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Copywriting and SEO: keywords VS clarity

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With the importance of search engine optimisation (SEO) receiving wider recognition, the copywriting landscape is changing. There are new rules writers need to adhere to when producing web copy to attract eyeballs.

Often clients pass on a list of desired keywords and it’s the writer’s job to insert them seamlessly into the text. This can be challenging as certain keyword phrases are where grammar goes to die.

Even when the keywords do make sense, copy quality is often sacrificed for the sake of cramming in as many keywords as possible. What you end up with is a keyword-drenched mess.

Writers who adopt this approach need to take stock. Remember the original goal of copywriting: producing concise, compelling work to draw in readers and increase sales.

Writing with SEO taken into consideration is important, no question. Even with the best website or article on the planet, if no one reads it what’s the point? But you must walk a fine line between writing clever, engaging copy and SEO ranking copy.

What prevails? SEO or quality?

While a website visitor may come across the site due to your keyword stuffed copy, once there its indecipherability may actually encourage them to take their business elsewhere.

Here’s how to stop that from happening.

1. Choose the right keywords

It’s important to research your keywords carefully and choose the right words for your purpose.

Target both best ranking and long tail keywords that relate closely to the business you’re writing for.

Ensure that you have measurable results for your keywords, and aren’t just picking them at random and hoping for the best.

2. Don’t go overboard with keywords

Choose too many keywords and you’ll find it impossible to write engaging copy. They will act as a roadblock to your central message.

3. Don’t compromise quality for the sake of adding a keyword

At the end of the day, copywriting is about engaging the potential customer and convincing them to purchase.

If stuffing in another keyword is going to detract from the copy’s intent, don’t do it.

Remember, your average reader won’t see the keyword and think ‘The writer is obviously producing SEO copy’. They’ll think it’s boring and hard to decipher. Then they’ll look elsewhere online for the product or service.

Marcus Holder works for WordCentric, a copywriting firm providing engaging copy for $25 per page. www.wordcentric.com.au

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