SEO content writing is the marriage of crafting a great story with SEO best practices; to hire an SEO content writer, you need someone who can do both extraordinarily well.
It’s not enough, however, just to hire any old content writer (there are SO many out there!) - you need to work with someone who can create content that appeals to your audience as well as answers a question that your brand can solve.
So, how do you hire the best person - someone who will help drive traffic to your site - for the job?
In this post, I cover the following:
- Why hire an SEO content writer
- SEO content writer job qualifications
- Hiring dos and don’ts of an SEO content writer
If you’ve ever thought, “I need a content writer who is going to craft a great story and drive traffic to my site,” then this is the post you’ve been looking for. Let’s dive in!
Why Should I Hire an SEO Content Writer?
Hiring someone who understands at least the basics of SEO content writing is equivalent to wanting your content to reach the right audience. Creating content is what is going to drive traffic and ultimately business to your site.
A content writer who understands the nuances of SEO is going to be someone who utilizes target keywords within content to satisfy the demand of the intended audience. But, this goes beyond just writing the keyword in the copy.
An SEO content writer is the expert in using keywords in the title, headings, and meta-description (to name a few places where the target keyword should be used). This individual goes beyond the SEO basics to meet search demand and improve overall visibility in the SERP.
Recommended Reading: Do I Need to Hire Someone for SEO?
Competencies of a Content Writer
So, what makes an exceptional content writer beyond just the basics? We believe the best content writers should possess the following skills:
- Excellent understanding of on-page search engine optimization techniques. This person is capable of using the keyword or target term in their writing without sounding like a robot (see: keyword stuffing)
- Ability to link to existing site content and follow an internal linking strategy to build overall authority. An SEO content writer knows their content library like the back of their hand and can point users to additional information on their site.
- Prescribes to the user experience of their site and understands how to keep readers and/or prospects on the hook for learning more. Though this individual does not typically drive the strategy, the content writer should have expert understanding in leading readers from the beginning to the end of a piece of content, whether by additional visual cues or well-written, engaging writing techniques.
SEO Copywriting vs. SEO Content Writing
I would be remiss to avoid covering the quick difference between copywriting and content writing in SEO. A copywriter is someone who knows the sales process intimately and can communicate to the buyer, turn them into a lead and eventually a sale. Their tone is salesy in nature, and typically appears on a landing page for a product or solution offered by your company.
A content writer, on the other hand, is hired to drive traffic. The content they are creating is still considered “copy” but the content they create meets both the demand of the user and the demand of the search engine. That’s not to say that a content writer is chasing an algorithm; rather, they are applying their creative content skills to target the right audience and appear in a search among competitive brands or publishers.
For the sake of this post, I consider copywriting to be a skill of the SEO content writer. It’s important to determine what qualities you’re looking for in an SEO content writer before you hire. If it’s important to your business that the individual is capable of creating a sales message or crafting content on a landing page, your job description should be clear as such.
Recommended Reading: How to Write Authoritative Content that Boosts Rankings and Engagement
Hiring Dos and Don’ts
Here is my quick list of dos and don’ts when it comes to hiring your very own SEO content writer. This list has worked for us in hiring the “write” writers for the job.
DO hire someone who has at least a basic knowledge of SEO tactics.
DON’T hire someone who promises link building services to drive your traffic.
At the end of the day, the best copy will drive sales and the best content will drive traffic to your site organically. There are no tricks or secret shortcuts to writing well.
DO hire someone who has both long-form and short-form writing samples.
DON’T assume that long-form content automatically drives traffic to your site.
Sure, long-form content has been proven to appear higher in the search results but that’s not always the case. It’s more important to hire someone who knows the right way to appeal to your audience and meet user demand.
DO hire someone who understands the nuances of your industry type.
DON’T hire someone based on SEO experience alone.
A word of caution: be sure to hire someone who, at the very least, can write based on specific business needs. For example, if you are a B2B brand and your SEO content writing candidate has only worked B2C or your are an enterprise brand and hiring someone with no experience writing content at scale, you may want to reconsider hiring that person (unless, of course, they can prove otherwise!).
It doesn’t necessarily matter what tools or resources your desired candidate has used in the past (WordPress vs. HubSpot, Google Docs vs. Microsoft Word, Drupal vs. Spark content optimizer) - what matters most is that they understand how to see an incremental increase in organic traffic during their time working for you and your business.
A great SEO content writer goes beyond basics to not only tell a great story that fits with your brand but also to write so that you get traffic. You should now have a good idea of how to assess your content writing needs.