Search engines like Google and Bing evaluate websites, not copywriters.
Many great writers do not appear in search results. They may not have the time or the technical knowledge to do search engine optimization. Or they may be so busy they do not need a website. Likewise, some writers who do great in search engine results are better at SEO than at copywriting.
Caveat about writers’ websites: If a writer has a website, it should look modern and up-to-date. A tired, outmoded website tells me that a writer does not invest in his own branding. So why would I hire him to brand me?
Serious copywriters are on LinkedIn. You can search “copywriters” and drill down to geographic area and a few other variables. If you really want to slice and dice it, you can do so with an upgraded membership. Be sure to check “freelance” or you will pull up a lot of writers who are employed full-time.
Now you can peruse the entries.
If you need blog articles, choose someone with a background in journalism. These writers will reference that they have been published in offline and online media, such as the Washington Post and Huffington Post. They can research topics and write about them. They are not marketing writers. They just aren’t. They are editorial writers.
If you need help with social media, do not choose a writer. Choose a social media consultant. It you need strong content for your posts, hire a writer do the content and then have a freelance media maven post it and link back to it in comment forums, etcetera. If you need Tweets, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, etcetera – all of it can be done by a social media expert, but anything longer than 140 characters should be written by a professional writer.
If you need to market yourself, choose a copywriter. Preferably one with 10 years or more years of experience and a strong ad agency background. Absolutely, you want a writer who has done online as well as offline work. Connect with them, look at their work, and then give your shortlist a small paid assignment… for example, ask them to craft a mission statement based on what you tell them in a phone interview. Ask for it to be delivered the next day. And pay them $75 to $150.
Many clients expect to hire one person to do it all. This expectation tells me (1) the client is not well-informed about the industry, or (2) the client does not really respect the industry, or (3) both. I hate to be so blunt, but that’s the truth.