November 27, 2009Does SEO still matter?

The last three jobs I’ve done have all involved SEO in one way or another. Yet without fail, every time I’ve handed over draft “BTL” copy (that’s the big, block paragraphs that make up the bulk of a website or a sales brochure, rather than headline or concept work), I’ve been told to lose the repetition. Or simply to reduce the size of the copy — sometimes from paragraphs to two or three sentences. Which is fine by me — I happen to think that short, minimalist copy that grabs attention and tells people what they want to know, quickly, sells.

But it’s not SEO. SEO involves vast amounts of repetition, as well as angling in every possible keyword you can on any given page so you can be sure you’re covering as many bases as possible. It seems to me that people want their sites to get searched for, but they don’t want “SEO copy” any more. People have moved on.

Fact: what looks good to a search engine doesn’t look good to the naked eye.

People want sales copy. Not SEO copy.

Yet they still want organic traffic from google and the like.

This is what I advise my customers:

1. Get your <title> right. Load it with keywords. It makes an enormous difference to search engines, and people don’t read it much.

2. If you’re using wordpress, use the All in one SEO pack — that’s where you need SEO copy. The SEO pack will  handle your title, description, and keywords (meta tags).

3. While you’re at it, make sure your permalinks are SEO friendly. It’s another good place to add a keyword or two.

4. Blog. If you have a six page brochure / portfolio site but you blog once a week, in six weeks you’ll have doubled the size of your site. That’s twice as many pages with keywords about your business people will potentially search for. Not only that, it’ll encourage increased traffic, repeat visits and inbound links to your site. All these things will help raise your site’s search engine ranking.

5. Use localization where possible. If you’re based in a small to medium sized town with little competition (but at least some demand) put your location somewhere prominent. You’re the only game in town. Exploit that fact. It’s also wise to submit your site to Google Local where possible, so people searching for your service who live in your area will see it automatically.

That’s five suggestions. And none of them have been “use SEO copywriting” to pad out your site. Sure, adding lots of keywords, etc, might make a difference. But it will negatively affect user experience when people actually start visiting your site.

People like short, snappy informative headlines. They also like originality — which SEO copywriting prohibits.

It’s a cost-benefit analysis situation. As far as I’m concerned, concentrating too much on SEO ruins the look and feel of your site. And, with the five SEO strategies in place I’ve mentioned above, you shouldn’t ever need to use it.

So the short answer?

Yes, SEO matters. But BTL style SEO copywriting is an ineffective strategy.

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This entry was posted on Friday, November 27th, 2009 at 8:56 pm and is filed under Blog, SEO. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  1. I agree with you that copy should be aimed at the reader and not the search engine. You are also correct to highlight the massive importance of the title and header description tags in getting ranked in google.

    I would however disagree with the copy you put into a title tag. Yes you do need to put your targeted keyword in there but you also need to be clever about it.

    The main reason for SEO is to get it listed in search ranking. Visitors will use search engine to find answers to their problem.

    The will search for something and a list of results will be displayed. Now your title and meta description tags will be displayed in the results. If it doesn’t appeal to the visitor they will not click on your link.

    So I believe to target a keyword or two in your title but make the title enticing. If you need to target other keywords write a new page.

    Overall Well done and I love your site.

  2. al says:

    thanks for the compliments =)

    sound advice!

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