Originally published June 8, 2020 , updated on September 25, 2021

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Copywriting and SEO content writing – you’ve heard of them both but are they really different?

Which one is more important for your business?

Should you invest in an SEO content writing service?

Or should you focus on a copywriting service instead?

Here’s the quick answer: They’re two sides of the same coin. You need BOTH.

Defining the Differences Between Copywriting and SEO Content Writing

The Two Crucial Branches of Content Marketing

SEO writing and copywriting, when implemented correctly, will help you reach, engage, and convert your leads into customers.

Some marketers will tell you that these two types of content development are the same thing. Others will tell you that you only need one and not the other.

The simple fact is this:
Sometimes the two overlap but there are some distinct differences to be aware of.

SEO writing and copywriting, combined, are the foundations of content marketing. It’s the differences in delivery that set them apart from one another.

You might want to tell precisely the same story to different people but your delivery will be different.

Consider a real-life example:

When telling your friend what you did over the weekend vs telling a colleague, you’re not going to choose the same words. You might also include or exclude a few juicy tidbits, depending on your relationship with your “audience”.

The same applies to content marketing. SEO writing is reserved for one audience while copywriting is reserved for another.

What is Copywriting?

Copywriting helps build brand awareness and motivates consumers towards a particular call to action – usually a purchase or a sign-up. It is usually persuasive.

Copywriting is suited to a wide variety of different content marketing projects, taking on many forms including:

  • Emails

  • Web pages

  • Landing pages

  • Video/audio scripts

  • Advertising copy

Copywriting Comes in Various Forms and Styles That Match Different Needs

What are the Main Elements of Good Copywriting?

  1. Targeted
    Copywriters need to develop copy that targets a specific audience. The content needs to address a particular problem or pain point in that target group while making sure to present the brand as a solution. There’s a need to understand the psychology of the target audience; learning to subtly push the right buttons.

  2. Emotionally Appealing
    Copywriting needs to elicit an emotional response from the reader. It’s all about the art of knowing which words to use and which words to leave out. Copywriters use their words to create an experience for the reader.

The key to solid copywriting lies in a) developing audience personas and b) knowing how to hook the reader.

What is SEO Content Writing?

SEO is the big, confusing elephant in the room for so many people.

SEO writing, or on-page SEO, focuses on developing textual content that is both search engine and reader-friendly.

The main mistake people make when crafting this type of content is worrying too much about the search engines and forgetting about the real-life human they need to target. That’s often where a professional SEO content writing service comes in.

SEO writing is only successful if you avoid the following:

  • Keyword stuffing

  • Cloaking

  • Buying backlinks

Effective SEO content is both informative and user friendly. It should be scannable, consumable, and easily discoverable.

What are the Key Components of SEO Writing?

  1. Keyword Research
    When conducting keyword research, an SEO writer hunts for words that people search for in relation to your product or service. E

    xperts use these words (or phrases) to map out a clever strategy for your content. More often than not, these keywords will be used to answer a specific question that readers are asking or to address prevalent thoughts/opinions the audience might have.
  2. A “Readers First” Attitude
    Newbie SEO writers will target search engines with their content. Professional writers know that people come first. Yes, it is important to make content crawlable by inserting keywords. But that doesn’t mean neglecting the reader’s experience. Google ranks content based on user intent and how much time visitors spend on a particular page. Additionally, good content is always shared by readers – this results in tons of backlinks and, ultimately, higher discoverability.

Differences and Similarities Between Copywriting and SEO Content Writing

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The main goal of copywriting and SEO writing is:
to hook, engage, and convert leads.

That’s the one big similarity.

While both disciplines have the same goal, they approach them differently.

So What’s the Difference?

There are two major differences worth noting: consumption and target audience.

  1. Consumption
    SEO writing meets the audience on a webpage, while copywriting may meet them anywhere else. You can find SEO content writing in long-form content like articles and blog posts, seeking to answer questions. Copywriting happens in a specific brand voice and is related directly to the selling of your product/service.

  2. Audience
    SEO writing is for people who are at the top of the funnel. It’s for people who are looking for solutions to a problem or answers to a question. Copywriting is aimed at warm leads who are already leaning towards buying.

What’s the Benefit of a Professional SEO Content Writing Service?

Marketers often resort to “black hat techniques” to pump out their version of SEO-optimised content.

Unfortunately, without the skills required to craft impactful content, these pieces are often keyword-stuffed and badly structured.

The latest Google algorithm updates prevent lacklustre content from ranking. So you need solid, well-written content packed full of value if you want to succeed at the SEO game.

An SEO content writing service is backed by experienced writers who know when to tug at the audience’s heartstrings and when not to. They know which keywords will work and which won’t. Ultimately, they’ll guide you towards content marketing strategy that will work for you.