Some of my non-writer friends and some of my colleagues who write more for print or television try to razz me when they see something apparently poorly worded or otherwise mangled in some of my online content.
And then I have to point out to them that I have not accidentally screwed up the use of a hyphen or suddenly reverted to second grade English. SEO and keyword issues sometimes lead you and your clients down roads that make copy editors shudder. “The client made me do it” is one of my favorite lines.
While I try to warn my clients away from using bad word combinations for SEO’s sake like “jobs freelance” or “musician gear concert PA”, sometimes you do have to bend a little bit. I personally cringe when removing the hyphens in “debt-to-income ratio” but it’s a search term consideration. The finance blogs I write for need that extra edge and it doesn’t read poorly, so I’ll write an informative blog post about applying for a home mortgage using both hyphenated and non-hyphenated variations.
Technically, my headline was a lie–I NEVER mangle the actual spelling of a word for SEO purposes. Anytime people have asked me to do that I gently remind them that the content is for HUMANS to read even when tweaking for Google. Badly spelled words make you look like either an idiot or a very hasty smart person. Neither one is good.
But sometimes you have to give a little, so in some of my copy instead of simply using the phrase “Is whole life a bad investment?” in the context of an informed consumer article, I’ll have to resort to the far clunkier, “Are whole life insurance policies a bad investment?”
Does this offend my inner grammar teacher as much as the idea of “investing” in whole life insurance itself? Yes it does. Is it good for search engine discoverability? When done with the right keyword research, yes it is.
Half the battle for me is finding the balance between making my inner grammar nazi happy and staying in the top Google results. There’s no such thing as Dramamine for fussy writers, sadly. My struggle continues.
One thought on “Misspelling On Purpose”
Thank you for giving me a smile today! I love that you have an inner grammar teacher. I also appreciate that you write content that makes you cringe – I often worry that I am the only one.
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