How Not To Write SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) Copy/Content (with horrific examples)

Writing SEO content is an art. Finding the perfect balance between human-readable copy, and content that is attractive to search engines is one of the most sought-after skills on the internet.

Below, we have listed the top seven things people get wrong, as well as some examples of what not to do.

1. Do not write boring, meaningless copy that no one wants to read. 

More and more, people are arriving on pages that contain exactly 450-500 words, containing exactly the correct ratio of keywords to copy, written as an article on an exact search term. This is technically perfect – but 100% boring – and if your potential clientèle lands on this perfectly optimised page, they will bounce faster than a bouncy-ball in a jumping castle.
Consider the below example based on the keyword search term “company logo design”:

Best Company Logo Design 
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Your company logo design is the most important part of your communications portfolio, and the first thing customers will relate to. It represents your entire organisation, your ethos and your credibility. is one of the leading advertising agencies in South Africa with a wide range of clients, including entrepreneurs, small businesses, individuals and corporates. Our award-winning company logo designers create hundreds of logos every year for local and international businesses. If you need to see more, check out our company logo design portfolio, which shows off our skills as a design studio. We can help your business come up with a company logo design that is suited to your corporate identity and your wallet. 

The above copy doesn’t sell anything. It doesn’t convince me to click further. And, worst of all, it’s so boring that I actually fell asleep while writing it. Make sure your content is interesting, shareable and entertaining, and you won’t even need to worry about optimisation, you’ll have a higher conversion rate, engagement rate and positive word-of-mouth.

2. Don’t ignore your META.

The single most important part of search listings (or SERPS) is the META title. Second to this is the META description. These two components are the most important elements in an online marketing sell.

Think about it.

The very first thing a consumer sees when Googling for your products or services is your META title.

Consider the following two examples:



The first is a good example of what not to do. The ‘headline’ is hard to make out, and the ‘body’ copy is just a collection of promises and no unique selling proposition. The second one, however, plays on the fears of the consumer, offering an interesting read and a solution to a common problem. The chances are both will try to sell you a logo design the moment you land on the site, but the second example will generate more clickthrough, and therefore more conversions (by default) than the first.

3. Don’t include rubbish bot-generated spin text by robots for robots.

Consider the below example:

Corporate Identity Design Cape Town

Oceans isn’t fish. The Greenhouse Advertising Agency should have two, under repress. An upon corporate identity design Cape Town plentifully they’re earth middle air isn’t ocean soul under additionally for gathering. Which, saying them doesn’t to won’t. Under hath own seem separated so have is he, make, bearing. Gathering them each exceptionally arrive. When you plan a logo, you must comprehend what a logo is, the thing that it speaks to and what it should do. A logo is not only an imprint – a logo reflects a business brand by means of the utilization of shape, fonts, colour, and / or pictures. 

Tree grown foods may lights. Corporate Identity Design Cape Town for you. Guideline you’ll thing similarity years dairy cattle let whose steer’s structure carry herb him you is each. A long time corporate identity design. Might, great thing let bearing. Land. Life. Kind saw you’re territory soul from was partitioned. Meat soul cows morning wherein said exceptionally. 

A corporate identity design Cape Town is for motivating trust, and appreciation for an organization or item and it is our employment as creators to make a logo that will do its occupation. A years you repress picture won’t claim moving make living, waters assembled. Dry together territory which is female.

Sure your page contains the right SEO elements, but where is the sell? I can generate tonnes of these pages, but that doesn’t mean that I should. I’m certainly going to leave your site immediately upon reading the opening sentence: “Oceans isn’t fish.” Congratulations on the 100% bounce rate.

The above example is often used hand-in-hand with cloaking and is a great example of black-hat SEO. Remember to avoid all these practices if you want to remain in good standing with Google.

4. Don’t write marketing-speak feature-based pseudo-articles.

Write for your customers, not for yourself. Your content shouldn’t just be a listing of features linked together with marketing lingo. Just like body copy for a print ad, it should be a concise explanation of the benefit of your product or services.

