SEO Copywriting - In the Wake of the “Florida” Update

Written by Karon Thackston

by Karon Thackston © 2004

After Google’s most recent update, those inrepparttar search engine optimization (SEO) field seem to be standing at attention. As sites that have held long-standing positions inrepparttar 108121 top 10 flounder and bob around inrepparttar 108122 search results like a fishing cork in a pond, many are scrambling for answers about what to do next. I’ve been asked for my opinions about changes in search engine copywriting, so I thought I’d share some of my insights.

Just likerepparttar 108123 SEOs whose editorials and interviews you’ve recently read, I too am expressing opinions here. Nobody knows for sure what has happened or what Google plans to do inrepparttar 108124 future. However, based on what I’ve seen so far, I do have some observations to share in response to a few commonly asked questions.

“Many are saying that ‘over-optimized’ sites are being penalized. Should I reducerepparttar 108125 keyword saturation on my pages?”

The changes at Google this go ‘round have nothing to do with a penalty; it's simply an algorithm change. No penalties, no punishments, etc. Over saturation of keywords has always been bad, however, many were getting away with it pre-Florida. I have never been a fan of “shoving” keywords into your copy wherever you have an extra syllable. Keeping an acceptable level of keyword saturation is still important. Just don’t overdo it. Remember, your ultimate goal should be to write for your human visitors… notrepparttar 108126 search engine spiders.

Case in point: Do a Google search forrepparttar 108127 term “website design.” Atrepparttar 108128 time of this article, I clicked through to many ofrepparttar 108129 sites returned inrepparttar 108130 top 10. As I read throughrepparttar 108131 home pages of these sites, I noticed how often they repeatedrepparttar 108132 keyphrase “website design.” These pages had a good level of saturation. Not too heavy, not too light.

Unless yours is one of those sites where every third word is a keyword/phrase, I would not recommend changingrepparttar 108133 level of keyword saturation at this point.

“There have been reports of Google moving to a semantic-based system. Does this mean keywords will no longer be used?”

In my opinion,repparttar 108134 reports are true… Google is moving to a semantic-type system. But that doesn't mean keywords are on their way out at all. Afterrepparttar 108135 changes are made, Google will be going beyond *just* looking for keywords on your page. They’ll want well-written copy… actual language that speaks to your site visitors. That means your copy will take on a more important role than ever before. And that’s great news!

For those of us who have been focusing on search engine copywriting that appeals to bothrepparttar 108136 engines andrepparttar 108137 site visitors, Google’s upcoming changes should be very exciting.

How to make your web copy better.

Written by David Miranda

One ofrepparttar biggest mistakes you can make when creating a web site is to take large chunks of copy from your existing marketing materials (ads, brochures, sales letters etc.) and cut and paste them onto your web pages.

What you have to understand is thatrepparttar 108120 internet is different fromrepparttar 108121 world of print and it’s a medium that web visitors are still getting used to. For most people, reading from a computer screen is not an enjoyable experience, and some find it downright uncomfortable.

No wonder users are impatient and skim on a whim. That’s whyrepparttar 108122 vast majority of web users (over 79%) scanrepparttar 108123 text looking for information that interests them. Very few read each and every word.

Another revealing fact is that users read 25% slower on a computer screen compared to reading from a magazine, newspaper or a book. So if people read more slowly and are scanning too, you have to create web content that’s easy and inviting to read.

MAKE EVERYTHING SHORTER One ofrepparttar 108124 quickest and easiest ways to improve web copy is to shorten long paragraphs. For example, if you have a paragraph that’s 12 lines long, break it up into two or three short ones. And if you need to write about many different items, use a bulleted list ... • interesting fact number one • fascinating fact number two • remarkable fact number three

Also, use short words and short sentences. They’re easier to read than long ones. And, if you want to emphasize a point within a sentence, put it in bold type or highlight it with color. Use these techniques sparingly. If you overdo them, your page will look visually messy and will discourage people from reading it.

Although it’s best to keep pages and paragraphs short, there are times when you’ll want to expand upon a topic. That’s when links come in handy. Just put a "Continue" or a "Read more" button atrepparttar 108125 end of a paragraph, then you can take your reader to a new page devoted solely to your topic. Again, don’t overdo higher links . Too many of them on a page are distracting and will weakenrepparttar 108126 impact of your main message.

WRITE 'USEFUL' HEADLINES Journalists and copywriters frequently use cute, clever headlines to capturerepparttar 108127 attention of readers. But research shows these types of headlines are not effective onrepparttar 108128 web. The cuteness ofrepparttar 108129 headline goes “overrepparttar 108130 head” ofrepparttar 108131 reader because he or she is far too busy scanning. So avoid puns, cliches and metaphors. Be simple and direct and write in simple, plain English. And make sure your headlines offerrepparttar 108132 reader a benefit or useful information.

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