringement cases do not only happen to the rich and famous, it can also happen to website owners – no matter how small your business is.  And yes, you might just receive a polite but stern email requesting you to remove the duplicate content you stole, or you may receive a very official letter from a lawyer informing you that you are about to be dragged into court for a very expensive lawsuit.  Is stealing really worth it?

How to check for Uniqueness

Online plagiarism tools like are one of a number of means to ensure that your content is original and not duplicated.  A lot of these online checkers are free, but to achieve premium results, you may have to subscribe to them via a small fee.  Think of these plagiarism tools as your shield to safeguard you against online thieves.  It is important to do these online checks at least once a month – that way you will know that you and your content is safe and fresh.

Pros of having unique content

Every self-respecting website owner should aspire for unique content.  It’s always great to be original, to be known as the trendsetter, not a copier or plagiarist.  By posting and publishing unique content you will gain respect among your readers and visitors to your site will grow in numbers – your profit will also flourish.  Not only that, search engines will reward you for this by elevating you in their search ranks – every website owner’s dreams.

Achieving unique and new content isn’t difficult.  It may seem costly at first, but it is definitely pays dividends in a long term run. Consider high quality content as an investment into your future site success.


About the Author ~ James Wright

James Wright is a graduate of Swarthmore College, where he was the one who developed web interface of college’s paperwork cloud storage. Have a strong interest in developing all kind of Internet marketing and SEO tools. Currently working as a content manager and user behavior analytic at plagiarism checker on a freelance basis.


Photo thanks to Whiz Kris

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Greetings and welcome back! Today we’re featuring three of Heather’s “best of” SEO copywriting video tips around writing for Google.

As you may well know, Google has been busy keeping all of us SEO copywriters on our toes! The latest and best practices for writing for Google/search engines are laid out by Heather Lloyd here:


Keyphrases: why synonyms are your friend

If you feel like you’ve been limited to using exact match keyphrases when optimizing content, Heather is here with a message that will set you free! Tune in to find out why synonyms are your friends, and what this means to you – including what Google’s spam guy Matt Cutts has to say about it.


How to stop worrying about Google updates…

…and learn to love writing really great SEO copy!

In this video how-to, Heather discusses a most timely topic since Matt Cutts’ pronouncement that the next Google Penguin update will be “jarring” to SEO’s and Webmasters – and that is, how to stop worrying about Google updates and start writing really great SEO copy!

Tune in and learn how to set yourself free…


SEO content strategies for Google’s Penguin update

Here, Heather addresses Google’s Penguin update.

Take a deep breath and join Heather as she explains why you’ve nothing to fear from the big bad Penguin, and how you can move forward with specific SEO content strategies…


Thanks for tuning in to this “slice of Heather” video best-of! As always, should you have a question or a suggestion for an SEO copywriting video topic, please let Heather know via her email: [email protected], or via her Twitter handle: @heatherlloyd. Have a fantastic week!


photo thanks to dannysullivan (Danny Sullivan)

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Over-optimized content happens to even the most experienced of SEO copywriters.

In today’s SEO copywriting how-to, Heather discusses her all-time favorite online writing tip, which is… the easiest possible way to make sure that you’re not over-optimizing your Web content…and how to fix it if you have!

Check it here:


Afraid of over-optimizing your content?

  • It’s easy for new writers (or even experienced ones) to push the optimization envelope and accidentally create spammy copy.

I still see over-optimized content out there, especially with new writers who are not quite used to putting keyphases into copy – it’s very easy to add too many!

I also see experienced SEO copywriters lapse into heavy-handed optimization. It well may be they’re just tired and have been churning out a lot of content, and they accidentally add too many keyphrases in their copy. It happens, but…

The end result is the same.  Over-optimized content, which…

–      Throws off the conversion flow of the Web content

–      Makes the copy “sound”/read spammy

–      Is not good for Google

–      And it’s definitely not good for readers!


The easy-breezy secret?

To avoid over-optimizing your content:

  • After you’re done writing, print out the document and read it out loud. Don’t do it in your head. Actually read it out loud.
  • You will instantly hear if your text is too keyphrase-stuffed, and you can easily start deleting some words.
  • Another option – replace them with synonyms.


