"Search Engine Optimization"Why Writing for SEO Can Hurt Your Website Rankings by Michele PW

In my copywriting trainings, this topic invariably comes up. Usually it’s because I’m questioning my students’ choice of words on their websites or other online promotional copy.

The problem: they choose words that are good SEO words – but certainly not good people words.

Let me give you a little background. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This means you make your website and other online copy “search-engine friendly” so the search engines will rank you high for your chosen keywords. The result: you get more online visitors to your site.


On the surface, it makes sense. Your website ranks high on the first page when people do a search for your keywords, they see your website and click on the link.


Easy, right?




First off, SEO (like everything Internet-related) has changed. A few years ago, SEO WAS the main way people found things on the Internet.


However, with social networking taking the world by storm, and more people on Facebook and YouTube than Google, people using search engines have dropped significantly.


People are still using search engines. But their habits have changed. Now they’re more likely to search for you after hearing about you via offline methods (like newspapers, magazines, television, direct mail, speaking, meeting you at an event, etc.)


Of course, people will still do generic searches for keywords that relate to what you sell. But trying to get yourself on page 1 of those rankings can be difficult.


So what do you do?


While optimizing is not a bad idea, I wouldn’t put too much energy into it. I certainly wouldn’t put words that sounded weird or off to my ideal clients on my online materials even if they were strong keywords. (You did all this work to get your ideal clients to visit your site. Do you want to turn them off with bad writing and poor language choices?)


Google and the other search engines reward you if your website isn’t deceptive, offers great content, and the content changes regularly. If you do that, search engines WILL like your site regardless of your SEO.


It makes more sense to focus on other avenues for people to find you. Be active on social networking sites, post articles, upload video, blog more. This increases your visibility out in the wild world of the Internet FAR more than focusing only on SEO.


Focus on those activities, then put your very best writing on your website — writing that makes your visitors eager to learn more about you and do business with you — instead of suffocating your copy with keywords that may make those very same visitors click away.


Michele PW (Michele Pariza Wacek) is your Ka-Ching! Marketing strategist and owns Creative Concepts and Copywriting LLC, a premiere direct response copywriting and marketing company that helps entrepreneurs attract more clients, sell more products and services and boost their business. To grab your FREE “Ka-Ching! Business Kit” with a FREE CD visit http://www.MichelePW.com/freecd