10 Common Dumbass SEO Copywriting Mistakes

frustrated-dudeIt’s sad to see people set themselves up for SEO copywriting failure.

Every day, I talk to folks who literally hobble their own SEO success.

It’s not that they don’t have the resources for a robust SEO copywriting campaign. Heck, sometimes, these folks are swimming in budget (really!), have talented in-house copywriters and a solid site design. Where they get stuck is that they’re making the same dumbass SEO copywriting mistakes over and over…yet expecting different results.

If this sounds like you, please, please, consider this a wake-up call.  It is possible to do lots of cool things with your content – capture leads, encourage downloads and even make sales.

But the first step is admitting you have a problem. Once you do, you can pinpoint the dumbass mistake you’re making and see some positive changes. For once.

Here are ten dumbass SEO copywriting mistakes to watch for:

  • You’re writing articles for SEO purposes only. OK, I know that articles are “linkbait” and drive traffic. I get that. What I don’t get are folks who churn out crappy, keyphrase-stuffed articles about, say, “digital cameras” and expect that the search engine floodgates will open. Just because your drivel drives traffic (maybe), doesn’t mean it will help you make money.
  • You’re creating content without measuring your results. I spoke to someone who submitted scads of articles to free article syndication sites. When I asked if he was gaining traffic from his efforts, he said he “didn’t know.”  Yet, he was spending $1,000 a month for an unproven strategy that I can almost guarantee brought in zero cash. Folks, if you’re spending money, you should always, always know if you’re seeing some ROI.
  • You’re keeping the writing in-house when you have no idea what you’re doing. Hey, I’m the first person to admit that folks can easily bypass outsourced writing services and write compelling copy in-house. But if you throw someone into the SEO copywriting waters without a little guidance, you’re setting them up (and your site) for failure. There are scads of low-cost SEO copywriting training options out there, including books, seminars and online training. For sites with complex needs, a customized SEO copywriting training can help you set strategy and give your team a step-by-step roadmap. The investment will be worth it.
  • You’re paying bottom-dollar for SEO copywriting services. I’ve ranted on this many times before. No, you don’t have to pay someone $1,500 to write a good Web page. And yes, there are many firms that offer good-to-excellent SEO copywriting services for less. But if you’re paying $10 a page, do you really think you’re going to see quality? Really?
  • You aren’t tracking your keyphrase usage. The key to a successful SEO copywriting campaign is more than choosing targeted keyphrases. It’s knowing how those keyphrases should appear and overlap throughout your site. If you’re uploading content without making sure that your keyphrase choices mesh with your overall campaign, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
  • You’re working with too many providers and no-one is setting strategy.  I’ve worked with clients who have three SEO copywriters and one SEO firm – but no main strategy. As a result, everyone did their own thing to make themselves look good, but no-one was looking out for #1 (the client.) So, let me be clear: Without an overarching SEO content strategy, you are going to hemorrhage cash and pay for SEO copywriting services that don’t help you. Don’t make this mistake.
  • You’re ignoring the direct response aspect of SEO copywriting. Sticking keyphrases into your copy is the easy part. The hard part is making what you have to offer so compelling that people need to buy from you. Blow this step off at your conversion peril.You want people to immediately take action when they visit your site – not immediately back out and visit your competition.
  • Your pages are benefit-statement free. Do you tell people why they should buy from you? On every page? I don’t know how many times clients tell me about the cool things their company offers – but the information is nowhere on their site.
  • You pushed all your content to the bottom of the page, figuring that “people don’t read.” It’s not that people don’t read online. People read differently online – and you have to account for those differences when you’re writing and structuring your content. Besides, why waste an opportunity to show off your benefits and connect with your customer?
  • You ignore the low-hanging SEO copywriting fruit. For goodness sake, it’s not that hard to do some keyphrase research, edit some pages and change some Titles. If you can’t do it, find a firm that offers SEO copywriting services and have them help you. Yes, there will be an investment of time, money or both. But it’s all worth it if it gets more targeted folks through your virtual doors.
14 replies
  1. Harris says:

    a very well thought article Heather. i am running a blog but in Indonesian. so you won’t understand it.

    but the good thing is that what you have pinpointed are the things that a blogger or webmaster should consider. thanks for sharing them.

  2. Wanda says:

    Thanks Heather, I’m bookmarking this post so I can come back to it again and again. I find the whole topic of SEO fascinating and this is the first time I’ve heard the term SEO copywriting – is it just another term for copywriting for the internet? Or even more specific. I really liked how your first point was all about “don’t just write for SEO purposes”. thanks again.

  3. Jeff Machado | Internet Marketing For Coaches says:

    Hey there! It’s my first time stopping by this blog and I love what I see.

    I’m learning more and more about strategy and incorporating copy into it. I think measuring is sometimes a little bit hard. Would you count a solid backlink from a high PR page a result? But then again, I see why it wouldn’t matter as much if even the added SEO boost doesn’t bring in traffic.

    Interesting post – lots to think about. I see myself specializing more in SEO in the future (I love it!) and you’re right, to be successful you NEED a content strategy.

    Thanks for the good read!

  4. Kammy says:

    Excellent points, Heather! Re: article marketing — most article submission sites are a waste of time because they do nothing with the article it sits on their site and people can only find it if they happen to be on that site looking for that particular topic.

    A lot of the sites didn’t even show up in a specific search for the article topic, so apparently the articles just enter a black hole.

    I ran tests on several dozen submission sites and there were only a handful that actually distribute articles and help w/SEO.

    • Heather says:

      Hi, Kammy!

      You’re right. People submit their articles to sites and figure that’s the only thing they need to do. In fact, I just talked with a prospect who was doing just that. When I asked if he had seen sales – or even traffic – as a result…well, you know the answer. :)

      Could you share what submission sites have helped you with SEO?

      Thanks for posting!

  5. Jessica Guerro says:

    Yeah all those are great ways to screw up making money with articles. Its amazing the way people forget to do basic stuff in order to be successful. Great read, really enjoyed it.

    • Heather says:

      Hi, Jessica You’re right – it is amazing how folks forget to leverage “low hanging fruit” and basic stuff. Thanks for your post -and I’m glad that you enjoyed the article. :)

  6. Erik Jansen says:

    Thanks for the great article. I am new to SEO and it is a hard thing to grasp. There are so many different techniques and opinions but I never can find that golden formula. Maybe that golden formula just does not exist. Until then I will just keep on searching for it!

    • Heather says:

      Hi, Erik!

      You’re right – SEO *is* hard to grasp. And if you’re new to it, it can be hard to figure out the SEO “rules” as they apply to your situation. In your case, it may be a smart move to work with a consultant – even on an hourly basis – to point you in the right direction. That alone may save you a lot of time (and energy, and frustration, and money) – and you’ll know exactly how to focus your energies.

      Thanks for your post! It’s great to “meet” you! :)


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