Dear Jill,

I thoroughly enjoy your clear and straightforward treatment of SEO application. Yours is a refreshing voice in a hyped-up field.

In cases where a client is smarter than you are about SEO, insists on saturating his keyword pages (10 per 200-word page) at 5% (which includes the keyword phrase in two header lines), and currently (without keyword saturation) consistently hits in the top 20 on his Google searches.

Is there any tactful way a copywriter can tell this kind of client that he may be destroying his currently high ranking when he implements these new "search friendly" pages?

Thanks for any help you can offer.


Jill's Response

Hi Mark,

I assume you're being sarcastic when you say that the client is smarter than you about SEO? Because obviously, if the client is stuffing keywords all over his pages, he's definitely not smart.

If it were me, I'd take this opportunity to educate the client about good web writing. Perhaps you can ask him what he would think if he landed on a page that was stuffed full of keywords. Would that page make him want to buy the products or services? Would it enhance the image of the company and the brand, or make them look pretty silly?

You should also ask why they would hire you as a copywriter only to ruin your well-written, professional prose this way. You may want to also direct him to Karon's copywriting articles at her Marketing Words site here.

As you know, SEO copywriting has absolutely nothing to do with keyword stuffing, but this is often lost on people who just don't know better. For some reason, people think that the search engines will like poorly written, keyword-stuffed copy, when they actually want the same thing the human readers want, i.e., good copy that provides them with information that explains what's in it for them.

Hope this helps!


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October 3, 2006

CEO and founder of High Rankings®, Jill Whalen has been performing search engine optimization since 1995 and is the host of the free High Rankings Advisor search engine marketing newsletter, author of "The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines" and founder/administrator of the popular High Rankings Search Engine Optimization Forum. In 2006, Jill co-founded SEMNE, a local search engine marketing networking organization for people and companies in New England.

High Rankings is an internationally recognized search engine optimization firm located in Framingham, MA specializing in search engine optimization, SEO consultations, in-house training, site audit reports, search marketing seminars and workshops. High Rankings has a 100% success rate for substantially improving client rankings and targeted traffic.

Jill speaks at national and international conferences and has been writing about SEO and search marketing since 2000. She's been quoted in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report and The Washington Post. Her articles have appeared in numerous print magazines and online websites including CIO Magazine, CMS Focus, The Internet Marketing Report, ClickZ, WorkZ,, Entrepreneur, Lycos Small Business, WebProNews, SiteProNews and others. Jill has also appeared on many online and offline radio programs such as Entrepreneur Magazine's E-Biz Radio Show, SearchEngineRadio and the eMarketing Talkshow.

Search Engine Guide > Jill Whalen > Clients Who Think They Know SEO