I've been frustrated lately. It seems people just don't get it. There's lots of talk about SEO copywriting these days, but hardly any of it is on target. The majority of the conversations, posts and articles I've seen deal with topics like keyword density, allowable limits, over optimization and such. These people are making search engine copywriting all about the search engines. They are forgetting the fact that SEO copywriting is still copywriting.

What that means - generally speaking - is you are still writing promotional copy designed to cause a *person* to take a specific action. Your target audience (your site visitors) should come first. The elements designed to help the copy rank well absolutely come last.

What good is all the traffic in the world if your site copy doesn't convert visitors into buyers? Not much. That's why - when writing SEO copy - the human visitor comes first.

Unfortunately, SEO copywriting is getting a bad name because so much of what is being cranked out is repetitious babble. Most of these pages would never have made it on to a site, except for the fact that the site owner wanted to rank highly for certain key terms.

So, in the interest of salvaging the good name of search engine copywriting, before it's too late, let me offer some guidelines.

SEO Copy Is:

  • first and foremost - written for the visitor.
  • unique and purposeful.
  • natural-sounding - it flows.

SEO Copy Is Not:

  • written exclusively with the engines in mind.
  • mirrored, adjusted or altered to create new pages by simply changing keyphrases.
  • stiff, forced or overly repetitive.

The Dos of SEO Copywriting

When writing SEO copy, you'll want to:

  • understand who you are writing to.
  • choose what the focus of the page will be.
  • create a plan outlining the message you want to convey.
  • decide how best to communicate that message to your particular target customers.
  • choose which keyphrases will be incorporated into the copy.
  • make sure those keyphrases work well with the page and the planned copy.
  • incorporate keyphrases as you write (not after you write), so they flow naturally with the planned message.

The Don'ts of SEO Copywriting

When writing SEO copy, you should never:

  • create a plan based solely on how to rank high.
  • replace *every* instance of a generic term (car) with a keyphrase (red, convertible car).
  • add pages of copy simply to appease the search engines.
  • rely on useless keyword density ratios and formulas.
  • shove keyphrases in everywhere possible. (No, it won't get you banned, but it will sound completely ridiculous!)

SEO copywriting is not the process of writing exclusively for the search engines. It is the process of writing copy to appeal to your visitors, while including elements to help the search engines and your visitors understand what the page is all about.

If you remember who truly makes or breaks your site's success (your customers!) and focus on them, you're sure to create SEO copy that rings true.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.


December 6, 2005





Karon Thackston is owner of Marketing Words, Inc. a full-service copywriting company specializing in search engine copywriting. She is also publisher of the long-standing free ezine, Business Essentials. Karon is author and publisher of the popular Step-by-Step Copywriting Course, an e-course designed to teach sound and highly-effective copywriting techniques - including search engine copywriting techniques. With over 20 years of copywriting experience, Karon has contributed to the search engine and sales success of companies large and small including Gortons Seafood, Third Sphere Hosting and more.








Search Engine Guide > Karon Thackston > What SEO Copywriting Is... and Isn't