The Trade-off Between SEO and your Sales Message

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It’s not a widely known fact, but sales writers, also known as copywriters, hate search engine optimization requirements. Marketing professionals, whether they be team members or independent clients, often make unreasonable demands for search engine optimization, like using the same four-word phrase, verbatim, six or more times per page. It takes an awfully skilled copywriter to balance these keyword requirements while focusing on brevity for sales impact, and sometimes, it’s simply impossible to do.

A sales page makes money in two stages. First, you use heavy search engine optimization to get lots of organic Google search engine hits. Second, you try to convert, or sell your product to, as many of these hits as possible. The best way to convert your hits is with strong sales language, brevity, and by using the Attention-Interest-Desire-Attraction, or AIDA, sales technique. These goals stand at odds with long paragraphs stuffed with long-tail keywords, which often get ignored by skimming Web users. And, therein lies the rub. It’s often more effective to trade a few hits for a better, more readable, sales letter. By converting 4% of your hits instead of 2%, you effectively double your profit.

Some amount of search engine optimization helps to bring new visitors into your site, but Internet marketers often disagree about how much or how little is required to help Google properly find and index your website. Trying to stuff keywords can even be viewed as deceptive by search engine algorithms, costing your site hits. A good balance can be achieved by selecting two long-tail keywords and using them with between 2% and 4% density. This can often be worked into strong copy by a skilled copywriter. Additional LSI or secondary keywords can be included once or twice, as well, so having a robustly optimized page is possible without detracting from the sales message by stuffing a primary keyword phrase.

To find the perfect balance of copywriting and optimization for your bottom line, use an A/B test of two sales letters. In the first, try to maximize conversions. In the second, try to maximize search engine optimization. After several hundred hits, use the most effective sales letter as a base to add or remove search engine optimization phrases (or more effectively, entire paragraphs) to find the right balance between your sales message and beneficial keyword phrases and density.