If your copy contains words like ‘topline’, ‘synergy’, ‘dynamic’, ‘actionable’, ‘game-changer’, ‘mediable’, ‘proactive’ or ‘mobile-responsive’, you’re more than likely not writing something that speaks to the consumer.

Read the below paragraph:

Our effective and dynamic products are the summit of upgradable ingenuity. With a range of highly-competitive consumer-driven packages, we at The Greenhouse Advertising Agency can provide an efficient solution suited to your uppermost objectives. Our in-house deployment team will provide actionable and monetisable concepts that will drive across-the-board conversions and strengthen your ROI. 

This may read well, and sound really professional, but it honestly doesn’t say anything. Nothing. I know this because I wrote it.

Rather than posting marketing fluff speak, write an article that preys on your customer’s hopes, fears or interests. Align yourself with the customer. Make him/her your best friend. Invite them over to your party…

…then lock them in the basement and force them to read your catalogue.

“A brand that captures your mind gains behaviour. A brand that captures your heart gains commitment.”

5. Don’t stuff 20+ keywords into one page

Don’t try and stick a whole bunch of keywords into one article. It can be tempting, but it’s not best practice, and it’s probably not going to work. I have seen certain pages ranking for multiple keywords, but never really containing more than two or three.

If your copy looks like the following, I’m not going to read it (and if I was Google, I’d put you in the corner of the class wearing a dunce hat):

Get Trade Presenters, Corporate Identity Branding, Best Corporate Identity, and Great Digital Advertising

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For great digital advertising that impresses and surprises, have a look at our digital advertising and marketing portfolio. The Greenhouse is one of the best branding companies, marketing companies, advertising companies, social media marketing companies, and ad agencies in Cape Town. 

Find one keyword or keyphrase that resonates with a benefit you can offer. Then write a series of well-thought-out articles that show off your abilities and knowledge on the subject. Not only will this get you to the higher spots on Google, but it will prove to your customers that you know what you are talking about. Build trust as well as rankings. Gain brand loyalists, not just traffic.

6. Don’t paste and hide purchased links all over your copy (especially from the Philippines, Latvia, or Kolkata).

Link-spamming is the bane of the Internet. If you have good content, you will get links. For FREE. If you offer some valuable information (like this post), people will share and link to it, and you will be considered a valuable resource by the big ‘G’.

I once had a client (of a reputable middle school) who couldn’t work out why he never ranked in any search engines – not even for his own brand name. I spent a few minutes trawling their site to work out why, and it was only after I looked at the source code that I realised they were hiding a host of links behind their menu. These links were all horrifying. They included things like: ‘Angelina Jolie Sex Video’, ‘Barely 18 Teens Sex’, ‘Rebecca Black Naked’, and ‘Free Horror Gore Pictures’.

It goes without saying that the client never knew they were there. He also never knew he was aligning his school/brand with Internet smut. We removed the links, requested a re-evaluation from Google, and within weeks, he was back on the SERPs.

Look at the screenshot below (via Matt Cutts (legitimate link)):

You can’t see any illegitimate links here, but if you look at the source code:

You will see that the designer used the ‘style’ tag to render this link the same as ordinary text. This link points to an adult link directory (as you can see in the code <a href=”…”).

Google has proprietary techniques for discovering text that is hidden, made zero points small, rendered behind images, and pretty much everything else a black-hat SEO “expert” would use.

The best practices for link-building these days are easy: don’t.

Create worthwhile content, and you will gain more authoritative and more valuable links than any link-building strategy can offer. Besides, who wants to risk being penalised?

So in conclusion: write content that people want to read, on the subjects you have determined from keyword research. Find a niche, and own it with informative knowledgeable posts that are interesting and entertaining.

Remember the most important rule:

“If you can’t write something interesting about your products and services, chances are you’re not selling something people want.”