Web copywriting

SEO copywriting – black art … or brown?

In a review of one of my copywriting books, writes Andy Maslen, Ben Locker said I haven’t “…fallen for the fashionable bullshit about online copywriting – that it has its own rules, techniques and formats that exempt it from being treated like normal sales writing.”

That’s true and I was mightily pleased to be praised in such glowing terms.

And nowhere do we read more fashionable BS than in the world of SEO copywriting.

Now if you’re an SEO copywriting specialist it’s naturally in your interests to promote the idea of a secret art that can propel your clients to the top of Google. But being at the top of Google is, at best, a proxy for business results. And at worst a massive distraction.

You can’t spend PageRanks. You can’t invest Google top spots. You can’t bank visibility. It’s a new version of the old canard we got so used to hearing as a justification for masturbatory advertising…

“It’s there to raise awareness”.

Awareness is worthless. Sales – or, even better, profits – are much better.

Back to SEO. Someone who wants to buy rare Japanese baseball cards will probably type something like that into Google. OK, so “rare Japanese baseball cards” is a keyword. Maybe even a long-tail keyword (oooh, goes the crowd).

In the olden days (say, pre-1995), you would write some copy about your baseball card business and put something like, “If you want rare baseball cards, especially rare Japanese baseball cards, Sunfish Collectables should be on your itinerary at Rare Baseball Card Expo 1991.”

You wouldn’t have called it SEO copywriting, because it didn’t exist. Nor did keywords. But selling did. So did writing intelligently, persuasively and, above all, relevantly about your products.

So to finish this minor rant, here is a short SEO copywriting glossary:

Keyword = noun your reader finds interesting

Keyword-rich = lots of nouns your reader finds interesting

Long-tail search terms = variety of nouns your reader finds interesting

High keyword density = waffle removed

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