I recently addressed using synonyms in your keyphrase vocabulary in the SEO copywriting video post, “Keyphrases: why synonyms are your friends.”

By using keyphrase synonyms in your optimization, you’re including different words that help your copy flow more naturally. Additionally, including synonyms is a smart SEO content optimization step.

It’s a win-win for everyone!

Thanks for tuning into this week’s SEO copywriting how-to! As always, if you have any questions, comments, or an idea for the next video post, please let me know! Email me via [email protected], or find me on Twitter @heatherlloyd!


photo thanks to Dreaming in the deep south (Beth Scupham)


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So glad you checked in today, because we are featuring our interview with Bill Ross, the self-described “Lead Linchpin” of Linchpin SEO.

As an SEO expert and internet marketer of some eight years, Bill has some words of wisdom for both copywriters and clients in terms of SEO, content creation and strategy, client education, and brand reputation management.

You’ve been in this SEO copywriting and content creation business for eight years now. How did you come to be the director of Linchpin SEO?

Back when I lived in North Carolina, I started Linchpin SEO with a good friend and one of the best programmers I know, Dan Therrien. We saw a need for a company that could provide small- and mid-market businesses with the level of digital marketing knowledge and value most large brands pay six figures for, while working within the small business’s budget.

We keep our team small, operate on a lean model, and resist the need to outsource – all this allows us to keep costs down and value high. Our team of Linchpins consist of myself, SEO geek; Dan, who handles all our programming; Doryan, our illustrator who designs many of our infographics; JJ, our web designer; and Ahna, who takes care of our social media strategy.

What would you say are the best strategies for adding value to website owners/clients?

Businesses should understand that high value content must be the core of their marketing campaigns. In traditional marketing, you wouldn’t produce a bad TV or radio spot and expect it to drive traffic to your business. So, it follows: if you write low value content, don’t expect it will perform any better.

With digital taking over, and with individuals consuming information so much differently than they once did, business owners must shift their mindset and think of content assets as the new radio and TV spots. If done well and targeted properly, a single piece of content can drive more traffic and conversions than most TV or radio spots.

Much like traditional advertising, where spots were bought based on Neilsen Demographics and Ratings, the digital value starts with understanding your target audience at a deeper level: as customer types or personas, in digital marketing terms.

Once primary personas are defined and understood, it becomes much easier to build valuable, relevant content assets that guide those core customers through their conversion journey.

To compete and gain market share in search results, and to build trust and authority with users, brands must create high-value content assets and essentially become publishers.

Astonishingly, most big brands don’t understand this concept. Small- and mid-market companies can excel in this knowledge gap, and take search share away from the big guys. We wrote a more inclusive post all about this topic, titled Brands Need To Become Publishers to Succeed .

What are the “shady tactics” of bad “SEO expert agencies” that business owners should know about & stay away from?

About a year ago, I wrote an article about the 12 most overrated SEO tactics that don’t work – a great resource for any small business when interviewing a new SEO company.

Outside the tactics listed there, business owners should understand the days of adding keywords to a page and ranking with little effort are far behind us. To be successful and “build a business” – to create high-value content assets and then market those assets in communities where your target customer interacts – takes time and resources.

Too many businesses think their traffic, rankings, and conversions will magically increase if they spend $99.99 for 1000 directory listings, buy links, or outsource their SEO and digital marketing to a company that promises them the world but charges next to nothing.

My advice would be to stop, think, and ask yourself: Would I be proud to show this tactic to someone at Google? Is this something my customers would find valuable? If you think a tactic could be shady, it probably is – but you can always give us a call if you want a second opinion.

What do you make of Google’s aggressive efforts to remove or devalue low-quality content from its SERPs?

As any business should strive to do, Google has always been proactive in creating valuable services for its user base.  Over the last three years, they’ve condemned many low-value content tactics with updates like May Day (against low value Q&A or Ecommerce websites), Panda (against thin or low-value content), and Penguin (against manipulative links and spam).

Google wants to provide value to its users; without value, those users would go somewhere else. Businesses must remember this. So, if a business tries to manipulate Google’s search results by taking on shady tactics that inhibit Google from providing value to its user base, don’t be surprised when that business gets penalized or banned.

