Bilal Kureishi talks us through what makes for good copywriting

Bilal Kureishi talks us through what makes for good copywriting
Bilal Kureishi. Photo: Supplied

Bilal Kureishi runs a copywriting agency that specialises in producing high quality, optimised articles and other content for businesses. His agency, Copywriting Services Pro, pride themselves on creating original copy that is useful for SEO and is designed to help his clients to sell their product.

What prompted you to start your professional copywriting service?

Back in 2008 I started out doing SEO for clients both locally and internationally. Back then SEO wasn’t as much about on-page optimisation as it is today. Content and page density didn’t matter either so we could get away with optimising scantly laid out content pages.

However, that’s no longer the case. Subsequent Google updates meant that the content needed to be denser and there also needed to be a lot of it for a website to rank which meant that my clients required professional writing.

I did a lot of the writing for my clients in the beginning but as my client base grew, it became impossible to optimise their websites and write content. Plus, most writers I ran into on freelancing platform were not good.

It goes without saying that outsourcing does not exactly work as most people are led to believe. Freelancers don’t meet deadlines and many don’t even have English as their first language. So, I decided to start my own service.

I’ve put together a team of seasoned copywriters, editors and content marketers all of whom ensure that the resulting content is well written and keyword optimised.

With your experience in SEO, why do you think copywriting is so important today?

SEO today relies a lot on the quality of content as much as it does on the backlinks and keyword selection. Unlike in the past Google’s AI is now capable of telling good content apart from low quality writing.

I recently did a test pitting two websites we created against each other. One had content written by our team and the other was written by cheap freelance copywriters. Both were put through the same on page optimisation in terms of making sure that the keyword densities were the same.

We also sent the same backlinks to both websites and made sure they had the same link structure. After six months we saw that the website with professionally written SEO content was on the first page for 4 of the 10 keywords we were targeting. The other website had one keyword on the first page while the others were across the second and third page.

Now keep in mind that second and third page rankings don’t mean anything in terms of traffic and conversions. So, unless you’re on the first page your chances of making any sales or getting leads is zero! I think this test proves that in today’s content driven world content is in fact king and in my experience, it is 60% of your SEO effort.

How has the way you have targeted keywords for clients changed over time?

One of the biggest changes has been in the way the keywords are used. In the past the goal was to stuff as many keywords, as many times, as possible into the content. Some SEOs did it to the point where the text was practically unreadable for a human. All of that has now changed.

Keyword usage is not about how many times it is repeated in the text. It also isn’t about using long vs. short tail as some of my clients assume.

The goal is to use the targeted keywords in the most natural way possible. Take for instance if your target keyword was ‘Mazda Sales’. In the old days you’d try to put as many instances of it as you can in your text. However, today that will get you penalized.

So, you’ll need to use ‘Mazda Sales’ but pair it up with related keywords like ‘Mazda outlet’, ‘Mazda company’, ‘Mazda showroom’ etc. So, it requires some extra bit of research.

Then there is also the fact that the standard 300-400-word page of content isn’t good enough. If you want to rank well think 1000 words and above. Depending on your industry and competition page length matters a great deal. Also, Google favours long-form content and that’s something you can figure out by just Googling and taking a look at the results.

What do you believe are the most important skills a copywriter needs?

A copywriter needs to be willing to mould their thinking process and do a great deal of research before writing anything, whether it is a press release, SEO article, brochure, etc.

I’ve seen copywriters rush the process because they want to turn in the article ASAP, get paid and move to the next. That’s what a lot of cheap freelancers do because after all they have got to make a living too. However, the quality isn’t good when you rush the process unless of course they are experts in that particular niche.

A copywriter needs to be willing to learn. Just last month we onboarded a client who had several websites selling oxy fuel welders. None of us had ever used an oxy fuel welder and we didn’t even know what it was.

So, to draft quality content for the client’s website and optimise its keywords we had to go through a learning process. However, it was worth it because even the client who had been selling the equipment for over 20 years didn’t expect the copy to be so technically accurate. He is now a long-term client.

What are some poor copywriting practises you have noticed from others?

A big issue with the copywriting industry today is people trying to rush the process. They are trying to write loads of articles, blog posts and press releases in 8 hours flat. If anything, it compromises quality, and it doesn’t do their credibility much good either.

The other problem is over commitment. A copywriter would commit to delivering a press release for instance within 24 hours but wouldn’t contact you until 36 hours later. In between there would be no communication.

Many of my copywriting clients prefer working with me because I rarely if ever push a project back several hours or days. If there is a problem my clients are informed well in advance but there rarely is because we have contingencies in place to ensure timely delivery.

I’ve seen grammar go out the window too. Most copywriters aren’t native English speakers but are so cheap that most start-ups on a tight budget choose them over a professional. That’s why a lot of the stuff I come across on the internet is poorly written.

I also get many clients who have been penalised by Google for duplicate content or for just having poor quality content. So, then it is my job to improve the copy and many times it helps a great deal.

What are your plans for the future of your business?

So, right now we are in the process of offering more writing services. We offer many different writing services, most of which are not listed on our website because the pricing varies depending on the nature of the order.

However, we are receiving a great deal of feedback and that’s reflected in the updates to our website that seem to be almost every week. People can contact us via the ‘Contact Us’ form on the website for quotes. The live chat feature is also available for anyone who wants to discuss what they need.

We are still a pretty small business so the goal is to scale it. However, we still want to retain that personalised experience which allows for my clients to contact me if they have a problem. Unlike other writing services mine is highly approachable.

Also, we take on SEO projects if the client requires it. My goal is to further expand into translation services for which I see that there aren’t many affordable high-quality services. For now, though, my focus is on ensuring that my writing and SEO clients get the best possible experience.