Who Should do Your Content Optimization? Content Writer or SEO?


Content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) so often go hand in hand that it’s sometimes difficult to draw a clear line as to where one ends and the other starts. One area where this is the most evident is content optimization. Which of the two should be in charge? Is it the person writing the content, the content writer? Or is it this the SEOs area? Who do you entrust the task of optimizing your content for search engines to?

Unless you want your content writers and SEOs at each other’s throats over this, you need to know who should do content optimization – one or the other – and hopefully this article will give you some useful directions in that regard.

Why the SEO and Content Writer Bicker Over Content Optimization?

In order to write a piece of content that has any chance to rank highly on Google, the content writer needs to know not only how to write something that will be useful to readers, but also do it in a way that will make search engines happy. While the focus should always be on readers, a content writer should not forget the search engines either.

That means the content writer’s role here is doubled and he needs to understand SEO and how search engines work, much better than the SEO expert needs to understand how to write (in fact the SEO needs to know very little about this). In other words, if the communication between the two is lacking, there’s going to be a problem here.

The two come from different areas. The SEO is technical, while the content writer is creative. And never the twain shall meet (or at least very rarely). The SEO’s main concern is to make sure things don’t fall apart on the website, but the problem is that this is not enough for search engines to rank a site highly. They also want to see some kickass content in there. Something that is relevant and useful for the readers. This is where the content writer comes in, but he can’t do his magic if the site is doesn’t work properly. On the other hand, the SEO shouldn’t clash with the overall content strategy.

The Two Need to Work Together

The left hand needs to know what the right hand is up to. Most of the time, the relationship between the SEO and content writer starts and ends with the keyword the content writer is supposed to use. Then everyone goes into their corners. The content writer to write, the SEO to analyze and fix the site. That is, until the writer sends his piece to the SEO for review. At which point the SEO find that the content writer did something wrong and sends the content back for rewriting. And we enter into a back-and-forth exchange, with the content used as a ping-pong, bouncing from one to the other and back.

But here’s my point. How well does the technically-minded SEO really know about keyword usage? Wouldn’t it be better to leave this part of content optimization in the hands of the content writer? After all, since his focus is (or at least should be) on the visitors and the SEOs on search engines, the content writer should be able to better understand what resonates with the readers better than the SEO. This, of course, includes keyword usage.

For instance, the SEO might, after doing some keyword research, see that a particular broad keyword is searched 100 thousand to 1 million times per month. But does the SEO understand who is searching for this keyword? The content writer, on the other hand, probably has his ear to the ground and has a better understanding of his target audience and what they might be searching for, so he uses long-tail keywords, which might have only 1000 or even fewer searches per month. In other words, it’s all in the search intent.

Is One or the Other Obsolete?

So where does this leave the SEO? Without a job? Of course not. His role in content optimization is still crucial in that he needs to make sure search engine robots can find the content and analyze it without too much fuss. Take for instance mobile optimization. Only 55% of blogs in 2016 were optimized for mobile, according to Social Media Marketing Industry Report for that year by SocialĀ  Media Examiner. this is just one area where the SEO should step in.

Should you turn your SEO into a content writer or your writer into an SEO? No. Let each of them focus on what they are best at and where their specialization can truly thrive. The SEO should be allowed to work on the technical side and the content writer should be given free reigns (well, mostly) when it comes to the creative side of content optimization.

Of course, from time to time, the two will meet, so they should be able to understand each other. Without this understanding and knowing the difficulties the other one is facing, the SEO and content writer will just be back at each other’s throats. But, if they work in synergy, what will come out is a much better end product for both the readers and the search engines.

Do you agree? Should SEOs and content writers work together on content optimization or not? Let me know what you think in the comments below and feel free to share this article on social media.