Can Anyone Find a Way Out of This “Keyword” Hell?

Can Anyone Find a Way Out of This “Keyword” Hell?

What did we do to deserve this sentence about our sentences?

For brand marketers, the Internet presents a wealth of opportunities to reach potential customers but it also increasingly shackles us with literary golden handcuffs. SEO, keywords, rankings… When did this become the driver to writing informative and compelling business copy?

At Paragraphs, we recently redesigned our site to make sure we were fully responsive—which is critical in the age of mobility and mobile devices. We also made sure our content was search engine optimized because we felt that we weren’t generating enough traffic to our site. So we followed every new business and UI/UX best practices for SEO. We wrote incredible content. We told the success stories of our clients. We shared our unique perspectives on branding and marketing like a leader. It was informative, exciting and engaging (if we do say so ourselves).

But then we had to make sure we were using the right keywords to increase our ranking in Google. So we researched the best-ranked words for our business and our target audiences. This forced us to change words, repeat words and overuse words. Words, words, words. Yes, we had to keep repeating ourselves. There were more repeats in our content than Friends reruns on late night cable. Ouch, ouch, ouch!

Typically, when writing interesting, engaging and fresh copy we work to ensure there is no redundancy. Now, based on the current rules of the road on the information super-highway, we are forced as a firm (oops, no a brand “agency”) to say specific words over…and over…and over. In fairness, we are a strategic brand “agency.” That’s an apt description. But I find it objectionable that apparently, I can’t use the word “firm” or no one will find us. As a free-thinker and entrepreneur, I find this “guided verbal restriction” incredibly painful. I literally had to change the descriptor of who we were in order to be found by the web crawlers. (Is it just me or is the first word you think of that should precede crawlers is “creepy”?)

For more than 30 years, Paragraphs has been about original, creative content – from strategy to design to messaging/copy. That will never change. In fact, we still write all of our own content. And we hope you like it.

There has to be a happy medium here somewhere—where “keywords” and client needs intersect and still allows creative firms a degree of literary license. We’re confident Google will get this right in the end, because we do believe they are well-intentioned, trying to connect users with what they seek quickly and efficiently. Until then, and for now, we all have to play by their current constructs and search algorithms. And, hey, if you’re reading this, somehow you found us so that’s a good thing! And, hey again, if you like what we’re writing, feel free to share or like us. We just love positive, positive, positive reinforcement. 🙂


Robin Zvonek

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