Well, low and behold, just last week his comments appear in the i-Copywriting newsletter. NOW I had a way to disagree... and I'm not the only one.
His comments about SEO copywriters provoked a word or two from our illustrious leader, Jill.
I don't have the whole article anymore, but you'll get the gist of what's going on from mine and Jill's comments below.
Hi Nick and all...
I usually agree with Mike Banks Valentine, and in
fact he has written a few guest articles for my
newsletter. However, I have to strongly disagree
with some of the points he made in the last issue of
>> SEO's take existing web copy and
massage it to make the text and page structure
crawler friendly so that those search engine spiders
will recognize what a given page is about. The goal
is to gain top rankings in the search engines for
competitive keyword phrases targeted by our clients.
Those clients could often benefit from a seasoned
professional writer RE-writing their web pages as
well, but only if they were willing to FOREGO high
search engine rankings. <<
Sorry, Mike, but you've got to be kidding?
There's an entire new field created just for
this purpose called SEO Copywriting (which I like to
flatter myself into thinking I had a little hand in
creating!). The whole idea is to write for the
search engines AND the site visitors. There's
absolutely no reason to forego high rankings in
exchange for professional copywriting. The thought of
that is simply ludicrous to me.
Yes, it's true that the typical SEOs job is to
edit existing copy so that it utilizes the keyword
phrases. In fact, that's my specialty, and
it's what my Nitty-gritty report is based on.
BUT...and this is a huge but...it's not always
possible to edit existing copy in a way that will
make sense for the search engines and the site's
In those cases, it's imperative that the SEO put
away their ego to step down and let the professional
copywriters take over. I firmly believe that any
good professional copywriter worth their salt can
easily be trained in SEO copywriting. In fact, it
takes them generally about 2 or 3 pages to understand
what they need to do, if they have the benefit of a
decent SEO teaching them.
SEOs should stay away from trying to write copy, just
as copywriters should stay away from thinking they
are SEOs just because they know how to write for the
search engines. Both need to work together, not
IMO, any SEO who does not have a professional
copywriter on staff or contracted out, is doing a
huge disservice to their clients because there's
no sense in getting high rankings if your site's
copy sounds like it was written by an SEO. It will
be a million times harder to make a sale in under
those circumstances. Let's face it, the best
SEOs are somewhat technically inclined, and the best
copywriters are generally creatively inclined.
Together, they make a killer optimization team.
In response to Mike Banks Valentine's comments
regarding SEO copywriting. Mike said:
>> I guarantee that you, as a professional
writer, would not want to see a keyword phrase
repeated six or seven times on a page of 600 words.
I'll wager that you would even recommend
reducing that page to 250 words or less to gain
clarity and focus, that you'd vary your words to
avoid repetition, that you'd re-write headlines
to emphasize the sizzle rather than the steak, that
you would opt for simple metaphor rather than
BUT every one of those moves would destroy search
engine position for that client. He now has a
beautifully written page that nobody will ever find
by doing a search at Google. Congratulations on your
stellar written work - which is now invisible to the
search engines! <<
Mike is wrong. This is exactly what I do. As a
professional SEO copywriter, I DO want to see the
keyword phrases repeated. I do want longer copy on
the page to increase saturation. I don't
recommend reducing the copy to 250 words.
A professional SEO copywriter is trained to create
copy that is the happy solution that Mike says he
can't find. We have a talent to be able to
create the sizzle without burning the steak. Our
profession dictates that we create copy that
impresses both the visitor and the search engines.
So Mike, while I understand your comments *if*
written to copywriters, I just wanted you to take
heart! There are SEO copywriters who provide the
very things you believe are missing.
What do you think?
[Here's the link toI-Copywriting]
Edited by Jill, 11 November 2003 - 09:22 PM.