10 SEO Copywriting Myths, Mistakes and Conversion-Sucking Monsters


Is your Web copy only so-so?

Maybe your pages aren't positioning in Google and Bing, and you're not sure what you're doing wrong. Or prospects are finding your site, but they're not taking action.

Either way, you know something is wrong. You just may not know what it is.

If your SEO copy isn't making you money, it could be that your writing has fallen prey to one or more of the 10 most common SEO copywriting myths, mistakes and conversion-sucking monsters. Here are the typical copywriting boo-boos I see:

Writing to a certain keyword density percentage.

My all-time, top, #1 myth! Once upon a time, SEO experts knew that a 5.5% keyword density would gain a top spot in Alta Vista. Guess what – it's not 1999 anymore. Yes, include your keyphrases on the page. But don't write for a mythical keyphrase density that will mess up your copy.

Forgetting to research keyphrases (or ignoring keyphrase research altogether.)

Have you ever written the content and thought, "I'll add the keyphrases later. Let's just upload this page first"? Oops! Keyphrase research is a can't-skip step and should be done before you start writing. Great tools like WordStream's Keyword Research Suite makes it easy.

Not writing for your target audience.

To paraphrase an old song, "Do you know who you're writing to?" Think about your perfect customer and what makes them tick. Write in a "voice" that they'll appreciate and understand. It's a sure way to engage your reader and get them excited about reading more. 

No benefit statements.

This is the biggest conversion-sucking monster of all. You have to give people a reason to buy from you – and that means tying your content into "what's in it for your reader." If "writing to sell" is new to you, read books by the old-school copywriting masters like Bob Bly. After all, as Harvard marketing professor Theodore Levitt said, "People don't want to buy quarter-inch drills. They want quarter-inch holes."

Creating poor titles.

Your titles are incredibly important from an SEO aspect, true. And yes, it's important to include the right keyphrases the right away. At the same time, titles also act as headlines on the search engine results page – so they need to be "clickable" and compelling. In the fast-scan world of Google Instant, it pays to craft an SEO title that stands out and grabs the click. It takes a little more time to write a "clickable" title, but it's worth it.

Overwhelming the reader with too much.

Some folks like to "put it all out there" and write 1,000-word blog posts, product pages and FAQ pages. That's OK if your readers are reading the copy and taking action. It's not OK if they're bouncing out the second they hit the page. Google's Website Optimizer is a great way to test different copy lengths to see what works better.

Underwhelming the reader with too little.

I've worked with clients who said "I don't want to provide much information on the site. I want people to call for more information." The challenge is, people won't call if you don't give them a reason. With your competition just a "back" button away, isn't it a better idea to develop compelling copy that promotes your expertise?

Rampant linking and bolding.

Ahhh – talk about visual overwhelm! Some people bold and hyperlink every keyword they can. They may think it's a smart SEO trick, but it's probably not helping (and the format is most likely freaking out your readers.) Dial back the SEO and focus on making the page better for your readers. 

Not asking for the sale.  

Too many e-commerce sites create fantastic product copy, but then they forget one crucial component – asking for the sale! If you want people to download your white paper, contact you, or buy something, make it clear in the copy – and make it easy to do. 

Forgetting to check analytics.

Is your content working? Are you sure? Review your analytics and see what you learn (for instance, I learned that "About SuccessWorks" is my third most popular page.) Sometimes, it's also helpful to have a second set of eyes checking out your analytics as well. Just a little bit of research can uncover some huge money-making opportunities.

Heather Lloyd-Martinby Heather Lloyd-Martin, the CEO of SuccessWorks SEO Copywriting. Fueled by soy lattes, Heather writes SEO copy, develops content strategies and trains in-house copywriters in SEO copywriting and social media writing. She also offers the only online SEO Copywriting Certificate course designed to help freelance copywriters, business owners and in-house marketers learn SEO copywriting best practices.

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Meghdip Pancholi
Jun 14, 2011

A thumb-up for Heather Lloyd-Martin,

Great insightful post on copy-writing. Writing, analyzing and updating is the best practice to make your copy more and more valuable to reader.

Heather Lloyd-Martin
Jun 15, 2011

Thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoyed the post! :)

SEO company
Jun 28, 2011

Good airticle,I like this site,thanks for share.

Richard Kraneis
Jun 14, 2011

Theory of the 2nd Best

As I'm writing some ad copy for an ebook your article today was timely.

But in the world of the single guy/gal entrepreneur, we often live in the world of the 2nd best.

I wish I could outsource my ad copy to someone, but I just don't have the resources to do so on my small ebook. But I think your good reminders will help me write decent ad copy for my entrpreneurial efforts.

Thanks for your article.

Heather Lloyd-Martin
Jun 15, 2011


You're right - small business folks probably don't have a huge outsourcing budget. :) At the same time, it can't hurt to price rates and find someone who fits your requirements. There are a lot of great small business SEO copywriters out there!

If you do write your own copy, learn a little bit about "writing to sell" and measure your results. There are quite a few DIYers who write great SEO copy. :)


Iulian @ Optimizare SEO
Jun 15, 2011

you know, I'm still amazed that I see a lot of guys stuffing keywords just so they get a 5% density... What exactly should they see/hear/read in order to forget about this myth? I have pages with the keyword density of 1% or less and still they rank high, some of them even 1st... The statistics show that now the keyword density isn't that important anymore... How else can we convince the "old seo guys" that search engines algorithms changed since the '90s?

Heather Lloyd-Martin
Jun 15, 2011

I feel your pain! It's not the "old SEO guys" talking about keyword density. It's the new "expert" consultants who read something online...so it must be true. :) I dispel this myth every chance I get.

Thanks for your comment!

Richard Kraneis
Jun 15, 2011

I am trying to contact Heather for a quote on a landing page for selling an ebook.

But her Contact page at http://www.seocopywriting.com/contact/ isn't working this AM.

Please ask her to send me an email so we I can get a landing page quote from her.


Heather Lloyd-Martin
Jun 15, 2011

Thanks, Richard. The form is working now!

Maneet Puri
Jun 20, 2011

Well written post..I loved the two points explained in the post- Overwhelming the reader with too much Not asking for Sale.. These are two common things I've noticed. I liked the way you have covered and discussed every aspect. Great Job~ Maneet

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