Literal vs Useful Sales Copy - Keywords, Writing Densely, & Conversion

So a while ago I was really bad at making uber literal content. Being literal and easy to understand is a good thing as it makes it easy for people understand what you are doing, but if you are too literal you miss the fact that conversion is driven from emotion more than logic and your copy may convert like crap.

I just rewrote a bunch of page titles and meta tags for a client (I did not write the original ones, but the original titles looked like something I would have wrote a couple years ago). In the past I would do things like create a page about SEO Book FAQs. I would then title the page SEO Book FAQs. Much more commonly people would search for things like Best SEO Book or SEO Book Reviews.

When people are new to SEO with limited marketing experience it is easy to be too literal, focusing on arbitrary stuff like keyword density or keyword repition, and miss out on the end goal of the page. Because there is so much search volume, and maybe only a few billion pages in most of the major search indexes pages will come up frequently so long as you are writing about a popular subject and build a few links into your site.

A big problem with the web is that stuff spreads quickly and success is self reinforcing. A website can be uber sloppy and generally messed up and still make a living.

When you are new to the web it takes a bit of time and effort to figure stuff out, but after you gain a bit of experience it is not that hard to make boat loads of cash, since on the whole the marketplace is not that competitive and most websites are garbage.

As you read more marketing books, sales letters, and web pages learning how to write better sales copy just kinda comes naturally.

Search engines are still a bit stupid. You don't want to write for them and forget your visitors. It is easy to write a bit more naturally and conversion oriented, and then just build a few more links to boost your relevancy.

Some search algorithms may eventually look at conversion metrics to help determine relevancy (ie: Google Wallet, Google buying Urchin, Overure & Google offering free conversion tracking). Things that convert are also more likely to be things that are recommended or cited frequently. Even if more people try your stuff and hate it that means that there will still be more people talking about you, linking to you, and giving you feedback on how to improve your products or services.

I guess the point of this post is don't be too literal, as I think it is a problem I had for an extended period of time. I still probably do it to a bit, but nowhere near as bad as I once did.

Published: July 2, 2005 by Aaron Wall in seo tips


August 15, 2006 - 10:15am

I still play with my words to get the page content correct and I cannot see how you get to the top of search engines ( such as MSN ) without it?

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