by Karon Thackston © 2006
It really gets my blood pressure up. SEO copywriting has begun to get a poor reputation all due to carelessness. How so? Because too many people claim to know what they are doing. In reality, they simply shove keywords into copy without any concern for how the copy flows. Copy that sounds mechanical or stiff is a sure sign that an amateur writer has had his/her hands in things.
When you write SEO copy, you should take the time to find out what works and what doesn’t. There are two mistakes almost every amateur search engine copywriter makes. Let’s take a look at each one.
#1 – The List
Let’s say you visit the home page of a website that sells beauty supplies. As you read the copy, you keep coming across a string of items: hair salon supplies, hair salon equipment and professional manicure tables. The copy reads something like this:
The Best Selection of Hair Salon Supplies, Hair Salon Equipment and
Professional Manicure Tables On the Internet
When you’re shopping for hair salon supplies, hair salon equipment and professional manicure tables, you need a vendor who offers great selection as well as great service. Because buying hair salon supplies, hair salon equipment and professional manicure tables can be an expensive venture, you also want a company that delivers the lowest price.
Trust ABC Beauty Supply to bring you the widest selection of hair salon supplies, hair salon equipment and professional manicure tables in stock every day. Orders are shipped within 24 hours and – for all hair salon supplies, hair salon equipment and professional manicure tables orders over $100 – shipping is absolutely free!
Do you see how that flows (or doesn’t flow) when you use all your keyphrases in a row every single time? One time, sure. That’s fine. Even twice, depending on the length of your copy. But to put all your keyphrases in a list and use them every time you have the smallest opportunity is just far too repetitive. What do you do instead?
Discuss each one in its own section. Talk about the various types of hair salon supplies. Review the reasons your hair salon equipment is better than that sold by others. Or even list the features and benefits of the line of manicure tables you offer.
#2 – Substituting Keywords for Generic Terms
This technique (just like the one above) is perfectly fine IF you use it in moderation. However, to replace every instance of a generic term with a keyphrase will cause your copy to sound downright silly. Let’s have a look at an example from a Web design site.
New Orleans Web Design
Our New Orleans Web design firm offers a high level of creativity to businesses located in the general area. Our New Orleans Web design styles are never made from templates. Each New Orleans Web design is a custom creation just for your site.
If you walked into a Web design company’s office and the employees began to talk like that copy is written, you’d most likely think they were on drugs! So why in the world would you write your site copy that way? The reason is because most amateurs mistakenly think they can’t write for both the search engines and the site visitors. I’m delighted to say they are wrong! You can most certainly write for both with great success.
Progressive, creative, upbeat. Those are phrases that best describe many online businesses based in New Orleans. Web design for your organization should match your style. Never created from templates, the site designs you’ll receive will be truly reflective of your corporate personality. Because we work exclusively with companies located in or near New Orleans, Web designs retain that Big Easy feel.
Did you see it? The phrase was broken up using punctuation. That won’t hurt your rankings one bit, but it will make your copy sound a LOT better.
These are not all the mistakes. I wish they were! But most of the mistakes made by amateur writers can be fixed using one simple test. Read it out loud. If the copy sounds ridiculous to you when you read it out loud, it is going to sound equally ridiculous to a site visitor.
Take your time. Learn the ins and outs of SEO copywriting before you begin to create the text for your (or your clients’) pages. Then you can rest assured that your copy will convert better while it contributes to your high rankings.
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