Thursday, October 02, 2008

Putting the “Marketing” Into “Search Marketing”

I read an article in an ad agency’s newsletter yesterday that talked about how optimization often compromises the integrity of the writing for a web site. Here’s an excerpt from Mint Advertising’s Blue Briefs newsletter:

“That said, I wanted to share a recent real world experience with web copy that has, ostensibly, been ‘optimized’....Here is actual copy from a page on that site:

‘This TV stand, also known as an LCD stand and a screen stand, is made from rust proof aluminum. Great for high traffic areas, this aluminum has a satin silver finish to coordinate beautifully with a variety of décors. The monitor display stand, TV stand has an optional tilting bracket available for purchase. By tilting your television, you give customers a better view of the screen. The TV stand has a wide base to offer great stability to the display. A plasma stand is a perfect TV stand to advertise in an exciting manner that is sure to earn you new customers!’

...At the risk of upsetting our SEO partner and other SEO-centric readers, I want to say that this is the sort of writing I would take a junior copywriter to task for. And it strengthens my belief that while there are all sorts of "tricks" that can be pulled for SEO (and direct mail, and virtually every other measured marketing tactic), to actually deploy these tricks in force compromises the integrity of the writing. As a brand-conscious advertising agency, Mint would never recommend writing copy this way. It's simply not English. Even ‘advertising’ English.”

Contrary to what the writer expected, I was not upset in the least by this article. In fact, this is precisely the kind of example that we would use to highlight what sets us apart from lesser quality SEO companies. At DBE, our focus is on integrating search as part of our clients’ overall marketing strategy, combining search expertise with overarching marketing know-how (after all, most of us here are marketers at heart). A well optimized site is not just about following the rules and repeating keywords X number of times, but about incorporating time-tested search elements while still maintaining the messaging and voice. A good search marketing company will be flexible and understand that sometimes compromise is necessary – if a search recommendation will harm the integrity of the copy, then we’ll revise our approach. Because at the end of the day, we know that it’s about connecting with your site’s visitors and getting them to take action.

And trust me, it is possible to write good copy that is also optimized – if anything, the example provided in the newsletter is more a sample of poor copywriting skills than of optimization gone wrong. Rather than viewing optimization as an obstacle to writing great copy, we encourage writers (including our own in-house team of content specialists) to approach it as a challenge and an opportunity to broaden the exposure of your message. Are there examples of optimization gone wrong? Yes. But there are many more stories of optimization gone right that have increased brand visibility and improved the bottom line, without harming the brand’s integrity.

No comments:

Post a Comment