Tuesday, June 24, 2008

SEO Copywriters: Real Freelance Writers or Not?

A few months ago, I was reading a great post by one of my favorite bloggers on the subject of keyword article writing, also known as SEO writing (for those who may not know). This particular blog is known for initiating some very thoughtful conversations among other freelance writers who visit. At the time I was just getting started freelancing full-time, but I quickly learned how many writers out there perceive SEO writing.

Insults about "lowly SEO writers" were being hurled left and right. The discussion started out innocently where writers discussed the type of writing they did on a regular basis to support themselves. Things quickly went haywire and continued spiraling out of control.

I followed the comments throughout the day. I was afraid to post in defense of SEO writing because (1) I had just started doing it a week before and (2) I saw how my fellow SEO writers were being eaten alive. It was a hot mess. By the last time I checked in that day there were 45 comments. The number grew overnight. The first thing I did when I turned on my computer the next day was check the comments of that blog to see what I had missed. There was a new post where the blogger expressed her disappointment about the discussion. She had to resort to deleting posts because things had gotten so ugly that writers had resorted to name calling. Wow.

I got my start writing for newspapers and a couple of niche magazines. But I quickly found that SEO gigs were plentiful and paid well and often over time – something I needed as the primary bread winner in my family. SEO writing is what made it possible for me to go full-time almost immediately, and I didn't start out with those $1, $3 or $5 an article jobs either.

Today, I do a decent mix of copywriting and SEO along with my print publication gigs. One thing I found interesting about that blog blood bath is not one commenter that put down SEO writing bothered to qualify what DOES make a "real freelance writer." Well shoot, I guess we'll never know now.


Lysh said...

Hi Kimberly,
With so many blog posts from some of my favorite freelance writers (you included!) regarding SEO writing, I have to ask this question. How does one go about finding SEO writing work?

Avid Writer said...

Awww, lysh, you are very sweet. Thank you for the kind complement. I actually found a cooule of my first regular clients (i still work with them today) on Craigs List. Don't limit yourself to just the area where you live - SEO copywriting is a virtual dream job. Most clients will consider working with quality writers in different states and countries. Also, try Googling SEO companies and sending them a query asking if they have freelance writing opportunities available. Last, but not least, I suggest checking out Ywanda back's blog at http://inkwelleditorial.blogspot.com. She has some great tips on SEO writing and wrote a really great ebook on how to get started - and I don't get paid to say that. Good luck to you!

Justin Dupre said...


It's ridiculous to think anyone could get so upset over this kind of topic. Is it not a freelance writer's "work" to write? Like a sales copy or PR article, SEO/keyword write-ups require research and style, just maybe not the same that is used in other areas of freelance writing.

SEO writing jobs are extremely plentiful and very profitable if you know how to target your market.

Justin Dupre

Avid Writer said...

That's just what I was thinking. It was sad the way everyone started conducting themselves. I agree - SEO can be profitable.

BloggingWriter said...

Hi Kimberly
I do a lot of SEO writing and I consider myself a real writer. It's a profitable niche and requires just as much skill as other writing.


Avid Writer said...

Hi Sharon,

I completely agree. There is a lot of demand for SEO writers who rovide well-researched, high quality writing - and the pay is not bad at all!:)

Yuwanda said...

It saddens me when some writers put their niche or specialty above others when all most of us are trying to do is fulfill a dream of working from home doing what we love.

For those who knock SEO Writing, don't until you try it. As Kimberly so elegantly lays out, it's one of a very few niches I've found in my 15+ years in this profession that allows you to make enough to start staying home almost immediately.

As you know Kimberly, you were one of the freelance writers who inspired me to look into it.

And as you and I know, we've never been busier.

Great insight, and I like your blog. This is my first time here. I'd been to your website, but never your blog.

Keep up the good posts.


Avid Writer said...

Hi Yuwanda,

Thanks so much for the kind words. I have learned a lot from your blog and ebooks about the business aspect of freelance writing. I'm so glad you stopped by! :)

Courtney said...

The thing with SEO writing that some people don't seem to understand is that it's not just about the keywords, you have to make it readable for people viewing it too. It requires creativity and some good analytical skills.
You are seriously limiting yourself if you're not jumping on this bandwagon. You can do even better if you know other SEO concepts and not just content practices. Those who think SEO writers aren't real freelancers are missing out. I make significantly more per word with SEO than many articles will ever pay, which is what allows me to be a freelancer. I just cannot believe this is even an issue for some people. Last I checked people can write in more than one field, more than one genre, more than one niche if they want to. It's just sad. :(

L. Shepherd said...

I think I know what blog you're talking about and I never go there anymore because of that kind of thing. There are a couple of bullies there that run the show and the blogger lets them for some reason.

There are plenty of blogs out there where this doesn't occur, however. If you find a few of those you won't have to worry about this kind of thing. You can actually get on with the business of discussing freelancing.

Avid Writer said...

l. shepherd,

There ya go! :)

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