Common Google-Visitor conflicts & how to resolve them

May 5, 2019 •

Now that you’re familiar with the best practices professional SEO copywriters use on a daily basis, let’s look at the problems you’re most likely to face when writing SEO copy.

The biggest problems are usually caused by the conflict between what Google wants and what your readers want. Following are the 15 problems you’re most likely to encounter when writing SEO copy, along with some tips on how to resolve them.

1. Keyword frequency VS readability

Glenn
Director & Lead Copywriter
25 years’ experience
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Angela
Copywriter & Content Marketer
X years’ experience
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Mariella
Copywriter & Content Marketer
XX years’ experience
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Monique
Copywriter & Content Marketer
25 years’ experience
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Zoe
Copywriter & Content Marketer
XX years’ experience
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Phil
Technical Copywriter
XX years’ experience
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2. Keyword-rich VS persuasive headings

Headings are vital to your SEO copy, so it’s important you leverage them effectively. But remember, they’re also vital for conveying your message and keeping the reader on the persuasion slippery slide.

Glenn
Director & Lead Copywriter
25 years’ experience
Read more...
Angela
Copywriter & Content Marketer
X years’ experience
Read more...
Mariella
Copywriter & Content Marketer
XX years’ experience
Read more...
Monique
Copywriter & Content Marketer
25 years’ experience
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Rod
Copywriter
XX years’ experience
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Jacqui
Content Marketer
XX years’ experience
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Zoe
Copywriter & Content Marketer
XX years’ experience
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Phil
Technical Copywriter
XX years’ experience
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3. Headings that start with keywords VS headings that start with persuasion

Glenn
Director & Lead Copywriter
25 years’ experience
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Angela
Copywriter & Content Marketer
X years’ experience
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Rod
Copywriter
XX years’ experience
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4. Keyword-rich VS feature/benefit-rich lists

Readers and search engines, alike, love a good bulleted list. Sadly, they disagree on what constitutes ‘good’.

Glenn
Director & Lead Copywriter
25 years’ experience
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Rod
Copywriter
XX years’ experience
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Angela
Copywriter & Content Marketer
X years’ experience
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5. Bolded keywords VS bolded meaning words

This is a similar situation to the lists conflict above.

Glenn
Director & Lead Copywriter
25 years’ experience
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Angela
Copywriter & Content Marketer
X years’ experience
Read more...
Mariella
Copywriter & Content Marketer
XX years’ experience
Read more...
Monique
Copywriter & Content Marketer
25 years’ experience
Read more...
Rod
Copywriter
XX years’ experience
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Jacqui
Content Marketer
XX years’ experience
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Zoe
Copywriter & Content Marketer
XX years’ experience
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Phil
Technical Copywriter
XX years’ experience
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Shannon
Copywriter & Content Marketer
xx years’ experience
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Sophie
Chinese Language Copywriter
XX years’ experience
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6. Keyword-rich VS scannable VS engaging links

Glenn
Director & Lead Copywriter
25 years’ experience
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Phil
Technical Copywriter & Microcopy writer
XX years’ experience
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Angela
Copywriter & Microcopy writer
X years’ experience
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7. Summaries that start with keywords VS summaries that start with meaning or persuasion

This conflict is similar to the link conflict above. So is its solution. But because the reasons for that solution are different, it’s worth discussing separately.

(Note: Summaries aren’t tagged items on a page; there’s no <summary> tag in the HTML of the page. So Google doesn’t analyze summaries the way it might analyze, say, a Title tag. Summaries do, however, tend to appear toward the start of the page, which is argued to draw Google’s attention a little more than the content toward the end of the page.)

Glenn
Director & Lead Copywriter
25 years’ experience
Read more...
Rod
Copywriter
XX years’ experience
Read more...
Angela
Copywriter & Microcopy writer
X years’ experience
Read more...
Phil
Ad copywriter & standup comedian
XX years’ experience
Read more...

8. Captions that start with keywords VS captions that start with meaningful description

Glenn
Director & Lead Copywriter
25 years’ experience
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Phil
Technical Writer & Business Analyst
XX years’ experience
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Zoe
Technical Writer
XX years’ experience
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Bill
Technical Writer & Editor
25 years’ experience
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Sophie
Technical Writer (English & Chinese)
XX years’ experience
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9. Target keyword VS grammatical variants

The best way to discuss this conflict is through example: Assume your target keyword is “kangaroo”. Its grammatical variants would be “roo” (part) and “kangaroos” (plural). Is it OK use a grammatical variant in your copy? Or do you need to find a way to use the exact target keyword?

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10. Exact phrase VS individual words scattered across the page

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11. Long VS short copy

[table “15” not found /]

12. Keyword prominence VS succinctness

[table “16” not found /]

13. Title tags that start with keywords VS Title tags that start with brand

The Title tag is a line of code in the HTML behind your page. It looks something like this:

<title>Australian Institute of Architects</title>

When the page is displayed in a web browser, the Title displays at the top left:

How the Title tag displays in a web browser

How the Title tag displays in a web browser

Google uses your Title tag to generate the title of your listing in the natural search results.

How the Title tag displays in Google

How the Title tag displays in Google

[table “17” not found /]

14. Keyword-rich VS persuasive, meaningful Description tags

The Description tag is a line of code in the HTML behind your page. It looks something like this:

<META NAME="DESCRIPTION" CONTENT="Pocono Whitewater Adventures, 
whitewater rafting, paintball, mountain biking, river canoeing, 
canoeing, and kayaking on the Lehigh River and in Lehigh Gorge 
State Park. Located in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania the heart of 
the Pocono Mountains.">

Google sometimes uses the Description tag as the description (or ‘snippet’) of your page in its search results. (Sometimes it simply compiles a snippet from the copy it finds on your page, and sometimes it grabs a description from your DMOZ description (if you have a DMOZ directory listing).)

How the Description tag is sometimes used by Google

How the Description tag is sometimes used by Google

[table “18” not found /]

15. Keyword-rich VS helpful, descriptive image Alt attributes

When a vision-impaired person accesses your page, their screen reader describes pictures by reading aloud the associated Alt attributes. These attributes are defined in the HTML behind your page, and they look something like this (the bolded bit is the Alt attribute):

<img src="filename.gif" alt=
"Cheap second hand computer in use" title="Cheap second 
hand computer in use">
[table “19” not found /]
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