What is Good SEO Copy? You Might Be Surprised.

During an SEO project, my client asked me if I’d look over their copy that was going live “from an SEO perspective.”  Usually you have to fight to get the copy, so I was excited.  However, they didn’t really know what I was about to do to their copy. In the end, the client had a couple of offended employees, but also some awesome copy that they loved.  Here’s what happened.

When I changed their work, the company copywriters got pissed, saying that everyone loved their writing. I bit my lip instead of saying what I really wanted to. Their direct bosses who approved the work were also pissed that I had changed almost every aspect of the copy. You could almost hear them asking, “Who is this outside person coming in and telling us we’re doing it wrong?”  The CEO and everyone else loved the changes because the copy was written for SEO and for marketing.  When I rewrote their copy for SEO, I relied on the following:

  1. Keywords and Repetition
  2. User Readability
  3. Explaining Jargon

Keywords and Repetition

Good SEO copy uses the main keyword and then two or three variations throughout the text. Most people associate SEO keyword writing with tons of repetition and spam.  Although that’s how I started the rewrite of the client’s copy, I always edit heavily at the end. You start with an overuse of your keyword and then take some of them out so that the final text reads well.

User Readability

Driving millions of people to your site is pointless if the copy doesn’t read well, make sense, or help conversions.  If you don’t clearly describe the benefits of the page or show what you want the person to do, your copy has failed, and your traffic may not convert. Instead of adding keywords from my research, I changed the copy’s paragraph structures, added bullets, removed some text, rewrote paragraphs, and focused the copy on engaging the end user. By placing keywords in the right places, writing useful copy that explains what the end user should do, and letting them know why they will benefit from the product or service,  I fulfilled the second part of my job as an SEO copywriter.

Explaining Jargon

One of the things that bugged the original writers the most was changing their internal jargon to regular speak. On other areas of their site where they used jargon, I put the term in quotations and followed it with a three to five word explanation.  The changes made them mad because they felt everyone in the world already knew their internal language and didn’t need an explanation. In reality the jargon didn’t mean anything to the end user.

You have to remember that even if you love your terms, someone new to your site or company may not be familiar with your usage.  Educate them on the jargon from the start and then carry it throughout your site.  This action is key to familiarizing visitors with your own terminology and to helping them spread the terminology to their friends.

When the company asked me to check their copy for SEO, they didn’t realize that SEO copy is all about keywords and end users. If you drive traffic but it doesn’t convert, you won’t be able to sell as many impressions or products, nor gather leads for your services. SEO is about the end user. By creating great copy that takes keywords and experience into mind, you give people a reason to come back, to link to your content, and to use your jargon.

Final Reminder

If you are serious about SEO, don’t fall in love with your copy. While good copywriting can include SEO, the goals of your copywriter and your SEO expert are not necessarily one and the same.

About Adam Riemer

Adam Riemer has been an Online Marketer for over a decade. Having worked in house and on his own, Adam Riemer helps both large and small companies develop, execute and analyze Marketing campaigns for ROI and branding in both the B2B and B2C world. You can reach Adam or find out where he is speaking or which Clients he is working with by visiting his blog at http://www.adamriemer.me or follow him on Twitter @rollerblader.

8 Responses to What is Good SEO Copy? You Might Be Surprised.

  1. The Redhead says:

    Serious, mad props. I have nothing to add, aside from the explanation required sometimes that people don’t search how companies talk. That goes back to jargon. High five, my man.

  2. Great article, always trying to explain this to the customer and now I have an article that I can point them to.

    • rollerblader says:

      Thanks, I’m happy I can help. =0) I have plenty of articles just like this one. My blog was started to help in house and other agencies to have a place to share hard to explain things without being pitched. =0).

      Come back to revenews as well for more great articles. CT Moore is an awesome writer here as well.

  3. Great article, always trying to explain this to the customer and now I have an article that I can point them to.

  4. Dan says:

    Reminds me of a site me and my Dad decided to start last year. He’s a retired solicitor and I’m an online marketer. As you can probably guess, someone who spent 30 years of his professional life arguing is very headstrong about who is right.
    Every article he wrote, I went through it, delete endless amounts of jargon and long words. This can be frustrating, because people spend a lot of time researching and then writing a very nicely written article. I think, in some cases, it happens to be ‘too nice’.

  5. Thanks for sharing this information. I total agree to the “Keywords and Repetition” article. The variation of keywords is much important.

  6. Alex says:

    Thanks for the serious post.