The following is a guest blog from one of the top ecommerce copywriters in the country, “Jim L.” from New York City. One of Jim’s and my pet peeves is SEO copy gone overboard. This is when companies forget direct marketing copywriting principles and try to game the system by giving too much of a good thing and “stuffing” their online copy with unnecessary keywords that only gets their search rankings penalized.
While SEO is important, so is legibility and creating and keeping interest in the customers once they arrive at the site. Unnatural language can drive your audience away!
Below are some real life examples that Jim provides of bad copy written for keyword density rather than the audience vs. some top-performing subject lines:
As a copywriter/SEO copywriter I’m always amazed at the number of people who think copywriting isn’t a big deal. They figure anyone who can write a grocery list can write effective, motivating copy to convince potential customers to make a purchase. Let me give you an example of someone who is too cheap to hire an SEO copywriter to write effective, optimized copy for a high natural search ranking. Take a plus size prom dress as an example:
Plus size prom dress with sash in back
If you’re a plus size girl and want a plus size prom dress, we have a lot of plus size prom dresses. We have blue plus size prom dresses, black plus size prom dresses, yellow plus size prom dresses, green plus size prom dresses, white plus size prom dresses, aqua plus size prom dresses, mint green plus size prom dresses and many more plus size prom dresses for plus size girls. This particular plus size prom dress is sleeveless and has a pretty sash in the back.
(Then they list the sizes and prices.)
A search engine spider crawling this copy is going to basically give it the electronic version of the finger. What’s going on here is a practice called “stuffing”. Simply regurgitating what someone feels is their best keyword over and over again can backfire on them—in a big way.
By the way, several of my subject lines that have achieved extremely high open rates were:
- This ain’t your grandma’s girdle.
- Macaroni art is nice, and so is free shipping. Happy Mother’s Day.
- Peanut butter and jelly, tanks and capris…some things just naturally go together.
- Who said you can’t get anything for free these days?
- You only paid how much for that coat and those boots?
Sr. Copywriter, NYC
So a comment and a question to my readers from Michele: All of these “good” examples from Jim show that success belongs to the copywriter that engages, intrigues or amuses his or her audience. So what good and bad examples of balanced and “unbalanced” keyword-rich copy can you share?
About my guest blogger: Jim L. is renowned for his expertise in writing search-optimized copy that not only gets found by search engines but also creating entertaining direct marketing copy that drives the desired action (open rates, a purchase) by the humans who read it, particularly in email marketing and on-site promotions.