As a copywriter, I get a lot of my work from SEO companies that need copy for their clients. Typically, they’ll send me an outline of what pages they need and which keywords need to be on each page. It’s then my job to create great sales copy while targeting the keywords per their instructions. Simple enough, right?
Well, most times it is. But sometimes, I’m asked to target keywords that are grammatically incorrect. For example, on one SEO project I’m working on now for a fashion company, there are keywords like “woman apparel” and “women fashion clothes.” In the past, I remember working on a real estate website where there was a keyword along the lines of “new homes real estate Houston.” Try using that naturally in your copy.
I’m a firm believer that SEO should never trump common sense and usability. Yes, it’s important that your copy is optimized and that you target the most profitable keywords, but there has to be a compromise. If a keyword just isn’t natural or it’s incorrect grammatically, you shouldn’t try to force it into your copy.
Think about it from a customer’s perspective. If you were a customer and you came across a website with really awkward content and lots of grammatically incorrect phrases, would you trust them? Would you feel comfortable giving them your business?
I know I wouldn’t. I’d be very suspicious that it was some sort of scam or something.
So what’s the solution?
In some cases, you may be able to add a “stop word” into the keyword to make it correct. For example, let’s say you’re targeting the phrase “new homes Houston.” If you add the word “in” into the keyword, you can make it “new homes in Houston”, a keyword that’s much more natural sounding. A few stop words that can typically be added without throwing off the keyword include “and”, “the”, “of”, and “in”.
The other solution is to not use awkward keywords in your website copy, but to still target them with your linkbuilding efforts. After all, links play a much bigger role in determining search rankings than your on-site copy. So, whenever you can get away with it, use those awkward keywords on offsite links you’re getting. This way, you can still target those keywords without it reflecting poorly on your brand.
What do you do whenever there’s a profitable keyword that’s grammatically incorrect?