SEO Copywriting Lessons From George Orwell

There's plenty of SEO copywriting advice online, but long before SEO copywriters had been invented, one of giants of 20th Century writing was laying down a few rules of his own. Though of course these rules were aimed directly at helping create 'effective writing', offline, the advice George Orwell shared applies as much now, if not more so than when it was written over 50 years ago.

1. Originality

Orwell advises to never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech that you are used to seeing in print. Basically he's saying, keep if fresh, keep it vital and keep it vivid. Don't burden your writing with hackneyed cliches and words or phrases that make it easier than it already is for readers to disengage. Reach out to readers with language that evokes an emotive response. Dare to be original and creative. Sure your SEO copywriting may not win you the next Booker Prize but even if it's simply for long tail purposes you'll probably prosper from injecting a few fresh angles and shades into your work.

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2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

There's nothing smart or impressive about a copywriter who uses unnecessarily long words for the sake of it. Long words turn readers off. Sometimes they will think you arrogant and sometimes they may not even understand the words you are using. Strong SEO copywriting uses power words that really drive home the meaning of what you want to say. Power words are usually short and to the point. The effective use of shorter words adds an emotional kick to SEO copywriting.

3. Brevity rules.

If you can cut a word out, always cut it out. Orwell advises us to say what we need to say then get out. Any copy that isn't contributing is detracting. For an SEO copywriter it isn't always as simple as that. You need to give your keywords a fair airing, to give the search engines plenty to identify relevance. In the web copywriting context perhaps the best way of using Orwell's advice is to not overuse keywords. Too many keywords can choke your content.

4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

Active language has a built-in directness that adds momentum and force to your writing.

5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

Cut out the techno babble, the geek speak and the business speak. As a copywriter you should get rid of anything that is going to get in between your reader and your message. We've all seen it and it's painful. Good SEO copywriting assists understanding, shares meaning and conveys clear messages. It doesn't hide meaning behind techie talk. Sure there are times when only a technical word or phrase will suffice. The rest of the time, just use plain English.

Rule 6 is Orwell's catch all – the common sense rule. Anything that hasn't been dealt with in the five rules above should meet its fate here when he says 'Break any of these rules sooner than saying anything outright barbarous.'

Source by Derryck Strachan

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