A great tug of war is going on. On the one end of the rope is website content that’s written specifically to attract search engines. At the other end is the kind of writing that just might tickle the human eye, ear and mind.
Too many times, so-called search engine optimization (SEO) copy ends up sounding like it was spewed from a whirring Cuisinart and read by a synthesized robotic voice. Word “processing,” so to speak. Most humans prefer… well, a more human touch.
The best solution, as in most things, is somewhere in the middle. Write the absolute best copy you can. Paint a picture for the reader. Show him how his (or her) life is going to be better by buying what you’re selling. Describe and distinguish your product or service from the competition.
But… at the same time, be aware of what Google and the other search engines are looking for when their spiders come trolling your Web site. In your copy, throw them a few crumbs. No, more than a few crumbs. Dish them up a nice hot plate of tasty keywords. Ahh, now that’s good eating.
I agree with Dan Skeen who says, “There is a middle ground where you can produce good copy that is a pleasure to read (and prompts the desired response at a high rate) and also indexes well with the search engines.”
To steal — er, I mean, paraphrase a few of Dan’s fine suggestions:
- Target one or two keyword phrases per page
- Join multiple keywords into phrases, if appropriate
- For links, try to use text that integrates your chosen keywords. At the very least, for God’s sake, stop using “Click here” as your link text.
If you’re writing copy for your company’s Web site — or working with a copywriter who is — you should (both) check out Dan’s article at Marketing Profs. It’s definitely worth your time.