3 signs that your SEO copy is over-optimized
Greetings! Today’s SEO copywriting video tip addresses the three telling signs that your SEO copy may be over-optimized. Yes, there is such a thing, and it happens when you’ve geared the copy so heavily towards the search engines that you’ve forgotten about the user experience.
Join Heather as she discusses the three telltale signs that your web content is over-optimized, and the three ways to fix the problem:
1) Too Many Keyphrases on the Page
- Pages like the one shown are easy to spot: it is pretty obvious that the keyphrases are New York City and gift baskets. But for the folks who are trying to read the page, and determine whether or not they want to work with this company, it’s flat-out bad copy:
- User experience = bad. Too much emphasis on SEO: There’s nothing in the copy for the reader, and there’s nothing that speaks to benefits. Plus, the copy is so hard to wade through that anyone reading the page would be tempted to bounce out and find another site.
In trying to achieve ranking, the writer has created a user experience that is so bad that it’s actually hurting conversions.
- The fix? Reduce keyphrases: You have to pare down the keyphrases in the copy. In some cases, this might mean that you have to re-write the page altogether. But when you do that, and bring focus to what you’re doing, you’re going to see a huge jump in sales.
2) Too Many Hyperlinks on the Page
Sometimes copywriters pepper the page with hyperlinks for the perceived SEO benefits, thinking all those hyperlinked keyphrases will automatically get the page top ranking. Others overdo it with the hyperlinks because they want to give their readers lots of choices, so they end up giving them all the choices and assume the reader will pick one.
- Again, the user experience = bad. Too many choices cause overwhelm. Plus – what’s in it for the customer?
From the search engine perspective, hyperlinking users all over the place is not going to help you in your SEO ambitions – it’s not going to help you increase your rankings. From the users’ perspective, they are overwhelmed with too many choices and they find it difficult to make a decision.
- The fix? Focus on your conversion funnel
What you want to do in this case is to think about what’s in it for the prospect — the customer benefits – and then focus your copy around that. On a landing page, narrow down the decisions facing the reader and hone it to a few educated choices.
In removing the “overwhelm” factor for readers, you’ll see a higher conversion rate as you help move the prospect along the conversion funnel: you’ll achieve an increase in ROI.
3) “Fluffy” SEO Copy
- The content is longer than it needs to be, so it loses conversion flow
- Local pages and e-commerce product pages are typically the worst offenders
“Fluffy” SEO copy is often a result of the writer or site editor being instructed to conjure 500 words for a web page in order for it to be recognized by the search engines. This 500-word rule has never been true – it’s a tenacious misconception. So the writer ends up trying to say something in 500 words that may ideally need only 250 words.
The result is that the content is not only too long, but that it really isn’t written for the readers. Instead, it’s stuffed with fluff to meet a mythical search engine word count.
- The fix? Write great sales copy and weave in the SEO elements. Not the other way around.
This requires a change in thinking. Approaching your web page copy this way, you’ll have really good, tight, benefits-oriented copy that will not only help folks to take action, but you’ll have what you need for the search engines too.
Great advice. I think I get so obsessed with rankings I forget that the reason I want higher rankings is to convert more leads. The search engines might love my page, but real people probably get irritated with the keyword phrases every 6th word!
Also, thank you for always writing out the video notes. I can’t watch the videos at school so I read them instead :)
Ooh, nice feedback about the video notes. Thank you!
The Panda update was a great reminder that the search engines are fickle. They may “love” over-optimized content now…but eventually, they’ll wash those pages out of the top spot. Focusing the page around what the reader wants to read is always a safe bet (and your copy will see higher conversion rates, too!)
I noticed a website the other day with really long and wordy articles. Thanks to your post, I now realize they were fluffing. Makes more sense now. Thanks!