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7 SEO Copywriting Mistakes that Kill Your Web Copy

by David K. William | The Web Writer Spotlight: Apr 17, 2012


Even the best SEO copywriters don’t know exactly how Google and other search engines work. However, these expert SEO copywriters know fairly well how to rank web copy highly in the search engines and avoid known pitfalls that kill good copy online. If you want to succeed in your SEO copywriting efforts like the experts, you will also want to avoid making these seven common SEO copywriting mistakes.


1. Forgetting content is king


Few web writers have not heard that content is king. This is a phrase that reverberates all over the Internet. Oftentimes, however, SEO copywriters forget the meaning of the phrase and concentrate more on other things like keywords on web copy. If you are making this mistake, you should re-evaluate your content creation strategy. Content is king now more than ever before – not keywords!

Focus on providing practical actionable information or education to your readers just as much, if not more than, you focus on using keywords to optimize your web copy for search engines. Search engines love and reward with good ranking high quality content that engages and provides real value to web users.


2. Targeting wrong keywords


Some SEO copywriters make the mistake of guessing keywords to incorporate in their web copy. Don’t make the mistake of guessing your keywords. Do your homework and research the most viable keywords to use. Use one or more of the many free and paid keyword research tools on the Internet to identify appropriate keywords to target, such as the free industry standard Google Keyword Tool.

Try and avoid targeting keywords that are too competitive, particularly if your copy is not for an already established, big brand publication or website. Highly competitive keywords are targeted by many marketers and can be quite difficult to rank well for. Ideally, use your keyword tool to identify medium popular keywords for which your chances of ranking on the first page of search engines results is high.


3. Stuffing keywords


Inexperienced SEO copywriters think that repeating targeted keywords many times within the body of their web copy increases their chances of ranking well in search engines. The reality of the matter is that keyword stuffing actually harms your search engine ranking. Search engines like Google despise keyword staffing.

Keyword stuffing results in writing copy that does not read and flow naturally and that provides little or no value to web users. Change your strategy and use keywords sparingly in your copy. Ideally, incorporate your targeted keywords naturally once in the title, the first paragraph, the body and the last paragraph of your copy.

Use variations of your keywords in the body of your text to avoid repeating keywords. Also, provide description texts for images you use on your web copy to help both readers and search engines know exactly what the images are about.


4. Not optimizing content for online readers


The main thing you need to always remember when writing web copy is to empathize with online readers. It is not easy to read from a screen. Eyes tire quickly when staring at a monitor. Studies show that reading from a screen can be up to 40% slower than reading from paper.

It is, therefore, not surprising that online readers tend to scan web copy to find out what the copy is about first before they decide to read through the entire copy. Optimize your copy for on screen reading and your web audience will love you for it. Ignoring the needs of online readers can cause online readers to ignore your copy just the same.

Make your content easy to scan. Use short sentences, concise paragraphs, bolded texts and bullet lists whenever possible to break up large chunks of text and highlight your main points. Search engines will notice your empathy for web readers and reward you with good search engine ranking for enhancing user experience.


5. Making word count a priority


One of the most viral myths about SEO copywriting is that there is a magic word count you need to reach to rank highly in the search engines. Some SEO copywriters think the magic word count is 250 words, others think the magic number is 400 and yet others think the number is 500 words. The reality, however, is that there is no specific word count you need to reach to rank well.

Take a quick look at the highest ranking web pages in any search engine result page and you will quickly realize the featured articles have wide and varied word counts. Just focus on creating copy that has real value for your target readers and optimize your web pages for on screen reading and you will be alright. Don't make the mistake of making word count too much of a priority when developing your copy.


6. Linking improperly


Linking from within the text of your article is alright as long as you link to relevant post, use the right anchor texts and do not overdo it. Linking to other high authority, relevant web pages enriches your copy with credibility and authority.

However, telling your readers to “click here” to go to a given web page does not help to provide readers or search engines with the necessary context to anticipate what the follow through page is about. Many times this takes away from your SEO copywriting efforts.

Provide keyword rich anchor texts that precisely summarize and provide context for the follow through page you are directing readers. This provides a richer user experience and helps search engines understand, crawl and index your web content better. Also, make sure all your links point to the page you intend them to and that they are not broken.


7. Having a weak call to action


Your job as an SEO copywriter is to produce content that converts readers into buyers, subscribers or persuades readers to take a desired action. It can even be argued that SEO copywriting is about making conversions or sales more than it is about ranking well in Google and other search engines.

Therefore, don't be afraid to sell with your copy. Come up with a strong, compelling call to action and incorporate it in your copy. If your copy does not have a strong call to action, you will fail in your mandate even if you rank highly in the search engines. High search engine ranking brings in high traffic from potential customers, but it does not guarantee sales.

Tell the reader what action you want him to take. Address him directly with the word “you” appropriately to engage him fully. Inform him why it is in his best interest to get your products or services or even subscribe to your business newsletter.

Keep your call to action brief and only ask your readers to perform one action at a time to avoid overwhelm them. Also, take care not to go overboard in the sales pitch. People get put off by overt sales pitches that lack a sense of appropriateness.

Remember, if your copy reads and sells naturally, you will be on course to hitting the high mark as an SEO copywriting expert.


David K. William is a web writer, publisher and consultant. He writes and publishes articles, reports and fiction for web and print media. David is also founding editor of where he shares tips and tricks about web content writing and building successful businesses online.




Awesome responses

Hi, David, These mistakes are great reminders of what NOT to do. I'm going to copy this article and keep it as a handy reference when I'm adding content to any of my sites. I'll also share it with all our Working Writer's Club members. Thanks so much!

Nice thoughts you provide here. Not paying attention good keywords that makes worth of one's site is very crucial for every blogger. Thank you for sharing this wonderful info
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