From the early days of search engine optimization, keywords and content have always been vital to achieving your goals. Starting back in the days when we used to shove every slightly relevant keyword into our META tags, it has been obvious that search engines love text. The more complex and sophisticated the engines have gotten over the years, the more complex and sophisticated many writers have gotten with their search engine copywriting.
Supposed formulas, keyword density levels, and other mysterious concoctions have been developed to help us outsmart the engines. What we should have been doing all along was writing for the visitor first and the engines second. Why? Because creating a site that’s loved by visitors has become a prime factor in conversions, ranking, and marketing as a whole. And now it has become even more vital to search engine copywriting. Especially as the engines are making great strides with more personalized and efficient searches.
The ironic thing is, as the Google gets more complex, the “formula” for keyword optimization is getting simpler.
Nothing has been proven truer than watching all the changes in keyword copywriting since the Panda and Penguin updates.
Rather than working yourself into a tizzy about how many keyphrases go where and what percentage of your words are keyphrases… relax. As SEO gets more advanced your copywriting plan needs to get more elementary.
Are keyphrases being shoved in wherever possible? Does the copy sound fake, unnatural, and stiff? Then you haven’t done your job.
Want an example of unnatural copy? Take a look at this lovely piece I found while surfing just the other day. (I’ve replaced the keyphrases used in the original copy with the word “wherever” so as not to embarrass the site owner.)
Wherever Holiday Rentals
Holiday rentals in Wherever for holidays in Wherever.
Wherever holiday rentals directly from the owners. Rent a holiday villa in Wherever or perhaps a 2-6 bedroom apartment in Wherever. Wherever vacation rentals for holidays in Wherever are easily located by searching the Wherever Holiday website. Wherever Holiday Rentals offer holiday apartments in Wherever and holiday villas.
Find accommodation in Wherever by clicking on the Wherever map or the active links. You will then see holiday rental apartments, villas and townhouses in stunning Wherever accommodation.
Let’s suppose someone walked into your brick and mortar travel agency and asked for help. You would most likely ask what the person was looking for. They would reply, “Holiday rentals in Wherever. What can you show me?” Would you honestly take off on the spiel above? Can you see yourself talking to a real client face-to-face and saying, “We offer Wherever holiday rentals in Wherever and can find you many apartments, villas, and houses in Wherever”? I don’t think so.
Writing using natural language has always been important to your visitors. If your site sounds silly due to over use of keyphrases, you lower yourself in the view of your prospective clients. You want to make sure your visitors are smiling and not rolling their eyes after they read your copy. Otherwise you greatly reduce the chance of making sales.
Now that the engines are becoming more sensitive to natural language when dealing with copywriting, this element is going to become very important for another reason… rankings. To write in a natural-sounding way and still incorporate keyphrases, you’ve got to have some clever tactics up your sleeve.
Tips for Writing in Natural Language
1) Vary your keywords/phrases. For example, if a keyphrase you particularly want to target is “14k gold jewelry” also consider researching keyphrases like “14k gold watches” or “gold wedding bands” or others along those lines. This will give you a variety of phrases within your copy.
2) Read it out loud. When you read your copy out loud you’ll get a better sense of whether it sounds unnatural. If you wouldn’t say, “We make 14k gold jewelry and have made 14k gold jewelry for 10 years. If you need 14k gold jewelry just view our 14k gold jewelry catalog” out loud then don’t put it in your copy, either.
3) Break up keyphrases. As searchers get more knowledgeable about finding what they want in the engines, they use longer and longer search queries some of which just don’t make any sense. For instance, I recently had to use the phrase “real estate Pittsburg downtown.” Since this search string was not easily worked in as that exact phrase, I broke it up. One sentence I used it in read, “When looking for commercial real estate in Pittsburg check the downtown listings first for exceptional locations and prices.” The words are still in the same order with minor breaks in between. When you can’t use a phrase “as is,” this is a very viable alternative.
The closer you can get to writing in natural language, the better off you’ll be. It only makes sense to create a site now that will last through the long haul, and not be booted out of the rankings with every new twist Google throws out. Especially when that site will have a better chance of favorably appealing to the engines AND your visitors.
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