Awkward SEO

"Here I am - you can't ignore me!"

Awkward SEO - and
What it Means to You

Web content and web copy writers often have to think about search engine optimization (SEO) when we're working.  The act of SEOing a document isn't difficult - but some keywords are incredibly awkward to use. 

In some cases, my clients send me a keyword list and I'll go through, evaluate and make sure they're right (both as far as the amount of competition they have and whether each will serve the right purpose).  In other cases, my clients ask me to come up with keywords.

When my clients ask me to come up with keywords, I rarely think about writeability - I choose what's in their best interests without worrying about whether it's awkward SEO or not.

So I sometimes pick an incredibly awkward SEO term.

What is an awkward SEO term?

I just made that up - I don't think it's official terminology or anything - but that's what I call it when a keyword or keyphrase doesn't want to cooperate with the English language.  You still have to meet a keyword density, though.

Say your keyphrase is "freelance writing tips."  That's a wonderfully easy phrase to incorporate just about anywhere:

"Those interested in pursing a career in copywriting can subscribe and receive freelance writing tips by email."

"Johnston offers freelance writing tips to aspiring copywriters."

See what I mean?

Now, say your keyphrase is "giving teddy bears to kids."

Just try to put that into more than one sentence without sounding like a jerk.

"Giving teddy bears to kids makes them happy."  Maybe.

"The company often participates in giving teddy bears to kids."  No way - that sentence sucks.

"Volunteers can ensure they are giving teddy bears to kids."  Maybe.

Of course, that's totally made up - but sometimes you'll get keywords like those - and it seems like they want to fight with you every step of the way.

To get around awkward SEO, here's what you do.  Remember, if you're using SEO, it's for the 'web anyway - and we all know how valuable bullet points and titles are to 'web readers. 

Use your awkward SEO in titles, like so (and you can repeat the title in the first part of your paragraph):

Giving Teddy Bears to Kids
Giving teddy bears to kids is the only way to... (blah blah, write your stuff here)

Women Giving Teddy Bears to Kids

Women giving teddy bears to kids often find... (blah blah, write your stuff here)

Kids Giving Teddy Bears to Kids

In some cases, kids giving teddy bears to kids... ((blah blah, write your stuff here)

You get the picture.  Just don't ever forget - the key to using SEO is to ensure readability.  If people can't read it, it doesn't matter one little bit if they can find it. 

Use your awkward SEO in bullets combined with a title (watch - I'll show ya):

Benefits of Giving Teddy Bears to Kids

The benefits of giving teddy bears to kids include:

  • Giving teddy bears to kids ensures (blah, blah)
  • Those giving teddy bears to kids can also (blah, blah)
  • Volunteers often find giving teddy bears to kids is (blah, blah)

Things like these can help you meet your keyword density and help ensure readability.

Your Best Bet with Awkward SEO

Your best bet with awkward SEO terms, though (see, I did it!), may be to let your client know that a particular term will work better in a short document.

Keyword density is based on the number of times you mention a keyword within the overall number of words you use (to learn more about keyword density, read my post on it).  If your client wants 5% density of "giving teddy bears to kids," the shorter the document, the fewer times you have to put it into a readable sentence.

I've found that my clients understand the readability factor of SEO, and when I tell them keywords are awkward and explain the average 'web reader's attention span, they're more than open to varying the length of documents as needed.

Do you have any tips for awkward SEO?  What do you do when your client's SEO phrases want to do battle?

(Watch, in a week if you Google 'giving teddy bears to kids,' I'll come up.  To those of you who really want to know about giving teddy bears to kids, my apologies.)

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© Angie Papple Johnston, 2010; if you are reading this anywhere but on, it's stolen.

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Freelance Writing Tips by Angie Papple Johnston is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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