Wil Reynolds of SEER Interactive says it well: “Real companies do ‘RCS (Real Company Shit).’”

If you do stuff real businesses do – sponsor events in your community, give back, build valuable content, go to networking events, etc. – you’re providing value and thus you will be valued. Not only that, when you do RCS and happen to get hit by an algorithm update (because Google’s not perfect), you’ll have hard evidence and a list of RCS in hand that you can use to legitimize your value.

What would you say constitutes the best possible SEO copywriting and content marketing agency/business owner profile?

The perfect content marketing agency understands that their job is to provide value to a website’s primary users as part of a holistic content strategy and SEO approach. Simply writing content that is “unique” or “quality” is no longer enough; the content itself must provide value to a website’s primary users.

The perfect agency also understands that SEO is not about adding keywords to a page; rather, it is a business strategy; inclusive of publishing, brand-building, marketing, conversion rate optimization, and traffic acquisition.

Laura, thank you again for giving me the opportunity to help your community with their questions. If any others come up, feel free to contact me on Twitter @billross or on Google Plus.

You’re most welcome, Bill! Thanks so much for your time and valuable info!


image thanks to Sean MacEntee


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Greetings and welcome back! Today’s SEO copywriting how-to video concerns something that has been getting a bit of buzz in the industry lately, and that is why synonyms are your friends.

If you feel like you’ve been limited to using exact match keyphrases when optimizing content, Heather is here with a message that will set you free! Tune in to find out why synonyms are your friends, and what this means to you.

A huge SEO copywriting mistake is…

A lot of folks feel like the way to work with keyphrases is to shove them in the copy as many times as possible – this has never been true! – and to exact match them as many times as possible. So if your keyphrase is “cashmere sweaters,” then following this misconception, you would repeat “cashmere sweaters” over and over on the page.

What happens is that you pull away from writing naturally. Couple that with being stuck on the idea of adding exact match keyphrases whenever possible, you lose the natural feel for the writing so the copy sounds stilted and the keyphrases are glaringly obvious – and the result is not too great.

  • Not “writing naturally.”
  • People focused so much on adding exact match keyphrases that they forgot what “writing naturally” meant…
  •  …so the copy sounded “stilted” and the keyphrases stood out like a sore thumb.

We’ve all seen copy like this – or perhaps we’ve written copy like this, thinking “this is what Google wants.”

What Matt Cutts says

Karen Thackston, a talented SEO copywriter, did an interview with Google’s head of Web spam, Matt Cutts. This is what he said about exact match keyphrases:

“Keyphrases don’t have to be in their original form. We do a lot of synonyms work so that we can find good pages that don’t happen to use the same words as the user typed.”

Source: MarketingWords Copywriting Blog


So this opens up a lot of possibilities. And while this is something that I’ve always talked about doing, it serves as a great reminder for people who feel like they have to hammer the same keyphrases over and over again in their copy.

A quick reminder…

As a quick reminder, if you’re not quite sure what a synonym is, it’s a word having the same or nearly the same meaning as another.

syn-o-nym [sin-uh-nim]


  1. a word having the same or nearly the same meaning as another in the language, as happy, joyful, elated. A dictionary of synonyms and antonyms (or opposites), such as is called a thesaurus.
  2. a word or expression accepted as another name for something, as Arcadia for pastoral simplicity or Wall Street for U.S. financial markets; metonym.
  3. Biology – one or two or more scientific names applied to a single taxon.

So think of all the ways that you could describe your product or describe your service, and – yes! – you can definitely include those words as well as your researched keyphrases.

So what does this mean to you?

  • Review your keyphrase strategy. Are you telling your writers to exact match the keyphrases every single time?
  • Synonyms are your friends. You’ll find that the content is MUCH easier to write!
  • Yes, exact match the keyphrase – but know that you have room to move.

The first thing you want to do is think about what your overarching keyphrase strategy is – and what you’re telling your writers, what you are expecting from folks that you work with, or maybe what you do yourself: if you are exact-matching the keyphrases every single time and that is interfering with the writing flow, rejoice! You have room to move.

And include those synonyms, because you will find that the content is much easier to write!

