How SEO and social media have influenced copywriting

The growing emphasis on SEO copywriting has led to a proliferation of traditional print writers branching out into online publishing. Those embarking on a career in internet writing have to substantially alter their styles and techniques in order to get the most from the medium.

SEO content is a completely different beast to traditional copywriting and many writers in the digital field will recognise (hopefully!) the importance of satisfying the search engines in order to successfully rank a website.

Indeed, SEO copywriting requires a myriad of techniques in order to produce a sufficiently optimised piece of content: keywords, anchor text and meta data all need to be taken into consideration before the very first keystroke. SEO copywriters have had to learn to incorporate these techniques into their work.

But content needs to stand up to the rigours of human examination as well as the evaluation of the search engines. Learning to balance the requirements of these two 'readers' has shaped the way copywriters have altered their styles and techniques.

It is painfully obvious when a website has tried to overreach on its keywords and SEO copywriting requires the author to judge a piece of content on its merits for both the reader and the search engine.

But this alteration of writing techniques is not just limited to SEO copywriting. Social media has revolutionised the way writers think about words. Indeed, the prevalence of these informal channels has shifted the way many approach copy, often altering previously established editorial guidelines.

Arguably the most influential effect of social media has been the need for increased brevity; the 140 character limit on Twitter has necessitated the ability to convey a message in as few words as possible. While copywriters tend to enjoy expansive white plains for their sentences to roam free in, the increased significance of Twitter has forced content into a 140-character box. Writers with a finger in the social media pie have had to adjust their copy in order to satisfy the constraints of the service.

The medium requires brevity, forcing copywriters to consider the best way to get their message across in as few words as possible.