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Tuesday, Jul. 21, 2009 at 1:31 pm

When We-We and SEO Copy Attack

By Brendan Regan
July 21st, 2009

Perhaps I haven’t had enough coffee this morning…you know us Seattleites

But I just felt I had to call out an example of how poor copywriting and writing for search engine robots can ruin a decent Unique Value Proposition.

wewe.and.seo.copyI was referred to a site to look at their homepage design (see screenshot, highlighting is mine), and immediately noticed that they had a prominent Unique Value Proposition (UVP) statement, which was promising.

The UVP statement wasn’t the best I’ve read, but at least it was an attempt that could be tested and refined. But the sub-text under the UVP was what irked me enough to write this post.

Someone decided to “we-we” all over the UVP! And it looks like they also tried to write for search engine robots instead of humans with credit cards:

“We specialize in custom ties, custom bow ties, bowtie / cummerbund / handkerchief sets, custom cufflinks, matching gift boxes, women ’s scarves, and much more. We can custom make your neckwear any way you desire. We have both standard ties and clip on ties as well as extra long ties for your custom ties. We even have custom ties for boys as young as 6 months. Our products are great for corporations, organizations, churches, choirs, schools, uniforms, athletic teams, fraternities, formal and special events, and many more.”

Notice that by focusing on SEO only, they end up with copy that will resonate with no one.

Here’s the official tally from our free We We Calculator:

Your Customer Focus Rate: 37.50% (3 customer-focused words)

Your Self Focus Rate: 62.50% (5 self-focused words, and 0 mentions of the Company Name)

You speak about yourself about 2 times as often as you speak about your customers. Might that have an impact on your effectiveness?

I’m not a Search Engine Optimization guru, but I’d wager that any SEO prowess you lost by fixing that kind of copy could be made up by 1 or 2 quality, keyw0rd-rich inbound links from reputable, related sites, don’t you?

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Comments (22)

  1. I gotta take issue here. This isn’t about focusing on SEO copy. This is about writing godawful copy.

    A skilled copywriter can write great stuff for both SEO and sales.

    Implying that they’re mutually exclusive gives all the sub-talented morons out there who crank out horrible writing a pass.

  2. @ian: this post does not intentionally imply that SEO copywriting and sales copywriting are mutually exclusive. I agree they can coexist if the copywriter has the chops.

    However, I challenge any copywriter to write great sales copy AND use all the keywords that were stuffed into that paragraph (about 23 by my count). It’s neither possible nor wise.

  3. This is a great example of optimizing for the search engines at the expense of the user. Even worse, is that the poor copy itself will have minimal weight in terms of SEO. 1 or 2 quality backlinks would do much better than the poor copy itself.

  4. [...] Regan at FutureNow made a repeatable observation. The we-we tool Brendan mentions is new to me, but I think it has some value. If anything, it [...]

  5. You have right.

    SEO companies often forget that the best way to promote site is to create interesting and valuable content on it for human users…

  6. It is easy to talk about yourself, most people are self centered. It is a habit that websites need to break.

  7. Great post!

    I just quoted your post and wrote about it in my blog at the following link:
    http://www.searchengineoptimizationjournal.com/2009/07/22/content-seo/

  8. Ian and Brendan, you are both right. SEO copywriting is all about balance. Yes, you can write for users and bots and do it well. No, you can’t shove excessive amounts of keyphrases into copy and expect good results with rankings OR with conversions.

    So often, website owners think that SEO copywriting is exclusively about drowning the copy in as many keywords as possible. It has never been about that.

    It’s this type of copy that gives SEO copywriters a black eye.

  9. Regan,i would like to point out that it is not even a good SEO technique.Search engines will treat it as spam.

  10. In order to get high ranking SEO expert should use methods where low quality content should be pushed on to the internet.. Because the more the content, the better..

  11. This is a welcome reminder of how “me-centered” we are as humans, it pervades everything we do.

    I’m glad to find out about the “we-we” tools o that I have a way of holding myself accountable for my own ego when writing online.

    Thanks!

  12. Like the we -we tool or concept and was wondering whether you had researched any actual correlations between let’s say low we – we scores and good conversions etc?

  13. Even if the copy were written well, it’s a dreadful site … it’s almost illegible.

    It’s a real turn off; white text on a black background says “don’t read me!”

    I don’t understand why this message hasn’t gotten through to designers… except for all the world’s largest ecommerce companies, who invariably use black text on a white background.

  14. I agree. That is just terrible copywriting. The copy is filled with redundancies. They definitely should outsource SEO content creation to a reputable copywriting firm. The copy they currently have on their site will definitely increase their bounce rate and reduce their conversion rate. Not good.

  15. [...] But too often, someone producing content for a website doesn’t consider this and only focuses on achieving high search engine rankings. Read the following statement from this FutureNow post: [...]

  16. Great post, wrote about in our blog at http://www.seo-e.com/.
    Not only does copy like that turn people away, Google penalizes sites with it as well, treating it as spam. It’s a double whammy to do keyword stuffing

  17. Besides the questionable copy, the User Interface can be greatly improved as well. Even if the copy was made for the SERPs, when a human arrives at the site, the UI greatly reduces the conversion probability rate.

  18. excelletn post
    i can’t agree you more
    To get high ranking, SEO expert should use methods!

  19. Seo company should create attractive and constructive content for the viewer.

  20. Writing compelling content that is relevant to your reader and has a clear call to action is the way to go. If you can play with the right keywords that is great, but only if it does not change the effectiveness of the copy itself.

  21. Thanks For u unformations

  22. [...] When We-We and SEO Copy Attack | Conversion Rate Optimization & Marketing Blog | FutureNow, Inc. marketing tools    How-To Prevent Social Media Identity Theft « Social-icious [...]

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