In her blog post, Karen had a tip that I could not agree more with, and that is: Yes! Make sure that exact match keyphrase is on the page – that’s definitely something you want to do – but know that you have room to move.

I provided the link to Karen’s blog post at MarketingWords Copywriting above. And here are…

Other links to check out

Here are two other recent industry articles addressing the exact match keyphrase question:

Getting to where search is going, not where it has been:

-Michael Martin

Is Google’s synonym matching increasing? How searchers and brands can be both helped & hurt by evolving understanding of intent:

-Vanessa Fox

If you are an SEO copywriter or editor, or work with SEO copywriters, I recommend that you check these out because you’ll realize how much more room you have to move when creating content!

Thanks for tuning in to this week’s SEO copywriting video! As always, if you have any questions, Heather would love to hear from you: email [email protected], or tweet her @heatherlloyd.


photo thanks to Ray MacLean


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Greetings! In today’s SEO copywriting video post, Heather addresses a topic that is very important if you are looking to hire an SEO copywriter, which is: how to find an SEO copywriter who won’t screw up your Google listings.

As you know, Google has made a lot of changes to its algorithm, and those changes have been largely focused on content quality, so the key to hiring an SEO copywriter is finding someone who is keeping up to date with all of what Google is doing.

So yes, you want your new hire to be an excellent writer, and yes, you want them to understand conversion theory and how to get people to take action, and how to write content that is shareable, but you also want to make sure that they know how to stay on Google’s good side!

Here’s how to do it:

Review their writing

The first thing you want to do is review their writing.

Always ask for clips, and not just from one client, but from a variety of clients that they’ve worked with.

  • Look at their Website. Do they even have a Website?
  • Are their articles well written? Or do they look like they were written quickly?
  • Would you consider their articles to be a valuable resource?
  • Do they repeat the same words over and over?

You want to see if their articles are well written. In judging this, think of their articles as if you were scanning the Web and just happened to land on one of their articles. Would you want to delve in and read more, or does it look like the article was written hastily?

You also want to get a sense for how they integrate keyphrases into the copy. If you are able to “catch” the keyphrases very easily, and it appears that the same word (or phrase) is being repeated over and over again: huge red flag!

And of course, you also want to look at their own website, and see how the copywriter has worked with an optimizer on-site.

If they don’t have a website and they are an SEO copywriter, that might also be a red flag because that’s a basic foundational step for an SEO copywriter – to have their own (well written and well optimized) site.

Ask about their process

The second thing you want to do is get on the phone with them and ask them about their process.

Ask something like: “Let’s say we sign the contract today – what would you need from me in order to get started? What is the process for how you write Web pages?”

Note their answers and beware these danger signs – the things you do not want to hear in response to your questions.

“Danger signs” include:

  • “Every article is X words for Google.”

You do not want to hear something like: “Well, every article I write is 500 words. I write that way for Google because that’s what Google wants.”

Wrong. That’s not what Google wants – that’s a myth that’s out there.

  • “Every article has a X percent keyphrase density.”

You also don’t want to hear the words “keyphrase density” come out of their mouth. Even Google’s head of spam, Matt Cutts, has come out and said there is no such thing.

  • The copywriter doesn’t ask about your target market or conversion goals.

You also want to pay attention to what questions the copywriter is asking you: are they asking about your conversion goals and your target market, or are they saying something like “When we sign the contract, then we will have a kick-off called ‘We’ll ask you a lot of questions’”?

If they are not asking these kinds of questions, that means that the content they’re writing is not going to be good for you: it will probably be too general, it’s not going to fit your target market because they didn’t ask what it was, and it won’t fit your conversion goals.

So make sure that the copywriter is asking you really good questions, as well!

Ask about the latest Google updates

The final thing you want to do is ask them about the latest Google updates.

Ask something like: “Well, so can explain a little bit about what Google has been doing lately with their algorithm updates? I’ve heard about this Panda and Penguin thing – what does that mean?”

  • If the copywriter can’t clearly explain Google’s Panda and Penguin updates…
  • Run away.
  • Run quickly.

You want someone who actually knows the answers. If they can’t clearly explain what Panda and Penguin mean to the SEO industry and to content generation, it’s time for you to run away, and run away quickly, because these are things that any experienced SEO copywriter should know about.

