Setting The Record Straight: SEO Copywriting vs Conversion Copywriting


What comes first… search engine optimization or the art of persuasion?…

If you’re an aspiring copywriter you might be wondering about the difference between conversion copywriting and SEO copywriting…

And what copywriting services you should be offering your clients to make the biggest impact and income. 

If that’s you, keep reading because I’m about to debunk some common copywriting misconceptions and fill you in on the best-kept SEO copywriting secret ever.

Okay, so here’s the deal, Posse…

I’ve noticed a dangerous misconception in the freelance copywriting industry lately…

And that is that  “copywriting” includes ALL kinds of online writing – and that anyone who calls themselves a copywriter is supposed to know how to do it all EXPERTLY.

The truth is there are different types of writing when it comes to the online medium: conversion copywriting, content writing and SEO copywriting are all different specialties that require a different skill set.

My website blog is 100% dedicated to teaching copywriting, content marketing, sales, freelancing and persuasion… But I am NOT an SEO copywriter and would never pretend to be an expert on the subject.

Still, I wanted to do a little article for educational purposes because I see WAY too many people confusing these two skills.

I see clients hiring copywriters, expecting them to be SEO experts… And I see copywriters offering SEO services that they actually have no freakin’ clue how to do. Which ends with unsatisfactory results, unimpressed clients, and lowered confidence in your copywriting abilities. 

So – conversion copywriting vs. SEO copywriting – what’s the difference and why does it matter? I am here to set the record straight once and for all.

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What is SEO Copywriting & What is Conversion Copywriting?

Well, according to the Internet:

An SEO Copywriter uses search engine optimization strategies to write copy that helps boost a website’s search engine ranking.

Or in other words, SEO copywriters are writing with the search engine algorithm in mind. They write content for the purposes of getting ranked in Google or other search engines. SEO copywriters must consider things like:

  • Keyword density
  • Backlinks
  • Referring domains
  • Domain authority
  • Organic clicks
  • Engagement

This is a scientific writer who is constantly following and keeping up with the latest search engine guidelines, rules, trends, and data in order to create content that has a higher likelihood of showing up in a search engine. That’s it.

So then, what is a conversion copywriter?

Well, a conversion copywriter focuses on one thing and one thing only: Writing compelling words that connect and convert.

Or in other words… conversion copywriters are writing with real humans in mind, not algorithms. They use things like:

  • Persuasion techniques
  • Storytelling methods
  • Psychological triggers
  • Behavioral economics

Conversion copywriters know what makes a person tick, click and take action. And they masterfully weave these techniques into their copy while keeping it engaging, relatable, and useful to the audience. 

Now sure, a good conversion copywriter should understand keywords and customer search terms, but they do this research because it helps them relate to—and effectively communicate with—what their audience wants, needs, and desires… 

So let me say it one more time… 

Conversion copywriters boost your conversion rates. 

SEO copywriters boost your website’s search engine ranking. 

And these are very different services. 

Now, I use the terms “copywriting” and “conversion copywriting” interchangeably so if a copywriter does offer SEO writing in addition to copywriting, that needs to be clearly differentiated. 

Okay, so now that we know the differences… let’s talk about the importance of both.

Which is More Important: SEO or Conversion?

Well, that’s kind of like asking what came first: The chicken or the egg.

It’s difficult to answer because they are BOTH massively important for a business’s overall success. 

Without compelling and persuasive copy, it doesn’t really matter how good your search ranking is because no one is going to convert once they get to the site anyway. And without a good search ranking, it will be harder to get free organic traffic to see your amazingly persuasive copy. 

Now with that said (and I know that I’m biased here), I firmly believe that Conversion should always come before Search Engine Optimization…

Which I KNOW is the opposite of what you’ll read online. So just hear me out for a second…

Before a brand or company ever needs to worry about organic search engine traffic, they should focus on building their brand awareness, their audience loyalty, and their repeat customers. 

And they do this through powerful, compelling, conversion copywriting.

You need to perfect your brand messaging before you worry about getting your website on page one of Google. Plus, search engines are just ONE of those traffic sources. There are PLENTY of other traffic sources to get eyeballs to your website, including content marketing, social media, paid ads, and so on.

But listen, I am NOT by any means going to sit here pretending like SEO isn’t important, because hell yeah it is!

I just don’t think it’s more important than conversion copywriting.

Create powerful and relevant content, perfect your messaging, attract your ideal audience and optimize later – that’s always been my strategy. And it’s what I recommend to all of my high-end clients too. 

Speaking of clients, if you’re a brand new copywriter, just starting to learn the craft and grow your business you might want to know…

Which Service Should You Offer?

Well, that’s completely up to you! Are you more interested in connecting with people, psychology, and creativity? Or are you more interested in analytics, website navigation, and data?

There’s a clear difference between the two and most copywriters will gravitate towards one or the other. For me, I’m a conversion copywriter ALL THE WAY. That technical SEO stuff does not interest me in the slightest…

Beyond incorporating keywords and phrases where it makes sense, I literally know nothing about SEO. Yet, I still built a multiple 6-figure copywriting business.

My clients know that if they are looking to optimize their website content or blog, they need to hire an SEO expert separately

BUT if you’re genuinely interested in both —then OF COURSE you can add SEO to your list of services! If, if, IF you actually know what you’re doing. 

But I repeat: it’s not enough to just incorporate keywords! 

But at the end of the day… remember the best-kept SEO secret ever…

Write copy that is valuable, creates authority, and gets people to engage with your page or website. In other words: Be PERSUASIVE. This will ALWAYS help boost your rankings in the search engines, and get you more customers too.

I hope this article helped to clear up some of the confusion… comment below and let me know what type of writing you love most.

Until next time, I’m Alex. Ciao for now! 

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