SEO Copywriting: Forget About the Search Engine
Much virtual ink has been spilt on the topic of SEO copywriting. However, sometimes website owners seem to forget that SEO copywriting is about copywriting first and foremost. Search engine optimization is important, because if a website can't be found, its content won't be read, but a website with over-optimized content won't appeal to online readers.
Over-optimization became a big problem that was affecting the quality of Google Search results. That is why, earlier this year, the search engine company released two important updates, namely Panda and Penguin, that would ensure quality results for Google users. Many websites were penalized, or “Pandalized”, under the new regulations.
Many of you will have come across web content that was obviously written with certain keywords in mind. One of the main hallmarks of bad SEO copywriting is repetition. This type of content gives SEO copywriting a bad reputation. Most of these texts would never have been published online, were it not for a website owner pushing to score highly on a particular search term. But what is the point of attracting a lot of viewers solely by being visible, only to have them abandon your site as soon as they get a whiff of the content?
There is much confusion surrounding the topic of SEO copywriting, but in actual fact it is very simple. The content should be written for the reader, not the search engine. Google SEO expert, Matt Cutts, says: “People can overdo it to the point that we consider it keyword stuffing, and it hurts. I would just make sure you do it in natural ways where regular people aren't going to find it stiff or artificial. That tends to be what works best.” Let us take a look a what makes or breaks SEO copywriting.
What Makes It
- Content that is written with the website visitor in mind.
- Content that is unique and meaningful.
- Content that reads fluently and naturally.
What Breaks It
- Content that is written with search engines in mind.
- Content that is repeated in (almost) identical pages.
- Content that is repetitive and comes across as forced.
To be able to write good SEO copy the writer must have a thorough understanding of the subject he or she is writing about. Without this understanding it is impossible to get the right tone, which can complicate or obscure the message. It is still important to use keywords or key phrases in SEO copy, because these act as a signal to website readers as well as search engines. Just make sure that the keywords or phrases are a natural match for the content of the web page.
The trouble with SEO copywriting is that SEO is focused on search engines and copywriting is aimed at website visitors. It is a delicate balance, and it is easy to get it wrong. The focus, however, should be on the copywriting part, the part that inspires website visitors to action and drives your site's conversion. Now that Google has changed the game and no longer rewards websites that abuse clever SEO copywriting tricks, it is important to create quality copy that adds value to your website.