SEO - why it works best with quality writing

by Philip Webb on 22 October 2008

Not so many years ago, there was a time when marketing relied on good copy in printed documents. It was when the written word had to have a long shelf life. Today, websites can be updated at any time from anywhere in the world and, consequently, sloppy writing has become the norm.

Attracting the attention of Google and other search engines is crucial for bringing visitors to your website. To achieve this effectively, search engine optimised copy should run parallel with good website construction.

A competent website designer will know how to build a site so that it scores well in search engine rankings. Often, designers will set up “stalking” websites and pages that contain SEO-rich copy that is not meant to be read by the human eye but links through to the principal website's homepage.


Probably the most crucial aspect of effective SEO copywriting is the density of your keywords. These are the keywords that you would expect people to type into Google when looking for the particular product or service you offer.

A paragraph should be written to incorporate these key words as early in the text as possible as search engines are more inclined to identify keywords that are placed near the top of a page.

Ideally, about 7% of your website copy should consist of your keywords. Never have more than 10% or search engines will punish your site for 'spamming' i.e. simply stuffing your copy with keywords.

Key phrases

Search engine optimised copy is more likely to achieve good search engine ratings by creating key phrases than by single keywords. Key phrases are strings of words that people typically type into search engines.

A person searching for a steel bin or steel bins is more likely to type steel bin i.e. two single key words than type “steel bin” with quotation marks to create a phrase; but you should cater for those who are savvy enough to specify the phrase.

Enter steel bin or steel bins into Google and it produces about 370,000 results.

However, “steel bins” in quotation marks only returns 38,000 results, so by incorporating steel bins into a proper sentence (without quotation marks) it is recognised by search engines as a genuine phrase.


Allowing for people spelling words incorrectly is another way of attracting customers to your website.

Enter steal bin (two key words) into Google and it produces a whopping 4,180,000 results but enter “steal bins” in quotation marks and Google returns a mere 75 results.

In other words, incorporating steal bins as a phrase within your body copy, without it looking like a misspelling, can be very effective.

For example: 'Steel bins supplied by Merlin Ward at these prices are a steal. Bins come in a combination of brushed steel bins, matt steel bins & etc'.

Misspelled key words that are commonly searched for can add considerable value to your SEO copy. The trick is to use them without filling your web page with poor spelling!

Overall, good SEO copy has:

  • A minimum of 300 words per page, especially the homepage
  • Between 7% and 10% keywords per page
  • One principal topic per page
  • Links to other relevant pages on the website
  • Succinct, page and paragraph headings that are also rich in keywords
  • Summary bullet points


If your website copy incorporates good SEO practice and is managed by a competent website designer, it will attract more visitors to your site and turn 'hits' into real business.

Ultimately, the golden rule for all website copy is that it must read well and that search engine optimisation should not detract from the overall marketing message.

This article was written by Merlin Ward. Since turning freelance in 1991, Merlin has been producing copy for ads and brochures, Internet PR for i-Newswire and, in recent years, SEO copy for websites.

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