Copywriters, Designers and SEO – collaboration is key

  • Any good copywriter knows that content has always been king, but with Google’s latest algorithm updates and an even stronger focus on content than ever before, never has this been more accurate, or relevant, than now.

    Both copywriter and designer wanted to create a fantastic website for their client; not only one that looks good, but one that generates leads which convert into sales. I’ve talked in a previous blog about the importance of web designers and developers working closely with the copywriter to get the very best end results for the people who are paying their wages. The problem is that often a copywriter isn’t brought onto a project until the main design has been drafted and put into production – which means the copywriter inevitably has to fit around the design. While this isn’t necessarily an issue, if the client also requires SEO on their website, this is where things can start to fall apart a little.

    SEO and design – avoiding unnecessary compromise

    Most of us involved in the Internet industry look back on times gone by with fond memories. Once upon a time, websites were low in content, quick to skim read, and let you easily glean the information required to see if that company would potentially fit your needs. However, with Google changing the playing field quite dramatically over the last year or two, for a site to rank highly now, one thing is paramount: content – and lots of it.

    Personally, even though I love writing and it’s how I put food on the table, I think that this need for extensive content is spoiling a lot of websites, forcing people to compromise on the design in order to achieve the required word count. It’s fast becoming a race to see who can populate their site with the most amount of content – and while people may not really want to see this when they browse the Internet, unfortunately, if you want to play among the big boys in terms of SEO and the SERPs, you really don’t have much choice.

    So what’s the answer? How do we get the right balance between beautiful design and SEO friendly content volume?

    The answer is to have both designer and SEO copywriter working on the project together, from the start, if possible. This way, both professionals can put their needs clearly on the table and work together to find the best solution. Having lots of content on a webpage doesn’t necessarily mean that it needs to be dumped in as one big chunk of prose. While we already tend to break up heavier content with subheadings to help facilitate scanning and help with SEO authority, there are also other design features that can be used to keep things looking pretty, while also feeding the search bots with what they’re looking for.

    By discussing the designer’s ideas and simultaneously accommodating for a higher level of content, the website can be built to be easy on the eye, while also gaining good, natural authority. Using text boxes and smaller sections throughout the page can accommodate for a responsive and attractive design, allowing the copywriter to fulfil the necessary SEO requirements, while the designer can ensure that the site is still aesthetically pleasing. By discussing the layout of the site, the copywriter can then create the content in sensible sections and ensure that the message fits in with the overall design.

    An alternative approach

    Of course there are other solutions available too; you can create higher content pages and house them deeper into the site, then use these to navigate to lighter pages that summarise the information/key facts and have effective CTAs. There’s no harm in building a page that satisfies the search engines, and then using this to help users navigate to the more appealing pages that have more chance of converting visitors into actual paying clients.

    Building an effective website requires all elements to be carefully considered from the outset; good working relationships and clear communication between the professionals responsible for creating the finished product is the best way to get results.

    I appreciate that hiring a copywriter is often an afterthought, only decided once the client realises that they don’t have the time or ability to create the content themselves – but perhaps this just means that more designers and copywriters need to join forces and sell their services as a comprehensive package? Whatever the approach, I think it pays for the words and images to be discussed simultaneously, and for professionals to understand the importance of their colleagues’ role.


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