Are You Asking These Useless Questions about SEO Copywriting?

question-markThe questions seem to repeat themselves: “What ‘killer’ words must I use in my copy?” “How long does my copy need to be?” “What keyword-density ratio do I need to use?” Truth be told, it’s not about any “killer” words, the length of the copy or magic keyword densities. Those things aren’t the problem. The problem is, most copywriters and website owners are asking the wrong questions.

Instead of: “What ‘killer’ words must I use in my copy?”
Ask: “What language will appeal to my specific target customers?”

There are no one-size-fits-all words for copywriting. Even the king of such supposed super words – free – can backfire on you if used with the wrong target audience. For those in upper-income brackets who’ve worked their way to the top, a call for something “free” will be scoffed at. They’ll quickly tell you that nothing worth having is free, so whatever it is that you’re giving away must not be worth anything. Choose the words your target customers will respond to. Never depend on some arbitrary list to tell you what to say.

Instead of: “How long does my copy need to be?”
Ask: “Does a particular format apply to my copy?”

If you operate an ecommerce website, you’ll likely only have a few words to describe each of the products you sell. While, if you manage a business-to-business site, you’ll have all the room in the world to communicate with your visitors. Choosing the best length of copy depends on your target customer’s communication style, the demands of your website, how much educating about your products/services is required and the price of your product/service.

It’s my F.A.C.E. copywriting formula found in my Step-by-Step Copywriting Course. F.A.C.E. stands for Familiarity, Audience, Cost and Education. When you understand these four things, you know how much copy is required. There is no one-size-fits-all answer.

Instead of: “What keyword-density ratio do I need to use?”
Ask: “How can I write search engine optimized (SEO) copy that sounds natural?”

Forget keyword-density ratios. Google has gone on record numerous times as discounting keyword densities as far back as 2006.

Summary of the October 2008 Webmaster Chat on Matt Cutt’s blog:

“Keyword density is not really a factor. Yes, keywords should be present, but density is not important. Include the keyword but make writing sound natural.”

June 2008 Webmaster Chat archived on SEO Roundtable, Matt says:
“You may not believe this, but we tend not to think much about KW density here at Google, b/c our algorithms handle it pretty well. My advice is to pull in an innocent/non-search friend and have them read the text. If they raise their eyebrow…”

2006 Matt Cutt’s blog:
“I’d recommend thinking more about words and variants (the ‘long-tail’) and thinking less about keyword density or repeating phrases.”

Concentrate on not using keywords the same exact way every time in your copy. After the Penguin and Hummingbird updates/algorithm changes, exact-match keyword use is not a major factor. Google’s technology has progressed far past needing to match a site visitors’ search query with the same, identical phrase on your web pages.

As explained in my Writing With Keywords course, there is now a simple, 5-step process for optimizing pages with keywords so that you don’t get slapped for over-optimization. It’s easier to do now that it ever has been. As Google’s technology gets more sophisticated, writing SEO copy gets easier.

Stay up to date on SEO copywriting practices to get the best results. I find that 90% of the time, the issues people have with their search engine copy are related the use of outdated strategies that are now working against them.


Is your SEO copy not performing like you want? Karon’s Step-by-Step Copywriting Course and Writing With Keywords products are favorites of website owners & professional copywriters because they offer enlightening, easy-to-understand steps that quickly bring about results.

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About Karon Thackston

For over 25 years, web & SEO copywriter Karon Thackston has created optimized copy and content that has increased conversions & search rankings. Find out more about Karon on Google+.

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