Writing for Readers vs. Search Engines

March 24, 2009

Search engine optimized writing could potentially become the new “death by PowerPoint”. You know what I mean – people using PowerPoint as a crutch for their presentations, simply reading the screen, making redundant comments, and boring you to death! It can be the same with SEO writing.

Find your unusual wood picture frames here at ABC Company. We specialize in unusual wood picture frames and want you and your family to have the best unusual wood picture frames.”

OK, so not only are we SO done with unusal wood picture frames, and it is a “long tail” phrase so the redundancy is even more obvious! Long tail phrases are 3 or more words related to your keyword strategy. They are great to use on those pages where you are speaking to buyers. Research has proven that people who search on them are ready to buy and are just looking for the right item or the right deal.

It works the same with a more popular keyword or keyword set.

Find your picture frames at ABC Company. We specialize in picture frames and want your family….”  You get the idea.

Following are some easy ways to make sure you do not bore your readers to death, or make them think you are perhaps a bit touched in the head!

  1. Read Your Copy Out Loud – I cannot tell you how many mistakes I find by just doing this one thing before I finalize my copy. If it sounds redundant to you, it is.
  2. Understand Your Target – write to your target market, use phrases they are comfortable with, write at the appropriate education level for your target, and do not worry so much about the keywords and keyword phrases. You will be able to weave them in and it’s more important that your message is delivered in a clear, concise manner.
  3. Break Up Keyword Phrases – you can insert small words and punctuation within your keyword phrases to break up the monotony and still get the benefit.  “Our products are made from the most unique and unusual wood. <new paragraph> Picture frames are a wonderful gift for the new bride, Mother’s Day, or a birthday.”
  4. Use Tools to Determine Keyword Density – you don’t want to get too caught up in keyword density, but it’s a good idea to use some of the free tools available to get an idea of how often your keywords show up, and ideas for using keywords without writing redundant copy (like image tags).
  5. Remember that Conversion is Key – while content is king, conversion is still key. All the best SEO tactics and Pay-Per-Click campaigns won’t motivate customers to purchase from you unless your copy speaks their language and addresses their motivations.

It’s important to balance any keyword strategy with good content, and just as important to ensure your content has a strategy as well. Your site should flow between pages and balance the message with addressing your target customer’s needs. You don’t want to create pages that make your readers feel like they are enduring “death by SEO.”

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