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SEO Copywriting Tips: Readable Content That’s Search Engine-Friendly, Too!

SEO Copywriting Tips: Readable Content That’s Search Engine-Friendly, Too!

Ranking high in the search engine results pages (SERPs) is key to any Internet marketing or Internet advertising campaign. And the way you craft your content makes a big difference in how your website is ranked among your competitors. Specifically, copywriters want to aim for a certain level of keyword density, or the ratio of targeted keyphrases to other text. But in order to do so without alienating your human audience, a balance must be struck. Luckily, there are a few unobtrusive ways to boost your keyword density without making your copy read like spam. It all has to do with a few quirks in the way that search engines read your website.
Search Engines Don’t Care About Punctuation
Unlike your high school English teacher, search engine spiders could care less about punctuation. In fact, a period, a comma, a space, a page break, or a vertical bar (this character: |) are all read essentially the same way by a search engine spider—as if they weren’t even there. So, if you’re trying to work in your keyphrase—let’s use Toronto PPC advertiser, for example, it wouldn’t matter if your keyphrase was split up by any of these punctuations. This allows you to mask your keyword usage a bit to the human user while still giving search engines what they are looking for. Example:
“More and more firms are opening their doors for business in Toronto. PPC advertiser NetCo, LLC recently closed on a…”
Use this strategy creatively to make your copy flow while retaining its keyword density.
Search Engines Don’t Render Code
When you pull up a website in a browser, you don’t see the code (unless the webmaster dropped the ball). But the search engines do, and for the most part, they can’t or won’t differentiate it from visible content. This is important because keyword density is determined by dividing the number of keywords by the total amount of words on the page. That includes the code. One way to boost your keyword density is to pare down your code, either by using an external style sheet or coding more efficiently. This makes absolutely no difference to readers, but it may be beneficial in the eyes of a search engine spider.
Search Engines Skip “Stop Words”
Stop words are throwaway generic terms that don’t really give clues to the meaning of a website or article. Because of this, search engine spiders don’t factor them in. So, when Google indexes “A Tale of Two Cities,” it just sees “tale two cities.” Likewise, it sees “In the Garden of Eden, Baby” as “garden eden baby.”
This can be useful for writing geographically targeted copy, which is often some of the clunkiest content to keyword optimize. If you’re targeting “plastic surgeon los angeles,” you don’t have to say awkward things like “Dr. Cutz is a plastic surgeon (Los Angeles) who operates on patients in his office…” Instead, you can say, “Dr. Cutz is a plastic surgeon in Los Angeles who specializes…” In both cases, the search engine will still see it as “plastic surgeon los angeles,” since it throws out the word “in.”
That doesn’t hold true when users enter key phrases using quotes. For example, if a user types in “Plastic Surgeon of Los Angeles,” it doesn’t mean the same thing as “Plastic Surgeon in Los Angeles” if they are using quotes. But without quotes, both of those terms will simply read “plastic surgeon los angeles.”
Confusing? Yes, a little. But you can use this information to your advantage by mixing up your language and carefully constructing your sentences.
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