There is no shortage of don’ts when it comes to SEO copywriting. But, sometimes these mistakes can weaken your brand credibility and cause you to lose potential customers. Here are 7 key ways to avoid common SEO copywriting mistakes:
Not considering your target audience
One of the most common SEO copywriting mistakes people make is to write content purely for ranking reasons. Most SEO specialists will suggest you start with keyword research, and while that’s important, it’s more important to know what your target audience cares about and what they need to know from you.
Content should never be written only for search engine purposes; instead, it should be written to provide value for your target audience. When you consider what you want to write about from your audience’s perspective, you can define a message that will resonate with them and allow you to have high-quality content.
Good topics and posts will help align you as a thought leader for those customers. If it’s a topic they care about that’s useful for them, then they will be more likely to share your content with other like-minded people. Useful content is what drives traffic to your site, and leads to more visitors turning into customers.
Remember: If you’re writing about something that your target customer won’t care about or find valuable, then why spend the time writing it in the first place?
Not doing keyword research
Obviously, you have to do your research in order to make your SEO copy as effective as possible. Once you have an idea of topics your customers care about, then you can think about the terms you want to be found for and do keyword research.
You should take keyword research seriously. Think about your customer’s search intent and how they would find your content.
Overusing the keywords
You’ve spent the time to do in-depth keyword research so you want to use it as much as possible right? Wrong! One of the most common SEO copywriting mistakes is stuffing your content with the keyword you want to rank for.
Your online content always has two audiences: your site visitors and search engines. You need to be cognizant of both groups and balance your copywriting. At Webhead Interactive, we believe that your customers come first and you cater to the rankings second. And with Google’s increasingly intelligent algorithms that place emphasis on user experience, truly what is good for the user will also ultimately be good for the search engine. In fact, over-stuffing your site with keywords can look unnatural and can put you at risk for getting hit with a Google penalty (ouch).
Good copywriting for SEO means that you’ve got a handle on balancing both audiences so you can connect with your target market AND have your content found and ranked with search engines. If you overuse your keywords, your copy can become hard to read and your site visitors will not like it. Focus on your customer first to eliminate the chance that they could be turned off and bounce from your site.
Using keywords and phrases the exact same way every time
This is a very common SEO copywriting mistake. When you force a phrase into the copy, it never turns out well. That’s how your content ends up sounding like a child wrote it. There should be flow to your copy and it should sound natural to the reader. When you’re trying to rank for a certain long tail key phrases, you should use a different word order every now and then. Otherwise, your copy will sound forced.
Sometimes you have to get creative with your phrasing; one way is to break up phrases using punctuation. Here’s an example for [primary care doctor in Tampa]: “It can be hard when you move to a new city to find a new primary care doctor. In Tampa, you have your choice of….” See? “Primary care doctor” is at the end of the first sentence and the next sentence starts with “in Tampa.”
Using popular search terms that have nothing to do with that page
In your keyword research you’re sure to come across recommendations that have a lot of queries, but using these words or phrases just because it pulls a lot of traffic is a big no-no when it comes to SEO copy.
User intent with the search is what really matters. So even if you do manage to get your page ranked well, once someone comes on to your site and realizes that it has nothing to do with what they need, they will leave due to a poor experience. Plus they’ll be less likely to trust other content from your brand in the future.
Spell check isn’t an end all be all; actually, take the time to read what you wrote. If something feels off, then change it.
And although misspellings can be valuable search terms, purposefully including those looks really unprofessional and can turn your customers off. SEO best practice: Google’s algorithms are intelligent enough to make the associations between misspelled queries and correctly written content, so keep your content (and your meta tags) clean and correct.
Neglecting titles, meta tags, and image attributes
The title, META tags, ALT tags, other coding elements all support your on-page copy. Don’t make the mistake of not filling out of these components. The goal here is to let search engines know your company has relevant content about a specific topic, and tagging helps drive that home. Plus these titles and descriptions can give your site visitors a preview of what your content is about so you can increase traffic. Meta tags are also the first elements that the search engines will crawl and will often be the elements they use to structure their own description if properly structured. It is important that meta, header, and image alt tags all correspond with the content and theme of their respective page.