If they do not know, that means that they are not keeping up with the industry, and that can come back to bite you later!

Thanks for tuning in to today’s video how-to! If you have any questions or topic suggestions for Heather, please let her know: email [email protected], or tweet her @heatherlloyd. (And she’d love to know what you think about the new site design!)

Be sure to check back next week for the next webinar – see you then!


photo thanks to dannysullivan (Danny Sullivan)


You’re invited! This Wednesday, August 22nd, Heather will be holding an open SEO copywriting Q & A at noon Pacific / 3pm Eastern. Email our Heather G. for call-in information: [email protected]. Look forward to “seeing” you there!

Also, there’s one more week left to enter our contest to win a full scholarship to the SEO Copywriting Certification training – see Win an SEO Copywriting Certification Scholarship! for details!




Greetings and welcome back! Glad you’re here, as today we’re featuring another “slice of Heather” ‘a la her Monday video posts. This time, the slice of Heather’s best is her top video posts on SEO copy editing.

Tune in and enjoy these top 3 reader/YouTube subscriber hits, along with a bonus video post (also among Heather’s most popular) on how to go about creating an editorial calendar… Afterwards, please do “stay tuned” for an exciting, special announcement!

1. SEO editing vs. copywriting for SEO: know the difference

In this reader/subscriber favorite, Heather defines the crucial distinction between SEO editing and SEO copywriting, as well as the circumstances (and content types) that best lend themselves to one strategy versus the other.


2. How to transform blah into bang with SEO copy editing

Here, Heather elaborates on the post above (SEO editing vs. copywriting for SEO), with a how-to on SEO copy editing. She uses a website example to demonstrate “opportunity blurbs” in copy that are ripe for skilled keyphrase editing, showing how deft SEO copy editing appeals to both search engines and readers.


3. Does your site suffer from content mullet syndrome?

Remember the “mullet” hairstyle of the late 70’s/early 80’s? Then it was trendy and stylish, now not so much (to put it kindly). The same can be said of a website with outdated, stale and neglected Web pages. In this video post, Heather suggests easy ways (such as simple copy editing) to bring your Web content up to speed with the competition, while simultaneously taking advantage of content marketing opportunities.


Bonus!  How to create an editorial calendar

While the term “editorial calendar” may imply something elaborate and complex, it really is not. Here, Heather explains what an editorial calendar is, and how to create one in three very simple steps. She also discusses how having an editorial calendar can boost the productivity of your content creation and marketing efforts.

Thanks for tuning in! As always, if you have any questions or topic suggestions for Heather, you’re encouraged to contact her via [email protected] or via Twitter @heatherlloyd.

Now, for an important & exciting announcement…

Win an SEO Copywriting Certification Scholarship!

Are you a writer who wants to expand your skills and make more money? Have you been dreaming about taking the SEO copywriting course – but haven’t signed up yet?

Well, here is your golden opportunity!

Now, one lucky winner will receive a scholarship to the SuccessWorks SEO Copywriting Certification program!

See Win an SEO Copywriting Certification Scholarship for contest details!


photo thanks to Corey Leopold






Greetings and welcome back! In this week’s SEO copywriting how-to video, Heather addresses 3 separate questions posed to her from the SEO Copywriting Facebook group.

Heather’s initial question to the group was: What are your burning questions about being a freelance SEO copywriter?

Their three responses resounded with relevance for all freelance SEO copywriters, so she answers each one in detail via this week’s video post…

Question #1:  How do I find clients?

This is very common question, and an important concern for freelancers, because you want to be able to find and work with folks who value your expertise and are happy to pay you for it!

So one of the tips I have is to find your niche.

  • You’ll make more money, faster, if you find a niche.

For example, I work a lot with catalog copy and B2B companies, so people call on me because I have that type of expertise as an SEO copywriter.

So think about what you specialize in, and/or love to write about. Maybe you used to work in-house in a particular type of vertical and you know it through and through. It could be credit unions and financial institutions, or perhaps gyms and health clubs.

  • Once you have one, consider where your target audience “hangs out” online and offline.

For instance, do they favor certain LinkedIn groups? Do they read particular types of trade magazines (offline as well as online)? Are there certain bloggers that are big “influencers” in their industry?

