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Six mistakes in SEO copywriting

By Alexandra Gavril - June 1, 2015

One of the biggest challenges that site owners and marketers face is having to write content that’s not only optimised for search engines, but that will also appeal to people. That’s what search engine optimised (SEO) copywriting is about: creating content that ranks well in search engine results pages, builds authority for your brand and also persuades people to take action (whether that’s buying a product or signing up for your mailing list).

If you want to attract and engage your target audience, you’ll have to get smarter about your website content. While there are no secrets to optimising content online, there are some basic rules you might consider following, as well as some mistakes you should avoid making.

1. Content is King. NOT keywords

The first mistake in SEO copywriting is putting too much effort into on-page optimisation and too little into copywriting, the persuasive content that is supposed to answer questions and influence visitors to take a decision.

SEO copywriting is optimised, attractive content that generates links and promotion from visitors, which can increase the authority of a website as well as rankings for certain keywords. This means that you can benefit more from a natural link – a recommendation from a user who visited your site and enjoyed your content – than if you were to stuff your content with keywords. Most users have come to realise by now the difference between quality content and content written specifically for search engines.

2. SEO copywriting is about conversion, NOT Google rankings

Here’s a fact: ranking well on search engines does not guarantee conversions. Optimised content might catch users’ attention thanks to the top position in Google’s search engine results page, but it might as well lose the SEO advantage if it doesn’t accomplish its goal, which is to convert! In other words, there’s no point in putting a lot of time and effort into optimising your content to attract more visitors to your site if the content itself is low quality or lacks valuable information. Users won’t think twice about heading back to the search results page and going to your competitors’ sites instead.

3. Optimising a web page does NOT equal keyword stuffing

There’s no reason to stuff your web content with keywords just to get your site to rank well in search engine results pages. Why not just use the terms that are relevant to your business and optimise your copy by doing a few basic SEO tasks such as:

  • Including your main keywords in the title of the page, as well as in the first and last paragraph
  • Making the URL SEO-friendly by including variations of the main keywords
  • Optimising the H1 heading, subheadings and the ALT tag (the description text for the images).

These are the essential optimisation elements that can help you rank well in search engines and, at the same time, inform your visitors what your site is about. Now that the SEO part has been taken care of, you can focus on filling your pages with some awesome copy that’ll entice visitors to buy from you.

4. Measure quality content through links and bounce rate, NOT traffic

What does “quality” content mean? It’s content that users find informative and interesting enough that they’ll want to link to it on their blogs, comment and share on social media, or take any kind of action that you want them to take. Quality content keeps readers on your site, it engages them and makes them want to visit more pages. As a result, your site’s bounce rate decreases, which can help you rank higher in search engine results pages. Bottom line: quality content isn’t measured by traffic (because SEO spam can also bring in traffic) but by the level of engagement with visitors.

5. Don’t stuff your content with links

As with keywords, try to avoid linking to too many pages from your site or from external site. While internal linking is important, only link when necessary and to content that is relevant. Stuffing your content with irrelevant links will make your web page (and entire website) look spammy and it can also affect the organic performance of that page.

The key here is moderation. Internal links are important, just make sure the anchor text shows natural in the page and the information is relevant. External links are also ok as long as you don’t:

  • Overdo it and include hundreds of links on a single web page.
  • Include irrelevant information, stuffed with keywords.
  • Link to sites considered spammy or with no connection what so ever with the on-page content
  • Include paid links without marking it with a nofollow tag

6. Focus on your customers, NOT your business

No one really cares about you or your company.  Visitors want to know how you can help them solve a problem, if they can trust you and reasons they should buy from you. So when you write your website content, make sure you talk to them and about them. That means more “you” and fewer “we”.

There’s a very cool copywriting tool called We We Calculator that you can use it to ensure your copy is customer oriented. It basically cleans up your website copy from all the “we”, “me”, “us” and reminds you to replace those with “you”.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in a comment below.