Some business writers think SEO is a destroyer of high-quality content. As a writer with lots of experience writing SEO-optimized and non-optimized Web content, I assure you nothing is further from the truth.
SEO makes writing better, not worse — provided the writer uses SEO inputs properly. The reason some writers (and business people in general) dislike SEO copywriting is because so many writers use SEO inputs incorrectly.
What SEO Copywriting Isn’t
Inserting a bunch of keyword phrases into content haphazardly and/or hyperactively is not the way to execute SEO copywriting: All this does is make the content stilted, hard to understand, and generally rub the human reader the wrong way. It is a holdover technique from the early days of SEO when keyword insertion best practices called for heavy repetition of specific phrases.
Beyond the fact that keyword-heavy content annoys human readers, it also fails to impress Google. Today, one or two repetitions of a primary keyword phrase (or variations of the phrase) are probably enough to let Google know which search queries line up with your content. (This is far more likely when primary phrases are used in the Meta title, H1 title and subheads.)
How SEO Strengthens the Persuasive Power of Content
When I write website content in particular, I love having a list of primary and secondary keywords relating to each page. I may or may not use all of these keywords, but they still help:
- Strategically, keywords convey an overall sense of the language of the customer — i.e., the words and phrases people use to find relevant products and services in organic search queries.
- Tactically, keywords help eliminate phrasing that is not popular, and replace it with phrasing that is. For instance, there is no sense in calling a product a “box” if a thousand times more people call it a “carton.”
When a writer considers keywords in this way, his/her content becomes more authentic, credible and readable, because it sounds natural. This type of writing draws prospects in and makes them more likely to convert into a sales lead.
Keywords are so helpful to lead generation copy, that I would recommend using them even if the content being written is not used for SEO purposes. It is never wrong to use the language of customers, and favor the phrasing they are most comfortable with.