The point is, get to know where these folks are, what they read, and what they pay attention to!

  • Don’t forget in-person networking!

Yes, this can be scary. You may prefer to hang out behind your computer and do your business strictly by email, but meeting other folks in person can really make a huge impact!

Once you push yourself out the door and start engaging with folks via events and conferences, after awhile it will feel more natural and you’ll no doubt start seeing some leads coming out of it. So don’t be afraid to get out there and mix it up!

Question #2:  How can I establish myself (as a trusted authority)?

Again, this goes back to securing that niche specialty…

  • This is easier if you have a niche – check out and

These two sites are great examples of freelance copywriting business owners, just like you, who decided that they wanted to work within a specific industry – so their websites and every piece of marketing that they do reflect that.

And once you’ve honed in on your own niche as these copywriters did, you can consider building your credibility and authority with content creation and marketing strategies…

  • Write case studies, e-guides, newsletters – and show up at industry conferences.

Also, brainstorm things that will be useful to your chosen niche industry, then get on Twitter and chirp those things. You could also start a LinkedIn group for your colleagues/audience. And going back to that in-person networking, you can choose to attend industry conferences.

On the matter of attending industry conferences…yes, it will cost some money to get in the door, but that networking – especially when you can say “this is what I specialize in and this is how I can help you” – can prove to be very powerful!

  • And just know that this [brand building] takes time.

While we all would love to be able to establish our brand within a couple of months, the reality is that, in most cases, it’s going to take 6 months to a year. Like all good things meant to last, building a brand takes some time.

Try to be patient with yourself and with the process, and go on out there and make those contacts…and you will start to see results!

Question #3:  How can I manage client expectations?

This third question from the SEO Copywriting Facebook Group is especially good – especially given that clients often look to the SEO copywriter/copywriting to solve all of their inbound marketing problems.

So, how do you balance that all out? How do you help your client understand what they can realistically expect from an SEO copywriting service?

  • Work as a team. Partner with other experts (designers, programmers, social media gurus.)

If you’re looking at a website and can tell that it has “other issues” besides the (SEO) copywriting – for instance, the design isn’t too great or the site owner clearly could stand some social media help – then working as a team with other specialists can be really powerful…and profitable!

That way, you can let the client know that while your SEO copywriting can help them immensely, it isn’t the alpha & omega of website rankings.

You can define what exactly you can do for them with your copywriting; then you can introduce the client to your talented colleagues that can make things happen in concert with your exceptional SEO copywriting…

  • Consider an initial inbound marketing opportunity audit.

This is a way to help your client while creating a deliverable that you can make money from: gather your team and look at the client’s site, and determine what the client can do – or what you can do for your client, as a team – to drive more qualified traffic to their site, and convert visitors at a higher rate.

  • Educate your clients about how unethical tactics can harm their site.

As you probably know already, client education is crucial.

Explain to your client why keyword stuffing is not a good tactic, edify them about Google’s Panda and Penguin updates and consequences, and then let them know what tactics will really work for them…versus what tactics will get them in trouble.

And around the copywriting itself, it is typical for a (misinformed or simply unaware) client to wonder what their site ranking will be after you’ve written a Web page (or entire site).

The honest answer? “I don’t know.” Because you don’t! It can be different for each client, as there are so many factors at work, such as personalization.

  • Focus the benefits on conversions – as well as shares and “likes.”

Stress the benefits of conversions – they are actually more important than the search engine page ranking, because in the end that copy has to generate money!

Emphasize how you can test your client’s copy and discern what is going to convert better, regardless of rankings.

Also, discuss the importance of social media with your client, and specifically, how well-written content is going to be linked to, shared, and liked.

When you focus on the benefits of conversions and social media sharing, it helps move the discussion away from “I need to be #1 on Google, otherwise I won’t work with you” trap.  Show the client all the other good things that great copywriting can do, and what you bring to the table.

Thanks so much for tuning into this week’s SEO Copywriting video post! Do you have a question or topic suggestion for the video blog? We’d love to hear from you! Email Heather Lloyd via [email protected], or give her a 140-character shout on Twitter, via @heatherlloyd. See you next Monday!


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photo thanks to saaleha  (Saaleha Bamjee)