- Jul. 28th, 2006
- 3 comments
A major copywriting concern becomes manifest when one realizes that many popular queries happen to be English, but they are just plain awkward constructions.
For example, when a user is looking for a "Vioxx attorney," one must consider whether this phrase is actually English. The answer is yes — and no. Ask yourself a simple question:
"Would I actually call up a law firm and say: 'Hello, do you have a Vioxx attorney?'"
Maybe. But I'd be more likely to phrase the question as follows:
"Hello, do you have attorneys who handle Vioxx?"
(BORING ENGLISH GRAMMARIAN RANT)
English is a mixed-up language. Many of the words are derived from the romance languages — Western Europe; but the grammar is from the germanic languages — unsurprisingly German is one of these. One of the neat things about the Germanic languages is that they have the concept of the "construct noun." Semitic languages (Hebrew, Arabic, etc.) also have this concept. English does too. However, as usual, it is highly erratic.
So users search for "Vioxx lawyers." But just because someone types a bunch of keywords in to a query box, and it accidentally forms a valid language construction, doesn't mean it's actually desirable English. You can put it in your copy once and maybe get away with it. After that, however, it starts to look spammy and unprofessional. So, even if the key phrase is English, you must do a sanity check.
Here is an example. In Spanish and other romance languages we would say (translated) "bus of school," and not "school bus." This sounds silly in English, but that is not always the case.
Consider 2 of my favorite salad items:
1. Hearts of Palm
2. Artichoke Hearts
Notice that the first is in a "romance construction" whereas the second is in a "germanic construction." I doubt you will ever see "Palm Hearts" or "Hearts of Artichokes," either.
(/BORING ENGLISH GRAMMARIAN RANT)
So why is this relevent? Nobody says "Vioxx Lawyer!" Repeating it in your copy will look stupid. And, yes, keyword density still counts. Not to the extent that it's worth measuring and calculating, but you would be wise to include it 3-4 times in your copy in various inflections (tenses, plural/singular, etc).
So here is how to do it and get away with it:
We construct 2 sentences seperated by some sort of punctuation — punctuation is largely ignored by search engines:
"Contact us regarding Vioxx; attorney consultations are free"
… and we hope for the best. Lousy copy scares clients away. This won't. So English is a beautiful, but highly erratic language. When you copywrite, this is important to consider.
"3 Wise Comments Banged Out Somewhere On The Internet ..."