When writing a piece of content for your website, a blog post, someone’s bio or press release that you want to send to online journalists, you need to think about it in the context of the internet and SEO. It is not only about a search engine’s robots that you want to feed correctly, but it is also about users whose interest you want to peak and engage with your message. It is easy to make a mistake as copywriters have a lot of work these days and are easily distracted. So how do you avoid staggering copywriting mistakes?
Working in the SEO industry for over 10 years, I have encountered all of the copy’s flaws, a wide variety of bad articles, uninteresting blog posts and websites’ dull content. I want to make your job easier and share a list of the 7 worst copywriting mistakes with tips on how to avoid them!
Please, if you indolently do not want to do research or have no time for it, just don’t write anything. You can immediately notice when an article or blogpost was not prepared thoroughly and was just created on the fly without any preparation. Read at least several articles on the subject you want to dig into. Look for data that supports your point of view or your hypothesis, list all of the points that you want to include in your piece. Equally importantly, think of your targeted audience, focus on their needs and how they can benefit from your writing. Remember that unless you are writing a diary with no business purposes, you are not writing for yourself, but for your followers, business partners, your product’s users or potential clients.
While researching your subject, do not forget to check the keyword phrases you can use in your piece, so it is more SEO friendly. Do not make the mistake and pass on this step. This is important because, without it, your work can be worthless, no one will see it or it will reach an audience other than the one you intended. You should know which phrases you want to rank high for, what your users are looking for.
Therefore, prepare your keywords properly, especially long-tailed and question keywords. Why? They tend to have less search traffic but usually convert better. To clarify, they are more specific phrases that you use by yourself when fed up with the results that do not respond to your needs. For example, “how to avoid staggering copywriting mistakes” or “how I can write a better copy that converts better”. This will also help you increase your chances to rank high when your target group starts to use voice search. Not sure what keywords you should use? Use some tools for this!
Imagine that you are reading a bulk of text that contains 500 words but there are no titles, no headlines, no paragraphs, nothing that can relax your eyes for a few seconds. How do you feel about writing something like that? Not cool? Shocker!
A good article has a clear structure. You can see what the title is, where the introduction is, what the headlines state, you can extract each paragraph with your eyes and see the conclusion with ease. It is much easier to read an article that is divided into paragraphs knowing which ones should have their own subject. Above all, remember that not every sentence needs to start on a new line, it should just make logical sense.
When we talk about structure, I need to mention one awful mistake that is very common among copywriters. Dull headlines that do not grab your attention. They should explain what is stated in the paragraph below, and this can be written more interestingly than normally, even though you write about advanced technical issues or a copy on complicated legal aspects. H1, H2, H3 – they should all be short and appeal to users so that they want to read the text below them. If you want to stand out of the crowd of boring headlines, use tasteful adjectives that promise something, like “guaranteed”, “satisfying” or “winning”. Try to incorporate trigger words such as “how”, “what”, “why”. You can also use numbers – always a good idea, or ask a question like I did before writing this paragraph! ;)
While scanning any text people often focus their eyes on transition words. They help users follow your train of thought. Phrases like “because”, “and”, “first of all”, “secondly”, “finally”, help to navigate through the article. Consequently, they make it easier for users to see the cause and effect of something, what the first reason is and what the second one is, and what you state in the conclusion. Transition words make every piece of content simply easier to read and understand. Unfortunately, they are mostly forgotten by copywriters who do not use them enough. So, do not repeat this mistake and use transition words wisely in your blogposts!
TL;DR – do you know what this means? ;) Too Long, didn’t read. Yes, if your piece of content is really long (meaning above 2000 words) and is not as written as interestingly as you thought, no one will read it. No one. People will stop reading and exit your blog or website. Don’t get me wrong, you can write a long article but you have to be sure that the subject is interesting, that it resonates with your target group, it is not wordy and that it appeals to users grabbing their attention now and then. You just have to master copywriting skills to write a lengthy piece.
Your article or blogpost should also not be too short. Texts should have at least 300 words so they index well in search engines. It has a higher chance of ranking well if your article is longer and contains around 1,000 words or more. Why is that? Because Google has more tips to determine what the subject of your content is then. Moreover, in longer pieces, you have more chances to use focus key phrases and multiple long-tail variants of them in a natural way. In other words, it will have higher chances to rank high and generate more traffic to your website.
I believe it is not always a job of copywriters to do that, but they should think about it. It is really a common mistake to not incorporate internal linking in the blogposts. Consequently, your texts are weaker, your SEO potential is not fulfilled and you could not write the article at all and the result would be almost the same…
Link in your article to previously written content on the same or similar topic that users may be interested in. It will show your authority on the subject and strengthen your blogpost. Above all, it is helpful for your search engine rank. How? Google divides the link value between all links on a website. When one link has the greatest value and many backlinks, linking a new piece of content to it helps to share the value of the strongest page. Therefore, your newest article will get more link value and the search engine will find and rank it sooner.
This is one of the most popular and repeated copywriting mistakes – focusing on features, not benefits. If you are a customer, do you really care that the shoes have a sole glued by the most modern method in the world? Or maybe, like a normal person, you just care that they are waterproof and sturdy? I’m with the second team, like probably most of the people in the world. ;)
So, do not do this to your content. Do not make it uninteresting by focusing on features that practically no one cares about. Think of the benefits. Following the example above, the asset here is that you can go on many trips and not have to care whether it rains or not if you walk in the forest or the city, your feet will remain dry and you can enjoy your time hiking or walking with your loved ones. Can you see what I did in the previous sentence? I incorporated the emotional benefit – the king of all the benefits. This resonates best with users. Check it yourself in your next piece!
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Use action verbs and avoid fluffiness in your content. Your articles will stand out from the crowd as this is a common mistake among copywriters that want to strengthen their copy by adding too many adjectives. The best solution is to deploy action verbs that force the reader into imagining the text. Don’t believe me? Look at these examples:
Which sentence was easier to read? Could you spot the difference? The second sentence makes the situation much more vivid, while the first one is quite mundane to read. Try to incorporate action verbs into your copy and show them to your regular readers. See if they spot the difference, then you can check whether this works while analyzing time spent on your website and the bounce rate. Good luck!
As you can see, you can make a lot of mistakes when copywriting. It is not an easy job but if you do it right, it can drive traffic to your website and generate the growth of your business. Remember, at present, quality content is king. Consequently, excellent content also leads to more links, shares and return visitors to your website. Of course, there are always many other things you can do to maximize the SEO friendliness of your article. But most importantly, just create an excellent copy without the biggest mistakes mentioned above!
Check out our II part of the handbook on avoiding copywriting mistakes!