Who Should Optimize Your Content – an SEO Expert or a Content Writer?

While it’s true that search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing certainly overlap, it’s important to consider the fact that they are indeed, two separate disciplines. So, that brings us to the question of who should be optimizing the content… the SEO or the content writer?

Of course, SEO and content marketing are closely related in terms of digital marketing, but there can be vast differences in their execution. Even though there can be overlap, should the person (or team of people) handling your SEO also handle your content marketing? Should the person (or team) handling your content marketing also handle your SEO? It’s a common question, so here’s my answer.

SEO is Technical; Content is Creative

SEO is highly technical; there is little room for creativity. Most of what an SEO does is spend time analyzing and fixing issues with a website’s architecture. Even websites built on WordPress – a platform known for its user and SEO friendly structure – are full of issues that could negatively affect rankings. The vast majority of them have little to do with the content on the page.

That’s not to say content isn’t important when it comes to SEO. There’s really a circular relationship between the two – almost a catch 22, if you will. You need good content as part of getting found online, but you need to get found online before people will see that content.

You’ll have a hard time gaining traction with your content in the search engines if the search engines are having difficulty accessing it or analyzing It correctly. However, fixing fight architecture issues isn’t enough on its own to ensure that the content road will rank well. It must be optimized and have value to the user before it has a chance at a decent ranking.

It’s this interdependence between technical SEO and solid content that makes it difficult for websites with limited budgets to see success. If you had to only choose one, where should you invest your time? Or, should you invest a little bit of time in both areas and hope for the best?

Really, you need both the creative and technical side… so it can be tough to know how much resources to invest in technical vs. creative.

How the SEO Fits into Content

In terms of SEO, not much as it is creative at all. I’m not saying it doesn’t take creativity to find and implement the solutions to technical SEO issues. However, really the only creative aspect of SEO is working your keywords into the content. And honestly, I don’t really think that’s the SEO’s job.

When it comes to the content portion of optimization, the SEO should be in charge of choosing the keywords to be worked into the content. The copywriter should not be going out and spending hours conducting keyword research and they shouldn’t be the person selecting the keywords to target on any given page or for any particular piece of content.

It’s the copywriter’s job to weave the keywords from the SEO into the content. The SEO should give the writer a list of keywords, and the writer should edit, re-write, and make adjustments to the content accordingly, so as to ensure the phrases are naturally intertwined with the content. Good copywriters know the importance of writing for humans first, and search engines second, and won’t force keywords to fit where they don’t make sense. They also will be able to write a naturally well-rounded piece that focuses on what the reader wants, rather than a specific keyword density.

Once the SEO completes the keyword research process, it’s their job to make sure the content is accessible to the search engines, and optimized. This means making sure it has a title, description, and the content is unique.

How the Writer Fits into SEO

To be an effective copywriter, one must understand a decent amount of SEO, probably more so than the SEO needs to understand about writing. Why? Because to create content that users and search engines love, the writer must understand how search engines work, and what it is they are looking for.

Google wants everyone to focus on the visitor first – doing what you need to do to meet their needs, because it’s Google’s job to provide quality results that give the users what they’re looking for. If you can do that, you’ll rank higher than other sites. That said, focusing on the user first doesn’t mean writers can completely neglect the search engines – it is necessary to create the content in such a way that also meets the needs of the search engines.

If the writer doesn’t understand how search engines work, then it’s likely it will need to be re-written to some extent after the SEO takes a look at it. It’s better for both the writer and the SEO if the writer has basic SEO knowledge before the project begins – to save time on both ends. This isn’t to say the SEO shouldn’t review everything and provide suggestions to the writer, but the SEO shouldn’t be afraid to make small tweaks to the content as needed.

Writers and SEOs Should Work Together for Properly Optimized Content

SEOs should have a basic grasp of what makes content good, just as writers should have a basic grasp of SEO. But, to expect someone to be both technical and creative at the same time is quite an undertaking. In most cases, it’s best for your business if you have one person or team dedicated to SEO, and one person or team dedicated to content creation. They can work together – and the SEO team may be able to recommend writers and vice versa. That said, you should not expect a content writer to be an SEO, or an SEO to be a decent content writer. The two roles overlap, but ultimately, they have to work together to create a finished product that serves both users and search engines – making your readers and customers happy, while earning (or keeping) a solid rank in Google.

When you create a team that allows each person to stay focused on their specific role, the resulting content is not only search engine optimized, but it will bring in targeted traffic, give your website visitors what they are looking for, and move them through the funnel to conversion. Keywords will of course be used, but only as required to get the job done.

At my agency, Sachs Marketing Group, we have teams of people dedicated to both the creative and technical side of SEO. Our writers handle website content, content marketing, and email marketing, while our SEO specialists work closely with them to ensure we can get you where you need to be.

If you’re tired of trying to balance everything on your own, reach out and let’s talk!

SEO virtuoso, CEO @Sachs Marketing Group. Focused on being of service to business owners - helping to better position them in the eyes of their audiences.

By Eric Sachs

SEO virtuoso, CEO @Sachs Marketing Group. Focused on being of service to business owners - helping to better position them in the eyes of their audiences.

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